Lower Level Living.

A finished basement’s lifecycle can span that of a family’s. This “bonus room” in a home is ripe for redevelopment at every new phase of a family’s life. If you’re lucky enough to have a finished basement or one that can be finished, you can expand your household’s entertaining, hobby, and hosting square footage and open up new prospects on how your family uses your house.

When moving into a new home with a refurbished basement, or one that can be refurbished, it’s important to think about the lifespan of the space. The most important early updates you can make to the space– ones that will serve you throughout the lifetime of the space– would be to consider adding a bathroom, a laundry unit, and some sort of kitchenette. Every iteration of the space that you could conceive of would benefit from having those two features installed, whether it’s a childrens’ playroom with space for storing drinks and snacks or a living space for older relatives who would appreciate having a food storage and prep space outside of the family kitchen. 

For a newly married couple with no children yet…

A finished basement is the ideal space for setting up a home gym. Give up those expensive gym memberships that require you to commute, and start working out in the privacy of your own home. You can work out together or separately. Choose a couple of high-quality gym equipment pieces and install them in the place, but don’t forget that there are fantastic options for workouts available online. A large-screen TV with internet access can lead you to Pilates, yoga, and other exercise options available streaming online, and of course that TV will see other lives in other iterations of the space. The bathroom, preferably with a shower, coupled with the laundry unit, will keep you and your workout gear clean before even entering the main house. 

Another option for childfree couples is to turn your finished basement into an entertainment space. That great big TV can turn the space into a movie theater or a place to watch sports with you and your friends. The kitchenette can double as a bar. The refrigerator can be used to store beer and mixers or you can even invest in a separate kegerator to dispense your favorite brewery’s beer. Wine fridges are getting cheaper every year as they become more and more ubiquitous. You might want to invest in a small dishwasher, to wash glasses and mugs. 

Comfy seating and some bistro seating is key to a great entertainment experience. 

For a family with young children…

A finished basement is so wonderful when you don’t have the upstairs space to have a designated playroom for young children. Depending on the size of your basement, you may have space for toy boxes, a doll house, a small indoor jungle gym, or a mini-trampoline. Closets can be installed to keep games and toys organized. The kitchenette area can be stocked with snacks and drinks that, depending on your kids’ ages, they can access themselves. No having to trek upstairs to the bathroom, if you have a bathroom in your basement. What a relief!

For a family with teen kids…

A lot of the things that applied to creating an entertainment space for adults before you had kids can apply to an entertainment space when you have teens. Every parent wants to know their kids’ friends, and what better way than creating a space in your home where your children can have friends over for movies or games or even just homework? You already have your kitchenette which can be stocked with snacks and soft drinks or other drinks for your teens and their friends. That big screen TV can show movies or binge-worthy TV shows. When I was a teen (I’m dating myself here), my friend Jacquie’s family hosted four of us every Friday night so we could watch “Twin Peaks” together in their basement, and those nights are some of the best memories of my high school career. 

Kids these days are involved in so many sports, arts, and hobbies. Your basement is the perfect place to corral all of the equipment, supplies, and space needed for those endeavors. Your basement can serve as practice space for arts like dance or rehearsal space for theater. Perfect for studio space for visual arts. There could be conditioning equipment for teens involved in sports, not to mention storage space for all their gear. 

For a family whose kids are out of the house…

Go back to the options that were available to you before you had kids. Gym. Bar. Entertainment space. End stop. Reclaim that space, friends. 

Lastly, your basement is a great place to provide space for your elderly relatives…

It’s hard to think about, I know. But at some point your elderly relatives might either need to be housed in assisted living or be taken care of by a relative. And that might be you. What better place to share with them than a beautifully appointed finished basement? If you’ve transitioned that space from “before kids” to now, you’re already so ready to host those relatives. You have a dedicated bathroom and a functioning kitchen space where your parents or in-laws can make coffee, make breakfast, or even cook a meal now and then. Turning the basement space into an apartment can keep your aging relatives close to your family, give them the safety that they need, and also give them some level of freedom and independence.

Your basement, when finished, can grow with you as you grow and change as a family. From childfree life to taking care of elderly family members, your finished basement could be the lifeblood of your family’s home. 

This basement represents one of the three 2023 Home Builders Association of Kentucky Design & we earned (this one for Remodel Basement Finish).