Guest Author - Donna Coogan
Do you have an unfinished basement in your home that you arenít using? No doubt you are keenly aware that itís valuable square footage going to waste. If the reason youíve put off using this area is because you are waiting until you can afford to finish it, then there is another option.
Instead, work with what you have and transform it into an inviting, livable space to enjoy right now. All you need to do is look for creative decorating solutions.
Before we get to those ideas, letís recognize that basements can come with all sorts of problems, from being too wet, too humid or without temperature control. These are things you may have to address before you can expect to utilize your basement as living space. Assuming those are not issues, letís get to the ideas to transform this space.
If your basement has cinderblock walls, they can be primed and painted. Cement floors can also be sealed and painted. Doing so will cut down on basement dust and immediately change the look of the space to one that is more welcoming.
Because basements are rather cold and dark spaces, consider paint options that will lighten up the area. Donít settle for boring white walls, though. Choose colors that will lighten while still reflecting your sense of style and personality.
For instance, basements are often desired as bonus spaces for recreation, exercise stations and craft rooms. For an energetic or whimsical look, consider painting a black and white diamond pattern on the floor. Add playful contrast by painting the walls white with colorful splashes of large polka dots or geometric shapes.
To create a family room in your basement, provide furnishings, area rugs and artistic accents like you would any other room. Donít use your best furnishings if your basement isnít temperature controlled. But, you can certainly find used items that suit your purposes.
Sidestep the cold basement feel by choosing a warm color scheme. An example might be light sand-colored walls and brown and cream furnishings punctuated with red and orange accents. Include an area rug that incorporates the accent colors and youíll have gone a long way to add warmth to this space.
Lighting is important in the basement, too. Talk to an electrician about setting up outlets and ceiling lights for you. Depending on your homeís electrical needs, this might only be a few hundred dollars, but is well worth the investment. Then add decorative overhead fixtures and lamps for more ambiance.
Dress up any basement windows with curtains by hanging them from tension rods inside each window well. Look for complementary fabrics on clearance for the best savings.
Depending on the layout of your basement, you may want to keep it an open space or divide it into separate areas. To create temporary walls, hang fabric on a pulley system or just set up a line of bookcases. Be sure to anchor the top of each shelving unit to the ceiling trusses for safety and stability. Bookcases also provide the added advantage of more storage and soundproofing.
Include some favorite decorative accents on tabletops. An unfinished basement obviously isnít a good place to display expensive paintings, but for a touch of whimsy, why not create your own by painting directly on cinderblock walls? Just outline a few rectangles the size of an ordinary canvas and fill in with your own designs. For extra fun, paint a large mural.
Basements often have laundry facilities, workshops or storage needs. Look for creative ways to block these areas off so they donít detract from the livable parts of the room. Before making decorating decisions, double-check your building codes that youíre not interfering with any safety features and are providing proper ventilation of important appliances.
This article has only touched on a few ideas to decorate your unfinished basement. Many of your decorating choices will depend on what you have to work with Ė actual stud walls or cement block. There are other considerations like whether you have a dry basement or not. However, assuming your basement is free of major problems then look for innovative ways to fully enjoy it today. No need to let that precious square footage go to waste.