Perhaps because we spend more time inside than others during our long winters, we Minnesotans tend to appreciate our cozy basements and the added living space they provide.

Of course, turning your lower level into extra living space for your family can also significantly boost your home’s value. In fact, the average ROI of such a project (including a finished main room and bathroom) comes in at 70 percent.

“Although finished basements don’t typically count when calculating the square footage of the home for resale purposes, prospective buyers love to see a finished basement,” observes Erin Eberlin on “An otherwise dark and dreary space can be transformed into a recreation area, kids play area, organized storage space or a little retreat for visiting guests. It’s an unexpected pleasant bonus to buyers.”

With that in mind, here are 9 design ideas for creating fun and functional entertaining space in your lower level.

  1. Breaking up the floor plan with too many interior walls may mean sacrificing the sense of openness. Decide early what kind of entertaining will provide you the most enjoyment and functionality so you can optimize your layout accordingly. Would you get the most use out of a wet bar? Game room? Home theater? Traditional family room? Guest bedroom suite? Man cave? Kids’ play area? Or perhaps a combination?
  2. Because your basement is somewhat distinct from the rest of your home, you can deviate from upstairs decor without the effect being overly jarring. If you want to express yourself through wild colors, avant-garde decor, unusual art or a very specific theme, your basement may be the place to do that.
  3. Place bedrooms on the perimeter of your layout so they can have the necessary egress windows.
  4. Locate areas for mingling with the most natural light, saving interior spaces for storage space, media viewing, mechanical equipment, etc.
  5. Your goal should be to make the space just as welcoming and appealing as the other levels of your house, eliminating the sense of being below-ground. Solutions include ample, well-designed lighting schemes; use of quality materials and finishes; and mechanical equipment that keeps the space dry, warm and comfortable. And don’t forget to make your staircase just as inviting as the rooms themselves.
  6. Add soundproofing to your ceiling so loud noises and conversation don’t bother upstairs occupants.
  7. Your home theater might feature one or two big-screen TVs or even a projector-and-screen combo surrounded by lots of comfortable seating — perhaps something that converts into a bed for overnight guests. You might also arrange seats in tiers, position refrigerators and snack storage nearby and decorate with old movie posters or sports memorabilia.
  8. Your activities of choice in a new game room might include video games, vintage arcade games, pool, poker, ping pong, darts, air hockey, video games, foosball, bowling or any number of other options. The H2O-inclined sometimes install indoor swimming pools or hot tubs. Whatever you choose, be sure participants have enough room to maneuver and that wiring, insulation, HVAC systems, and your wireless network all provide the necessary capacity.
  9. Your new wet bar may incorporate room for preparing and storing multiple drinks and snacks. Options include a traditional counter-and-stool setup, bar-side tables, mood lighting, a sound system for music, a wine cellar area, a behind-the-bar TV, etc.

In short, you can think of your basement as a fresh slate when it comes to creating the entertainment area of your dreams. Talk to the specialists at Titus Contracting (952-746-7817) to learn more about making optimal use of your valuable lower-level space.