In not-so-many-decades past, these underground spaces were more horror than homey. For starters, think back to your grandparents’ basements.
Chances are they include the telltale signs of forgotten space: the creaky, precarious stairs lit by an exposed, pull-chain light bulb; dark, cavernous spaces adorned by spider webs and mason jars; the cool, uninviting luster of cement floors and walls; the claustrophobic ceiling heights and small windows (if any) more akin to a coffin than living space. And for the lucky few, a framed-in, semi-finished bedroom reserved only for the most brave, undaunted houseguest.
Or perhaps you recall a slightly more improved attempt at decorating, likely one large room complete with dark-wood-paneled walls and unsightly shag carpet. Either way, these spaces practically scream, “Go away! You are not welcome here!”
But today’s basements are Grandma’s no more. Homeowners instead consider them as less of an afterthought—to be used only as storage or finished as cheaply as possible—and more as an important, usable space meant to encourage recreation and social interaction. Now more than ever, modern basement design means creating a welcoming retreat for loved ones to gather.
Modern-day homeowners who invest money in basement design want to be able to actually use the space, so they’re putting more thought into achieving that goal. That means implementing storage solutions (both in traditional storage rooms or more decorative ideas in living spaces), installing rooms with large window wells to invite natural light, creating comfortable seating areas, and including effective lighting specific to each area’s purpose. In other words, today’s basement design says unmistakably, “Relax! Stay awhile!”
And since basements are often considered a bonus space, their uses are endless. Some may want to include a home theater, complete with sophisticated sound and lighting technology. Or perhaps your dream basement incorporates recreation and hobbies, such as exercise rooms or craft areas (“girl caves”). And there are so many other bells and whistles to consider: a full-size bar or mini-bar, a family game area (pool/poker/game tables), or even a fireplace to keep warm in the winter months.
The bottom line is that today’s basement design can and should embody the “wow factor,” and there are endless ways to achieve that.