Making Your Basement More Than Just Leftover Space

The February, 2011 edition of Qualified Remodeler offers a variety of insightful tips for making better use of your basement’s space:

Basements often are just leftover space.  Builders don’t usually think about the most efficient way to use that space, putting the HVAC, plumbing and electrical components wherever they happen to be expedient.  As a result, “prime real estate” may be taken up by things you want stored away.  Depending on your budget and your desire to optimize the space, you may opt for moving these things into a smaller mechanical room or designing around their presence.  In either case, getting the mechanical equipment out of the way is just the start.  Here are a few other tips for providing the lower level of your home with a face-lift:

In many cases, ceiling height may be an issue.  If the finances permit, you have the option of lowering the floor.  It isn’t your only option, however.  You can “open up” a tight space by uplighting the ceiling to gain the appearance of height.  Additionally, light colored walls and ceilings tend to project the illusion of a bigger space.

Appropriately positioned lighting can also be utilized to throw light into dark pockets or corners.  Mirrors are good options as well, but be cautious of their impact to the entire interior design.  Make sure to put them in areas where light is most abundant.

Instead of using solid wooden doors for your entrance door leading into the basement, consider a design that has glass fixed into it.  Not only does this provide more light, but it also prevents someone from being slammed while going up the basement steps.

Building drawers into the space beneath a staircase provides storage space away from the rooms themselves.  A corner or a recessed section of the basement can be closed off with sliding doors, providing a quick and easy fix for keeping the general area clutter-free.

It may be pointing out the obvious to say that the basement in the lowest point in your home, but this is a fact to keep uppermost in your mind when designing and furnishing the area. Select materials that are waterproof!  Make sure your basement is made of tiles or vinyl to facilitate easier clean-up, should the need arise.

Most importantly, think of your basement as another room in your house rather than just a dark, dank storage area.  As Elizabeth Emerson of E/L Studio in Cheverly, Maryland states it, “It’s really the base of the tree, and everything needs to come down cleanly into it.”

from the original article by Kenneth W. Betz