I struggled for weeks and weeks and weeks with the floorplan for my basement—this is why people hire interior designers. It is nearly impossible to plan your own space. After having it all figured out, it just didn’t feel right, then another huge roadblock in this basement renovation came up: after much debate, we decided to replace our entire heat system and add air conditioning. This tripled our budget and pushed our timeline way out. This project became a much bigger deal than we anticipated and once again, the floorplan changed! Although it was annoying to have so many drafts of our floorplan, it really stretched me & forced me to make the most of every inch! Here are some tips for laying out your own basement floorplans.
We have a daylight basement, which allows us to have average-sized windows in the basement (yippee!) on one side. Because code requires an egress window and bedrooms are so much better with daylight, we placed two bedrooms on the side that side of the basement.
We had to work around an existing washer and dryer, so there’s a long, skinny laundry room with a door to the outside. There was also a (huge) existing fireplace, so we chose to create a long family room so that we can enjoy it.
I can’t emphasize enough how much balance plays into planning your renovation. Always consider what things are going to look like when you’re in the space. The giant fireplace was a bear to work around and keep things symmetrical. In the end, I chose to place a closet on either side and take advantage of the awkward corner that the fireplace was creating. I would say that unless you’re going to purposefully do something asymmetrical, strive for a floorplan that creates symmetry within the space. Humans like the consistency—it’s comfortable!
Planning For The Future
My plans for this basement vary far and wide—it really depends on what happens in life and where the Lord takes us! (I’m not going to pretend to know where my life is headed.)
That said, there is definitely something to be said about planning for the future. In my mind, one basement bedroom will serve as a guest room. The other will be my office, and the large room with the fireplace will be a family room. If we are blessed to welcome lots of little ones into this home, Steven will move his office down to the guest room & the family room will become a playroom. I say plan for what you can & be flexible when that doesn’t work out! I’ve left these rooms pretty open ended & they can be turned into whatever they need to be with a layer of paint and some new furniture.
Storage, storage, storage! I know that my floorplan makes me look insane. I’ve managed to get 7 closets into our basement. This is part of what took me so long; I wouldn’t give up my storage space. Let me tell you: I’m so glad I didn’t give up! You don’t realize how many things find their way down to the basement until it’s gone.
To the immediate left of the stairs is a closet that will be great for coats, backpacks, strollers, and whatever gear that we end up using on a regular basis. Some day it might make an excellent spot for a family computer desk. On the opposite side of that closet is my canning closet: perfect for all my canning supplies! Each bedroom has a closet in order to help our resale value when we sell the house some (far away) day. Finally, I put a closet on either side of the fireplace in the living room for a few reasons. (1) The incredible depth of this fireplace creates a really awkward corner on either side of it, so making that flush with the fireplace fixes the issue. (2) I needed somewhere to hide my hot water heater (see Balance above). (3) Brick fireplaces and future playrooms don’t make a perfect match, so I wanted to remove as many hard corners as possible and keep the design looking clean. (4) By finishing the basement, you’re giving up so much storage that you never realized you had. You no longer can just throw a plastic tote in the basement and call it a day—you need somewhere to put larger items! So, don’t forget to think about storage when you’re planning your basement floorplan.
Make It Yours
A stove in the basement laundry room might seem ridiculous, but it’s absolutely not! (1) I need somewhere other than my kitchen to get canning done. Having a space to store and leave my supplies will make for a much more functional and less frustrating canning season. (2) This will actually increase our resale value. By putting a fridge in the laundry room, this basement just became a possible income property. That’s right! I planned it that way. As much as I want to have an income property, it probably won’t happen while we live here, but maybe the next owners will like the possibility.
I hope that this has helped you, or at least encouraged you, in your own journey of laying out a basement floorplan or plans for any renovation, really! Don’t give up & if it’s really taking over your life, consider hiring a designer, like myself, to create the floorplan for you. If you’re interested in having me create a floorplan for your renovation, please contact me. I offer online-only design services, so I can design your space no matter where you live! You can find more information on my Investment Page.