Many houses built in the Pacific Northwest have partial basements — often dark, often dank spaces that don’t serve much of a purpose, other than perhaps housing the water heater or rows of canned pears.
However, partial basements offer many wonderful potential uses, depending on the homeowner’s needs. Take, for example, a room that’s about 11 feet by 13 feet, a not-uncommon size for a partial basement. What could you do down there?
Laundry room: You don’t need much space for a basement laundry. With 7 feet of space along one wall, you could have a washer, dryer and utility sink lined up with plenty of space for other uses, such as an ironing table or storage. A countertop that spans both appliances would make a great area for sorting and folding clothes. Your contractor can install a pump to send the grey water up into the sewer or septic drain and run water and power as needed. Don’t have 7 feet? A full-sized stackable washer/dryer combo could work, and compact units also are available. Tip: Before buying a washer and dryer, measure the width of your basement door. Many offer just 24 inches of space. Talk with your contractor about removing and replacing the door jamb if needed to get your appliances into the basement.
Storage: Not enough deep storage in your home? Sturdy basement shelving can help solve that problem. Be sure to use high-quality bins with lids to help protect your stuff from moisture or rodent damage, and have your contractor inspect your crawlspace and basement access points to ensure that animals can’t get in. Your contractor also can ensure that adequate space is given for any boilers, water heaters or other appliances that might be sharing space in the basement.
Exercise room: Especially if you’re doing higher-intensity activities, such as HIIT, it’s nice to be in the basement, where the floor is solid and you’re not likely to rattle the lamps off the bookshelf (or annoy family members in the room beneath you). Plus, a basement workout room would be a few degrees cooler than the upstairs, making it the perfect place to break a sweat.
Video game room: If your kids (or you) love to play video games, a partial basement would be just big enough to hang a TV on the wall, set up a couple chairs and game away. A basement room would help keep the sound down, too, if that’s an issue in your house. Be sure to talk with your contractor about waterproofing the walls to protect your electronics. Tip: Making sure your gutters and downspouts are in good working order – directing rainwater well away from your foundation – is a critical first step toward keeping water out of the basement.
Home office: Offices on the main floor tend to be harder to keep quiet and free of distractions. Setting up shop in the basement gives you an out-of-the-way spot that is more conducive to focusing during important videoconferences. You’ll want to check for good Wi-Fi coverage in the basement – or talk with your contractor about hard-wiring an ethernet cable from your home’s router to the basement office.
If you like any of these ideas for your basement — or if you have others you’d like to discuss — feel free to give our Whatcom County construction company a call. We’re here to help. Check out some of our past projects.