Friday, March 16th, 2018 by Adam Jensen
Finishing your basement can offer additional usable space in your home. But, when it comes down to actually designing your basement a big element is often overlooked. That element is the amount of unfinished space or room that you leave for storage. Many times people think that they want to finish every last square foot of their basement but then realize they have no room for storage. A good way to remmedy this problem is to have a plan of what you need in the basement and what you can live without.
Before you start to draw any floor plans, you need to understand what kind of spaces you are trying to create: living room, bedroom, craft room, office, storage, bathroom or bar. Once you have identified what spaces you would like to create you must then prioritize them. We reccomend listing out your spaces or rooms and then ranking them 1-8.
The reason for prioritizing your wants, needs, and wishes is that you are working in a space that has a lot of fixed elements like walls, stairs, furnaces and columns. These fixed elements pose a restriction on how the space can be laid out. In addition, if you try to cram everything from your wish list into a small basement you may end up with a space that is small, chopped up and unusable. The bottom line is that as you lay out your basement, this list of priorities may help you eliminate spaces to make for a better overall open and flowing plan.
Once you have a solid wish list you can now look at options for floor plan layouts. Typically the largest open space is reserved for the living room. If a bedroom is high on the priority list, the basement design needs to start by locating where an egress window can be placed. Many cities have ordinances restricting where an egress window can be placed, so check on this first.
After some research you will know where the egress window can be placed. This dictates where a bedroom can go due to code. The next logical step is to locate mechanical items like sewer lines and water supply lines, so items like bars and bathrooms can be placed close to those exsisting mechanical systems when possible.
Again, one forgotten space is often the unfinished storge room(s). This is where all of the boxes and seasonal items are often stored. The general rule of thumb is to leave at least 30% of your basement unfinished. This leaves room for any needed storage as well as space for future expansion.
Following this type of method when finishing your basement will make sure you end up with plenty of space for storage as well as the rooms you need most.
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