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Bold Basements

Bold Basements

The beauty of a basement is it can be whatever you need it to be. Kids’ toys taking over your living room? Basement kid zone. Finding it hard to motivate yourself to work out on the elliptical machine next to your comfy bed? Basement exercise room. Looking for a spot to escape from the chaos? Basement Zen spot. Enjoy crafting but have no place to spread out your materials? Basement craft corner. Here are six ideas for basement spaces to get your creative juices flowing.

The sky’s the limit in terms of how you designate and use your basement space. (Unless you’re seven feet tall and are thinking of popping a trampoline down there, in which case your ceiling height is the limit.) But for the most part, the only real limitations to the use of your basement space are logistical ones that can be remedied with the help of a great contractor. For instance, a shortage of outlets is an easy fix if you’re wondering where to plug in that elliptical.

Make sure your plan is waterproof. Finished basements and water are like peanut butter and chopped liver—a horrible combination. But moisture and humidity are very common in basement spaces. Be proactive: Have your contractor assess any sources of moisture that may impact your space, like air leaks and gaps or water leaks from your walls or floor. Make sure things are dry before you put in that gorgeous carpet you’ve had your eye on, or you may very well be pulling up a soggy version of that carpet.

Factor existing mechanical systems, plumbing, etc. into your design plan. Can you move your furnace, plumbing, ductwork, hot water heater, or wiring? Probably (depending upon your layout and what you’re hoping to do). Should you? Probably not, unless it’s unavoidable. Relocating these systems can cost you extra time and money, not to mention the potential risk of damage to the systems. If you can work around things where they already are located, that’s ideal. If you’re putting in all new systems, then that’s a different conversation. The smartest plan is one that takes into account both your vision for the space and the things that need to be in that space. Your design team will make sure you get that right from the onset of your remodel.

Choose your flooring. Important things to keep in mind when making decisions about the materials you’ll use in your basement include your budget and the intended use of the space. That gorgeous carpet we referenced above? Maybe not underneath the easel you like to throw water balloons filled with paint at. If you’re talking about a basement bathroom, bar, or paint-throwing area, consider hard tile. Otherwise, especially if you’ve done your homework and had your space assessed for moisture (see above), carpeting is a good option and comes in a wide range of prices and styles. (And carpeting is much less chilling on bare feet in the basement as temperatures drop.) As for wood, laminate, or vinyl sheet flooring? Save those for other parts of your home where you should have fewer concerns about moisture and cold feet.

Factor in the lighting. Do you have windows in your basement? If not, that means there’s no natural light coming into the space. Keep this in mind when choosing how you’ll light the space. And remember that artificial lighting will make paint look darker than it did when you were choosing from paint swatches. A safe bet is to bring those swatches down to the basement with you before you commit to painting the whole area. Or spare the swatches and choose a slightly lighter version of the color you want.

Make it your own. This is the fun part—the part where you put your personal stamp on your space. You get to express yourself in your choice of furnishings, fabrics, and chotzkies. Motivational posters? Faux Greek columns? Lime green retro? You do you.

With a little bit of inspiration and a broad range of options for any taste and budget, maybe it’s time to consider taking that basement remodel off your “one-day” list and adding it to your “to-do” list!

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