Our next series of posts will feature ways you can design your basement in order to fit a specific function. This is of prime importance when designing your space as it will determine everything from division of space to the type of furniture you purchase. First in our series: customizing your basement for entertaining.
A house basement makes a wonderful location for entertaining. Away from the regular flow of traffic in the main part of the house, a customized basement often results in many hours of enjoyment, relaxation and fun. From floor plans to project completion, customizing your basement for entertaining allows you to design and decorate in a manner that clearly reflects your individuality and style.
A beginning floor plan consists of a sketch, drawn to scale, of the parameters of the area you want to customize. Within the sketch are marks or symbols to indicate locations and sizes of existing features that need to be accommodated or altered. Such features may include ceiling beams and support posts, pipes and plumbing, the water heater and furnace or central air conditioning system, lights and electrical outlets, wiring, breaker boxes, windows and doors.
The next step is to determine what you prefer in the appearance and function of your finished basement. Once you know your desired outcome, look at options for blending the existing features into that finished look. Check out how one Pennsylvania resident attempted to bring the streets of New Orleans to their basement by using concrete trees as support beams.
In considering what uses you will make of the entertainment area, ask yourself the following questions:
Will the customized basement serve to provide entertainment for all members of my family?
If you have small children, include a play area with toy chests and storage cubes. Add child-sized furniture, such as a rocking chair, beanbag, or table and chairs. Use portable partitions to separate the children’s play area from other entertainment areas, or separate the areas through the arrangement of furniture.
Do I want to host parties here?
Consider the types of parties you like to give as well as the needs of guests. You might want a wine cooler as well as a refrigerator or small freezer and microwave to aid in conveniently providing snacks. You may even want to install a wet bar. How about a downstairs bathroom?
What other types of entertainment do I want to include?
Perhaps you and your friends like to play billiards or table tennis. Sketch the location of your game table onto your floor plan. Be sure to allow enough space around the table for active movement of the players.
Another option is a home movie center. For this, sketch in the location of the movie screen, your desired seating arrangement, the projection area, and media storage. If your basement is roomy, you might include in your plans other areas for computer games and television viewing. Include features that provide good acoustics and reduce the amount of sound that travels upstairs.
Maybe you want a quiet atmosphere where you and your friends can simply relax and enjoy good conversation. When there are no guests, members of your family likely will migrate to the basement to read a good book or listen to music.
When you sketch plans for your proposed project, be sure to include plans for adequate lighting, ventilation and means of egress. Then secure the necessary permits before you begin construction. The ability to adjust your plans before investing in materials and labor saves money and time and allows you to have a finished basement that is code and regulation compliant. You then can be confident that your basement provides a safe, enjoyable environment for everyone who enters.