Everyone who is fortunate enough to have a basement can agree that an additional floor is a game-changer for anyone who is looking for more storage space or elbow room. But, on the design front, the lower level is often placed on the proverbial back burner. Since a basement is usually out of sight, decorating it to the nines is not as pressing as, say, a living room or kitchen. Also, it’s important to note that a basement is not always an option when renovating a home in the South, especially in certain areas like Texas, where the landscape is not the most accommodating.
When it is finally time to spruce up your basement with a great renovation project, you may not know where to start. To help spark inspiration—so you can truly make the most of your lower level—six interior designers share their top basement renovation ideas. As the perfect mix of form and function, the pointers below prove that the basement deserves to be front and center.
Break It Off
If you’re looking for a basement renovation project that can pull double (or triple!) duty, take a look at this space Sara Malek Barney of BANDD/DESIGN designed for a family who was looking for that happy medium between form and function. “We divided up the area into three spaces, a cozy place for watching sports and movies, a bar with seating and a game zone with a new game table,” the Austin-based designer explains. “Large panel windows gave the space ample light, so we rounded everything out with contrasting black and white colors, cozy textures, and a fun accent wall.”
Play With Patterns
For maximalists who are looking for an easy, low-maintenance project that will pack on a major visual impact, you can’t go wrong with wallpaper. For this lower-leveled playroom, Kentucky-based designer Isabel Ladd opted for a whimsical repeat. “This wallpaper is important in a space where there is lots of art, drawings, and creativity in bloom, but doesn’t detract from the other colors here,” she shares. “Basements are often thought of as places where ‘old furniture goes to die,’ but in this space, it was especially important to stimulate growth, inventiveness, and artistry.”
Create Stealth Storage
Just because you want to use your basement as storage space doesn’t mean it has to be a function-first area. Fortunately, Beth Dotolo and Carolina V. Gentry of Pulp Design Studios made the most of every nook and cranny of this basement renovation. “Not only did we provide them with a luxe lair to hang out in with family and friends, but we also dialed up our creativity by designing a hidden wine room,” the duo says. “On the outside, [we] gave the kids a lot of storage for their games and shoes. And with one easy swing of the bookshelves, a secret space is revealed inside for the adult beverages in the house!”
Perfect With Paneling
Anyone who wants to add some visual intrigue to their wall—but isn’t totally sold on an assortment of frames or an accent color—will find a lot to love about this project from Kristin Kong. Here, the Georgia-based designer lined the white walls with wooden paneling, offering a warm, inviting touch to the lower level. To complete the look, Kong filled the space with some friendly competition. “We created a large gathering space that feels like a club and has distinct zones where they can play games, watch movies, eat, and simply relax with each other,” she shares.
Create a Kitchen
Anyone who wants to spend some more quality time in their basement will benefit from adding a downstairs kitchen. (That way, you won’t have to go up and down your staircase whenever you need a snack or tasty beverage.) In this basement renovation, Traci Connell decked out the lower level with all your culinary essentials. Shelves for additional dinnerware? Check. A spacious fridge? Of course. An island for impromptu meals? Definitely.
Let Light In
Just because a basement is at the very bottom of any home doesn’t mean it has to be completely devoid of natural sunlight. Designer Andi Morse added a nice glow with large windows and a set of glass-paneled doors that lead out to the yard. Depending on the size and slope of your property, adding full-sized windows and doors can be a bit of a challenge. If your basement is predominantly underground, consider adding some slim windows right below your ceiling.