Finished Basement: 3 Fun Ways to Use Your Home’s Space

Finished Basement: 3 Fun Ways to Use Your Home’s Space

So you went ahead and finished your basement! Or maybe your new home has a completely finished basement and you’re so excited to start using the extra space. With all that extra space, you may be a bit overwhelmed with how to use it. The go-to for most homeowners is an extra family room or TV room, which is great but do you really need another room with the same function as the one on the main floor? 

finished basement
Image via Irish Custom Homes

Basements are an amazing opportunity to create a space that is unique to your home, interests and family. Many homeowners see the potential their basement space has but often do not utilize it to its full potential. As an interior designer, we are able to visualize and conceptualize barren/lifeless spaces into unbelievable and exciting rooms in our clients’ homes. 

Here are my favorite finished basement ideas for anyone who has the space but needs some inspiration!

A Family Game Room!

First, why not transform it into a game room?! Who doesn’t love game night? Game rooms are the perfect space to have family and friend gatherings, throw parties, or hang out during rainy evenings. When I am designing a game space for my clients’, there are several things I consider. 

One of the most important aspects of designing a game room is having adequate storage. Board games, puzzles, and toys can get messy, so having a dedicated storage area for them is a necessity. I like to use built-in cabinets to give a polished look. Keeping it organized helps make life easy but if you can’t do that, cabinet doors are great to hide a mess!

basement storage
Image via Housely

There are a lot of great options for arcade games or billiard games. Pool tables can be expensive but they are a fun and engaging way to spend rainy days. You can also think about incorporating air hockey, fuse balls or pin-ball machines into your game room. My personal favorite is a ping-pong table! There are a lot of options for fun activities in your basement game room and depending on your budget you may be able to incorporate several different games into the space. 

basement billiards table.
Billiards Tables are a great addition to a family game room.

Seating is a key design element of a finished basement game room.

You’ll definitely want some comfy spaces to lounge around and large enough tables to spread out puzzles or games. Bean bags and lower sofas are my favorite options because they allow you to get up close and personal with your opponents! Think about using a mix of different seating options so everyone invited to game night can participate and be comfortable. 

Your Own Exclusive Speakeasy

Have you thought about turning your finished basement into an ‘adults-only’ getaway! Can you say, ‘at-home bar’? I love transforming basements into secret speakeasies for my clients’. They are the perfect space to throw parties and enjoy your friends and family without ever leaving home. Going out to bars is often an expensive and tiring adventure, so why not just transform your basement into your dream bar. Stock up on your favorite beverages and snacks to get the party started!

basement bar
Image via Lucky Belly

One of my favorite must-haves for a finished basement bar space is built-ins.

Built-ins are a great way to maximize space and storage while also adding a unique design element to the space. Investing in quality and properly fitting built-ins makes all the difference over time. I recommend working with your interior designer to ensure that built-ins make sense in your space and blend seamlessly into your bar. 

Many of my clients have beautiful glassware and china-sets that sit in boxes for years, never being used. Take this opportunity to display your unique collection on those gorgeous built-ins. You can also take a trip to your local thrift store to find some unique vintage glassware – this is a great way to add character to your at-home bar. Your interior designer is also extremely talented at sourcing unique vintage pieces that bring an elevated look to your home bar! Try displaying a variety of shapes, sizes and colors of glassware. 

variety of glassware
A variety of glassware adds interest and dimension to your bar.

A great music system, some funky lighting and a few barstools will easily make your basement the hottest spot in town. If you want to go old-school, try incorporating a vintage jukebox or record player. 

Finished Basement Workshops!

Another great option for a finished basement is a workshop or studio. We all have our own unique hobbies and most often, they require an extra dedicated work space to be completed. Whether you’re an avid mountain biker or a passionate artist, a dedicated basement space is perfect for you to transform into your own sanctuary. No matter your hobby, there are a few essentials for your basement workspace. 

basement workshop
Image via Closet Works

First off, I recommend having a mini-refrigerator and snack bar for when you need a break from whatever you’re working on. Even a small espresso/tea machine would work in this space, and be perfect for cooler days. If you don’t want to splurge on expensive appliances, Facebook marketplace is a great place to find used appliances that work perfectly for basement workshops. You can also check out your local thrift store to find vintage mugs, plates, and bowls. 

Lighting is especially important for a finished basement workshop.

Usually basements don’t have a lot of natural lighting so using recessed lighting, lamps, and task lighting is extremely important for your home studio. Be sure to use a variety of different light fixtures in the space. Having your lights on dimmers will allow you to adjust lighting to whatever you’re working on. 

basement art studio
Image via HGTV

Check out this blog post: Layering Using Ambient Lighting, for great lighting tips and tricks.

Lastly, I love to include a comfy seating area or lounge area in my clients’ workshops. In my experience, we often get so wrapped up in our hobbies that we forget to take a break. Having a dedicated space to rest for 15 minutes and have that cup of tea is a great way to take a breather and come back to your task even more focused. Try using a high-performance fabric in this space so whichever piece of furniture you use, it is easy to clean, soil/stain resistant and doesn’t allow for mold/mildew build-up. Crypton and Sunbrella are both great options that add longevity and durability to your high-use furniture. 

Basements are a fantastic opportunity to go ‘wild’!

Since they usually are not part of the main floor flow and design, there is a lot of room to try out-of-the-box design choices that don’t fit with the aesthetic of your upstairs space. Making a unique space like a game-room or at-home bar can really take your home to the next level; it may become your favorite room in your home! If you have a larger basement with multiple rooms, you can even incorporate multiple design ideas into your space.

No matter what you decide to transform your basement into, just remember these three important design tips:

  1. Think about lighting! Basements are dark and don’t allow in much natural light. Use a variety of different lighting sources to maximize the whole space. 
  2. Think about using a carpeted or a large area rug in the space. Since basements sit on the foundation of your home, the ground tends to be colder, which can be uncomfortable during winter months. Including a soft and warm carpet, makes a basement enjoyable year-round. Use synthetic fibers for the best results; they are great at resisting mildew/moisture build-up. If you don’t like carpets, think about using vinyl flooring options; they are durable and easy to replace in case of any water damage. 
  3. Be smart with storage! No matter what you decide to transform your basement into, always look for more ways to seamlessly add storage. Built-ins, under-counter, closets are all great ways of adding storage without losing your design aesthetic. With any family, there can never be enough storage space so don’t worry about going crazy with additional storage. 
Image via Houzz

Get Creative! Be Inspired! Take Design Risks!

I hope these basement ideas inspire you to create your own basement sanctuary. Be creative and don’t be afraid to take design risks. Basements are the perfect canvas to allow your creativity to flourish. Most importantly, they are a great space to bring friends, family and ideas together!

At Walden Interiors we love designing unique and fun spaces for our clients. If you were inspired by this blog post, we would love to see your finished basement! Tag @waldeninteriors on Instagram!

Interested in a basement design of your own but need help? Book at Discovery Call with Walden Interiors to get started on your dream basement today!

Comments (3)
  • Elaina D'Agostino
    | 10 June 2023

    I loved it when you said we can turn the basement into a game room or an at-home bar. Both of these are really good options because my dad loves to play games and also drink with his friends. Though we really have to make the basement livable if we want to turn it into a place where we can have people. Maybe adding a bathroom is also a good idea.

  • Loft Boarding
    | 14 February 2024

    Thanks for the great post on finished basements! I really enjoyed reading about the different ways to use the space. I especially liked the idea of using a speakeasy as a design inspiration. It sounds like a lot of fun! I also agree with your tips on using multiple light sources, area rugs, and built-in storage. These can really help to make a finished basement feel more inviting and comfortable. One question I have is about the cost of finishing a basement. Do you have any tips for keeping costs down? Thanks again for the great post! I hope this is helpful!

    • Dyami Jasdanwala
      | 15 February 2024

      Hi! So glad you found this blog helpful! There are so many unique ways you can utilize the space in your basement. One thing to keep in mind to keep costs down is, it doesn’t have to been done all at once. Do it in parts and take note if there are steps that you can do on your own, i.e. painting. Also when you get to the furniture/decor step – head to your local vintage/thrift shops. There are so many great finds. Basements are not usually a highly trafficked room like the kitchen, so it can be done in steps to help keep costs down.

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