Discover your home’s hidden potential—your basement

We’ve all heard that saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees. When you think of your home’s potential, do you see what’s possible; are you seeing the potential already in your home?

basement renovation samplesAs a building contractor that both designs interior spaces and works with interior designers, I see the hidden potential in many homes I visit—in particular, the missed potential in an unfinished, poorly finished, or out-of-date basement.

Done well, a finished basement can add additional living space and increase the enjoyment and utility you get from your home. Even allowing some space to be allotted to the home’s mechanics and some storage, the living space of a bungalow can be increased from 40–70 per cent and a two-story house from 20–35 per cent.

Today amazing things are being done in basements. Gone are the days of bad wood paneling and shag carpet. People are using drywall, ceramic tiles, hardwood floors, and carpet and padding designed specifically for basements. There are also floor heating systems available that will keep the space cozy. Pot lighting and wall sconce lighting keeps the space bright without taking up head room.

Window wells can be added so you can install over-sized windows or faux windows can be added with indirect lighting to create the impression of being above ground. There is no shortage of the things you might want to consider depending on your needs or interests. Some common basement projects include:

  • downstairs living room
  • games/recreation room
  • home cinema/TV room
  • extra/guest bedroom and four-piece bath
  • in-law or nanny suitem
  • income-generating rental apartment (subject to by-laws)
  • home gym
  • library/reading room
  • home office
  • cedar closets
  • cold storage
  • wine room

You’ll notice some common approaches in the pictures shown. The use of lots of lighting and light colours so the space isn’t dark. Both carpet and hardwood is shown. Which of these spaces would you NOT want to spend time in?

The long and the short of it is that today, with a little imagination, just about anything is possible—and you’ll soon be utilizing your home to its full potential and completely forgetting that for at least part of it you’re below grade.

That’s all for now. Until next time, we’ll keep Building It Right.

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