In my family, basements used to be referred to as dungeons – dark, musty and old! It was all we knew – both among friends and family.
Then, with the onset of a new century, two kids and a promotion, most of our friends moved from their starter homes to bigger houses with walk-in closets, built-in cabinets AND an unfinished basement.
What opportunity, I thought as I looked around my own unfinished 1,000 square-feet of untapped dreams. The kids were little back then so naturally the space became a playroom — the place for large toys, loud kids and scratches on the wall. But I itched to make it something more; something that beckoned guests to sit a while.
And with the passing of time, my basement transformed from a messy playroom to a gameroom with a pool table, big screen television, a spot for the Wii and a refreshment area complete with a fridge, sink and microwave. And just like the playroom worked with our lifestyle a decade ago, this area is now a welcoming and inviting space for our teenagers to entertain their friends.
But after visiting basements in this year’s Remodeler’s Showcase, I realized that my own basement is lacking in a few areas. If I could do it all over again, these are the elements that I would include for a perfect remodeled basement:
- Heated Floors: Contractors can put radiant heated tubing on top of your cement floor for even and warm heat that takes the chill and the humidity out of any basement. Whatever flooring you choose, whether wood, tile or carpet, lend itself to be placed over this application.
- Room Separation: Half walls and columns can create intimate and useful spaces. Since the basement serves several purposes, these half walls provide each area with its own usage: pool table area, television area, etc.
- Wallpaper: There are a myriad of choices of wallcoverings for an updated and fresh feel to reflect your personality and the space itself.
- Lighting: During my trek through the Remodeler’s Showcase, I saw a few basements with chandeliers and they created such wonderful ambiance that I’ve been scoping stores for one for my own basement. Even though ceilings can often be lower in a basement than on the main level, chandeliers offer a nice decorating touch.
- Sound System: You can make this as simple or as sophisticated as your taste and budget allow. Some sounds systems allow you to play music through the basement, or even just in select rooms, through invisible speakers; I even saw an invisible speaker system in the ceiling at the Luxury Home Tour last spring! If you’re remodeling your home, this is something you might want to consider adding before the new sheetrock goes up.