Markus Weber, founder and C.E.O. of interior design company Decor Aid, recommends installing cable and WiFi, along with some large, sturdy work surfaces, plenty of lighting, and plants to create a highly functional home office in your basement. And if you have a private entrance and are able to open your own business, such as a dentist's office or a yoga studio, go for it. But be sure to investigate any local zoning laws related to small businesses before opening your doors, Weber warns. Bonus: you won't hit any traffic on the way down to the basement.
If your underground space meets the correct codes, Weber suggests transforming it into a guest suite. With the addition of a small bathroom and galley kitchen, the extra furnished living area will increase the overall value of your home, plus the rental income will eventually cover the cost of the renovation and then some, he adds. Or you can simply use the private downstairs area for visiting friends and family.
To help outfit smaller, apartment-style spaces, Boulder, Colorado-based retro appliance company Big Chill offers the Big Chill Slim, a 24-inch wide fridge ($1,995), and a matching dishwasher ($1,895). The products are available in over 200 custom colors including black, blue, and green.
Jane Lockhart, principal at Jane Lockhart Interior Design in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, says that her games room designs include the usual suspects like shuffleboard, poker, pinball, and pool, with additional areas geared towards kids that include a TV and brightly colored stools.
If you want to up your basement ideas game, steal an idea from trendy tech start-ups and set up Poppin's Series A Ping-Pong Conference Table ($2,999). The multi-functional product serves as a surface for all sorts of games, as well as a large workspace for activities. The table comes with a color-striped net and ping-pong paddles and balls.
Lockhart says that wine cellars are still a popular design feature that her and her team regularly add to basements. But lately they've gone modern, with full glass walls, ample lighting, and floating displays that highlight the vino collection, making it visible from the entire basement. Cheers to that!
While most homeowners use their basements for storage "that doesn't mean it has to be all hand-me-down furniture and holiday decorations," Weber says. He suggests upgrading from boxes in the basement to a full-scale walk-in closet. Just make sure the space is clean and protected against critters and remember to add plenty of adequate light and mirrors to transform a dark, not-so-glam space.
Thanks to a host of video streaming services that are now available, it's easy to turn your basement into a mini movie theater. Accent lighting, comfy lounge seating, and a vintage popcorn machine or "concession stand" can help create the perfect private viewing spot at home. And if you don't want to install a big-screen TV, try Sony's Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector ($999). The portable unit can project everything from photos to home movies to TV shows, producing an image up to 80 inches wide, and can transmit content from various devices.