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Take Your Lower Level To The Next Level

08/04/2016 - NEWS

Lower-Level Spaces, High-Level Impact by Jen Larson Roesler

Recently, we shared some inspiration with Southwest Journal on ways to make your lower level live up to it’s full potential.

From fixtures to purpose of a space, there is a lot to consider, but that’s why we’re here—to make sure it all comes together in harmony with you, your lifestyle and the rest of your home.

Are you ready to take your lower level to the next level? Call us for a free consultation.

Admit it: When you think of a “finished basement”, high style probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Even if you’re not envisioning shag carpeting and a rec-room vibe, it can be hard to imagine what lower-level spaces could be with the proper thought and attention.

Yet especially in Minneapolis homes with a smaller footprint, every square foot of space counts, and lower levels truly can become livable—even enviable—parts of the home if given the chance.

If you’ve ever craved more space—and have a lower-level that isn’t living up to its full potential—here’s some inspiration to show you exactly what those spaces can become.

Welcoming Warmth
The primary goal for basement and lower-level areas is usually to finish out the space from bare studs; secondarily, the hope is to take some of the inherent chill off of lower-level spaces.

While carpeting is a natural way to add comfort to downstairs spaces, keep an open mind about hard-surface options too. In-floor heat is a fantastic way to make laminate or vinyl floors more welcoming to bare feet; the color and finish of flooring can also have a dramatic impact on the space.

Ask your contractor or designer about the different types of flooring they’ve used in lower level spaces to get a full picture of what your options are; you may still decide to go with a functional choice like Berber carpet, but if style and design are a priority, you may be surprised at what choices are available.

Finally, consider ways to add warmth literally. A gas fireplace can add a lot to a room, serving both as a focal point for a conversation area and as a visual cue (and minor heat contributor) that this lower-level space is anything but cold and chilly.

Let There Be Light
It’s a common assumption because it’s often true: Lower-level spaces are dark. That doesn’t have to be the case, however.

Creative lighting can go a long way toward adding cheer and energy to lower-level rooms. Dimmable fixtures can blast brightness when needed or go low to alter the mood.

A combination of in-ceiling lighting, wall sconces and table-top lighting add light to the space at multiple levels, keeping rooms feeling anything but dark.

And the ubiquitous egress windows in lower-level spaces can also be altered to “do more” to add to the brightness of rooms. In some cases, glass block is a good option to let the light in; sometimes, a clearer window design can allow the outside in even more.

Consider What You’d Like the Space to Do
It may sound simple, but designing lower-level spaces should start with a simple consideration of how you’d like the space to function.

Is your primary goal to add a guest room—or even a guest suite? Would you prefer to move family entertainment activities from the living room to a more tailored home-theater-style space on the lower-level? Is your dream to have a dedicated home office space for work, or finally have that hobby and crafting space you’ve always craved? How about adding a wet bar or kitchenette to make game-day and other entertaining easy and fun?

Storage should also be a key consideration for lower-level spaces. Because most basements aren’t outfitted with closets, you’ll need to think about how built-ins and other kinds of cabinetry, credenzas, armoires and other furnishings will work to add much-needed storage opportunities to the downstairs rooms.

Before even consulting a contractor, spend some time thinking about what kinds of new spaces would give your family the most enjoyment and use. You’ll be much better prepared to talk about the types of renovations needed when you know how you’d like the space to function as part of the overall flow of your home.

Add a Bathroom
When you’re hosting guests or having a party, there’s one truism: You can never have too many bathrooms.

A lower-level remodel can be a great time to add an extra bath to your home. From a ½ bath that simply includes a sink and a toilet, to a ¾ bath that adds a shower or tub, you can significantly boost your hosting ability and convenience for your family and guests with an additional bathroom.

While this does add expense to a lower-level remodel, it’s often a choice that is merited given the added convenience (and boost to your resale value).

Taking Your Home to a Whole New Level
As you can see, lower levels offer a wealth of opportunities to update your home and make it more functional than ever. For homes with a modest square footage, making the lower level more welcoming and livable can feel as valuable as adding an addition—at a fraction of the cost.

Start seeing the potential of your lower level—and get inspired to let the space take your home’s livability to the next level as well.