There’s probably nothing more challenging of a home makeover project than making the basement nice and livable. When you decide to tackle this room, you’re essentially opening up a Pandora’s box of design dilemmas, from the dark, cold atmosphere to the damp walls, floors, and everything. That’s why when you do decide to fix it, you need to get down and dirty literally, and more importantly, be super-conscious which items you should address. That said, make sure to have these priorities in your planning:
This is your very first consideration. Not only because this is the element that will make the most aesthetic difference in a dark room, but also because you want to avoid mistakes, especially ones that concern safety, in the revamp project itself. You basically can’t work well when the only lighting you have is a dangling bulb at the center of the room. When you get the electrical stuff done, install pot lights throughout the space. Later on, when the furniture is in, prioritize table and floor lamps, too. If you can add wall sconces, better. Of course, don’t neglect natural light. If you have the typical basement, you probably only have that small slit of a window at the top portion of a wall. If you can enlarge them, do it. Ask local authorities for permission to do this. From there, use window well covers and keep your indoor treatments sheer to maximize natural light.
The hues in the space also can help in making the basement bright. The general rule is to use light colors or neutrals. It’s okay to go for dark, but only as accents and if you were able to scatter light fixtures throughout the space. Aside from making the room lighter, the function you want to take advantage of in colors is its optical illusion. When used wisely, hues can make the basement look bigger and taller than it really is. For instance, painting the ceiling with a lighter color than your walls can draw the eye upward and define that vertical space further. Bright colors, on the other hand, make the room airy and open, which then render an illusion of expansiveness. So be very conscientious of your color palettes in the basement. And remember that it’s not just the walls and floors showing off hues. Your furniture, fixture, and decor too can impact the feel of the space.
Why are floors on top of your priorities? Well, they will be the very first elements to be ruined in a damp space like the basement. So you have to be smart when choosing your floors. As much as you want the warmth and comfort of hardwood, don’t use this. The moisture will only cause it to expand and get deformed. Waste of money. Waste of labor. Added worries for you. If you want the look of hardwood, go for vinyl. Or if you prefer an industrial touch, concrete is a good option. Just make sure that whatever you choose, you use it for the rest of the space. This will create continuity, which can make the room bigger.
The basement is one of those areas in the house that just has so many design challenges. But it’s possible to pull off an aesthetically pleasing, livable space. That is, if you know which to fix.