I recently studied many pictures to figure out what made some basements look less like basements. Here’s my list:
1) Enough artwork: Bare walls accentuate that a room is a basement because there’s nothing else to catch the eye. We might not think to put artwork in the basement, but it really helps reduce the basement feel.
2) Finishes like the rest of your house: Repeat features from your house in your basement (i.e. glass knobs, glass pane doors). It creates continuity and makes the basement feel more like the house.
3) A couple nicer pieces of furniture: Basements tend to collect the hand-me-downs. That’s fine, but have a couple of attractive pieces. Maybe include a pretty headboard in the guest room or a nice entertainment cabinet.
4) Lighter paint colors: I think darker colors tend to accentuate low ceilings and a lack of natural light. Usually in rooms with less light, I’m an advocate for darker colors. But in basements, I generally like lighter colors.
5) Better ceiling height: Digging a basement is a big undertaking, but often not as difficult as anticipated. You can gain significant ceiling height. Stay tuned for a future post on digging basements.
6) Full size windows: If digging, consider creating full size windows. These add a lot of light, provide safe egress, and make it feel less like a basement.
If I can help you with your basement, let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org / 202-905-5369.