Do you have a “finished” basement that still does not get used? Do you try and get your kids of all ages to go downstairs where they can have more room to hang out and play? If you and your family do not want to go downstairs for fear of the dark and dingy then it is time for an update.
Your basement, when clean and updated will give you the extra space you have only been dreaming about. A basement usually accounts for a lot of square footage but rarely gets the attention it needs. It is often lacking light, height and many of the standard finishes that we are accustomed to upstairs. And if you are lucky enough to have a basement will tall ceilings, and maybe even a window, which many newly constructed homes have, then let’s look at how you can take advantage of all that space.
Let’s start by examining the shell of the space and attempting to treat it as you would any space in your home. The ceiling in the basement, especially when older, will usually be some type of tile or drop ceiling. If you’re lucky enough that the lights are built into the ceiling than this will not further take away from your height. If you are not, then you may have commercial type fluorescent lighting surface mounted onto the ceiling. Replacing the ceiling with a new, clean sheetrock ceiling with built in high hats will give you the most immediate and best transformation. It will update the room and visually give you an appearance of more height because the ceiling will be a clean slate.
The next big space to tackle is the walls. Keep colors light and moldings to a minimum. A simple base molding is enough to give the walls and room a finished look and still give the maximum illusion of height. Resist the urge to add fancy or big moldings in an attempt to decorate the basement. In this case, less is more. No need to add crown moldings in the basement unless you have at least an eight foot ceiling height. If you are under eight feet, which many homes are, then stick with base molding only so as not to break up the wall more than necessary.
Finally we come to the floors. If you do not have any issues with water or flooding than carpet is a nice choice. Especially if you have small children, who will spend a lot of time playing on the floor, carpet will help keep the space soft and warm and will add a layer of color and texture to the room. If you are concerned about water, or you simply don’t want to carpet the basement there are some amazing laminate and tile choices. Depending on your style you can go colorful and playful or sophisticated and even elegant. Faux wood is a great choice when doing laminate because you get the durability and versatility of the laminate and the great clean and classic look of wood. Available in many widths and even patterns laminate floors can create a more mature but still fun and functional space. You can then layer an area rug on top of the floor to delineate functions such as play area, and TV area to the one large overall space.
When furnishing your basement think of it as a family room that will grow with your family. For example, if purchasing or building shelving for toys choose materials and a style that will work now but enable the room to grow into a more mature setting for the future. You can make it bright and fun for younger children by adding less expensive items such as colorful artwork, a chalkboard, or colorful bean bags or pillows but keep the larger items that you will not want to replace as soon more neutral. Colorful baskets can be used on wood stained or painted shelving to make it attractive for kids to find and clean up their toys. Then as the kids get older these can be swapped for more adult tones.
Add in features for teens or even adults such as a pool table, a ping pong table, or a multi game table as well as a comfortable lounge area for TV and video games. Ask teens what they want in the space and add in fun accessories such as a basketball hoop or dart board. This will keep all ages wanting to be downstairs.
If you are like many and have not been fully utilizing or appreciating your basement now is a great time to give it some attention. With warm weather finally upon us we are not as much in need of the space the basement has to offer. While everyone is playing and hanging out outside take the opportunity and time to upgrade and update your basement so it will be ready when the next cold or rainy day comes!
By Shoshana Halpert