The basement is an underutilized, underappreciated room for many homes.
While normally used for storage (or the washer and dryer for those without a dedicated laundry room), a basement can be used more effectively to better your home. Whether you need a place to entertain, work, or even sleep, it can be a worthy investment to start spicing up the walls and adding furniture down there.
A Place to Have a Good Time
When people talk about renovating their basements, most often it’s with the goal of creating a “man cave” or turning the space into a home bar. It makes sense: in a basement you can make a more private, adult space that wouldn’t work well on the main floor. Whether you’re planning on having a few drinks with friends or hosting a larger party, a home bar gives you the freedom to pick the menu and not worry about how everyone is getting home afterward. Normally the lack of natural lighting is a disadvantage when decorating your basement, but not so when making a home bar. You can control the mood by making the lighting bright and cheery or dim and cozy, or have a dimmer switch to get the best of both.
A Place to Get Together
For a more family-friendly gathering space, consider converting your basement into a second living room. While it may sound excessive, in practice another living room can be very beneficial for a household that can’t agree on what to watch or are entertaining two groups of people. The basement living room can have a different purpose than your main living room to distinguish it, such as being hooked up solely for DVDs, Blu-rays, VHS tapes (if you have them still), or video games. This also avoids the expensive wiring of your cable line into the basement and that extra fee most companies charge for providing service to an additional TV in the same home.
A Place to Rest Your Head
If you’re lacking more quiet spaces for everyone, converting the basement into a bedroom might be a better option. While the lack of natural light and presence of other appliances or storage makes it less than idea for someone to live there permanently, it’s great for short-term guests or teenagers looking for privacy before they move out on their own. If you’re hoping to add a bedroom on paper for resale value, however, keep in mind that just sticking a bed in your basement doesn’t legally qualify the space as a bedroom. You’ll need to have the space inspected to add the room and square footage officially. The needed renovations to a basement to make it a habitable zone can vary by location and are definitely pricey, so find out the added cost and make that decision before you start buying furniture to outfit the space appropriately.
A Place to Have Fun
If you have kids, you may find that there isn’t enough space in their bedroom for their friends and toys. This is especially noticeable when siblings have to share a room and have a significant age gap or wildly different interests. Making part of your basement a playroom or craft room can help ease the strain by giving them a place to spread out and run around. Best of all, it’s a floor between you and the noise. Yes, there is an inherent time limit of usability as your kids grow up, but it’s also the cheapest and easiest renovation to set up because there’s very little of the actual basement structure you need to change. All the kids really need is a toy bin, some soft flooring or a table to play at, and their imaginations.
A Place to Get Things Done
As more and more people work from home, the basement has become a more viable place to put a home office. Its location keeps you from all the distractions and noise of the main floor so you can stay “in the zone” longer. The best part is, there isn’t a strict decorating guide like you have in a cubicle or assigned desk. Put up as many photos as you want, paint the walls fun colors, and litter your desk with as many knick-knacks as you want. In a virtual meeting, all your coworkers will see is basement walls (or a professional backing screen, the plain sheet you hung up, or a cleverly placed giant whiteboard) behind you.
You can even mix and match these ideas based on the amount of space you have available. For example, a playroom and living room combination is a great way to keep an eye on your children without having to leave the guests you’re entertaining. Of course, not every basement is meant to be an important space worth spending money on (if you live in a flood zone you know what I mean). But for those of you that can put in the work to make it a nice place to be, you’ll find that it opens up your house like never before!