In our first blog on lower level renovation, we talked about the necessities of the installation process; what you absolutely need to have and what the law requires. Now we're going to take a look at more decorative options for finishing your lower level, including what kind of flooring and lighting you should be thinking about as well as what doesn't really work for lower levels even if it's suitable for other rooms in your home. Read on for some exciting new ideas.
Most lower levels require subfloor work, although this is something you should discuss with a professional based on your overall flooring plans. Generally speaking, you should never install wood flooring in a lower level, and try to stay away from carpet when possible, due to concerns with moisture over time. Tile, engineered hardwoods, and all other moisture-resistant options are popular, giving you plenty to work with. A lower level is also a great place for a large rug to add some style!
When possible, broaden your stairs and add a banister if you don't already have one. If your stairway is very unimpressive, consider replacing it entirely with a sturdier, more beautiful version (the stairway usually can be made of wood, with the right supports. An enclosed stairway can feel dark and cramped, which isn't a good look for a lower level area. Homeowners with enough space often choose to open up the stairway and create a fuller entryway for the space.
Lighting options depend entirely on what your finished lower level aesthetic will look like. A bar area deserves classic pendant bar lighting. A gaming room can do excellent things with LED panels. A living area should include more traditional recessed lighting and flood lighting. Overall, make sure that lighting is plentiful and bright. Along with lots of lighting options, try to choose bright, light colors for the walls and ceiling to help the light do its job; lighter colors will reflect more of that light and give the lower level a brighter atmosphere!
At one point, suspended ceilings were a popular choice for lower levels because of the ease of installation. However, they have fallen out of favor, primarily because they take up even more space in what's already a small living area, and partly because it gives the lower level space a cheaper "classroom" feeling.
A popular choice is a tray ceiling made of recessed panels, which helps to make lower levels look even larger, and is particularly straightforward to install compared to other options (it also gives you even more options for your lighting). However, you may also want to go for a traditional drywall ceiling, depending on your options. Consider the shape of your lower level ceiling carefully before deciding. Drywall may work best if the ceiling has an unusual shape or multiple levels.
Want to learn more about lower level projects or plan a specific remodel of your own? At Owens Construction, we can help! Schedule your consultation with us today!