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Home Decorating Ideas and Tips

Home Remodeling: Converting a Basement to a Living Space

In the past, turning a basement into a living space consisted of adding a television and a few chairs to an otherwise dark and dreary space. However, today, converting your basement into a truly usable space means creating a space that you will actually enjoy spending time in.

You don’t have to subscribe to the old tried and true basement renovations in order to convert your space. As a matter of fact, many of today’s leading interior designers recommend against them. Here are a few suggestions you can use to turn your basement into a space that you are proud of:

Ceiling: Whatever you do, when converting your basement to a living space, don’t install a drop ceiling in your basement. There is nothing that says “renovated basement” more than a drop ceiling. Use a tray ceiling or alternative ceiling treatment instead.

Stairwell: Converted basements traditionally have steep, narrow stairways that lead down into the space. Open up your stairwell and add a banister in order to give it a more “living space” feel. The idea is that you want the stairwell to your basement to mimic one that you would have on the main floor of your home. If you have an existing stairwell in your home, adding the same banister to the basement stairwell will give the space some continuity and goes a long way to disguising the basement’s humble beginnings.

Doorways: As with the stairwells, opening up the entryway into the basement will help prevent you and your guests from experiencing claustrophobia when you enter your basement space. You can widen the doorway and add visual interest such as an archway or other architectural element. The idea here is to add elements that guests wouldn’t expect to see in a converted basement. In the basement itself, if you need to section off a space for complete privacy, install French doors, which provide privacy yet allow you to keep the feel of an open floor plan as well as adding visual interest in the room.

Windows: Adding natural light to a basement goes a long way to giving it a more mainstream feel. If your basement isn’t completely underground, adding large windows will help brighten up the space.

Walls: Skip the traditional paneling and opt for drywall instead. This keeps the space from looking dated and helps add a brighter feel to the space. Plus, drywall is more versatile in that it can be painted.

Furnishings: The same idea applies here. Use furniture that you would use in rooms on the main floor in order to keep it from feeling separate from the rest of the house.

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