Because of its expansive and wide-open layout, a basement is often the catch-all room in your house. Depending on your family's needs, it can be your playroom, game room, media room, home bar, storage space or family room — or all of the above. Although finishing your basement is a large investment, it can add much-needed square footage to your home, which helps as your family grows and needs more room. Adding extra space also ups the overall resell value; when it comes time to sell your home, it will appeal to more buyers and lead to a higher market price.
As you get ready to take the remodeling plunge, take time to map out your basement and determine all its separate functions. Think about what your family needs the space for, and pick a layout that best suits those needs. Once you finalize your plan, determine whether built-ins are worth pursuing. In a vast, undefined space, they're an easy way to differentiate one space from another — the extra storage space doesn't hurt either. Finally, decide how you're going to fill the room with furniture. Since there's so much space to cover, picking the right pieces is a little more challenging than usual, so look at other basements to get a feel for what to look for when shopping.
What should I use my basement for?
Every family is different, so pinpoint how you spend your time and cater to those hobbies and interests. If you host parties often or are beer and wine aficionados, a home bar or wine cellar would be a good investment. If you're looking for a kid-friendly hangout, become the neighborhood hot spot with a massive family and media room combo. Give the guy in your family the ultimate escape with a man cave, game room and home gym, or be practical above all else by adding extra bedrooms and another bathroom.
Should I add built-ins to my basement?
A large space is hard to define, but clever built-ins can help clarify room divisions while simultaneously aiding organization. For the ultimate video game/movie hub, install a custom entertainment center, complete with bookshelves and cabinets for storing small electronic accessories, movies and books. For those family movie nights, add a wet bar that includes a microwave and mini fridge for popcorn and beverages. You can also create a craft room with a built-in counter and shelves, or add a long booth or bench for extra seating in a game room or playroom. The options are endless, so consult a designer or builder to see what works for your space.
What kind of furniture should I include in my basement?
When shopping for furniture pieces, bigger is better. Unlike other rooms where space might be tight, your basement has room to spare, so your furniture should be oversized and chunky to help fill up space. Sectionals are a great way to avoid an empty-looking room, and they provide plenty of seating for when guests come to visit. Be sure to add other common living room pieces — like armchairs, side tables and coffee tables — to fully complete the look. If your family loves games, add a pool table, foosball or poker table, or include an oversized table for regular board games. Give your kids their own corner with an indoor playhouse or swing, or create your ultimate getaway with a daybed and bookshelves for reading, napping and relaxing.