10 Ways To Update Your Basement so It Doesn’t Feel Like a Basement
The mark of a successful basement refinishing or remodeling project may just be how little the resulting space feels like a basement. The more the new space blends in with the rest of the home or shines with its own personality, the easier it will be to forget the dank, dark, musty image. Consider these tips for a residential basement remodeling project that will make any basement as warm and comfortable as the rest of the house.
Lighting can overcome a myriad of negative issues such as lack of natural light and low ceilings. A layered approach provides versatility for a variety of activities. Recessed or track lighting covers a wide area and controls can be accessed from multiple points in the room. Task and ambient lighting can be added with floor or table lamps. Chandeliers or pendant lights are perfect over a table, island or bar. Dimmable lights add flexibility and compact fluorescents or LEDs will save energy.
2. Create an Open Space
Openness and long wall expanses will make the room look bigger and brighter. Add some coziness and allow for multiple uses by creating conversation areas that break up the large space while still keeping the room open. Consider traffic flow and allow enough negative space for walking when arranging furniture.
3. Don’t Forget Decor
Decor can help create a warm and inviting feel. Mirrors brighten the room and make it appear larger by reflecting light and shining it into dark corners. Choose window treatments that enhance the room and give it a finished look. Moldings and trim can define the space and add to the finished appearance.
4. Consider Using Color
Light colors, particularly on the ceiling, make the basement light and bright and give the illusion of more space and height. Bright pops of saturated color in furniture and accessories make the room cheery. Art on the walls is another way to incorporate color and interest while eliminating the dungeon basement feel. Colorful artwork highlighted with track lighting on neutral walls is a fun way to add personality.
5. Functional and Effective Flooring
Choose a floor covering wisely and use it throughout the basement — even in different rooms. The continuity makes the space feel larger and uncluttered. Hardwood doesn’t hold up in a basement environment due to the moisture, and laminate can swell if it gets wet from flooding. However, a variety of flooring options do work well in basements. Carpet, tile and even painted cement are popular choices that come in a variety of styles and colors. Carpet is an easy way to add warmth, but if you love tile consider incorporating radiant floor heat.
Exposed rafters for a rustic look or exposed ductwork for an industrial look are innovative ways to incorporate the ceiling into the design scheme. Other ideas are replacing drop ceiling panels with decorative wood or tiles, or stenciling a creative pattern on the ceiling.
Basements are often the catchall for items that don’t have a home and easily become cluttered. Clutter, however, is counter-productive to the goal of a bigger and brighter basement. Incorporate functional storage systems (they can also be decorative!) to make putting things away easy. Keep horizontal spaces clear and clean up often.
8. Window Treatments
Fabric window treatments can make even small basement windows look like those in the rest of the home. Consider shades that provide privacy but also let light in to maintain brightness and maximize natural light. (This also increases energy efficiency.)
9. Consistent Style with the Rest of the House
Maintaining a decor in the basement that is in keeping with the style of the rest of the house will eliminate the sense that the basement is separate and unequal. This doesn’t mean the basement can’t have its own personality though.
Furnishings add color, warmth and, yes, fun to a basement. When designing the space, keep in mind a mix of ways for people to gather such as areas for reading, socializing, playing games or watching television.