Everyone lucky enough to have a basement can agree that an additional floor is a game changer for anyone looking for more storage or elbow room. But on the design front, the bottom tier is often put on the proverbial back burner. Since a basement is usually out of sight, it is not as busy as, for example, a living room or kitchen to decorate it to the nines. It’s also important to note that a basement isn’t always an option when remodeling a home in the South, especially in certain areas like Texas, where the landscape isn’t the most accommodating.
When it’s finally time to spruce up your basement with a great remodeling project, you may not know where to start. To help spark inspiration—so you can really make the most of your lower level—six interior designers share their top basement renovation ideas. As the perfect blend of form and function, the pointers below prove that the basement deserves to be front and center.
Break it down
If you’re looking for a basement renovation project that can do double (or triple!) duty, check out this space that Sara Malek Barney of BANDD/DESIGN designed for a family that was looking for that happy medium between form and function. “We divided the area into three spaces, a cozy place to watch sports and movies, a bar with seating and a gaming zone with a new game table,” explains the Austin-based designer. “Large paneled windows gave the space plenty of light, so we topped it all off with contrasting black and white colors, cozy textures and a fun accent wall.”
Play With Patterns
For maximalists looking for an easy, low-maintenance project that will have a big visual impact, you can’t go wrong with wallpaper. For this lower-level playroom, Kentucky-based designer Isabel Ladd opted for a whimsical iteration. “This wallpaper is important in a space where there is a lot of art, drawings and creativity in bloom, but it does not detract from the other colors here,” she shares. “Basements are often thought of as places where ‘old furniture goes to die’, but in this space it was especially important to stimulate growth, ingenuity and artistry.”
Create Stealth Storage
Just because you want to use your basement as storage doesn’t mean it has to be a function-first area. Fortunately, Beth Dotolo and Carolina V. Gentry of Pulp Design Studios made the most of every nook and cranny of this basement renovation. “Not only did we provide them with a luxurious retreat to hang out with family and friends, but we also encouraged our creativity by designing a hidden wine room,” says the duo. “On the outside, [we] gave the kids plenty of storage space for their games and shoes. And with one easy swing of the bookshelves, a secret space inside is revealed for the grown-up drinks in the house!”
Perfect with paneling
Anyone who wants to add some visual intrigue to their wall—but isn’t completely sold on a variety of frames or an accent color—will find a lot to love about this project from Kristin Kong. Here, the Georgia-based designer has lined the white walls with wood paneling, providing a warm, inviting touch to the lower level. To complete the look, Kong filled the space with some friendly competition. “We created a large gathering place that feels like a club and has separate zones where they can play games, watch movies, eat and simply relax with each other,” she shares.
Create a kitchen
Anyone looking to spend more quality time in their basement will benefit from adding a kitchen downstairs. (That way you don’t have to go up and down your stairs whenever you need a snack or tasty drink.) In this basement makeover, Traci Connell decked out the lower level with all your culinary essentials. Shelves for additional cutlery? Cheque. A spacious fridge? Natural. An island for impromptu meals? Definitely.
Let Light In
Just because a basement is at the very bottom of any home doesn’t mean it has to be completely devoid of natural sunlight. Designer Andi Morse added a nice glow with large windows and a set of glass panel doors leading to the yard. Depending on the size and slope of your property, adding full-size windows and doors can be a bit of a challenge. If your basement is predominantly underground, consider adding some slim windows right below your ceiling.