If you’ve got kids like I do then you can easily imagine them playing downstairs where they can be loud, imaginative and messy without destroying the main floor living room or your sanity. When thinking about what role you want your basement to play consider how it might need to change as your lifestyle and/or your family changes. A basement that starts as a family room might need to evolve into additional bedrooms later on for a growing family or to accommodate aging parents or in-laws. Larger daylight windows and patio doors make a basement feel less like a closed-in vault.
Also remember that certain design ideas require compliance with specific building codes depending on the use. Thinking through how you’ll use your basement will help you arrive at a design that meets both current and future needs. There’s no official list of ideas and you’re limited only by your imagination, budget and the physical constraints of your home.
To get you started here’s a list of basement ideas that start with overall design concepts and then move on to more specific components. A walk-out basement gives you a much more open and light-filled space and goes a long way toward eliminating the cave-like feel associated with below-grade basements. Many basements are accessed by a narrow stairway that makes it look like you’re heading the basement. Products made by Bauco, Windlock and others provide different looks for ceiling access panels.
There’s no better time to equip your basement for audio and video equipment than when you’re building new or remodeling. There are lots of choices for home flooring but because your basement is below-grade (meaning below the ground level) your options are more limited. If you KNOW you have a dry basement and you don’t get moisture vapor that comes through your concrete slab subfloor, carpet may be a suitable choice. The one drawback is that the latter two products are proprietary to the Basement Systems company, one of the finishing companies that specializes in remodeling basements.
One advantage of a drywall basement ceiling is that it affords the same finished look as the rest of the house. However there are circumstances when drywall isn’t the best option if you need access to plumbing or gas connections periodically. In these situations you can still use a drywall ceiling, but one that incorporates access panels where you need them. There’s some real truth behind the drawbacks of a drywall ceiling that covers plumbing lines. Regardless of the specific cause, they ended up with a wet ceiling, wet carpet and a mess that had to be cleaned up. After the plumbing was fixed, they needed a drywall contractor to patch up the ceiling.