Top Six Basement Spaces(page 1 of 2)

From media rooms to home offices to bars, get tips on transforming your basement.

CI-design-your-basement-3 Photo courtesy of Design Your Basement

Deciding how you will use your basement will determine how you approach design. "There's no right or wrong way to set up your space, but you do have to focus on what you want most," says David Schrock, owner of Basement Ideas. "Basement real estate is limited, so be prepared to make compromises."

You may have your heart set on a home gym, guest bedroom and office, but do you need separate rooms for all those functions? If your budget or space is tight, you'll need to decide what your highest priority is and work your way down.

Mega Media Rooms

Most homeowners like to create a large multipurpose media area rather than chop up a basement space into little rooms. Use these universal tips to get started:

  • Don't put viewing screens near a window.
  • It isn't necessary to have high ceilings in a media room because you'll mostly be seated when you're there.
  • You can create platform seating to increase visibility just like in a movie theater, with the second row of seats raised up behind the first. Theater seating can get pricey, but the platform won't add much expense to the budget.
  • True aficionados of sound and video should consult a home theater expert or audio/video retailer for speaker placement and proper distances from seating before settling on a spatial arrangement.
  • You'll want to insulate the walls of a media room, not just the exterior walls, to dampen sound.

Browse Pictures of Lounge-Worthy Basements

Personal Gyms

These spaces tend to trip up homeowners. "You have to be careful if your basement has a lower ceiling or soffit because your exercise equipment may not fit," David says.

The first order of business is making sure the equipment can come down the stairs. "If it's welded together and your stairs make a 90-degree turn, it may not happen," says David. Measure the equipment first and make sure it's bolted together rather than welded so it can be disassembled.

Next, make sure you have the proper ceiling clearance in the basement. The important measurement is the equipment's height with you on it. Pull-up machines and treadmills are the biggest culprits because people forget to account for their own height above the machine.

Home Offices

This should ideally be the same size as a bedroom, but keep in mind that if you add a closet, it actually is a bedroom according to code and will need an egress window.

Because home offices don't have the same privacy needs as a bedroom, use a double set of French doors on basement offices to maximize light and keep a feeling of openness.

Browse pictures and learn how HGTV Design Star producer Brian Patrick Flynn reinvents his basement as a bold design studio.

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