Laura Gaskill, Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish.
A freshly finished basement, when designed with your style and needs in mind, can be a welcome respite and effectively double your living space — especially important in a small home.
These 11 tips can help you put your own stamp on a basement makeover and make it work for the entire family.
Create zones for different purposes
A large basement can easily handle several activities, as long as you make smart use of the space. Brainstorm the things you hope to use your finished basement for, and then map out your ideas in a floor plan.
Style notes: A fresh, light color palette and excellent lighting make this basement feel like an extension of the house, rather than an afterthought. A sofa and an upholstered ottoman define the lounge zone, while an Expedit unit from Ikea corrals craft supplies and toys near a low work table on the opposite wall.
Embrace your “upstairs” style
There is no need to throw your usual taste out the window just because you are decorating a basement. Even making a few stylish changes will elevate the look of the entire space.
Style notes: A wall-mounted TV and a long, low cabinet give this space its sleek, modern look. Fresh white paint, wood-look floors and a fluffy rug, as seen here, may turn your own basement into your favorite room in the house.
Build a game room everyone will love
Just because you include a pool table (or a big TV) doesn’t mean the basement needs to turn into a man cave. In this space, a fun chalkboard decal livens up the wall, while a warm copper light fixture evokes a classic pool hall without going over the top.
Upgrade the card table
Choose a real dining table and chairs (or a banquette), and watch your options for gatherings expand. You can host poker night, sure, but the setup is equally fitting for dinner parties or just bringing the kiddos downstairs for an afternoon snack and homework help.
Style notes: Between the gallery-style photo wall, the tailored window shade, the matching wall color and the posh furniture, this corner feels like it belongs in a cozy restaurant.
Carve out a guest nook
Put the small end of an L-shape room to use by setting up a guest bed area. Closing off the area with a door and adding a closet will make it an official bedroom, but for practical purposes, it can be just as useful without: Simply give guests the run of the basement during their stay and make sure there is a door they can close at the top of the stairs.
Try a unique statement wall
Basements beg for a little extra fun, so if there is something you have been wanting to try but are afraid to commit to on the main floor, the basement is the perfect place to experiment. Paint an accent wall or try stencils, salvaged signage or a DIY art project. You can always paint it over if it doesn’t work out the way you had envisioned.
Conceal pillars, pipes and other less-than-attractive details
Check with a knowledgeable source before covering anything, to be sure you are not creating a safety hazard or blocking needed access.
That caveat aside, it can be worth it to invest some of your basement budget into coverings (like the sleek horizontal wood panels shown here) that hide eyesores and help your space look really pulled together.
Give the stairs a creative touch
If the stairs are visible from the main basement space, it pays to give them a little upgrade. A runner (either a rug or a painted treatment) and a wallpapered or colorfully painted accent wall are good options.
Use every nook and cranny
Under the stairs can prove to be an ideal spot for an L-shape desk, file storage, an extra closet or built-in shelving to hold craft supplies. Look around — you may have more usable space than you think.
Finish the laundry room with style
Having a fresh, polished laundry area can make an everyday chore so much more pleasant. Consider adding surfaces for folding, cabinets or shelving to store supplies, a hanging bar for dress clothes and something soft underfoot.
Use hard flooring for a sleek and practical finishing touch
Basements are notoriously damp and prone to leaks (and even floods), and hard flooring will likely last longer in those conditions than wall-to-wall carpeting.