How to convert a basement into a living space

While a basement excavation can provide great living space, it’s what you do with that space that matters.

The best basement designs are those that complement the rest of the house. Your living spaces should flow naturally from upstairs to downstairs so that your basement feels like an intrinsic part of the house and not simply a bolt-on.

So, how best to do this?

Colour scheme

Choose colours that complement the rest of the house and go a couple of shades lighter if possible to make the room feel more light and spacious. Alternatively, choose a rich, luxuriant hue that sets a dramatic tone for your basement conversion.

Attention to detail

Just because you have created a basement space, don’t neglect the details. Give as much thought to your basement as you would elsewhere in the house: open up doorways for example, or use decorative elements to divide rooms such as using French doors that open out of a basement home office. These provide little touches that are quite unexpected in underground areas.

Furnishings

The golden rule is ‘if you wouldn’t have it above ground, don’t use it below ground!’ So, as tempting as it is to bung your aunt’s old sofa or tatty rug in the basement, don’t! Choose furniture and furnishings you love and that mirror your style in the rest of the home.

Stairwells

So often stairs leading down to basements are dingy, boxed in areas but they don’t need to be. Try opening up the staircases and exposing the banisters so you have a continuous flow from upstairs to downstairs.
Ceilings: don’t commit the deadly sin of installing a suspended ceiling! Popular last decade, they are a no-no for this year’s basements. Not only do they draw the ceiling down, making the space feel even more underground, they are now rather dated. Opt for a tray ceiling instead where the light draws your eye upwards and outwards. 

Windows

If you’re lucky enough to have a window in your basement, make the most of it! Max it out so that you capture any available natural light and don’t hide it away behind heavy curtains or blinds. If windows aren’t an option, look at the many other ingenious ways you can get natural light into your basement such as lightwells and light tubes.

Did you know?

Cool Basements offers an interior design service on all basement construction, helping you to get the most out of your new space. Simply contact us to request your FREE initial consultation.

Peter Little
The Cool Basements Company Ltd.