Board games, bold artwork in show house recreation room

Design students at the Art Institute of Atlanta are offering a twist on how to decorate and lay out a bonus or basement room. The team of 20 students designed the recreation room on display through May 10 at the Atlanta Symphony Associates’ 2015 Decorators’ Show House & Gardens (

The windowless room in the 14,500-square-foot Buckhead estate had served as a fitness area that included rubber tile floors and a wall-to-wall mirror, said Michael Kleeman, program coordinator for design at the Art Institute of Atlanta. He shared tips used to reflect youthfulness in the room while keeping in line with the home’s traditional style.

The theme: The team viewed recreation through activities such as playing board games and creating art, instead of plopping in front of a big-screen TV. The existing mirror was covered with sketches of figures created by the students. Dominoes, dice and chess pieces are among the accessories. Easels and stools in one section provide a place for budding artists, while there’s a wood game table with a checkerboard inlay.

The furniture: Puzzle pieces appear to form the doors of a credenza, from Martin Nash at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC). The room was spacious enough for the designers to create a variety of zones for activities. A rattan chair, from Martin Nash, and a sofa and lounge chair from Paul + at ADAC, comprise seating areas for activities such as game night. A pair of Duralee chairs are in a reading nook.

The palette: Underneath the tile, they discovered blue-gray concrete floors. Once the ceiling was painted a pale yellow, Benjamin Moore’s Iced Mauve was applied to the walls, and a deep red hue, Benjamin Moore’s Dragons Blood, was selected for an accent wall, the floors needed to be changed. “The room started to look like an Easter egg, which was seasonally appropriate, but not what we were going for,” Kleeman said. Painting the floor and trim white toned down the palette. Artwork, in red and orange hues, is playful and energetic, he said.

The tips: The students set up Pinterest boards to post and comment on design concepts, furniture and paint colors. Consider using Pinterest if you and your teens are coming up with ideas for a media or bonus room or basement. Also, visit antique havens such as Scott Antique Markets ( to find odd and unexpected pieces, such as the tribal shield they selected for the room.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.