The Multi-Purpose Basement
The current series of posts provides ideas for customizing your basement to fit various purposes. Last week’s post featured tips on customizing your basement for living. Entertainment areas were the focus of the first post. This post, the third and final one in this series, adds information on ways to customize your basement so that it serves several functions.Your multi-purpose basement can provide room to work or study, relax with the family, entertain guests, exercise and sleep. It even might include a mudroom with washer, dryer and deep sink. Exactly what you include in your plans depends on your preferences, your budget and the size of your basement.In customizing floor plans for your multi-purpose basement, consider both short-term and long-term goals. Check prices for materials and labor, and think about what part of the work you might like to do yourself. If your budget is limited, decide what is most important to do now and what can wait until later. For example, perhaps your biggest needs are space for your children to play, a bedroom and bathroom for guests, and somewhere to entertain visitors. Later on, you might add a home office, a fitness center and a room where the family can work on crafts or other projects. The homeowner in the image below added an elegant bar area to enhance the theater room.Three distinct types of floor plans allow you to choose a style that will fit your needs. The first is a plan in which the area in front of the stairway continues to be open space. Rooms that are sectioned off for different types of uses form the shape of a horseshoe around the edges of the open area and make use of three sides of the basement walls. Egress windows and light-colored window wells provide light and ventilation to each sleeping room and the bathroom. Other windows are included according to code or preference.The second type of plan makes use of almost every square inch of basement floor space. Even the area underneath the staircase is utilized. Closets, storage cabinets and shelving are built into basement nooks and walls to give an airy, organized look to the rest of the basement. An excellent example of this type of plan can be seen here. This homeowner used all available space to create style and optimize efficiency.Movable dividers and partitions comprise the third type of multi-purpose basement floor plan. For those wanting to customize their basement but have a very limited budget, this option may be optimal. Furniture placement, screens, track-mounted curtains, tip-resistant partitions and movable walls allow you to change the basement’s room configuration and usage at will.Whatever design you choose for your multi-purpose basement, be sure to plan for safety, ventilation and lighting. If your finished basement will have rooms with doors, an easy way to help air circulate is to hang the doors so that they have a bit of space between them and the floor and to install air vents between the door frames and the ceiling. Strategically located egress windows and light-colored window wells add safety and serve as a source of fresh air and natural light. By your attention to such features, you ensure that the basement you customize will be a source of enjoyment for many years to come.