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How to Partially Finish Your Basement on a Budget!

Transform your basement into a living area, laundry, bathroom or workspace you can use now — without a full renovation.

We’re always looking for more space in our homes, it seems, whether for extra storage, an additional living zone or a new spot to decorate. Often, valuable space can be found in the basement, but fully developing this square footage can be expensive. Add up the costs of framing, flooring, drywall, electrical and finishes,and your project may run into the thousands of dollars. Introduce new decor, and you’ve got an even pricier endeavor.

But there are ways to enjoy that below-grade space while avoiding the hefty price tag of a full remodel. Partially finishing your basement can offer warmth, style, and comfort, as well as that extra space you’re craving. Here is how to get the most out of an unfinished basement without breaking the bank.

Create an Industrial-Style Living Room

1. Keep the ceiling exposed. This smart basement renovation reveals a key secret to enjoying a partially finished basement: Keep the ceiling open. We don’t all have the advantage of deep basements with high ceilings, and we need all the help we can get, height-wise. While there are some stylish drop-ceiling panels now available, keeping the ceiling joists open and painting them a bold color, such as black, creates the illusion of depth, helping the ceiling to recede and become less noticeable. The added advantage is that your wiring is available to you without having to cut into drywall.

2. Ditch the drywall. Paint is quite often the quickest and least expensive way to freshen and update a room.

Another tip is to drywall only some areas of the room. A limited use of drywall can demarcate spaces, add interest and keep costs down.

Another unexpected and low-cost alternative wall material is an engineered lumber such as oriented strand board. OSB, which is typically used for subfloors or sheathing in construction — making it an unconventional choice for walls — is acreative, less expensive way to cover your concrete walls and divide living zones. The key to using a material like this is to apply it to a large area so that it’s clear that using it was an intentional design choice.

4. Establish a focal point. Go ahead and furnish your unfinished below-grade space as cozily as you would your upstairs, finished rooms. A great way to do this is to furnish around a focal point. Here, the designer created a focal point for the room by adding a bar and a shelving area with space for a TV, books and games. Graphic rugs and large, soft furniture and lighting bring warmth and life to the space.

Note that this basement is, like the other examples, mostly unfinished. The ceilings are open, the concrete block wall is painted, and it appears the concrete floor is as well. Finally, the owner chose white wall paint. This room shows how this simple formula for a basement can form the backdrop for a cozy living space. The finished decorative and soft furnishing elements add the comforts that make the space feel homey.

Outfit a Laundry Room

For many of us, basement laundry means a dark and dank place to toss the clothes in, pull them out and quickly run back upstairs. But this doesn’t have to be the way we choose to live. A little effort can convert an ugly space to one where you’ll want to spend time.

1. Get creative with paint and decor. This basement laundry is left nearly entirely unfinished, but with some creativity it’s become a clean and bright corner nonetheless. The exposed ceiling joists are painted a deep charcoal, the concrete floor is a fun red, and wood shelving and furniture add interest and utility. A throw rug warms up the floor, and what appears to be reclaimed wood boards frame off a private bath.

2. Install cabinetry. The money saved on finishing flooring, walls and ceiling can often be better spent on cabinets in your basement laundry area. Additional cabinetry can be used for a variety of things, like storing dry goods, linens or out-of-season clothing.

Build a Bathroom

Adding a bathroom to your basement can be a worthwhile venture. In addition to being functional, it adds a lot of value to your home. But basement bathroom additions are costly, especially if you don’t already have the plumbing and drains roughed in. If you’re lucky enough to have this option, finishing it on a budget will be rewarding.

1. Just do the basics. This bathroom, which abuts one of the laundry rooms I’ve featured, is mostly unfinished. Creatively sectioned off with wood planks and paint, it proves that a bathroom need not have marble and high-end finishing to be warm, cute and functional.

2. Dress up with shine. Another otherwise unfinished space with exposed ceiling joists and concrete walls and floor, this bathroom has all the components to be completely functional, yet also sharp. Stock cabinetry is added for necessary storage, and the mirror, lighting and accessories provide some glitz. Mirrors and other shiny accessories can be found at a variety of price points, helping you to stick with your budget.

3. Leave it open. Another way to save some money in your basement bathroom is to skip the walls altogether. Here, a section of the basement is used for the bathroom, which is open concept. The shower is made out of a tiled curb with a curtain bar, giving it a modern look when privacy is not a concern. The toilet, not seen in this photo, is in a separate, walled-off enclosure behind the wall with the towel bar.

Workspace

Workspaces are often hard to come by, and if you can designate a corner for one in your basement, you’ll be glad for it. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to create a bright and functional zone out of, well, nothing.

1. Furnish and decorate. This basement office room works so well because it really has everything you need. Again, this is essentially a raw basement that has been cleaned up with paint. Two collapsible tables are tucked into a corner to create ample desk space. An antique-style armoire and side table add hefty traditional elements that dress up the zone and offer storage. An area rug warms the painted concrete floor, and the bright task track lighting is layered with the warm glow of a table lamp. The pretty butterfly mobile finishes this space.

2. Make a rug statement. Carpet tiles are a cost-effective option for basement flooring as they can be purchased by the box and laid out to separate a zone or add warmth to a bare concrete floor.

3. Make a spot for the kids. Kids come with a lot of stuff, from toys to books and crafts, and a neat little work area in your basement is the perfect spot to organize it all.

Related Reads
Warm Up a Basement Floor With Large Area Rugs
Fun Up a Boring Basement With This Teal Color
Furniture to Transform Your Basement Into an Office

article from Coldwell Banker Bain Blue Matter Blog, Victoria Kelchinger
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It’s that time of year again when we set our goals for the upcoming year. One of my goals for 2017 is to DeClutter!

Seven Decluttering Tips for the New Year

Buried under too much “stuff”? These seven decluttering tips are proven, effective ways to give your home a refresh to welcome 2017. From “a place for everything and everything in its place” to “don’t organize clutter,” get ready to take action today.

  1. Clutter is a postponed decision. Any tangible item that finds its way into your home should only be handled once. Decide what to do with it (e.g., keep it, relocate it, donate it, toss it, fix it) and take action.
  2. A place for everything and everything in its place. Your kindergarten teacher was right! Once you finish using something, ask yourself, “Where does this live?” and put it back in its home. Get in the habit of building an extra moment into daily tasks for putting everything back in its proper drawer or cupboard. For inspiration, Apartment Therapy has hundreds of real life examples of storage solutions.
  3. Now is the time! Once you make up your mind to declutter, get those bags and boxes out to your car so you’ll be ready to donate them. Take anything that’s broken or not donatable out to the trash bin. You’ll be amazed at how much lighter the simple step of removing extra clutter from your home feels.
  4. You can’t organize junk. Don’t make the sad mistake of shuffling clutter from one pile to another. Many well-intentioned folks head out to the office supply store in January to “finally get organized” and come home with boxes, cartons, and other tools. The hard truth is that until you pare away the junk, you’ll just be wasting time and getting frustrated trying to sort clutter. Declutter first, and organize second.
  5. Stick to manageable bites. Don’t dump the entire contents of your dresser or closet onto the floor. Instead, only take out what you are certain you can reasonably sort and declutter in one 15- to 30-minute session. Set a timer, put on some uplifting music, and get to work. When the timer goes off, resist the urge to immediately roll into another session. Instead, take five or ten minutes to clear your head, have a cup of tea, or take a walk around the block. Then you can return refreshed for another 15- to 30-minute session. For actionable, manageable decluttering tips, visit the Flylady website.
  6. Never go anywhere empty-handed. Anytime you walk from one room to another in your home, carry the items with you that you need to put in their home. Don’t set them down and get sidetracked along the way!
  7. Get inspired. Clearing out the old makes room for something even better. Set the decluttering process in motion and watch the magic transform your home into a peaceful oasis.
           JULIET GROSSMAN, Coldwellbanker.com bluematter blog
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Your Home’s January Honey Do List

honey-do-list2

Start 2017 off on the right foot with this list of January resolutions for your home.

Ah, the month of resolutions! Your personal honey do list is sure to be filled with ambitious goals for 2017: get back to the gym, take control of your diet, but what about your home? This month, we’ve rounded up a January to do list to make sure you start the year off on the right foot at home.

1.  Nix Indoor Condensation – Look for indoor condensation on windows and take corrective action. For 7 ways to reduce humidity in your home, check out this great video from Andersen Windows & Doors.

2.  Make a maintenance calendar – Review warranties and product material to check on recommended maintenance for furnace, equipment, appliances, and tools. Mark your calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.

3.  Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize – After the holiday decorations come down, your walls can feel a bit dull and empty. January is a great time to add new home decor accessories, like fresh throw pillows or framed photos of the past year’s activities.

4.  Get ready for the big game – Now’s the time to get ready for the ultimate game day. Here are 5 winning football party ideas that will score big.

5.  Organize your files – While most paperwork is now maintained digitally, it’s still important to make sure you’re organized and backed up. Take an afternoon to sort through online statements, contacts and emails that piled up over the holidays. And after all of that hard work, be sure to back up to a hard drive or cloud service.

6.  Sort and toss – Take time to sort through your toiletry products in the bathroom and food items in the pantry. Toss anything that is old or expired and start fresh for the new year.

7.  Warm up your home – In many parts of the country, we’re dreaming of ways to add a little extra warmth around the house. Whether it’s adding weather stripping or a smart thermostat, these 6 easy ways to make your home warmer and cozier this winter are just the trick!

8.  Ready to Move? Do this first – If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2017, make it a resolution to collect these 10 pieces of valuable information well before the spring real estate rush.

VICTORIA KEICHINGER Jan