Do you feel that, as your family grows, your home is shrinking? And, as the family grows, everyone is accumulating more stuff. And, as the kids get older, if they are sharing bedrooms, the demand from them is increasing to “have their own space.” And, everyone can’t agree on what to watch on TV so there is a need for another entertainment area. Or maybe you are looking to provide a comfortable, safe environment for an aging parent.
Regardless of the reason, the space solution may be right under your feet.
Basements are typically about one third of the home’s available square footage. While they may be finished or semi-finished for makeshift play areas, laundry rooms, home offices or just plain storage areas, most basements are underused. Using this underused space to solve some of the needs mentioned above is brilliant in most cases.
Unlike adding space to a home, using the basement means there is no need to excavate to install foundations. Not to mention there is no need to spend money on exterior elements like siding or brick. And, the heating and cooling needs for a basement are relatively light so they can oftentimes be tied right into the existing systems.
Top ideas for converting that basement into the space of your dreams
1. Man Cave
A man cave or “mantuary” is a retreat where the man of the house can be alone in a space completely designed by him to indulge in the things he enjoys like hobbies, hanging out with male friends, playing video games, watching sports, etc.
These spaces have become popular in recent years for the man to have his own private space from all the stresses of everyday life and a place he doesn’t have to necessarily adhere to the “cleanliness rules” applied to the rest of the house if he so chooses not to. This is a place he can go to recharge and it reflects all his personal, individual tastes like sports memorability, large screen tv, and comfortable furniture.
2. Media Room
Family movie night takes on a whole new meaning when it takes place in a space specifically dedicated for this purpose. The furniture is set in a position to have the best view of the tv screen.
The tv or projector viewing screen is placed in the darkest part of the room so as not to get shadowing from windows. And, even basements with lower ceilings are a great option for media rooms as you’ll mostly be seated when in the room. Platforms can even be built for tiered seating.
Special care should be made when considering insulation in order to achieve the best sound barrier. When creating a media room, many homeowners like to create a large multipurpose media area rather than chop it up into a little room to create more of that “theater” feel.
3. In-Law Quarters
Converting a basement can be one of the most cost-effective ways to create an in-law unit. If done correctly with appropriate insulation, it is also one of the least expensive to heat and cool because the temperature of the underground earth stays at a constant temperature helping to keep the space at a more constant temperature.
The trick to a well-done conversion is for the design to ensure that it doesn’t have that “basement feel.” In other words, try to get as much natural sunlight, ability to bring in fresh air, and keep the ceiling height as high as possible. Depending on how much “independence” is needed or required, mini kitchens can easily be added to provide the ability to cook small meals, warm food, etc.
A personal bathroom is almost a necessity and a safe layout and design is essential – providing assistance bars, higher toilets, non-slip surfaces, easy in/out showers/tubs.
4. Workout Room
Basement spaces make great workout rooms for several reasons – the solid cement floor construction for the heavy equipment, many times they are naturally cooler in the summer months requiring less cooling expenses for those hard workouts, and they are removed from the main living area of the home making them a more private place plus the noise of the equipment or possibly workout music won’t bother others in the home.
One of the biggest considerations to converting a basement into a workout room is ceiling height. You need to be sure that the ceiling height will allow for taller equipment pieces and the fact that you’ll stand much higher on some of these pieces as well.
And, this sort of comes without saying, but you also must ensure that the equipment will fit down the stairs or exterior entrance to the basement if it’s not able to be taken apart.
5. Guest Suite or Extra Bedroom
If you love your home other than it needs one more bedroom, adding a bedroom to the basement can be an inexpensive, easy solution to this problem. If you have a bedroom in the basement, you must have an egress window – and make sure to understand the code requirements for height from the ground as this is critical.
If there is currently an egress window in the basement where you plan to put the bedroom, you can create a step up or enlarge the window if necessary to meet code. If there is a current bathroom in the basement, try to place the bedroom adjacent to or near the bathroom.
Also, make sure not to skimp on insulating this room – one good night’s sleep and you’ll know it was money well spent. Choose sunny bright colors in the room since basement bedrooms often lack natural light so bring it in with your color choices. And, make sure your flooring choices not only provide comfort under foot but are appropriate for lower level use.
6. Home Office
Basements are a great option for adding a home office as they are removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that continues on even when you need quiet time for working. A basement office space should ideally be the same size you would make a bedroom and also keep in mind that it would follow the same code requirement as a bedroom and will need an egress window.
And, because an office does not have the same privacy needs as a bedroom, you can use a more open feel to the doors like full glass French doors to help maximize light coming into the space plus keep a more open feeling. Make sure to include in the construction plans to run all the required wiring for computers, internet, phone, etc. before drywall installation occurs so that these are behind the walls and not visible.
7. Kids Playroom
Tired of all those toys scattered throughout the house or taking up so much space in the kid’s bedrooms – a basement playroom can be the perfect solution for this. When kids play, they need room and space to spread out and enjoy themselves.
Creating a hamlet dedicated to them for this exact purpose can make for much happier children – and parents! Make sure to include specific spaces for different activities – for example spaces for playing board games, watching tv, comfortable space for reading, and an open space for activities like puzzles, playing with riding toys, or playing house. And, make sure you incorporate lots of storage space like bins and drawers to keep it all organized.
8. Bar Area
If you always pined for that classic wet bar area, the basement is the absolutely perfect spot for this. It can also be a perfect complement to that man’s cave discussed above.
The sky’s the limit for design when it comes to bar areas and they should reflect your personal style. They can be very modern in design or stick to the traditional rustic bar look. And, decide whether you need a wet bar or just a regular bar.
A wet bar is simply a bar that has a sink with running water. This allows you to serve drinks much quicker and easier, plus allows for easy cleanup. Think about adding seating at your bar so that your guests can comfortably sit and mingle with whomever is behind the bar mixing their drinks.
Incorporating a quality beverage cooler or refrigerator is a great addition and allows you to have drinks and mixes already chilled for your guests, especially when they stop in last minute.
And, last but not least, make sure to have plenty of and appropriate storage areas for things like knives, mixing cups, and a variety of glass styles for the various types of drinks – and let’s not forget the alcoholic beverages that don’t need refrigerated – having an area to display these can be a very attractive addition to the overall feel of the bar area.
If you’re interested in transforming your basement into quality, useful space the whole family can enjoy, call us today! Remodel your basement with our experts!