Residential Category , Tips

Basement Upgrades Guaranteed to Make Your Minnesota Winter Better

From basement media rooms and family game rooms to lower level kitchenettes, we’ve got basement design ideas to keep your whole family happy and cozy this winter.

Fall has officially arrived. Landscaping projects and exterior upgrades are slowly winding down. Chilly temps mean more time indoors, and it doesn’t take long for our homes to feel cramped. Especially this year, when remote work and distance learning mean even more time together. Luckily, most Minnesota homes have basements, with the possibility of adding hundreds of square feet of usable space. But if your basement is primarily storage space (no shame, you’re not alone!) that’s a lot of wasted potential. Today, we’re sharing our best basement remodel ideas to make the most of your home’s lower level. Keep reading for design inspiration to maximize your basement’s square footage and design a space where you love to spend time.

Basement Media Room

Enhance your home’s value by renovating the basementA lower level media room is a major win for families and sports fans everywhere. After a hiatus from many of our favorite pastimes, sports around the country are resuming. Even with social distancing guidelines and stadiums closed to fans, you can still create a great space to watch the game. In fact, because they’re typically darker and cozier than main floor living spaces, basements are often the best spot for TV viewing. But it’s important to plan your media room carefully. According to the home design experts at Houzz, that means:
  • Map out your sound system — Get a quality surround sound system without a mess of wires and cables.
  • Carve out space for tech — A nearby closet or custom built-ins can house media components to keep the visual clutter hidden and let the big screen shine.
  • Be selective with seating — Basements tend to accumulate leftover furniture, but a great family room needs ample, comfy seating for the whole family.
  • Consider the acoustics — Make sure you have enough soft surfaces to absorb sound and give the optimal sound quality.
  • Get the lighting just right — A lighting plan with dimmers or remotes allows you to create the perfect environment for TV viewing, snacking, and socializing.
And, for the ultimate movie theater experience at home, program everything to a universal remote. From sound and lighting to motorized window shades, you can control everything with the touch of a button.

Space for Work and Play

Is your dining room table feeling cramped with remote work and distance learning taking over? A basement office area could solve all of your problems. A truly functional home office requires more than just a desk and chair, so take a moment to assess your family’s needs for the space. Do you need:
  • More storage? Keep school and office supplies (not to mention board games and puzzles) corralled in nearby cabinetry.
  • Room for multiple people? A built-in desk for 2 or a round table with stools can provide space for families to work and play.
  • A flexible shared space? Not every home has room for a full home office. But with some careful design choices, you can create a functional workspace in another spot in your basement — like an underused guest room or corner of the family room.
A home office might be a temporary need, but that lower level room provides long-term value as an ideal space for crafts, puzzles, homework, or family game nights.

Keep it Cozy

Basements can be chilly. In a climate like Minnesota’s, it’s especially important to ensure that you’ve got adequate insulation and functioning windows to seal in the heat and keep out drafts of cold winter air. Another great way to create a cozy basement family room? Add a heat source. Some MN homes have basement fireplaces already in place, but homeowners shy away from using them because they’re outdated or it’s inconvenient to constantly haul firewood. If that’s the case, there are options to upgrade.  Reface an old style with tile or stone for a major style boost. You can even give the dated brick a facelift with a few coats of white paint. Want heat at the touch of a button? Convert your wood-burning fireplace to gas. Even without an existing fireplace in the lower level, you’ve got options. “Ventless” gas, gel, or electric fireplaces can all add to the ambiance of your basement family room for a fraction of the cost of traditional masonry. The cost of adding a fireplace to your basement varies from project to project, so get a custom quote from a professional.

Create a Gathering Space

Social gatherings might be smaller this year, but they can still be fun! Give people a place where they actually want to hang out by upgrading your basement. Some great lower level features to consider:
  • Built-in kitchenette — A great option for teens! Keep it stocked with soda and frozen pizzas to create a welcoming place for your kids and their friends. Or it doesn’t just need to be about the kids. Design a bar area for adults to escape to. 
  • A place to play — Got a large, open basement? Create a spot for air hockey, pool, or ping pong. These games are fun for all ages and encourage social time and a bit of physical activity. 
  • Video game heaven — A basement family room is the perfect spot for kids and adults alike to spend an afternoon gaming.
This fall and winter will likely have more time at home than years past. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it! These basement remodel ideas can give you and your family the space you need to enjoy winter together.

Is your basement less than ideal? Our Twin Cities design-build experts are here to help with your lower level renovation every step of the way. From interior design ideas to the final trim work, we’re here to transform your basement into your new favorite room of the house. Call today to get your basement ready for winter! 952-746-7817

Written by Scott Rajavuori on September 29, 2020