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Decorating a basement is an idea that strikes fear into the heart of many an interior designer. Basements generally suffer from a variety of factors that make them hard to turn into anything but an excellent place for storage. Nevertheless, it is possible to make a usable, comfortable room out of most basements, and is a great way to increase floor space of a home without building an addition.
One of the biggest problems when decorating a basement is a lack of natural light. Most basements are below ground level and have few or no windows to let in sunshine. The first step to decorating a basement is increasing light level and taking advantage of any natural light the room does allow. Floor lamps and ceiling fixtures can add a lot of light to a basement, but the effect can be greatly magnified by strategically placing mirrors that bounce even more light around the room.
Now that the basement is visible, the next step may be removing the strange, stale, basement-ish smell that pervades these underground dens. Many basements do not have ventilation, thanks to a lack of windows and separation from the main living section of the house. Try adding fans and a portable air filter to make the room less reminiscent of a scary movie.
Flooring is important to decorating a basement. If flooding is a concern, spring for movable area rugs rather than carpeting. Most basements have simple concrete floors that will destroy the look of any decorating project if left visible. Adding beautiful carpets in warm, plush colors will enhance the coziness of the room, while choosing neutral shades can help the room feel cooler and larger.
Turn disadvantages into advantages when decorating a basement. While the lack of natural light probably means the room can't be turned into a sunny conservatory, the dark and snug feeling of a basement does make a perfect place for a warm winter family retreat, cozy speakeasy, or meditation room. Think of decor styles that fit the confines of the space; ski lodges are often dark, colorful, and warm, urban lofts take advantage of industrial fittings and blank spaces.
Decorating a basement can be a wonderful family project. Children rarely get much say about the decor and furnishing of the main house, but remodeling a basement can give them a chance to add insight and help with the decorating. Make it a family priority to work on the basement one day a week throughout summer, with the promise of a brand-new game room or home theater for the chilly winter months. When the basement is done, throw a family party to celebrate the achievement.
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