Designing Your Basement Floor Plan

When you are thinking about your home, what’s your favorite spot to kick back and relax? In many homes, the basement is the center of fun and frivolity, hosting everything from movie nights to playrooms to out-of-town visitors. When you set out to design a basement, it is important to keep in mind not just the size of the space, but all the ways it can be configured to maximize your enjoyment of it.


There are as many ways to design a basement as there are homes. Think about the things your family does every day, every week, and over the course of a year to begin imagining the possibilities for your basement’s configuration and décor.


Why Design Your Basement?

One of the most important trends in home design is “nesting.” More and more, as our lives become complicated by challenging jobs, long commutes, and day-to-day stresses, families are looking for a place to rest, recharge, and reconnect with each other. By designing a basement floor plan customized to your family’s way of living, you ensure that everyone enjoys and uses the space.


You are the expert when it comes to the way your family lives, and you are also the best judge of how your needs might change in the future. Do you need space for a live-in nanny or au pair? Do you plan to bring an elderly relative into your home in the next few years? Do you envision your children returning from college for a few months while they start their careers and find their own homes? These possibilities will have a big impact on how you design a basement.


On the other hand, do you work from home? Need an office space? Perhaps you need built-in storage or even a workshop or hobby space. These needs can impact everything from sound-proofing to outdoor access to the materials, flooring, and lighting options you choose.


Perhaps you envision your basement as a purely social space. What high-tech gadgetry should be built in from the start, and what should be added later so that it can be traded out as needed? Do you need a kitchen or bar space? Are you using the space for a children’s playroom right now? How can you ensure it grows up as they do?


When you design a basement, keep your options open, ensuring that the space is functional and fun, both now and in the future.


Popular Basement Floor Plans

Finding the right basement floor plan is all about determining how you will use the space. Don’t wait until it’s in place to try to decide how to use your basement -- that’s one way to ensure it becomes an afterthought.


Au Pair or In-Law Suite

If you think you will have someone living in the basement on a consistent basis, you will want to choose basement floor plans that have, at minimum, a seating area, bedroom with enough closet space, and a full bath. If you have the room, you might also consider a kitchen or wet bar with fridge. You may want to have separate heating and cooling in this area, especially for older family members. If possible, a separate entrance is also desirable and convenient. Consider your basement in this case more of a secondary home, so choosing basement floor plans that have the accommodations of one is critical.


Media Room with Guest Suite

A fabulous media room is a cool basement idea and a fun way to use the space. You’ll want to consider the technical requirements including extra outlets and wi-fi access to ensure your streaming is seamless. You may also want to include built-in surround sound for maximum movie viewing. Here, too, you’ll want either a wet bar with fridge or perhaps even a small kitchen. Add a small bedroom with en suite bath for out-of-town guests to really maximize the space’s use.


Home Office with Workshop and Storage

If someone in your family works from home, they’ll welcome a home office well away from the family space for quiet, uninterrupted workflow, phone calls, and remote meetings. Consider the technical needs here, including a dedicated wi-fi router for a solid signal. If the business includes a manufacturing or mailing element, you’ll want a workshop area, perhaps with built-in counters and cabinets and a solid-surface floor instead of carpeting. You’ll also want a half-bath in this space, and perhaps a small wet bar with fridge for coffee and bottled waters.


Children’s Playroom or Family Room

The idea of a child’s wonderland is a cool basement idea, but it needs to be ready to grow and mature as your children do. Avoid overly elaborate theming in favor of good lighting, storage, and safety. Childproofing in the space is essential, and it’s important to create enough storage so youngsters can successfully pick up and put away their toys. As they grow, you’ll want to replace some of the larger toys with dedicated desk space and turn some of that toy storage into bookshelves.


Basement Décor Ideas

There are plenty of different decorating ideas for a finished basement, but you will want to ensure that you have planned appropriately before taking actions. Following these steps for proper basement décor will help ensure you have the best basement in the neighborhood.


1. Lighting

Many basement spaces end up being somewhat darker than the rest of the house. Keep that in mind when choosing lighting -- you’ll want overhead lights, floor and tabletop lamps, and even some uplighting or shelf lights for additional glow. Adding metallic elements or mirrored surfaces can help reflect the light, making it even brighter.


2. Ceiling Height

Keep the ceiling height in mind when choosing your furniture. If you have vaulted ceilings in the rest of your home, you may be in the habit of choosing larger furniture, especially for the wide-open space of a media or family room. Basement spaces generally have lower ceilings, so you’ll want to choose roomy furniture with a lower profile, like an expansive sectional sofa. Keep the lower height in mind when choosing artwork as well -- you don’t want to have oversized pieces that look out of proportion on a shorter wall.


3. Storage

Maximize your basement’s potential by including storage solutions in your design. Build in cabinetry along a wall, add a low-slung credenza to a home office, or turn dead space into an additional closet with shelving. Because they are such large areas, you can add smart and convenient features without sacrificing living space.


A little thought, planning, and an eye on the future can ensure that you design a basement space your whole family will love, year after year.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar

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Published 7.20.19

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