Our basement used to be a dungeon. It was dark with low ceilings, cement floors, and a ton of wasted space. There were pipes, wires and ducting laced throughout so you had hold your head in a constant duck. There was water damage and tiny windows which were screwed shut. We haven't solved all of the problems down there, but we have a couple of nice little rooms carved out.
This is the game room. I chose the pink and orange color palet based on the Candy Land board game. It is bright and open--and not basementy.
This wall, in particular, was a mess. There was an ancient workbench with live wires dangling above it. It was all painted a dirty teal and the floor was 100 year old cement. We pushed and pulled and shoved and cried the heavy workbench into the opposite side of the basement and built a wall to seperate the rooms. I re-wired and put in canned lights with an actual wall switch, rather than the several chains that teased you from across the dangerous room.
The built in cabinets were a total surprise. I took "before" pictures, but I can't find them anywhere. I'll try to describe the disaster.
One panel of glass was painted car primer gray, another was covered in press board. On the other cabinet, one panel was broken with shards sticking out (a special treat for my children, I'm sure) and the other had peg board nailed to the front of the cabinet door. The doors were completely painted shut with the same dirty teal and there was a huge, dead fridge parked in front of it all.