Make the most of your subterranean space with these basement conversion ideas!
Basements aren’t the most common home feature in the UK but there are lots of them about – but as with garages and lofts, they are often underutilised and just left as storage spaces or abandoned entirely! For those looking to create extra space in their homes without having to relocate or extend, a basement conversion can provide an excellent solution.
At Refresh Renovations, we’re often called upon to convert homeowner’s basements into tangible, usable spaces – but often find that people underestimate the scope of what can be achieved in these underground rooms. Consider the following… and let your imagination run wild!
No matter what your basement conversion design will entail, there are some design and construction regulations to consider for the safe and practical use of the new room. All basement conversions must have a set fire escape strategy to be implemented in the case of an emergency, as well as (perhaps the exact opposite!) a water-proofing system in case of heavy rainfall and/or flooding. Many basements don’t already have heating facilities installed and so either central or underfloor heating will need to investigated. The latter is often discounted as not possible so low in the structure but actually can make for an affordable option that doesn’t require too much time or effort – there are now lots of ‘easy-fit’ options available on the market.
Although some basement conversions can be completed under homeowners’ Permitted Development Rights, most Local Planning Authorities do now require a full Planning Permission application to be submitted and granted. This will require the intervention of specialists to ensure it is accepted without too much delay or fuss.
If you have neighbours close by to the property you’ll be converting the basement of, it’s good etiquette to notify them before works begin. Although you may not be directly impacting on them or their property, there are lots of horror stories out there about basement conversions ‘gone wrong’ and so letting them know early on your plans and that you’re working with an expert team of renovators will help reassure them of the project.
Renovation specialists will be able to advise on exactly what is most appropriate for your conversion project as well as what is achievable.
If there’s an outdoor space directly outside where the basement is, consider digging down from it to create a sloped green space that enters into the new room. Providing that the garden is already sloped or at a low level, a ramp or steps can be constructed to create a new entrance. This is also a fantastic way to draw natural light into the basement (a feature often lacking in underground spaces) and opens up the room with large or French doors.
If you’re able to have steps or an entrance to the basement from another room, do so, and keep things as open-plan in design as possible. This helps create the feeling of openness and space even where it doesn’t necessarily feature heavily and allows for a multi-function, multi-purpose area. Consider flowing the interior design theme through from the main room to the basement for a cohesive aesthetic that feels connected and curated.
Basement conversions are often made into bedrooms or living rooms or storage spaces by default, but moving your kitchen downstairs can have many benefits. Period properties in particular have often been constructed with small, galley-style kitchens that are short on space, so a basement kitchen can open up the possibilities for cooking and dining in a way otherwise unachievable. Stark white walls contrasting with large bold tiles or even a dark kitchen island helps draw a feeling of light into the (often otherwise entirely unlit) room and plenty of countertop space will help facilitate plenty of family dining.
If you’re looking to create more than one room with your basement conversion, it can often be fairly easily split – but through the use of glass walls rather than further darkening the space with standard bricks-and-mortar. Large mirrors can also be used to reflect light around the new rooms and make for a fantastically contemporary interior design style.
If you’ve already got a functional living room that you enjoy there may be no need to create a new one through your basement conversion, but why not make a sanctuary space for you to relax? Although we’d all like to think our lounges were our place to just ‘veg out’, in reality that’s not quite the case and they often end up as hustling bustling central hubs of the home. Using a basement conversion to create an adults-only living room can make for a quiet haven of tranquility – no cbeebies or kid’s toys allowed!
The coolest urban bars and restaurants are often in underground spaces and your home need not be different; why not use your basement conversion to make your own social space? An underground dining room or bar area can create a social space that feels removed from the personal areas of the rest of the house – and there may even be room enough for a toilet down there too so guests can be kept only in the one space without disrupting elsewhere.
You’re having your basement converted, but you don’t need to tell the world about it. Why not conceal the entrance to your new living space with what looks like a cupboard or closed door so that only those invited know it exists at all? This is a great way to introduce an element of fun and surprise to your new room and ensures unwanted visitors don’t just pop by. It can work for just about any room but is popular with ‘man caves’, game rooms and hidden annex bedrooms.
Pack away your storage units and open your eyes to the opportunities a basement conversion can present – then get planning!
For help and advise on your basement conversion project, get in touch today for a free no obligation talk with the team!
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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.