Most homeowners don’t make very good use of their basement. If it’s an unfinished basement, it’s probably a laundry room and a very big storage space. As a waterproofing company here in Toronto, the two biggest reasons people do not finish their basements are finances and chronic water leaks in their basement.
It’s hard to have a bright and airy basement when it feels and smells like you’re in a dungeon. Chronic dampness and mold will do that. If you have the budget, finishing your basement, or even creating a walkout basement can do wonders for ventilation and lighting. Often times, finances don’t allow for a fully finished basement, though stopping the water leaks is probably a pre-requisite if you want to use the space, finished or unfinished.
Even in you don’t finish your basement, there are lots of creative ways you can make use of the space, and you won’t have to spend a fortune to do it. Some ideas are:
Children’s Play Space
Create a safe and open space for you children to play. It gets them out of the main living areas, reduces the traffic and cleanup for you, and creates a nice out of the way space for your little ones to play. If they’re little, it can be a great downstairs play area while you take care of the laundry!
Need some peace and quiet so you can get some work done? Find a cozy corner of the basement to concentrate on your work. Often times, it may be simply running a cable line or power cord from the first floor so you can have your internet and power for you electronics and lighting.
With some floor mats, a heavy bag, and some music, you can turn your dark basement into your own training center. Exercise equipment can be loud and heavy, making it disruptive if there is living space below so the basement is a perfect place.
A couple of couches, a area rug and a TV….and you have a great place to host family night!
As you can see, there are lots of great ideas for turning that unused space into something you can enjoy. Before you start, here are some ideas to keep in mind.
Step 1: Make Sure It’s Waterproof
While a little moisture in an unfinished basement may seem unimportant, it matters a great deal when you’re investing money to build it out. Consider this. Damp is going to stain your new finishes and eventually ruin the job. You’re also going to have to rip them out to make repairs.
Moisture and lack of ventilation will ruin your basement fun if left untreated. If you do have a water leak in your basement, find the source and call in a waterproofing company to fix it before you start. Adding ventilation in the form of fans and possibly a dehumidifier will also help keep the air dry and circulating.
Step 2: Have a Proper Plan
Do you have electrical outlets? Will you need them? Is the space away from your utilities, especially if it’s a children’s play area. Making sure the area is safe and that you have the proper resources before selecting the section of the basement for your new space. Remove any clutter in the area and move it to a remote part of the basement.
Step 3: Lighting
One of the things that make an unfinished basement somewhat depressing is that lack of lighting. If it’s going to be a space where you’re going o be spending any sort of time in, be sure to brighten the place up. Ikea can give you some great, low cost ideas for track lighting as well as floor and table lamps.
Step 5: Apply Finishes
Your choice of colors can make a big impact on the look and feel of your space. There are several options for painting bare concrete walls and floors that can turn your basement into a bright and happy atmosphere without spending alot of money. Also consider area rugs and child/gym mat flooring options that are also inexpensive.
Step 6: Install the Furniture and Fittings
Once the lighting, walls and flooring are in place, it’s time to move your furnishings in. If you’ll be using furniture, consider using it in a way that sections off that part of your basement to give it it’s own unique space.
It’s easy to get more use out of your basement creatively. As long as your basement is dry, it’s not expensive to turn it into a space you can enjoy. If you’re looking for ideas, check out there Pinterest images for some inspiration!
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