The basement can be an intimidating place. It’s a place you might avoid visiting altogether. Sometimes dark, musty, maybe even a den of spiders – and who knows what else. Often, they don’t have a lot of lighting or anything that’s inviting down there. Maybe a washer and dryer that you use only after saying a prayer.
Sure, you can fill it up with boxes and junk, turning it into a storage hellhole, or maximize your home space’s square footage. With just a little effort and a few changes, your basement can go from dungeon to – well, less of a cell – in no time. All it takes is a little creativity and willingness to blast through a lot of cobwebs.
Ultimately, everyone’s basement is a little different. Some have finished basements that need a little facelift, while others have a concrete, exposed pipes, or a small unfinished cellar. Either way, we’ve got tips to take these spaces up a notch in whatever way fits you best.
The Organization is Critical.
The less space is taken up by stuff you don’t need, the better. This is true everywhere, but especially so in an area that gets a little dustier than others. Plus, with more functional space available, you can make the most of the room and maybe find yourself a new workspace. Start with a good purge. It can be messy, but we can all agree that purging is one of the most satisfying chores. Go through all items, determining which ones you use, what you don’t, and what has been down there so long it’s unrecognizable. What wall in your house used to be neon orange? And how many hammers do you need? Once you’ve gone through your inventory and determined what’s staying and what isn’t, learn how you want to store those items. Open shelving is a great way to keep the room’s center clear while making sure every item has a home. Bins to go on those shelves, or under any worktables, are another excellent way to store some of your messier, smaller things while keeping any critters out. Pegboards and other wall hooks to keep often-used tools within reach might also be the right choice for the handier folks.
Keep Moisture Out.
Basements are naturally moist, dank spaces, sometimes so much it can feel like an uphill battle to keep your things dry. Luckily, with a few precautions taken, you can get it to where the dampness is near gone. We’re not saying they’re comfortable – but they’re not complicated.
First, evaluate where the water is coming from. Are there a lot of cracks in the walls for the liquid to pass through? Do you have gutters dumping water right into your foundation? Once you figure out the source, you can take steps to address it by plugging holes, rerouting gutters, or adding dirt to grade water away from your home.
With moisture comes gross things like mold and mildew. They look nasty, but they can harm our health as well. Take a moment to evaluate that situation, do any cleaning necessary, and maybe use a mold-killing primer or a moisture barrier, depending on the surfaces. A dehumidifier can also do good work to keep wetness at bay.
Pick a Direction.
No compass required. But really, take a seat and consider what direction takes your basement. Are you looking for simple storage? Do you want to turn it into a workshop? Any sort of living space? A guest room? Whatever you choose will decide what you do next, but all of the above make great options! You can add a work table and tasteful extension cords to make what you want possible for more straightforward builds. But a major overhaul, complete with ceilings to hide pipes, drywall, and carpet, aren’t out of the question either. Because it’s usually space somewhat hidden from the rest of the house, you can make your basement into a more private, niche part of your home that allows you (or members of your family) to escape from the general household traffic.
Add Finishing Touches.
Believe it or not, there’s even more than can be done to make your basement into an inviting space for more than just the spiders. You might be able to eradicate them.
To kill existing spiders, fill a spray bottle with one part white vinegar and one part water. This mixture should nuke them on contact. To keep them from coming back to the scene of the crime, use a mix of peppermint essential oil and water near the borders of the room and corners, nooks, and crannies that they love to make homes in. Another way to bring life to a room? Light. Don’t limit yourself to tiny windows and a single overhead light. A floor lamp, some LED touch-lights, or a fire near a worktable can add a whole different vibe. Soften your room instantly by adding some textiles. Tiny curtains for the small windows, a padded cushion for your workbench, or even an inviting, comfortable chair breathe a little comfort into a new space.