It may be because we spend more months of the year indoors, but we Minnesotans apparently like our finished basements more than many other Americans.

A City-Data survey shows about 40% of Minnesota homes boast the cozy and functional lower-level spaces, compared to an average 9% of homes nationwide. And that’s a good thing for residents of the North Star State, in terms of functionality and resale value. Not only do finished basements provide excellent space for entertaining, pursuing hobbies and/or relaxing, but renovating your basement typically produces a return on investment of 70 to 75% upon resale, according to

“In areas where square footage commands a premium and people are always looking for more space, a finished basement could be a plus for sellers,” advises Cynthia Myers on “You may want to finish yours to appeal to the largest number of potential purchasers.”

With that in mind, here are some great ideas for turning your basement into a fun haven for entertaining guests.

1) Lights! Camera! Action! The key elements for a marvelous media room are one or multiple TV screens (or possibly a projector and movie screen) surrounded by a wealth of comfortable seating. Depending on your entertaining plans, you might choose a traditional sectional or opt for the newer (and ultra-comfortable) recliner-style stadium seats. Want even more authenticity? Seek vintage movie theater seats that can be installed in tiers. Consult a home theater expert or audio/video retailer for advice about speaker and screen placement, and consider insulating both interior and exterior walls as soundproofing.

2) Get your game room on. Depending on your competition of choice, your basement could become a giant playroom for enjoying pool, poker, ping pong, darts, air hockey, video games, arcade games, foosball, bowling or other options. If the space will be heavy on electronics, pay special attention to safe wiring and effective insulation and HVAC systems, which will be needed to ward off moisture and overheating. If you’re into online gaming, don’t forget a dedicated wireless network to enable optimal internet speed. Note that extra layers of insulating foam, drywall and/or acoustic panels can help absorb sound that may impact your home’s other occupants. Since many guests may be standing, you’ll want to do everything possible (such as choosing recessed lighting) to optimize ceiling height. And of course, you’ll want to offer comfortable seating for spectators.

3) Belly up to your own bar (or wine cellar). Consider a full wet bar setup that allows you to serve, clean up and store snacks and beverages all in one convenient locale. Other key elements could be mood lighting, comfortable barstools, and perhaps a behind-the-bar TV screen. You may wish to go with an English pub theme, a sports bar theme, a futuristic theme or a vintage theme, choosing materials and décor accordingly. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you might opt for sturdy built-in racking enhanced with attractive trim, or perhaps even a separate storage room with a decorative glass door. Either way, your new layout and furnishing should ensure your wine is kept at an optimal 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

When you’re renovating your basement to create more entertaining opportunities, you’re only limited by your budget and your imagination. Talk to the specialists at Titus Contracting to learn more about making optimal use of your valuable lower-level space.