Creating a liveable, luxurious lifestyle in the basement


The days of the basement just being a dark, unused space to store clutter are long past. Today, everyone is turning their basement space into something that fits their lifestyle – an entertainment space outfitted with the latest gaming and movie-watching equipment, a mini home gym, a work-from-home space, even as a fully-suited rental space to help pay down the mortgage of the home.

If you live in a single-family home in Alberta, chances are you have a basement space you can develop. With a little bit of elbow grease and some advanced planning – and a little bit of creativity – you can also convert that unused space below ground level into something the whole family can enjoy.

It helps to have a little bit of expert advice as well, especially from a professional. Edmonton’s own, Christina Dennis – better known as The DIY Mommy – has done her share of basement developments that help her clients achieve their lifestyle vision. A recent basement development she did for Danielle and her family is one of her proudest moments.

“Danielle is a local teacher who has faced many hardships through the pandemic. She has three young boys, and their basement was in desperate need of a makeover so that her husband can work from home, and Danielle’s boys can have a place to play,” Christina says. “With a limited budget and an awkward layout, we’ve completely transformed this space into a modern rustic retreat for Danielle and her family.”

Christina saw this specific project as a great example of how homeowners can expand their living spaces with a basement development – no matter how awkwardly configured the space they must work with is.

“They really wanted to keep three main functions of the space: food storage, seasonal storage, the kids’ playroom, and an office. Danielle hated the dingy feel of the space and that there wasn’t sensible storage for everything,” Christina says.

Now, Danielle’s basement has tons of hidden storage for everything including a corner closet, a food storage area, a spot for her freezer, a barn door covering seasonal storage, and floor to ceiling IKEA cupboards for toys and office supplies.

“There are even more secret storage spots like an ottoman with storage inside that converts to a tray table and the humidifier hidden behind a large industrial clock on the wall.”

In Danielle’s particular case, Christina says making the space feel “light and bright” was essential.

“Making the basement feel bright and integrating multiple storage areas were the two most important things in Danielle’s basement makeover. To make the space feel light and bright, I used a bright, creamy white paint colour on the walls called Sea Pearl by Benjamin Moore, and we installed lots of warm pot lights throughout the basement. For storage, we took advantage of all the awkward nooks and crannies in the basement and turned them into little hidden storage spaces with doors.”

She adds that lighting choice can make all the difference. “Good lighting and the right paint colour are both essential for a basement design. Both will make the room feel bright, warm, and less like a basement.”

Your choice of flooring will also impact the feel of the room. “Carpet is a great choice if you want to add coziness to your basement, but LVP (luxury vinyl plank) is another favourite of mine for its durability and how easy it is to clean. It truly depends on how you’re using the space and how you want it to feel.”

They spent around $30,000 to convert this small basement, but Christina says you have to be prepared to spend more depending on the space.

“The renovation for this small basement was around $30k with all of the supplies and labour. If your basement is larger and requires more plumbing, electrical work and framing, get ready to spend more.”

The basement fulfills all the lifestyle potential of the home, there is now even a trend among new homebuilders to add a side entrance to the home for private access to the basement and make it more appealing to renters.

“Basement development is a great way to add a ton of value to your home, but be prepared for a large investment. If your basement is small, consider using similar artwork, colours and textures throughout to make the whole space feel cohesive,” Christina says.

Pepper Rodriguez, Editor Calgary/Edmonton
Pepper Rodriguez, Editor Calgary/Edmonton
A Reno + Decor Influencer
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