If your home is built on a full basement, then it makes sense to make the most out of that space. Most people don’t think of it this way, but your basement foundation is actually one of the most expensive portions of your house. That, in itself, should be reason to give it a little more priority than simply seeing it as additional storage space.
- Plan ahead: Too often, the basement area is neglected when designing a home. Plenty of attention is given to the upper floors with little or no thought given to the basement area. To get the most out of your basement, some thought must be put into how you intend to use the space and then design it accordingly
- Floor plan: Many homes have a lot of wasted space in their basements simply due to inadequate floor plans. Taking some time to determine natural traffic flows in the space can be important when drawing up a plan for division of the basement area into rooms.
- Ceiling: Many basements have ceiling heights less than eight feet. Designing your home with a full eight foot ceiling height can make the basement rooms feel much bigger and more comfortable for taller individuals.
- Mechanical area: Generally your mechanical center for your home is located in your basement. This includes items like water heaters, electrical panels and furnaces. Keeping all these in one location where they do not interfere with the practical use of the rest of the basement space can make a big difference in your floor plan.
- Stairs: If you have a basement, then you will have stairs that provide access to that space. The width and landing space for those stairs may be more important than you initially realize. How difficult it is to bring appliances and furniture into your basement area will be determined by the ability of those pieces to negotiate their way down those stairs and out into the basement area.
- Windows: In order to have a bedroom area in your basement, most building codes require that you have at least one egress window located in the bedroom area. Also, the more natural light you can get into the basement area, the more livable the entire space will feel.
- Wall finishes: The bare concrete block walls of many basements are a visual reminder that you are in a basement room. Furring out the block with stripping and finishing the walls with sheetrock or paneling can make the basement rooms much more inviting.
- Flooring: Concrete floors can be cold, as well as hard. Installing carpet with a good padding underneath it can provide warm and comfortable floors for your feet to walk on. Again, you have taken away the basement feel by covering the concrete.
- Humidity control: Dampness is another common association with basements. To keep the humidity under control in the basement area, a dehumidifier can be a wise purchase. This inexpensive appliance will pull the extra moisture out of the air and help prevent any musty odors from developing.
- Bathroom: In order to make your basement a truly liveable space, a bathroom should be made a part of your floor plan. Having to climb the stairs to use the bathroom is not only inconvenient but also is a negative selling point when it comes time for you to list your home for sale.
As you read through the list, you may have recognized a common thread. That thread was the need to make your basement a welcoming and functional living space, as much so as the rest of your house. If you approach your basement space with this attitude, you will find yourself creating a basement that is used just as much as the rest of the house.