In this post: Affordable plantation shutters are great for lightning up your home, whether it be a basement finishing project or the main living areas of your home.⇒
No one wants to entertain in a dungeon.
At least no one I know.
Most people enjoy homes with lots of light coming in, and big windows with pretty views are generally highly valued. Perhaps this is one reason why many people overlook the basement as a place to entertain.
But the basement often offers unique opportunities not found in the rest of the house and if treated like prime real estate, the payoff can be huge.
For one thing a basement can sometimes span the entire footprint of the house. If you have this kind of basement, finishing the space and decorating it like your main living spaces can multiply your square footage for entertaining and family hobbies. But even a small basement, when treated properly, can add advantages that go well beyond storage.
So what keeps people from investing in their basements and utilizing this oft overlooked space?
For today’s purposes, let’s ignore the common habit of using the basement as a dumping ground. Clean out your stuff! You can create small rooms for storage, but no one needs a space the entire width of their home to store items they may someday need. If you have that much stuff in your basement, you can likely throw 90% of it out and create a space that you use all the time.
The other obstacle you need to get past is ceilings that are a bit low. In our home we have 9’ ceilings, but the basement ceiling is more like 7 1/2’. If it’s high enough for people to walk around comfortably, decorate it properly and move on.
This brings us to the easiest hurdle to overcome. Light.
Bringing light into the home is important no matter the room, but it’s especially key in a space prone to darkness, as basements often are.
For a space like this, how you treat your windows is as significant as adding overhead lighting.
In our home I tend to choose window coverings that let in as much light as possible, and the versatility of a covering that can switch from private to wide open is an enormous benefit. For this reason I’m a huge fan of plantation shutters.
I love their look of classic elegance which lends an air of polish to any window. They’re simple to adjust and can let in as much light as a bare window or can be closed up tight for complete privacy. I particularly love the option of tilting the shutters in such a way as to allow light to enter but keep prying eyes out.
When we moved into our house, I added plantation shutters to our family room and had it on my list to add them to multiple rooms, but I was deterred by the cost since we had ordered them from a pricey local shop. As luck would have it, that shop closed and that’s when I found my sponsor, Blindsgalore.
They provided the plantation shutters for this post, but in the process I learned how much money I would have saved had I ordered from them in the first place! I had worried that perhaps this meant the quality was inferior, but when I received my shutters I realized the quality was superb. They were awesome to work with and the process was painless.
I selected the PolyResin Plantation Shutters in White 5136 in the 3 1/2” size. And now I can’t wait to add them to the rest of the house!
But that’s not all.
Perhaps my favorite part of this window covering refresh is also the one that made the biggest difference. We used the same plantation shutters to cover our sliding glass doors and I’m crazy in love with how light and airy the result is. We chose the option of using bi-fold shutters, but you can also get shutters that slide like your doors.
And since Blindsgalore offers custom plantation shutters, they’re certain to fit your odd sized windows and doors. This is particularly useful in a basement where windows are not always full-sized, and of course is also appreciated throughout the house.
If you’re thinking of remodeling a basement, read on for my basement finishing tips, including ideas for when you have no windows at all.
Basement Finishing Ideas
- Take time to design the space to suit your needs.
- Use finishes that would be used in the main part of the house. A real ceiling, smooth walls, molding and trim. Extra points for bead board or shiplap.
- Use lots of lighting, both overhead and to highlight specific areas.
- If you’re lucky enough to have windows, pay special attention to the coverings, allowing in light when possible and adding privacy when needed. Be sure coverings themselves are not dark, as well. (See below for ideas for when you don’t have any windows.)
- Use elegant materials for the floor like faux wood tile (if concerned about water) or comfortable carpeting.
- Furnish as if you’re decorating the main floor of your home.
- Creates zones for entertaining and different uses.
- Build walls and easily accessed doors to create usable storage and utility areas.
If you’re trying to decide whether a basement remodel is worth the investment, consider these potential uses for a dedicated space that you may have thought you didn’t have room for in your home:
- Sports bar recreation room
- Craft room / art studio
- Home gym
- Guest bedroom
- Home office
- Wine cellar and tasting space
- Kids’ playroom
- Recording studio
- Gaming arcade
What to do when you have no windows
Let’s face facts, some basements have no windows at all. In those cases you can use a trick I’ve used in interior bathrooms, as well. You’ll need to first be sure you have enough overhead and lamp light because you’ll only be simulating a window. But this does help to give the feeling of not being so enclosed.
- Apply molding in the rectangular shape of a window
- Have a mirror cut and hung to fill the space
- Add mullions if you prefer
- Install regular window coverings to camouflage the faux window
At a quick glance, no one will even realize the window is faux.
Or perhaps, I suppose, you could always opt for the dungeon party…
Basement Finishing Resource List
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
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