9 Fun Ways to Elevate Your Basement

Across Chicagoland, basements are a big deal. 

Having a downstairs bonus space is high on the wish list for many homeseekers. Many current homeowners are also looking for creative and fun ways to use their basement space. In fact, surveys from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) have found that about 30 percent of contractors report that finished basements are a “top homeowner request.” 

It’s not hard to see why so many people love having a basement. This space can provide plenty of extra room to work, play, relax, or entertain. It’s also a versatile area that can be updated and repurposed over time. 

Searching for inspiration as you make plans to finish your Chicagoland basement? Curious about new ways to make use of the underground space you already have? One key idea to elevate your basement may be to rethink how you use it. With a few design and decor tweaks, you can turn your basement into an incredible, functional, versatile space. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

Home Bar

Chicago is famous for its speakeasies — and with a little ingenuity and planning, you can turn your basement into a bar area perfect for football Sundays or an after-work happy hour. You could go so far as to add a full wet bar, done up in your favorite style, from art deco to farmhouse chic. Or, you could simplify things by adding a small kitchenette, perfect for storing bottles and cans and laying out your favorite snacks when it’s party time. Or, are you a serious connoisseur of wine or whiskey? Your basement could be the perfect space to set up a wine cellar or an intimate “tasting room,” done up in dark colors and elegant old world finishes. 

Lounge Area

If your main floor doesn’t have quite enough space for the den of your dreams, your basement could be the perfect place to add additional seating, ideal for cozy nights in or entertaining guests throughout the year. When thinking of the best way to set up your basement living room, make use of the space you have. Pick out comfy furniture, and arrange it in a way that’s set up for your family, whether that means creating a quiet reading room or a space perfect for watching TV. When it comes to design? The basement can be the perfect place to embrace the comforts of hygge, a Scandinavian style focused on comfort and calmness. Decorate with light colors to liven up the underground space, and add lots of comforting accents, like pillows and blankets. 


If toys seem to be slowly taking over your whole home, it may be time to set up a separate playroom. A few simple design choices can transform your basement into a space that’s perfect for letting kids run and play. Adding carpeted floors and non-slip mats can help make this space safer for kiddos on the go. You might also look into adding some creative storage solutions, including built-ins, which are perfect for stashing toys and games when playtime is over for the day. 

Home Office

Whether you’re a remote worker in need of a spot to get things done, a freelancer who’s ready to set up a dedicated space for work, or you simply want a quiet place to write or pay bills at the end of the day, an office space can be a valuable addition to your home — and a basement can be the ideal place to create the office of your dreams. Be sure to add a desk and a comfortable chair, as well as additional seating and plenty of storage for all your most important documents. 

Game Room

Want to convert your basement into a “man cave” — or make it the neighborhood’s go-to party spot? Why not use this space to set up a multipurpose game room, designed around your household’s favorites? This might mean adding a central pool, ping pong, or air hockey table as a centerpiece, or setting up old school arcade and pinball machines along the wall. Or if board games are more your style, you could set up a table and lots of comfy chairs, perfect for settling in with Settlers of Cataan, Monopoly, or even a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. 

Music Room

When your family’s garage band has outgrown the garage, why not set up a practice room in the basement? With a little bit of planning, this underground space can be the perfect place to let your kids practice their instruments. You could even add a few finishing touches that let you use the basement as a recording studio — or at least the perfect place to rock out to your vinyl collection in peace. If you are interested in setting up a music room, be sure to look into easy and cost-effective ways to soundproof the space, so the Mozart in your family can dig into their music without worrying about bothering the rest of the household.

Media Center

Who needs to trek all the way to the movie theater and pay for popcorn, when you could set up the perfect media room right downstairs in the basement? To create a media room, think of your favorite movie theater and work from there. Dark colors, comfortable chairs, and an enormous screen are a must; you may also look into setting up lights on a dimmer, adding a surround sound speaker system, or even putting in a fridge or kitchenette to serve as your own personal snack bar.

Home Gym

Having a dedicated workout space in your home can make it much easier to commit to a fitness regimen, without having to find the time to head over to the local gym. The basement can be the perfect place to set up your favorite exercise equipment. This way, you have a space in your home where you can really focus on fitness — rather than letting your treadmill and dumbbells become yet another spot for hanging up laundry. In addition to setting up your gym favorites, add plenty of storage, and perhaps a laundry basket to deal with sweaty clothes and used towels. You may also want to think about setting up fans, or adding extra ventilation to prevent your basement from becoming swampy over time. 

Home Studio

Whether you love to design and print t-shirts, creatively store memories in a scrapbook, sew your own clothes, paint portraits, or craft sublime holiday centerpieces, you deserve a space in your home where you can really pursue your passions. In many homes, the basement is a great place to set up a home studio, perfect for letting you work on your next project in peace. Add a cheerful room equipped with a large table, comfortable seating, and plenty of bright lighting. 

Let Baird & Warner Help You Reach Your Real Estate Goals

Your home is more than the place you live; it’s the life you get out of it. Want to find a home with the entertaining space you’ve always dreamed about? Looking for a place with plenty of room to let your family grow? 

At Baird & Warner, we get you. Our team of specialized, hyperlocal agents knows just what it takes to help you find the Chicagoland home you’ve been looking for. 

Whether your goal is a high-rise with a view, or a quiet house with a finished basement to make your own, we can help you find your ideal Chicagoland home. And with mortgage and title services available in-house, we’ll make the dream of home ownership easier at every step of the way — from the day you start envisioning your next home, to the day you’re handed the keys.

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