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Transforming your Basement


Often portrayed as a dark and scary place in movies, the basement has come a long way since then and is now considered a valuable home feature. When dealing with houses with small square footage and expanding the floor plan is limited by a lack of property, a basement can offer more living space. Finishing a basement or renovating it completely can also increase the value of your home. There is also the possibility of gaining additional income by renting out the basement. A basement is a blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a useful and functional space for you and your family.

Before remodeling your basement

As with any renovation, it is always good to do a little homework by asking some questions and forming a plan. Before starting your basement transformation, consider the following:

  • Have you had the basement inspected? There could be structural things that are not initially visible or uncovered during the renovation, which can cause setbacks or halt the entire project. This is also a good time to check if your basement has been properly sealed against water leaks.
  • Discuss what the area will be used for: Is this going to be turned into an apartment, home office, gym, or family room? Specific construction or code requirements may have to be met before it can be renovated. The plan needs to consider Plumbing and electrical outlets before a bathroom or laundry room can be installed.
  • Know your usable space. Since basements can come in various sizes, such as ceiling heights, it is wise to measure and confirm that there is enough space to accommodate your living goals.

A good plan can speed up the renovation process and save money in the long run, so spend sufficient time preparing before starting demolition.

What to do with empty basement space

The idea of a blank canvas is wonderful, but it may also be confusing as you try to decide how you will use your new space. There are multiple options on the list, including:

  • Home gym or office
  • Family game room
  • A wine cellar or at-home bar
  • Home theater
  • Rental apartment or in-law suite
  • Craft room or library
  • Extra storage
  • Laundry room

Each choice works well in a basement area, although certain factors determine which one will work better, such as bedrooms in an apartment suite that require windows, so if there are none, that one is off the table. Home theaters and game rooms, on the other hand, work very well in areas with limited windows. As do gyms and wine cellars. No matter what direction you take with your basement, it is a good idea to include at least one bathroom if possible since it saves everyone a trip up the stairs. Discussing your options with your designer is a great way to narrow down the list and decide on the perfect basement renovation.

How to make a basement count as living space

Turning your ordinary basement into an ideal living space is not as hard as you think. You can convert your basement into the family’s favorite hangout by knowing a few simple design rules and guides.

  • Game room: picking a theme is a great way to design a family game room. Maybe your family is a big Marvel or DC fan. You can pair bold accent colors like red and yellow with fun modern art pieces. This idea works well with a home theater, and old movie posters can be incorporated into the design.
  • Entertainment space: having a second kitchen has several benefits, but a basement kitchen can provide an all-in-one hangout spot. Be sure to have sufficient and comfortable seating, making it easier for everyone to connect. If your basement has sliding doors to an outdoor space, this makes the perfect combination for a memorable evening.
  • Home office: while working from home is more common, carving out a dedicated space can be hard. Placing your office in the basement is ideal since you are out of the main flow of traffic, which means less noise. Select colors inspired by nature to create a calm mood and have ample light sources, especially with no windows.

When designing any living area in the house, even the basement, it’s important to consider color, comfort, and connectivity. Because of their expertise, a designer can be a fantastic assistance during the transition process.

Basement space without windows

When a basement has no windows, and none can be installed, it can feel dark and uninviting, but with some simple design tricks, you can easily transform it from dismal to dazzling. Start with lighter paint colors, such as white or soft yellow, since they reflect light in any space. You can add fun colors to the decor, but a neutral palette helps keep the space open and welcoming. Another key element is lighting. Layering your lights works well in a basement design. You can install canned lighting and then incorporate ceiling floor, and table lamps. Track lighting is a wonderful selection if you want more direct lighting, for example, in game rooms and home theaters. Automatic lighting options are a good idea in basements since they will turn on as you descend the stairs and turn off after you leave. Reflective materials, such as mirrors, maximize your light sources and help limit the amount of shadows in the basement. When choosing flooring, choose more muted tile colors and patterns and lighter wood stains. This complements a wide range of architectural aesthetics and helps the basement feel lighter and happier.

How to maximize basement storage

One main reason for renovating the basement is to gain more storage, but sometimes this leads to piles of boxes until there is very little room to move. How do you gain the most for your square footage? 

  • Start with evaluating the space. Do you have a full wall or room to use, or will the basement be used for several functions?
  • Keep it separate. If you want to use your basement for multiple purposes, plan on creating a separate space for storage by either putting up a wall or utilizing a closet area. Be sure to clearly label everything you store so it can be sorted easily and found quickly.
  • Maximize the walls. Utilizing custom built-ins and shelves allows you to store more in a designated area. Clear container bins and boxes let you easily see what is inside without having to pull everything off the shelf or out of the cabinet.

Doing this will ensure that you gain the most storage possible in your basement while also steering clear of clutter.

Transforming your basement

Making the choice to finish your basement will give it so much more potential than you ever realized. A basement is usually considered one of the untapped resources in the home, but when used correctly, it can provide your family with the extra space they require.