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Create a Multifunctional Living Space

Lower levels can be a small room or take up an entire floor of your home. There are plenty of options when it comes to using the space effectively. Maximizing efficiency also means getting the most out of the room, which could mean creating functional storage for seldom- used decorations or adding a fun family space a craft areas or theater room.

“It’s important to think about what you need from the room, do you want to have a comfortable guest room, kick back with friends, or create the ultimate kids play room,” said Polly Timmer, of Polly Timmer Design. “Once you know the functional elements, then you can decide the finishes and feel that you want to achieve in your new rooms.”

The lower level, can often be a more challenging space to remodel because it’s often an unfinished room. Regardless of how much light and how difficult your space may be, with some creativity you can create a room that you will look forward to spending time in.

Decide What Layout Works Best

First you will want to figure out how you intend to use the space and the establish a budget. Once that is done you can determine a floor plan. If you want to create a guest or exercise room then you probably also want to add a bathroom and will need to plan accordingly. Think through the cabinetry and storage space. Do you need a kitchenette and appliances? If your space is large, you can divide it into several areas that serve different purposes. If it’s small, you can still use it for multiple functions with proper planning it can be a very functional space.

Use Neutrals

“Strong and bold colors catch the eye by adding drama, but they also make a space look and feel smaller.” says Polly Timmer. “Using them in your lower level may make the ceilings seem lower and the walls feel like they’re closing in. Instead rely on light neutral colors like gray, taupe and white that make the space feel more expansive. “Good neutral furniture will work through many style changes and last for years. Add color and character in your accessories and linens, such as throw pillows, curtains, rugs and vases.”

Choose Open Concept

If your lower level is on the smaller side, keep the area open by avoiding adding walls. Define different spaces or zones by using color and decor so your area can serve multiple purposes well. For example, one half of your lower level can become an adult relaxation area if anchored by a comfortable sectional, a large area rug, and lighting with dimmer switches. The other half can be a craft area with a large and sturdy table, storage shelves and brighter task lighting.

See the Light

Lower level windows are often smaller than elsewhere in the house because the space is either partially or totally underground. Lighting will not only make the room feel bigger, but the bright light will make up for the lack of windows. Recessed lighting saves room though you may not have the ceiling space (or budget) to accommodate it. Instead, use wall sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps. To reflect light, hang mirrors strategically in the room. To reflect light, hang mirrors strategically in the room.

Create Storage Solutions

You may want your new rooms to serve multiple purposes, but don’t forget the storage.  Incorporate shelves and cabinets and make sure storage units go from the floor to the ceiling to ensure you’re getting the most out of your space. “There are lots of furniture options that will serve double- duty, such as ottomans with a hidden compartment or side tables with drawers, continued Polly. “Using these creative pieces of furniture will allow you to store everything you currently have in a fun and functional way.”

Devote one end of your basement to general storage by hiding that area with a floor-to-ceiling wall covering in the same color as the surrounding walls.

If you can’t seem to visualize what your space can be, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional.  The HBA of Greater Grand Rapids has many interior designers that will take that under used space and turn it into something you can be proud of.  To find interior designers visit start-here/membership-directory/.