This post starts our new series about furnishing your basement for specific purposes. If your family plans to use the basement often, give special consideration to their needs and preferences. Furnishing your basement for family use may seem straightforward, but with a little forethought and planning, you can turn your basement into your home’s focal point, a gathering place for enjoyable family time.
First thing’s first: talk with your family about their favorite things to do together. What types of games do they like to play? Do they enjoy physical activities or more relaxing ones? How do they want to use the basement? After discussion, draw up a plan to incorporate the most desired forms of entertainment into your furnishings. Perhaps you want to purchase a big-screen TV, making the basement a perfect place for watching movies or playing video games. Don’t forget, you’ll also want comfortable seating. Think: overstuffed couch, loveseat, and recliner upholstered in naugahyde or another easy-care fabric.
Also, furnish your basement with at least one item that encourages physical activity. That might be an exercise machine, a ping-pong/pool table, or simply an open area with a non-slip floor covering where children can play with their toys. Add a child-sized desk or a table and chair set so that the kids can draw and color to their heart’s content.
Rest and Relaxation
If you intend your basement to be a gathering place, the space needs to beckon you to come in, sit, and relax. If you have small children, provide them with their own kid-sized recliner, rocking chair, or beanbags. They’ll love it! Set this furniture in a location that is away from the distracting hustle and bustle of everyday living and encourage them to use it as a reading space. Quiet, calming colors also help set a peaceful mood.
For the adults, how about setting up a nook near one of the basement’s egress windows? A basement egress window is a beautiful accent to any basement and allows light to easily enter the room. Furnish the nook with a comfortable chair where you can curl up and relax while you read a good book or listen to music. Consider a portable radio, CD player, or fancy sound system — it’s your basement! Make it as simple or elaborate as you want.
A Word of the Wise
When you have children, safety takes top priority. There are several things you can do in choosing basement furnishings that will increase safety and help prevent problems. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When you consider safety in choosing your basement furnishings, you take simple steps to protect everyone in your family.
- Choose sturdy furniture with rounded corners.
- Choose furniture that does not have skirting at the bottom. Furniture skirting may cause children to trip.
- Choose furniture that is low enough that a child will not get seriously hurt if he or she falls.
- Do not keep plants that could tip over and cause harm in any area where children normally play.
- Beware of the safety hazards that certain furnishings present (i.e. toy chests that can close on a child or large, deep freezers that can latch shut. Read this guide for more ideas on how to choose safe toys and furnishings
- Choose cordless shades or drapes that cover the window but do not reach the floor.
- If you have a basement bathroom, provide a step stool so that small children can easily wash their hands. Keep the hot water temperature set low enough that it will not scald.
See how important your furnishing choices are! Stay tuned – next week we’ll discuss ways you can use furnishings to make your basement a perfect hosting place for guests! See you then.