It’s Time To Take Back the Basement
Given we are now firmly into the third wave of COVID here in Ontario (and beyond), I thought it was about time.
Time for what, you ask? Well let me explain.
We’ve spent a lot of time working at home, spending time with the family around the dinner table, sacked out on the sofa staring at the TV, or maybe we’ve gone our separate ways into seclusion (our bedrooms with the door closed!). And it has not been uncommon to do home improvement projects in these areas of the house (given that we now stare at the same 4 walls day after day.)
But something has emerged as a focal point in the home for renovations. It’s often neglected for good reason. It’s cold, dark, possibly damp…and all around not really a fun place to be.
In some cases it is one huge laundry room! In other cases it gets filled with every old and unwanted item in the home.
It’s the basement.
And people are taking it back! And I don’t blame them one bit. Heck, it’s about time!
I think after this last year we all need a bit more space! Don’t you?
And if you are one of the many who feel inspired to take back their basement, I have some design advice for you.
Noooooo, don’t thank me. It is my pleasure!
Basement Design Tip 1: An Extension of Your Home
Treating your basement as an extension of your current living space means your home feels larger. So how do you do that? Use similar finishes – flooring, cabinetry, lighting, colours, etc.
When the finishing remains the same, it feels like another room in the house.
Design Note: People tend to go with bolder colours and fun finishes in the basement. But when you design your basement differently from the main floor, it feels disconnected from the rest of the house and your home will not feel larger.
Basement Design Tip 2: Open Concept
An open concept basement design takes advantage of the natural expanse of the basement. This is not to say that you don’t delineate areas (see the next tip!) and stick a sofa in the middle of the room.
For larger basements: You can have multi-purpose spaces but they all open up to each other; from the game room to the bar area, from the family sitting area to the theatre room and so on.
For small basements: The open concept design maximizes the limited amount of space – physically and visually. With this design, the perception of additional light and space you have more freedom to mix and match styles to creating your own personal sanctuary.
Design Note: Half walls are an option if you do want to create separation of spaces without sacrificing the open concept. A space such as this would give you more freedom to mix and match styles between the areas.
Basement Design Tip 3: Zones
If you do decide to create an open concept design, then establishing zones within the space is the best way to design the layout. First, determine what the main zones are that you want – TV area, play space, kitchen/bar, fitness area, work zone, bathroom, etc. Then decide the best areas for them to be located.
Design Note: If it is feasible include a powder room and small kitchen area in the basement. Having these means you do not have to trek upstairs to get something to drink or for a bathroom break.
Basement Design Tip 4: Essentials
It’s quite possible that your basement was used for storing a heck of a lot of items. If you plan on renovating, decluttering the space is top priority. But you still may need storage options – built-ins, closets, or a small storage room are ideas to consider.
Design Note: Custom built-ins can be costly; if you are on a budget consider ikea storage solutions. Also, if you decide to includes closets go with a door that is unique rather than just regular slab doors.
Basement Design Tip 5: See the Light
Basements are dark by nature; small windows (usually in window wells which makes things even darker) and lack of artificial light are usually the culprits. If it is feasible given your basement, you may want to add windows. If you can not do this, then make sure you have enough lighting.
Design Note: Lighting is more than just pot lights on a dimmer. Incorporating several different types of lighting can add to the mood of pendant over a reading nook, under cabinet lighting, small accent lights in bookcases, wall washers, etc.
Basement Design Tip 6: The Element of Luxury
Just because it is the basement doesn’t mean it has to lack a special something! Am I right? If it is in your budget, splurge for in-floor heating. Trust me – you will not regret it!
If you are a movie family, why not install surround sound and a big screen?
Design Note: The definition of luxury varies from person to person. You get to decide how to make your basement include a bit of luxury. It could be a ton of pillows, a fuzzy rug, or a painted ceiling!
Basement Design Tip 7: Décor + More Décor
The basement, even if it is finished, is still neglected in terms of decorating. The space will feel warm and cosy with a few throw pillows, blankets, a rug, art on the walls, décor on the shelves. Just because it is the basement doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.
Design Note: If you are reading this, then you need to tell me. Why? Because I want to thank you for reading my blog by giving you a 30 minute FREE design consultation. Yes, FREE. Just email me here and tell me which Design Tip resonated with you the most (this is a MUST to get 30 minutes of my time).
A Final Word
If you are thinking about renovating your basement, be sure to download My Renovation Planner (below) to get started.
And if you need help, my Renovation Design Plan service might be just what you need. Feel free to set up a 20 minute chat with me (no pressure! we are just talking) to see if it is the right fit for you. Or you can call me at 519-494-8965.
Until next time, stay safe my friends…
P.S. I have an innovative self-guided design service that will help you with all aspects of planning your renovation. It is called Design Your Renovation and it is coming soon! Send me a message if you want to be added to my list to know when it launches!