View into a basement, which is equipped with armchairs, a television and cabinets.
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Before furnishing a basement

As soon as you have made the decision to use your basement as living space, you need to work out the ideal way to furnish it for the intended purpose. There are certain conditions that must be met. Here are a few important tips.

Obtaining permits

In Switzerland, if you want to use a room in a different way than originally intended, you will generally need a building permit. The conversion of a basement into a habitable area will require authorization. You must observe regulations regarding noise, vibrations and fire protection. In addition, a habitable basement requires a sufficient supply of light and air. For example, living rooms and bedrooms must have windows that are above the grass level. Find out about the measures in force by contacting the building authority in your municipality.

Lighting

Since the basement is located underground, it’s more difficult than in other rooms to ensure that there will be a supply of natural light. If you spend a lot of time in the basement, you will have to install several artificial light sources.

As a rule, a standard basement is not designed to be converted into living space at a later stage – the subsequent installation of a comprehensive electrical infrastructure can be an arduous task. For example, new cable shafts will have to be created. Think carefully about where you will need spot lighting for a desk or seating area and where exactly in the room the ambient lighting should be positioned.

Heating

A heating system in the basement not only ensures a homely feeling, but also helps to prevent the formation of mold. The luxury solution is underfloor heating. Ideally, if the other rooms in the house also have underfloor heating, then connecting the basement to this system will not be very complicated. Another solution is to fit an electric heater such as a fan heater or a night storage heater.

A basement is undergoing construction work: cables are hanging from the ceiling, the walls are of bare stone.

Before converting the basement, you must check that there will be enough light, heat and air.

Ventilation

In some basements, there may not be any windows at all – especially in older buildings. What’s more, due to the underground location, natural air exchange through joints and cracks is not possible. Good ventilation is necessary if you want to make your basement room feel comfortable. The installation of an artificial basement ventilation system is an option.

One possibility is passive ventilation. This involves installing fresh air diffusers on the outside wall of the building above ground level. Air is exchanged automatically via a shaft on account of the pressure differences that exist between the inside and outside.

With automatic basement ventilation, an outside and an inside sensor balance out the humidity. If it is more humid in the basement, an exhaust fan ensures the exchange of air.

An inhabited basement

Whether you make it a second living room, a stylish guest room or a party room – a comfortable basement practically extends your home living space by a complete floor. When furnishing the room, you should be careful to use light tones as much as possible to compensate for the naturally darker atmosphere. White walls and ceilings, as well as light wood and glass, create a friendly ambiance. Use delicate pieces of furniture rather than solid ones. It’s a good idea to provide seating – whether it’s an armchair and couch or a set of chairs around a table. Then you can come down to the basement to spend a cozy evening with your partner or an entertaining games evening with friends.

A hobby basement

When furnishing a hobby basement, the style doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is to find the right elements and accessories that will allow you to indulge in your passion. You will find a few suggestions below.

Games and sports

Children will be incredibly grateful to have their own space where they can play, listen to music and meet friends – especially if their actual bedroom is quite small. Set up a corner for reading and resting, one with boxes of toys and games, and one for romping around. If you have older children in your household, they will certainly enjoy having a special area of their own to play on their game consoles.

The basement can also be used for sports. You could set up a table tennis or billiard table, or hang a dartboard on the wall, for example. In this case, the floor covering should be hard-wearing. Design open spaces with matching utensils such as cups and sports equipment to match the chosen theme.

Wellness

Spend a few relaxing hours at home without having to go to the spa – by creating a small oasis of well-being in the basement with a sauna and whirlpool. Furnish a separate changing area, with fluffy towels and bathrobes provided on a shelf.

View into a room with fitness equipment and glass doors leading to a shower and sauna.

This basement combines both – a sports studio and a wellness oasis with a sauna and shower.

A home cinema

Furnishing a home cinema is a bit more demanding, as many technical aspects play a role. You will need:

  • a projector
  • a screen
  • a sound system
  • an image source

We explain here how to use and position these devices.

With appropriate seating, it can be great fun to watch films and series. Although conventional armchairs or a large couch fulfill their purpose, special home cinema furniture creates an authentic cinema feeling.

A wine cellar

If you want to store more than just a few bottles in a cupboard, you are a candidate for a wine cellar. This is the ideal place to keep a good bottle under optimal conditions, while still allowing the taste to mature and develop.

To achieve the same room climate as in a real winegrower’s cellar, temperature fluctuations must be avoided as much as possible – even between the seasons. So you must insulate the basement accordingly. In addition, the air humidity must be significantly higher than in normal living spaces, at about 50 to 80 percent.

A utility basement

If you would rather use your basement for storage, or as a workshop or laundry room, this extra room will definitely help keep your house neat and tidy. Below we give you a few tips on the best way to store tools and other objects.

  • Heavy duty shelving: large plant pots, car tires and equipment can be stored here without any problems thanks to the high load capacity of several hundred kilograms.
  • Wooden shelves: the classic option. There is room for smaller and larger objects on the wooden boards. If your basement is a little humid, you should use metal shelves instead.
  • Storage boxes: the more small items you have lying around, the more difficult it is to clear up. Sort them into convenient plastic boxes that you label and stack.
  • Lamella wall system: you have probably seen these in sports shops, where shoes are presented on shelves individually attached to the wall. You can install a similar system at home by attaching hooks and attaching different things to them – from a basket to a bicycle.
  • Cabinet system: another possibility for protecting objects slightly more than on shelves.

Conclusion: an extra floor full of possibilities

A basement gives you a bonus floor – it’s a shame to use it simply for storing items. Discover it as an additional living space or furnish it for hobbies or leisure. Everything is possible, from a second living room to a spa area.

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