An excellent way to create extra room in your home is to turn an underutilized basement into a functional and livable space.
Doing so adds a wealth of new lifestyle and work-related opportunities for your family, together with a potential increase in the value of your property, especially when it comes time to sell.
Given your basement’s scope for improvement, this is a refurbishment that’s important to get right. Part of a basement remodel process is choosing how you want the space to be used and the functional design elements and features to match.
With this in mind, this article looks closely at what you can include in your finished basement to maximize the space and enhance its functionality.
Working from home has never been more popular, and the trend will likely continue in some compacity. Your basement could be a great place to set up a workstation out of the way of general family life. When planning a basement home office, you’ll need plenty of natural light to keep your mood high and prevent eye strain.
Consider placing your main work area near natural light sources such as an egress window or a walk-out door. You’ll also require plenty of electrical outlets for your equipment, plus air conditioning and plumbing. Depending on your work, you might also need storage, such as shelving and built-in cupboards.
Check out our article Design and Build a Beautiful Home Office for more inspiration.
Passionate about fitness? Build a basement gym! A functional, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing home gym is the best way to ensure you stick to an exercise routine. Designing and building a basement gym is a fantastic way to have a designated space to keep fit that’s private and doesn’t encroach into everyday family activities.
Consider vital aspects such as light, ventilation, strong flooring, and power sources during the design process. Think about how you will maintain the air quality, how close you are to a bathroom and water access, and how you can define different spaces for different exercises (i.e. weights, yoga, cardio).
You may want to add sound systems and specialized storage units as well.
Media rooms or home theaters are another type of room that has gained popularity over recent years. Again, the basement is the perfect place for it to go, especially as plenty of natural light is not a priority.
Media centers require a lot of electrical wiring to provide proper lighting, video, and surround sound. You’ll also want to carefully plan the positioning of screens, speakers, receivers, A/V equipment, and video projectors.
Soundproofing is another factor. You’ll want to reduce the amount of sound traveling to other rooms or adjoining neighbors via walls, floors, and ceilings.
And then there’s seating and their overall comfort and placement. You’ll need to consider how many people typically sit down together, how you interact during movies, and whether children will require special seating.
Check out our guide on Ultimate Media Room Design Considerations for more inspiration.
A Secondary Kitchen
A basement is a fantastic place to add a second kitchen. A basement kitchen provides extra prep space for entertaining guests or working from home, without the need to continuously walk up and down the stairs.
The kitchen can support other basement uses such as a home office, media room, game room, or even a guest bedroom. If you have a young adult or aging family member moving in, the kitchen will form part of an apartment-style living quarters that is private and self-contained.
An Additional Bathroom
A bathroom is another potential basement addition. A full bathroom with a shower is ideal, but even a half bath will suffice, depending on the room you have and other requirements.
Bathrooms are practical, especially if you intend for your basement to double up as an in-law suite or entertaining space. Your guests or family shouldn’t need to travel between floors to use the restroom when nature calls. Bathrooms also add to your home’s resale value.
Wet bars are a fantastic addition to basements where hosting and entertainment are the core function, especially if you are a movie enthusiast or sports fan.
A wet bar makes it convenient for you to serve guests without missing any action, and they are great for drawing people in and sparking conversations. Wet bars are also a stylish accessory that can keep guests around the area and out of your kitchen.
If you have kids, you’re likely familiar with the space needed to house all of their toys. You’ll also have painful memories associated with stepping on Legos in your living room or tripping over dolls in your family room.
While certain toys are appropriately stored in your kids’ bedrooms, a playroom can be a welcome addition to a finished basement. It allows you to minimize clutter and provide a dedicated area for your kids to play that’s separate from the main living areas of your home.
Many homeowners are so zeroed in on maximizing the functional space in their finished basement that they lose sight of one key area: storage. The original purpose of a functional basement was to house HVAC equipment and store household belongings.
This need is still present. Even when much of the basement has been converted to other uses, storage space should still be included. During the design process, consider where valuable storage space can be retained, modified, or added.
After all, the basement is likely the perfect place for items like holiday decorations, sports equipment, bulk food items, and so much more.
When finishing your basement, don’t overlook the critical detail of lighting. Since basements rarely have much natural light, it’s important to create a lighting plan that supports diverse activities throughout the day.
Recessed or slim disc lighting is recommended for all-over illumination. Undercabinet lights work well around food prep areas. Pendant lights can be hung above tables or areas that need a focused spotlight. Use dimmable lighting around the TV.
Remember, you want your basement to have a warm and welcoming feel — not be dark and dreary. An effective lighting plan is critical.
Basement Bedroom Egress Window
When complete, your basement remodel should be stylish, functional, and practical. But you also want to make sure that it is safe. So, in addition to testing radon levels and including a smoke detector in the finished space, if your basement has a bedroom, ensure you include an egress window.
In fact, in Indiana, ensuring the availability of some sort of egress window or door is a state requirement for basement bedrooms. Egress windows essentially allow an additional point of exit aside from the main entry point to the basement, which can be life-saving in the event of an emergency.
Work with a Qualified Design Build Firm like Riverside Construction
Riverside Construction, founded in 2008, is the go-to professional design-build team that has earned the respect and confidence of discerning homeowners in the Lafayette and West Lafayette areas.
With an award-winning team of highly skilled and experienced professionals in a range of fields, we excel at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality. We can help you decide on a direction, provide guidance, and be with you every step of the way to ensure your dream home is achieved.
Whether you’re refurbishing a basement, transforming a kitchen, updating a bathroom, designing a home office, or building an addition, let us guide your decision-making and partner with you to achieve the results you envision.
Contact us now to schedule an initial conversation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your ideas, soothe your worries, and work with you to finalize your plans.