A decade ago, we just called them basements. Today, homeowners are spending big bucks turning dark, drab basements into stylish, multipurposelower levels, completely remodeled to fit a family’s needs.

It’s no surprise that lower level remodeling is a rapidly growing trend we are seeing in the remodeling industry. What’s interesting about this lower level remodeling phenomenon, however, is how people are utilizing their new spaces.

Three Rivers CA

“We are seeing clients finishing full kitchens, beautiful guest suites with full bathrooms, home theaters, home offices, or in the case of the Sabel’s, a beautiful in-home pub perfect for entertaining,” says Keven Schmidt, Owner & Director of Design at DreamHouse/DreamKitchens.

In the case of the Sabel’s, their lower level was far from dark or dingy to begin with. They simply wanted to complete their lower level into a space to entertain. “The original space was a family room that we never used. We also didn’t have a great area for entertaining a large number of guests,” says Sabel.


For the Sabel project, Keven partnered up with DreamHouse Senior Designer, Connie Mann. “We turned the family room into a bar area… the design was functional and had a great pub feel. The functionality of the space is better than we could have imagined; and the curved bar top is great for easy conversations,” says Sabel… “The only downside has been setting a closing time. It has been well enjoyed by our family and friends as much as by us!”

“Remodeling your basement is a great investment for any family. It’s a wonderful way to expand your living space to uniquely fit and support your family’s lifestyle, interests, and hobbies,” says Keven.

Here are some things to consider while planning your lower level remodel:

  • Create a guest suite for visitors. A basement bedroom and full or half bath makes an ideal suite for guests (or teens!). Think about who will sleep in the basement and the amenities they’ll need to help you determine the best dimensions.
  • Add a kitchen or bar area in the lower level. Even adding a wet bar or mini kitchen in the basement makes entertaining much easier. The inclusion of a mini kitchen makes a basement with a bed and bath into an entire guest suite. Although, then your problem may be getting guests to leave! (wink, wink)
  • Design an attractive and safe staircase. You already have stairs to the basement, but when you’re remodeling, make sure they meet code and look good. If they’re not in a convenient location, consider moving them to a better spot.
  • Plan for windows and doors. Adding or enlarging basement windows and adding exterior doors are jobs for a professional, but the resulting natural light and ventilation will significantly increase your enjoyment of your new living space.
  • Choose comfortable, practical flooring. Unless you install a plywood subfloor, your basement floor is likely to be a concrete slab. Fortunately, concrete accepts most common flooring choices, from paint to vinyl, laminate, tile, and carpet. Most solid wood flooring is not recommended for below-grade installations, however, because it shrinks and expands, resulting in gaps or warping. Engineered wood is a good alternative because it shrinks and expands a little less.
  • Build in storage. The lower level is often a catchall storage space for everything from garden equipment to out-of-season clothes, holiday decorations, and memorabilia. As you remodel to make the most of your basement’s square footage, plan for attractive, well-designed storage, too.
  • Create a family space. Consider your family’s lifestyle, interests, and hobbies, and create a space where you’re able to enjoy the space together.

Whatever your home project may be, make sure that your new space enhances both style and functionality for you and your family. Create a space to be the setting for endless memories to be made by you and yours.

transitional-basement   basement