With the recent economic struggles, people have begun to downsize, forcing them to better utilize smaller spaces and taking away some of the extra storage space that people once had. This trend affects every room in the home, including areas like the basement, which have often served as extra storage spaces themselves. However, many of the same decorating tricks that have been used to visually expand and show a small space in its best light can be used in the basement with much success.
The basement serves a number of functions, including as an extra room for extra storage. However, space planning will help you make the best advantage of your basement space by making you think ahead about how you'd like to use the space available. If the basement is to serve as your entertainment/ craft area, you'll want to set it up in such a way so that these tasks can be fully enjoyed without using up too much space.
Wall Color and Reflective Surfaces
Often decorators employ fool-the-eye tricks in small spaces to make them appear larger. A favorite trick among decorating professionals is the use of light-colored paint and reflective surfaces like mirrors. These tricks help a basement in a couple of ways. First of all, they lighten the basement, which very often because of its location in the home, gets quite dark. Second, they augment the light that's already in a space, and third, the light-colored paint prevents the light from getting soaked up into the dark walls. In addition to painting the walls colors like eggshell or butter yellow, you can create a gallery of mirrors. Look for mirrors with interesting frames and of different decorative styles. Hang them on a wall opposite a light source like a task lamp or track lights.
Proportion and Clutter
Conventional decorating wisdom says that the size of the furniture should be proportionate to the room. However, Jennifer Jackson writes on the "House Beautiful" website that one key large piece works better in a small space than lots of little ones. This piece becomes a statement piece. In the basement, it could be your entertainment center, the sectional couch or a game area. Any other pieces in the room should be smaller. Try to avoid unnecessary pieces. Additionally, clutter instantly makes a small space feel smaller. This includes clutter like magazines or video game boxes all over the floor as well as decorative knick knacks.
One of the simplest space tricks to implement is to fill the small basement space with double-duty furniture. These all-in-one pieces allow you to use the piece for more than just one purpose, thus saving space. Some excellent ones to try in a small basement would be a sleeper sofa for when guests come to stay, an ottoman with a storage compartment to hold magazines or knitting supplies or benches with storage compartments to stow away the kids' toys.
- Builder Online: Not a Permanent Trend
- National Association of Home Builders
- House Beautiful: 5 Tips for Designing Small Spaces; Jennifer Jackson
- House Beautiful: Designer Tips: What's Your Favorite Trick for Decorating a Small Space?; Mimi Read
- House Beautiful: Studio Apartment Tips
- Country Living: Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces
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