Making the most of your basement on a budget

A well-designed basement is an asset in any home, offering extra space for relaxing, entertaining and working while enhancing the overall value. For too many families, though, the basement becomes a cluttered corner for storage. 

The owners of this room were determined to reclaim the neglected space. Lacking the budget for a complete renovation, they enlisted designers Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander to steer them through a highly targeted strategy for where to save and where to spend.

The entire room, including the stone fireplace and 60s-era wood paneling, were painted over with CIL’s Fine Silver, a subtle grey. It was an effective yet inexpensive fix.
At the designers’ suggestion, ancient (and stingily placed) lighting fixtures were replaced with a generous number of dimmable LED pot lights, while acoustical tiles on the ceiling were switched out with drywall. Initially reluctant to spend on these changes, the homeowner came to see them as the most effective upgrades to the overall look and feel of the room. 
A plug-in electric fireplace from Dimplex turned a non-functioning chimney into an affordable, realistic looking fire feature that warms the room in winter months.
Luxury vinyl tiles used on the floor really made the room. Although pricier than lower end vinyl, luxury vinyl is a great choice for a basement. Extremely durable, it comes in a variety of plank sizes and offers loads of wood and stone patterns, the latter of which can be made to look even more realistic with grout strips. Here, Sindon — from Karndean Design Flooring’s DaVinci line —created a sophisticated and easy-care surface inspired by the feel and texture of linen and concrete. Adventurous types might have added decorative edges or medallions to the floor design — easy to do with luxury vinyl tiles.

A generous sectional can easily fit four sitting guests, but is long enough on each end that two people could stretch out for movie night. This affordable model from Urban Barn is both handsome and well-made. Other ways to save include making accent furniture do double duty, such as an ottoman that works both as extra seating and a surface for trays with drinks and snacks.

The rich teal of mid-century inspired occasional chairs from Artemano warms up cool grey tones on ceiling and floor. The wood top and strong geometric base of a side table (also from Artemano) add just the right touch of rough-hewn industrialism.
A wood-topped table from Artemano can serve for a buffet meal during family movie nights or sports events. Post party, it can act as an extra work space. (A handsome glass and metal bar cart from Urban Barn could also sit beside it to hold office supplies.) 
A dramatic wooden sculpture tucked in the corner (Artemano) makes a serious style statement, and brings a touch of the outdoors in. A full wall of draperies in a rich blue linen blend provides an elegant backdrop.
Seeing this wasted space transformed into a room the whole family uses has convinced these homeowners that directing some of a makeover budget to professional advice is an investment that pays off in great design.