A question that I get asked frequently by basement clients and students is “How would you design mybasement?” and I always start the conversation with the same two questions…”well that all depends on:
- What you want to use the new finished spaces for, and
- How much money do you have to spend on your project” This is where the whole design process starts.
Once you clearly know why your finishing your basement in the first place, and how much money you have to spend on the basement project, you can begin to hash-out the best design to fit your needs. What do you want down there? What is it that you are missing upstairs that you want to see materialize down stairs? I call these areas the new basement “Zones”, and there are a bunch of common Zones that we deal with all the time. The most popular finished basement Zones are (in no particular order):
Most Popular Finished Basement Areas:
- Home Theater
- Game area
- Home Gym
- Home Office
- Bar Area
- Laundry Room
- Closet Space
This list round’s-out the most requested areas that homeowners are looking to add to their home when finishing-off the basement. So you need to determine what Zones you want first, and don’t be bashful, let it all hang-out baby! Put it all in there. I call this creating your “Wish List”.
This is the list of everything you wish you could have in the new finished basement space if you could have everything and anything at all down there with an unlimited budget.
Once You have your Wish List you can begin to design the new space to accommodate the list. Now, unfortunately everything on your wish list may not fit in the available space you have to work with in the basement, the space may be to small. And, even if you have the space, you might not be able to afford everything on your wish list.
Your Finished Basement Budget
Your budget needs to be set as well. You need to know what your “bottom line” is to create the new space because this will effect the design as well.
Obviously some Zones will cost more than others . For instance, adding a bedroom is just 4 walls, a few outlets and switches, and a closet. A Bathroom is 4 walls, a vanity, a vanity top, a faucet, a shower unit,
a shower faucet, a vanity light, a light/fan unit, bath accessories, etc.. The bathroom will cost you an extra $2,500.00 or so more than a bedroom.
A sit-down Wet Bar will cost you $5,000.00 to $7,500.00+ more than a bedroom! So it’s important to decide on a realistic dollar amount for the total project before you even begin your design, this way you won’t waste your time redesigning the project 3 or 4 times until you get it right.
So it’s…what do I want to see down there, and, what can I afford to do down there. You need the answers to both questions before you can really begin the design process.
Working Around Basement Design Obstacles
OK, so you know what Zones you want, you have a budget to work with, so it’s now time to examine the basement space your dealing with and begin to identify the “obstacles” you will be dealing with down there.
I’m talking about the nasty “stuff” that’s in your way down there! Basements have lot’s of obstacles that we have to “design around”. The most typical obstacles include:
- Support columns
- Water Heater
- Water Main
- Well Equipment
- Sump Pumps Pit
- Electric Panel Box
What you have to do is devise a floor plan that will incorporate your new finished basement “Zones” and eliminate all of the obstacles at the same time…this is sometimes easier said than done. But, there is ALWAYS A WAY TO DESIGN AROUND IT ALL!!
I know this first-hand, I’ve had to do this a few thousand times for my clients over the years. There is always a floor plan that will work, a plan that will incorporate all of your new Zones and hide all of the nasty obstacles at the same time!
Take your time and Design! Get it right, don’t rush it. You have to live with the results! It’s time to put your design cap on.
THIS VIDEO WILL HELP YOU HIDE OBSTACLES WHEN DESIGNING.
Good luck with your basement design. I’m always here if you have any questions about your basement project!