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January 13, 2021

Update your lower level. Ideas for basement flooring, walls and more.

Update your lower level. Ideas for basement flooring, walls and more.

Baby, it’s cold outside. This is the time of year when many of us in Northeast Ohio are looking to update our living spaces as we’ll be spending a lot of time indoors for the next few months.

I’m getting lots of traffic in the store these days with people looking for ideas for their basement renovation applications. My recent blog outlined flooring options for the basement along with installation tips. But how do you choose? There’s a lot of different products and on-trend design ideas that are ideal for lower-level living. Here are a few ideas to get your creative home renovation juices flowing.

Define your vision.
Begin by asking yourself these important questions: Will you use your space as a family room? A workout area? A home theater? An in-law suite? Will you use it to entertain guests or just enjoy it as extra space for your kids? Do you imagine it with the same level of amenities/finishes as your first floor or will it be more casual/budget-friendly? Start first with function and then conceptualize form.

The basement bar.
 A lot of people use carpeting in their basement to warm up the space and make it more comfortable underfoot. But if you’re adding a bar, I recommend defining that bar space with hard-surface flooring. This adds an attractive design element, i.e. the contrast between the texture of the carpet and the hard flooring. And it’s more functional: Porcelain tile with a wide variety of colors, sizes and textures is a beautiful addition to any space; and it offers the highest level of durability against moisture and general wear. Engineered hardwood flooring and/or luxury vinyl tile/wood plank products are good alternatives to porcelain tile, offering high durability, easy clean-up and can be more comfortable under foot as they tend to remain closer to the ambient temperature of the room.

For the bar backsplash, there are a host of product options that let you show your design personality. Among the most popular are stone, stacked stone, brick (for an old-world pub feel), glass tile and now rustic engineered hardwood plank flooring is being installed on walls to create a dramatic focal point—behind the bar, on the face of the bar or as a feature wall.

Even if you’re on a budget, today’s faux stone or brick products can give you the look you want at a more affordable price point. Thanks to advanced manufacturing processes that incorporate natural dyes and textures, these products are exceptional in quality, appearance and durability. In many cases, it’s actually hard to tell a faux stone from the real thing. This “brick” flooring (in photo below) is actually a porcelain tile with textured brick finish.

The theater room. While some homeowners like the look of one seamless flooring option to create a more cohesive, free-flowing space, I always advise to use carpet in a home theater area. The acoustics are simply better with carpet—there’s less echo. If you opt for hard flooring in your theater area, just be sure to use an area rug and consider hanging curtains to dampen the noise throughout the space.

PRO TIP: Many basements are designed as one large, open space with multiple undefined areas for activities such as a game room, a TV area, a home gym, etc. Define individual living spaces by installing flooring products in different directions or applications to create inlays, borders or other designs that add interest and beauty, while visually separating the space.

Home gym. In an exercise space that might have free weights, machines, etc., luxury vinyl plank/tile flooring is a good option for its visual appeal and high durability. Depending on the use, an additional mat or floor protection for free weights or heavy machines may be recommended. Commercial carpet or carpet tile is a good, durable and budget-friendly option as well.  Another great option: rubber or vinyl “gym flooring” is offered in an interlocking, floating tile (which link together like a puzzle). These individual “tiles” are perfect for most home gyms—easy to install (either wall-to-wall or free-floating) and most importantly, they provide a great cushion and can take the abuse that comes with high-impact activities. Depending on the use, similar higher-density gym flooring is available for the more serious home gyms—suitable to the level of a commercial gym environment.

Other add-ons. To make a big impact in a small space (like an office or bedroom), consider heated flooring. While it is a significant investment, it might be worth it if you use the space every day. It’s an upgrade that adds comfort, and also greater value, to your finished living area.

The basement is one space in the home that holds a lot of potential and opportunity for creating more living space and increasing property value. When choosing the right option for your basement flooring it really comes down to the way that you use your space, your personal preference and design vision.

If you’re interested in discussing your basement flooring and surface ideas, stop by the Dover Flooring & Tile Center. We’re here to help!

Tschaun Procaccini