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11 Basement Ideas for Modern Living

If your family has outgrown its main living space, a basement remodel is the perfect way to utilize precious square footage and add value to your home. Underutilized or unfinished basements are a fitting space for modern amenities such as: playrooms, guest suites, hobby rooms, home offices and more. Often times basements are left with bare walls and unfinished ceilings to use as storage space, but their potential is far greater!

Updating your basement design with these creative basement ideas will transform it into a useful, fully functional space that supports your modern lifestyle. No matter how big or small your basement remodel may be, you can incorporate some of these design ideas to fit your needs and budget. Explore the basement renovation ideas below:


Build in a Basement Bar or Kitchenette

Small desk area in kitchenette

Nothing screams woman or man cave like a basement bar. The perfect place to get creative with your basement design and add a bit of moodiness or whimsy! The basics for a home bar include: a bar (obviously), stools, storage, overhead lighting, mini fridge and even beer taps. If cocktails aren’t your thing, basements are the perfect place to put a wine cellar or storage too. The naturally cooler temperature in basements is ideal for storing your wine year-round.

To make the space even more usable, consider adding a kitchenette. You can easily wash used glasses and barware without trekking upstairs. Plus, a simple kitchenette with small appliances and a sink can make it so your basement can easily be converted into a rental until later.


Create a Multi-Purpose Basement Entertainment Center

Transform your unfinished basement into an area where the entire family can gather for movie night. Create a built-in home theatre with a projector screen, reclining seats and dimmable lights for a completely customized space. Or, add a more simple media room where you can relax on a comfy sofa and enjoy a low-key home theater system. If your basement has a concrete floor, be sure to choose some wool or plush rugs to keep it cozy. When you’re not watching movies, the basement can easily function as a second family room or living room.

You can also choose to furnish the basement with a rolling coffee table (ideal for playing board games), extra seating and side tables for a space that can easily convert into a game room. A foosball or pool table, fun wall décor and bright overhead lighting can enhance the design.


Make Your Laundry Room Bright & Airy

The best basement ideas are the most useful ones! Enjoy a greater purpose by giving your formerly dark and dull basement laundry space a makeover. If you have an unfinished basement, the best place to start is by walling off the laundry room into a separate area. It will confine the scattered clothes and hum of the machines to the smaller space, allowing you to better utilize the rest of your basement.

If you have a finished basement, the changes may not need to be so drastic. With a basement that sits mostly above ground, optimize natural light with a new windows and lighting so you can better see what you’re doing. Add countertops in neutral, light colors to further brighten up the space. Add in cabinetry as needed for storing detergent, household cleaning products and more. A basement remodel is a good opportunity to add a utility sink, which every homeowner knows can come in very handy!

What is an egress window?

Egress windows are large openings that can become a secondary basement exit in case of emergency. Basement bedrooms and living spaces are required to have egress windows for safety, though many older Seattle homes need to be brought to code. Adding egress windows is not only beneficial for safety reasons, but they also provide great natural light in your home where you need it most.


Create a Guest Bedroom Retreat

Treat your overnight guests like royalty by putting a cozy bedroom in your basement, complete with a large, comfortable bed, closets and ample lighting. Guests will be thrilled to have their own space while travelling and know they won’t be in the way. If you can add a bathroom to make it a full basement suite, even better! Most often, bathroom are added to a basement directly under a bathroom above so plumbing and electrical can easily be routed down through the basement ceiling.

Make your basement bedroom feel more like home with wall art, area rugs and plenty of pillows. Make sure there is a good heating source and plenty of extra blankets, since basements tend to run cold.


Build Out the Ultimate Kids’ Playroom

Keep your kiddos entertained by creating a playful area where their imaginations can run wild. Include a colorful storage system for toys and books, an activity table with chairs, and animal-shaped bean bag chairs that accommodate reading and naps. Equip your new playroom with a jungle gym, mini trampoline or enclosed slide to help your kids burn off energy. A fun, indoor space for play is well-suited for the basement because any mess will stay confined to an area that’s out of sight for house guests. A basement playroom can be modified as your kids get older and easily become a teen hangout space or extra family room.


Keep it Tidy with Organizational Closets

Eliminate basement clutter with a spacious closet that seamlessly incorporates into your overall design. Consider placing your closet under the stairs, and then use baskets, plastic containers with lids, or wall shelves to organize movies, toys, books, and board games neatly out of sight.

Another way to keep your basement tidy could include a built-in storage system to house the TV, books, board games, and other household essentials. Mix and match storage elements in bright colors through stackable bins, enclosed cabinets, storage seating and bookcases.


Add a Fireplace to for a Cozy Basement

One of our favorite basement ideas is adding a fireplace. It adds warmth and charm to your space, while also serving a purpose. Whether your opt for tile, concrete or exposed brick, a fireplace adds instant comfort and can help keep your cool basement warmer when in use. Pay special attention to choosing a mantel, which can make this basement feature even cozier. Use faux houseplants, mirrors, and reflective accents to decorate and create the perfect ambiance.

Can a fireplace be added to a basement?

Most of the time, yes! Check the regulations of your Homeowners Association (HOA) and local building code to be sure. If it’s allowed, the most popular way to add a fireplace to a basement is to install a natural gas or electric insert which vents directly to the outdoors. Outside air is drawn into the firebox, provides oxygen to the flame, and is vented back out of your home along with the fire fumes. Many installers are able to move around exiting supports and framing to place your new vent.


Add Extra Heating with Energy-Efficient Radiant Heat Panels

If adding a fireplace is too costly or not the look you’re going for, radiant heat panels could be a great solution for your basement space. Typically, unfinished basements in Seattle have concrete floors and no heating. They stay cool all year long and are difficult to keep warm. Radiant heat panels are a modern solution to heating, which are perfect for remodeling because they don’t need to be integrated into any existing heating system and simply need to be wired into the electricity. An installer can help you determine how many you’ll need and where to place them to maximize their efficiency.

How does a radiant heat panel work?

Radiant heat panels are thin, rectangular heating units that work by directing infrared heat downwards onto objects and people below or nearby. Radiant heat panels use a gentle type of infrared called far-infrared, which is the same type used in incubators for infants and baby animals. It’s a nice, soothing warmth that sends the warmth directly to you instead of heating the air like a forced-air system would. It’s akin to standing in the sun, and not nearly as intense as standing under an outdoor heater.

The most important part of installing radiant heat panels is positioning them properly. Panels should be located nearest to where persons using the space will be. The panels can be painted or recessed into the ceiling so you’ll barely notice they are there, and since air isn’t being pushed around radiant heat panels can be a great solution for people with allergies.


Craft a Homeschooling Haven

If you need an area for homework or homeschooling, do a quick transformation of a finished basement by adding bookshelves, a table, chairs, sofa, and storage bins to stow away schoolwork. The table and chairs provide ample space for sitting and studying, while the sofa offers a comfy place to read and relax between learning sessions. Bright lighting will keep your kids awake, while fun paint and décor will keep them engaged. Be sure to section off the homeschooling area from the rest of the basement spaces, if necessary, so their attention is focused during the school day.


Tuck Away Your Home Office

A secluded office tucked away in the basement will give you privacy while working on projects or during Zoom meetings. Basements often hush the noise of the outside world, making them a great space for quiet thinking and working.

Equip your home office with an electronic gadget charging station, ergonomic workstation, ample storage and a video-worthy background. The most basic décor elements include: an area rug, desktop task light and shelving. In addition to these items, you’ll want to incorporate more specialized décor such as houseplants or family photos that will make the space more cozy.


Work on Your Well-Being in a Basement Home Gym

Because most basements keep cool and have plenty of room, they make the perfect space for your home gym. Converting your basement into a home gym doesn’t have to be a big project. Flooring, mirrors and some light equipment will do. Cover the concrete floor with gym mats or float new cork flooring over top of the existing one to add some padding below you feet. Install large mirrors to help you watch your form. Adding additional ceiling lights overhead will help keep you awake and ready to sweat.

If you want to complete transform your space into an upscale home gym, consider upgrades such as: a surround sound stereo system, mounting a TV, installing pull up bars and other static equipment, and even adding a home sauna!


How to Choose the Right Basement Contractor in Seattle

Finding the best contractor for your basement remodeling project is important, especially if you’re complete finishing a basement. Whether you want a total basement makeover, or simple, minimalistic update, find a contractor that specializes in the style you’re looking for. Do your research, ask for references, get written estimates, and check online reviews posted on Yelp, Google, or Houzz.

At Model Remodel, we design highly functional, luxurious living spaces with our conception-to-completion home remodeling process. To get started bringing your basement ideas to life, tell us more about your basement through our online form.

Written by Model Remodel

Model Remodel is a design-build, remodeling contractor located in Seattle, WA. For over 20 years we’ve been building with purpose, craftsmanship and sustainability in mind. We are proud to continually make the list of top Seattle contractors for our beautiful interior designs and homeowner-focused remodeling process.

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