We’ve all seen those basements with a nondescript play area or 70’s wood paneled rec room. Today’s basements go beyond cold concrete – they’re gorgeously designed, functional spaces to congregate in. Think of your basement as a below ground blank canvas to create a space to suit many different lifestyles.
Basement Family Room
When I moved into my petite, two-bedroom heritage cottage-style home on Lake Ontario, my challenge was to carve out additional living space. We built up, adding an addition and dug down, building a guest suite consisting of two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchenette and a large family room. With access to the pool and gardens through French doors, this new lower-level space became the most lived-in and enjoyable private retreat.
I used my favourite palette of cream and white in all the rooms including the bright and spacious family room for a comfortable airy look and feel. The trim and built-in unit with a large gas fireplace were painted in my go-to warm white, Benjamin Moore Cloud White.
Oversized, plush furniture covered in washable slipcovers encourage you to curl up and read, watch a movie or surf the net. Upholstered storage ottomans provide additional moveable seating. I rely on cushions, throws, florals and decorative accents to break up monochromatic spaces. It’s the easiest and least expensive way to make changes and refresh your décor.
Lighting is very important. Every basement room should have at least one natural light source. Our glass French garden doors let the sun flood in while pot lights, table and floor lamps and candlelight all provide just the right amount of light.
The Basement Bar
Home entertaining has never been more popular and is a less expensive way to enjoy special occasions, the big game and family movie night. Our soundproof finished basement was designed for fun, relaxation and large gatherings. With furnishings and TV at one end, the other side has a large custom built-in bar for convenient access to snacks and beverages, and is also a comfortable place to sit. The adjacent window capitalizes on the limited amount of natural light while pot lights and pendants add optional light when needed and are set on dimmers to suit the mood. The light coloured walls in Benjamin Moore Smokey Taupe brighten the space day or night.
Designed like a modern, efficient kitchen, the bar includes plenty of space where people can gather and circulate comfortably, durable, low-maintenance surfaces and has lots of customized storage features for bar essentials. Base cabinets include integrated fridge drawers and a dishwasher, essential for a full-service bar. The maple cabinets with vertical grain accented with glass shelving lit from above are topped with classic CaesarStone in Piatra Gray to add a touch of drama. Leather adjustable-height bar stools make guests of any stature comfortable at the island. The gray and white mosaic tile backsplashes add detail and texture to the overall design and make cleanup a breeze behind the bar sink. A wine rack is placed front and centre behind glass doors, over a serving area. Underfoot, the glowing Satin Finish red oak hardwood flooring unifies the space.
If you’re itching to expand your living space, consider the often neglected and underutilized spaces in your basement. A well thought out design and floor plan are the keys to creating a comfortable basement living space that you’ll look forward to spending time in.
By Jackie Glass
In addition to full-service interior design, Jackie Glass is also a design expert on City TV’s Cityline. jackieglass.ca
Burloak Contracting, Burlington
The Basement Store, Oakville
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BJC Homes, Oakville
Frahm Interiors, Burlington
Kitchen Tune Up, Burlington