When you set out to convert a basement into usable living space, you can anticipate a number of challenges. Low ceilings and small or nonexistent windows can make the room feel cramped and dark. Basement poles, a necessary eyesore, threaten to clutter or obstruct the floor plan. Although basement poles seem to be hindrances, they can actually help focus the room's design and serve as starting points for furniture arrangements.
Your home's construction determines the placement of the poles in your basement. Although their position may seem at odds with the vision you have for your basement room, the poles provide essential support for the upper levels of your home and usually cannot be removed. The first step in dealing with basement poles is to paint them or conceal them with column covers so they complement the room's decor. If you choose to use the poles as freestanding architectural elements, plan the room so the traffic pattern flows around them naturally.
A basement room provides a cozy spot for socializing and watching movies. Before choosing the location of your big-screen television, consider how the position of the basement's poles affects the room's field of vision. Since poles are likely positioned toward the center of the basement, you can use them to anchor an L- or U-shaped seating area. Arrange two pieces of a sectional perpendicularly, using a pole as a vertex. Add other sofas and chairs to the seating arrangement, angling the pieces around other poles as necessary. Place the television on the wall in front of the grouping, clear of any poles.
Raising the Bar
If your basement plan includes space for entertaining, elevate the design by creating a mini bistro around an awkward pole. Paint the pole to match the basement room's color scheme and arrange an assortment of small cafe or pub tables around it. Wrap the pole with twinkle lights to further incorporate the pole into the design and give the space a warm glow. More sophisticated than a traditional basement bar, this arrangement provides an intimate setting for small dinner parties and conversations over cocktails.
Pole to Pole
In an unfinished basement, boxes and bins are acceptable storage containers. But if you've invested time and money to make your basement into a comfortable living space, you'd probably prefer a storage solution with more panache. To create a storage unit that also functions as a room divider, arrange bookcases purchased from a home-goods store between two basement poles. Position the bookcases side-by-side between the poles and fill them with games and toys, creating a designated play space. If you'd like to get even more function from the storage unit, position another set of bookcases back-to-back with the first set. Painted or concealed with wood covers, the support poles look like they're part of a custom storage unit.
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