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Basement Tips with a Side of Inspiration

With spring fast approaching, You and Your Decor and our architectural staff are getting a multitude of phone calls.  A great number of Chicago area from homeowners are looking to capitalize on that underused space in the basement. We are scheduling basement projects that range from furnishing and styling an already finished space to full blown renovations.

I wanted to give everyone some basics tips and completed photos from Candice Olson for added inspiration!

  1. Give the illusion of a bigger, better, more interesting window. One of my pet peeves are under or untreated windows in a basement. The goal with a basement window is usually to expand it length wise, and make it look less like an escape window!

  2.  Lighting is huge! With basements giving off a natural feeling of drab, lighting becomes more important than ever. A good designer will allocate a nice amount of attention to the lighting scheme. The use of several types (general, task, accent) should be used.

  1. Carry the finishes down, i.e.: woods, tiling and trim work. Unless you have a theme basement in mind, I recommend homeowners using the same finishes that they have upstairs as they do downstairs. This creates continuity. 

  2. Identify the basement's function first. Make sure you have a good idea of what you want the basement to mean to the family. This space in your home is a true representation of what your family enjoys and their hobbies. Create a list of what the space will be used for. 

  1. Choose your flooring wisely. When choosing the flooring, you first have to go back and firm up the basements function.  Consider the spaces moisture, pets that live in the home and the anticipated traffic down there. I personally prefer to do a mix of a rustic cork floor or a laminate, a short looped/high traffic carpet, and ceramic tile in the basements we design.

  2.  Don’t forget to accessorize. So many homeowners often feel as if they have crossed the finish line in the basement with flooring, drywall and a leather sofa. The story of that space is not complete without personalizing the space. Accessorizing is important because it tells the story of the family that lives in the space. As mentioned above, personalization is key in a basement. 

Overwhelmed and can’t figure out where to begin? Call a designer.

Here’s a design tip from Candice Olson: Before you hire a designer, find out what you like. “It’s not uncommon for people to be unable to articulate what their style is. Create a scrapbook or binder full of magazine clippings, fabrics and photos of designs that catch your eye. A homeowner who has done their homework really helps a designer.”

Many Blessings!

Your Chicago Interior Designer and Stylist

Tiffany Brooks



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