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A Blissful Basement: 5 Tips to Make Most of Your Basement Renovation


Casa Watkins Living


Many of us have had to stop and re-think how we can better utilize all the areas in our homes. Oftentimes, basements are underutilized spaces full of potential, however, they have become a common dumping ground for items we don’t readily need.


Whether you are needing some extra space to exercise or a home office for work, a space to keep the kids occupied, or even a room to try out a new hobby, your basement is a wonderful area to rework. Let us help you explore how to create a functional, unique and multipurpose extension for your home. We will also be sharing some of our recent basement renovations such as this feminine and welcoming space we designed for Deborah!


Deborah's Basement - By White Dahlia Design


Basement spaces can be tricky! Often they lack natural light, they can have awkward corners and nooks, low ceilings, as well as have structural poles and beams that are in the way. All of these elements pose a unique challenge for homeowners and designers alike. But don’t let this deter you! We have had the pleasure of working with our clients on numerous basement renovation projects that have exceeded their basement dreams. We believe your basement can be reworked and uplifted to best suit your needs and expand on that extra space you have hidden away in your house.


Follow along for our 5 pro tips we use to take your basement ideas to the next level.


1. A Flexible Layout that Grows with You and Your Family


What will you be doing 10-15 years from now? It’s not an easy question to answer, but it’s one that will help save you time and money in the long run! When making your list of must-haves for your renovation, also consider how your space will be used now, as well as how you will need it to adapt as you grow in the space. A great example of this is a recent basement reno we did for our client Joy, a great space for the kids and family with areas to enjoy by yourself or to gather and host.

Joy's Basement - By White Dahlia Design


A great way to create a space that adapts over time is to maintain a balance between designated spaces versus multipurpose spaces. Designated spaces can include areas such as home gyms, storage rooms, movie rooms, washrooms, guest rooms, and more. Alternatively, multi-functional space design requires creativity in design where we would use furniture and equipment that can be moved, extended, folded, or tucked away to achieve the same purposes as designated spaces. Your money investment matters, so take advantage of ways you can make the most impact through designing something that is functional, accessible comfortable, and organized.


Have a look at some of these great pieces that can help you create a multipurpose space!



2. Bringing the Natural Light In


If your basement has plenty of natural light then you are one of the lucky ones, soak up that sun! Unfortunately, the vast majority of residential basements have only a few small windows, so the lower level doesn’t receive much light, but as we know natural light is so beneficial for keeping our bodies in sync and healthy. So, when light is limited we always get creative in ways to brighten up those darker rooms, here are our tips!


  1. We recommend first and foremost sticking with a colour palette that is light and airy to keep the space feeling bright and open.

  2. Use mirrors when possible to reflect more light deeper into the space.

  3. An open concept is also a great way to help light flood into the spaces further from the windows, it will make it feel bigger as well!

  4. If you prefer a dark and moody vibe for your home theatre or maybe the bar, then utilize curtain partitions as well as source alternative decorative and task lighting that induce drama and sparkle.


Serina's Basement - By White Dahlia Design


For Serina's basement reno, we used a bright and airy colour scheme that allowed for light to travel and reflect on surfaces such as mirrors. The warmer tones were added through the use of wood and stone patterns for a more cozy feel.


3. Managing Clutter


A large portion of most people's basement is still aimed to hold lots of seasonal items and pieces we don't use all the time. That's why in one of our most recent designs for our clients Jon and Julia, storage solutions were provided for sports and workout equipment, seasonal decor and clothes, and everyday items such as pillows, board games, or throws. For their 2 young kids, we made sure there was ample storage for toys and books while keeping the multifunctional ready for entertaining or family time.

Jon & Julia's Basement - By White Dahlia Design


Some key items to keep your eye on:

  1. Try a storage bench or ottoman, a coffee table with shelves below, and of course, storage beds and storage sofas can be timeless and chic!

  2. Don’t forget the space underneath the stairs which can be a great location for a built-in storage solution, or choose a focal wall for a built-in media unit.

  3. For all those seasonal items and the things you don’t need as often, we always suggest a cool closet or shelving system that you can place bins, boxes, and carts. Remember, you can make organization aesthetic and fun!


Check out these fabulous storage pieces:


4. Managing Plumbing Costs


Although basements often have rough-in for washrooms, we find our clients normally like to add larger bathrooms, a laundry space, or even a wet bar for entertaining. These are all great ideas for a basement design, but relocating plumbing can be a large added cost to your project. A great way that we recommend to cut down costs is to be strategic in placing plumbing nearby to one another. Consider the existing plumbing on the main level, and take advantage if possible tying in below to what is above. Stacking the plumbing from floor to floor is sure to save some money on the renovation.

Pinterest My Domaine


5. A Cohesive Design Style


There are endless opportunities for a basement transformation. Always wanted a man cave? Need a rental apartment for passive income, or maybe you have all the equipment needed for a home gym but there's nowhere to put it!


These rooms for your basement transformation can be themed and have their own personality, however, we recommend for most spaces to keep your basement connected aesthetically to the rest of your home. You want this floor to reflect your personal style and keep the flow. If your new basement space is designated for a family room, a guest room, or an entertainment rec room, it's a great trick to keep with the colour scheme and same general furniture style as the rest of your home. This provides the opportunity to reuse furniture pieces you may already have. Mix and match and play around with them while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing flow.


Cherri's Basement - By White Dahlia Design


For the design of Cherri's and her husband's forever home basement, we created a space that took most of the advantage of the beautiful exterior views while displaying some of their favorite hobbies such as golfing, sewing, and hosting family reunions with their large family. They wanted a welcoming, bright and timeless aesthetic that was going to work now or 10 years in the future.


As always, we hope that your renovation journey is a fun one and that these tips and tricks can help ease the process and save you a bit of time and money along the way! There are so many amazing ways we can transform our dark and dreary basements into beautiful, blissful, multifunctional spaces for our ever-changing lives!


White Dahlia Design Team

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