home office

Basement Basics

Basements Loaded

Making your basement a well-loved family space is all about design, whether it’s a kid-friendly zone, home theatre, or office nook. For every family, there’s a perfect room that brings everyone together, and in some cases gives everyone personal space.

Warm & Bright

Since the basement is often dark and cool, brighten things up by using warm colours that have yellow as a base, rather than cool greens and blues. Add a variety of fabrics with plenty of engaging patterns and plush area carpets for texture and comfort. Use pillows and throws to add warmth and choose furniture designed for lounging and relaxing. And choose durable, kid- or pet-friendly fabrics. If your basement lacks natural light, don’t fight it. Create drama with a medium or dark colour scheme — this is particularly effective for a home theatre.

For the ultimate lower-level experience, consider luxury additions such as a gas fireplace or big screen TV with home theatre projector. If you love entertaining, include a wet bar. Or, if you’re shy on bathrooms upstairs, create a spa bathroom downstairs.

To make sure you use every square foot to your family’s advantage, call in experts including an interior designer and skilled trades like a Licensed Electrical Contractor.

Kid Zone

If you choose to transform your basement into a playroom, one of the most important safety considerations is to protect children from burns or shock. This can happen if they stick objects into unprotected outlets. Child-safety outlets (also known as Tamper Resistant Receptacles) should be used throughout your home. The only time they’re not necessary is when the outlet is located behind a stationary appliance, such as a washing machine, or when the outlet is out of reach (more than two metres above the floor). But just to be safe, ESA recommends putting child-safety outlets everywhere. Work with your Licensed Electrical Contractor and interior designer to think through how you’ll use your basement and where you’ll want to plug things in.

What’s In Storage

Basements that double as playrooms benefit from plenty of closed storage for quick clean up. Built-ins and storage benches eliminate visual clutter without taking up too much floor space. Incorporate shelves at different heights so toys and books are easily accessible to the kids. Utilize space under the stairs or add storage units to divide space. Select a playful colour scheme for walls and carpeting and keep seating soft and low for book reading and floor activities. Get creative with storage solutions, but just remember that a breaker panel can’t be located within a closet or bathroom. You’ll need to consider this when developing your basement floorplan and elevations.

Another essential element for any storage space is good lighting. After all, what’s the use of your storage area if you can’t find what you need? A Licensed Electrical Contractor can provide ideas on automated options for closet lights and the best lightbulbs to use. Motion sensors are another popular addition. Just remember, there’s a safe distance required between ceiling lights and storage items to prevent fire – 15 cm for pot lights and 30 cm for surface mounted lights.

When planning storage for everyday items like remotes, books, magazines and toys, consider unique ways to keep them hidden when not in use. This helps create a more streamlined space, keeping visual clutter at bay. And make sure to give devices, laptops and gadgets a designated space by adding charging stations and strategically-placed outlets.

Fun Tip!

Chalkboard paint is a creative way to transform a wall into a work of art. Consider adding a library light to showcase your kids’ creations.