A big, unfinished basement is like a blank canvas just waiting to become a masterpiece. With such a large space comes endless possibilities for remodeling; however, figuring out where and how to start the makeover can seem daunting. It also can be a big investment, but one that is sure to boost your home’s resale value. Consider your family’s needs when deciding on a basement design. If you have little ones, you may want to create a space especially for them to play in and “mess up.” If you love entertaining on weekends, consider a layout that is party-friendly with plenty of room for enjoying beverages and snacks with friends. If you have out-of-town family or friends that are frequent visitors, you may want to turn your basement into guest quarters complete with a living area, kitchen and a bedroom or two. Another option is to only remodel part of the basement and leave the rest unfinished for storage purposes. The ideas are infinite when it comes to enhancing this extra living area, but there should be one main goal regardless of which option you choose: to get as much value from the space as possible based on how you live.
Your basement doesn’t have to be something that stays hidden or is only visited in special circumstances. Gone are the days of dingy basements that stay dark and are strictly for storage or doing laundry. It is becoming more and more common for homeowners to consider their basements an extension of the home or a main living area. If you and your family spend a lot of time hanging out at home together watching TV and movies, turn your basement into the ultimate family room complete with large, comfy sofas —maybe even a massive sectional that can be rearranged for lounging during a movie night. Make it as inviting as possible by adding a soft rug and keeping loads of pillows and blankets handy for easy grabbing and snuggling. If there’s no fireplace, you could add a freestanding electric one for instant coziness. There are even TV stands out there that have an electric fireplace built in. Install a big-screen TV or projector screen to give that movie theater feel that both kids and adults will enjoy. If space and plumbing permits, consider including a small kitchen space complete with fridge, sink, and microwave to be used for whipping up quick meals. A minibar area to keep snacks and drinks stocked will also do the trick. You could even add a small dining area or bar with stools so that prepared meals can be enjoyed there as well. With such a homey ambience, you’re likely to forget you’re even in the basement.
Playroom for small kids
Having a designated space in your home for children to play in and store their toys is a win-win situation for all. Kids love it because it’s a place to call their own. It’s somewhere they can escape to by themselves, with siblings, or with friends for hours on end, using their imaginations to build, play and have fun. Adults love it because it keeps toys from being scattered all over the house (ideally). Having a playroom in the basement will also help to keep the noise level down for the rest of the house. There are a ton of inspiring possibilities if you plan on utilizing a large part of your basement for children. Create an indoor playground with small slides, tunnels and a ball pit. Add a cute tent for your little one to relax in. Incorporate built-in shelves filled with books, educational toys, and plenty of supplies for arts and crafts (just be sure to keep things like markers and paints out of reach from little hands and to be used with adult supervision). As your children grow, these playrooms can easily be transformed into gaming or hobby areas, teen rooms, or other hangout space.
Games and entertainment for big kids
If you have teenagers or adult family members who enjoy playing games, you’re probably looking for a way to keep them entertained. A place dedicated to playing video games or watching TV and movies will definitely be appreciated. Add various kinds of seating and a large TV, but don’t stop there! Stock your basement with a ping pong, foosball, or pool table. Hang a scoreboard on the wall to feed their competitive nature. Include a card table and load up shelves with both new and classic board games. You could even put in some old-school arcade games, slot machines, or a dart board for a fun and funky feel. Include a minibar area so that snacks and drinks can be enjoyed in between games. Cover the floors with a hard surface, such as tile, to allow for an easy cleanup in case of spills. Accent the space with different styles and colors of lighting, eclectic wall decor, and assorted throw pillows, poufs, and ottomans. Don’t be afraid to play with bolder options when decorating this below-ground space.
Basements aren’t just a place for the kids to have fun. Adults need a place as well, and it can even be catered to a certain hobby. Maybe you have a family member who is obsessed with music or is in a band, and they need a place to jam out and keep all of their instruments or music collection. Is your significant other an avid hunter or fisherman? Give them a space to store all of their sporting essentials as well as showcase their big “trophies.” Let your fella have his very own man cave, or give your gal her own private escape. World travelers may want a place to consolidate all of their trinkets in one area. If you adore the beach and nautical themes, but don’t want it to overpower your main living area, use your basement as a place to express this love and decorate with maritime elements. Wine or whiskey connoisseurs can turn their basements into cellars or tasting rooms, for the perfect place to both store and enjoy their impressive collections. If a cellar seems a little too extravagant, simply set up a bar area for fun weekend nights with friends.
For some, sports are life. If your family gets really into watching sports and enjoys having guests over to partake in the madness, you may want to tailor your basement to that. Hang memorabilia of your favorite team(s)—think framed jerseys, painted canvases of various stadiums, and other sports-inspired printed artwork. Install a large-screen TV —or even multiple TVs so several games can be watched at once—and don’t forget to provide an ample supply of seating. You could even build a bar with stools directly behind the main couch, so people can sit and have an unobstructed view of the big game. Make sure to keep a well-stocked fridge nearby for cold beverages. There are even coffee tables out there that double as a cooler—imagine not having to get up from the couch to grab a drink! Choose dim lighting with a sports bar feel, dark wood tables and bar tops, and perhaps a stone accent wall to really set the right mood. Consider adding a high-top table off to the side for guests who may prefer to socialize rather than sit in front of the TV.
Guests love being able to have their own space when visiting, especially if it’s for an extended amount of time. If you find yourself frequently housing out-of-towners, consider giving your basement an apartment-like feel. Nothing wears out a welcome more than feeling like you are living on top of one another. Section off the space to create a separate living area, bedroom(s), bathroom, and even a small kitchen/dining area if space permits. Use a bright white paint color and install recessed lighting to make the ceilings seem taller. While tile can be expensive, it may be the best option here, as it is easy to keep clean and dry. You can always add area rugs in the living and sleeping areas to make them cozier. Keep each room simple, clean, clutter-free and spacious. Leave plenty of room in the bathroom for toiletries and linens. Not only will your guests appreciate the privacy, but you will too! When you’re not entertaining guests, the additional space can provide your family with a getaway if they are in need of a quiet place to relax. You could even rent the space out if you’re looking for a little extra income.
Even if you plan to only remodel a portion of your basement, there are still a variety of options. While leaving part of the basement unfinished for storage, you can still make great use of the rest of the space by creating a workout area, kid-friendly zone, small home office, and more.
Fitness lovers will appreciate having a section in the basement that’s strictly dedicated to working out. You don’t need an insane amount of space for a few machines, mats and weights. Create a small home office space that can be utilized by adults who work from home or by kids who need a place to do schoolwork away from distractions that may be present in the kitchen, living room or bedroom. All you need is a small desk, chair, and some simple shelves. Keep it light and cheery by using pale shades of paint on the walls and installing lights on the ceilings. Put together a space for children to play or do arts and crafts. Have custom built-in shelves or cubby holes installed, or buy pre-built shelves where bins filled with toys, books, and more can be stored. Not wanting to completely finish your basement, but wanting to spruce it up, means you could leave the existing concrete floors and lay down some large, soft, and colorful area rugs. You could also leave the ceiling exposed instead of installing drywall. Just add some blue-gray paint and embrace the industrial style that is currently on trend.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly hangout space, a place to entertain friends on weekends, or an area to house your family’s latest hobby, don’t let your precious square footage go to waste. This underground jewel is prime real estate, and the possibilities for improvement are truly endless.