Basements get a bad rap. For most people, the word basement conjures up images of dark, dank spaces best left alone. When the basement is ventured into, it is often only to throw something on the pile of stuff stored there or maybe to check the boiler and then run back up the stairs lest the monsters that live in the dungeon basement get you.
And yet a basement can be as much a part of your home as any other room in your house. With the right design, you can transform your basement into a warm, spacious, inviting space that you and your family will actually want to spend time in. Some things you will want to think about are:
– Lighting – Due to the lack of natural light in most basements, you will want to add a lot of artificial light, more than you would use upstairs. Keep in mind, however, that you must think about what kind of space you’ll be lighting. Is it an office? Then you’ll want bright lighting. Is it a family room? Than perhaps several softer lights. And because basement ceilings are so low, you’ll want to use recessed lights so you don’t waste any of that limited head space.
– Warm Flooring – Ceramic tile may look beautiful, but it is very cold and hard, two traits you’ll want to keep out of your basement. Carpet is warm, but unless your basement is very dry, you’ll want to stay away from it as damp carpet can be a wonderful breeding ground for fungi and mold. You want to avoid anything that uses adhesives, because the moisture in many basements will cause it to fail; in addition, adhesives can be a food source for fungi. You want a flooring that is warm, attractive, interlocking and waterproof. Place N’ Go flooring has all these features and is very easy to install.
– French Doors – You want to keep your basement as open and airy as possible so consider using French doors to adjoin these rooms as they will allow more light flow and make the rooms seem a bit larger.
– Light Colors – Because light is often at a premium in basements, you don’t want to use dark colors. So when painting walls and decorating, keep your colors light to contribute to the airy effect you’re trying to achieve.
– Drop vs. Hard Ceiling? – Many people prefer the look of a hard, drywall ceiling because it makes the basement look more like the other rooms in the house. Another plus is that a drywall ceiling uses up less head-space. However, if you are ever going to need access your home’s wiring and plumbing (and you probably will!), it will be much easier if you have a drop ceiling. And ceiling tiles have gotten more attractive over the years; check out Armstrong’s selection of ceiling tiles.
– Keep It Warm and Dry – Your new basement should have a separate heating zone, with its own thermostat. And because basements tend to be damp, use a dehumidifier. Check out this post to see our recommendations on how to choose the right dehumidifier for your space.
Photos Courtesy of JAGwired, karindalziel and Randy Pertiet