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8 Basement Design Ideas to Create a Cozy Space for Your Guests

Tilghman Builders Team
By Tilghman Builders Team - August 7, 2023

When designing a basement, your end goal should be to make the area feel like a natural extension of your home. This is especially true if you’re planning to utilize the space as a guest suite.

Limited lighting, dampness, and low ceilings make the basement a somewhat intimidating place. But your basement doesn't have to be a dark, dingy hole in the ground. With a little help, it can be an open, inviting, and fabulous space for guests — and you!

Wondering how to make a basement cozy and welcoming for visiting friends and family? Here's a look at eight basement room design tips.


8 Cozy Basement Ideas to Elevate Your Space

1. Waterproof Your Basement

Since basements are located below ground, they are more likely to take on water than other areas of the home. Failure to properly guard against this can lead to water damage and mold growth over time.Waterproof (Stock Image)

Once you've taken the necessary steps to waterproof your space, there are plenty of things you can do for your basement interior design to make it feel like an extension of your home and a perfect place for guests to stay.

2. Brighten It Up

It’s a fact: Unfinished basements are dark and dreary places. Brighten Up (TB Portfolio)

Whether you're finishing with drywall and paint or wood paneling, go for a lighter shade. If you're painting your basement, we don't recommend using plain white. Instead, use pale tones to give the area warmth and brighten it up.

3. Maximize Natural Light

Once you brighten up the area with the right shade of paint or paneling, maximizing natural light is important, even if it's just a narrow glimpse to the outside.Maximize Light (TB Portfolio)

If your basement has windows, opt for light or white shades or blinds that can be closed for privacy but otherwise let the light in. You can also keep your curtains sheer so they don't block light. If you go this route, hang them at a longer length to trick the eye that the ceiling is taller.

You'll still need to install some type of overhead lighting to supplement, but a basement design that optimizes the natural light can help create an open and welcoming space to make your guests feel right at home — and not in a dark cave.

4. Add a Full Bathroom

Ideally, each level of your home should have at least one bathroom. If you’re going to design a basement to serve as a true extension of your home, consider adding a full bathroom down there too. That way, guests don't have to trek to other floors when nature calls. Basement Bathroom (TB Portfolio)

Also, with the addition of a full bathroom and true bedroom (with a window and a closet), your new basement guest suite will help increase the value of your home.

5. Pick the Right Flooring

Since basements tend to have more moisture problems than other areas of the home, many homeowners choose durable flooring like vinyl that looks great and does a nice job of resisting moisture.Right Flooring (TB Portfolio)

The new styles of luxury vinyl plank that look like wood are an ideal basement flooring option. But keep in mind that basement floors can get cold, so a heated floor system or large area rugs can add warmth to the living areas.

6. Get Creative With Storage

Whether your basement serves as a guest suite, playroom for the kids, office for working from home, or overall second living space, it's easy to create a mess and leave it because the area is hidden from the rest of the house. Creative Storage (TB Portfolio)

Getting rid of clutter is one of our favorite small basement design ideas to help homeowners transform their uninvitingly drab space. Having designated storage will help keep your basement looking and feeling clean, no matter what you use it for.

Look for creative ways to store your extra blankets, toys, electronics, and more — especially if you have a small basement layout.

We love how the family at the Wheathshef project maximized a frequently unused space in many unfinished basements: underneath the staircase.

7. Pay Attention to the Entryway

Many homes in our Bucks County and Montgomery County neighborhoods have their unfinished basements closed off from the rest of the house behind closed doors. But if you’re designing a basement layout you can be proud of, you’ll definitely want to dress up the entryway.Entryway (TB Portfolio)

Create a beautiful staircase that matches the design of the rest of your home to continue your style from floor to floor. Having a more open staircase makes your basement feel more like it's a part of your house and less of an afterthought.

Make sure you have good lighting in and around any staircases, entryways, and halls since you may not be able to rely on natural light.

8. Incorporate Fun Design Elements

Make your basement an extension of your home's interior design style. Whether that style is ultra-light and feminine, warm and homey for movie night, or something in between, your basement doesn't have to be the storage room for old neglected electronics and hand-me-down furniture. Fun Elements v1 (TB Portfolio)

When natural light is sparse, adding brighter design elements and small basement decor that doesn't take up a lot of space can help any basement dazzle.

To continue, one of the best ways to ensure a cozy basement for your guests is to have a fireplace installed. Though it can be a bit of an initial investment, it's a great touch for those who will spend a lot of time in the space.


Take Your Basement From Drab to Fab

Most of the basement design ideas highlighted above you can do yourself.

That said, if you want to completely renovate the space with a basement remodel, you'll need to pick the perfect finishes, materials, and other design elements to create your dream space. Our free materials guide can help! Get your copy below.

It’s also important to select the right contractor to make sure the end project is exactly what you envisioned. See how we can help you create the basement of your dreams — contact our team of experienced builders today.


Finishes can make or break your amazing home improvement project - Download our Materials Selection Guide