Finished basements are a great idea in theory. It lets you turn an otherwise little-used area into a
comfortable place to spend time and expands the usable square footage of the home without the
need for new construction. However, even a beautifully finished basement is still an underground
room. That means little to no natural light, for one thing, and even finished basements can be more
prone to problems like moisture, mold, odors, and pests than other areas of a home.
If you just moved into a home with a finished basement, or are deciding how to stage a finished
basement to maximize a home’s selling price, here are three great ways to play to the strengths of
Use it as a home theater.
A lack of natural light can be depressing in a bedroom or office space, but that’s perfect for a home
theater, eliminating sources of glare and ambient light that can lower the quality of both TV
displays and projected images.
These days, you don’t need to be independently wealthy to get big-screen entertainment right in
your home. Now that 4K and 8K resolutions are available, you can get a solid full HD home theater
projector for $500 or less, and Ultra HD models aren’t crazy expensive, either. There have been
similar shifts when it comes to surround sound equipment. Many modern soundbars and A/V
receivers feature technology like height virtualization that create immersive, 3D sound without the
need for in-wall and ceiling-mounted speakers.
Developments in A/V technology also give homeowners more options for how they want to use a
home theater space. Many projectors, speakers, and TVs come with voice control and home
automation support to integrate into smart home networks, while receivers with multi-room
capability can control the speakers and displays throughout a home. That’s especially helpful for
families because it lets you set up multiple entertainment spaces without needing to buy as much
Build a bar space for entertaining friends.
Finished basements often have quirky dimensions, whether that’s low ceilings or an awkward
blocked-off space for the furnace. Making a finished basement into an entertainment space turns
those quirks into an advantage, giving the room charm and ambiance rather than being an
annoyance. That strange corner nook becomes a cozy spot for a standing bar table, while an
awkwardly long open space is perfect for table games like pool or shuffleboard.
Another reason finished basements are great as home bars is that they tend to stay cooler than the
rest of the home, even on hot summer days. Combined with the lack of sunlight, this makes them
ideal for storing temperamental beverages like wine, so you can keep things you’ll drink in the
same space where you enjoy them.
Turn it into a workout space.
This is also a great use for basements that are only partially finished or finishable. Obviously, you
need a space that’s clean with good air quality if you’ll be working out there, but you don’t
necessarily need that space to be pretty. In fact, a hard floor can be better in a home gym because
it’s easier to clean and provides a more stable surface for workout equipment than carpets. If there
are ugly walls, you can put up mirrors so you can watch your form while you exercise.
Like we mentioned above, basements tend to be the coolest rooms in the house, and that’s just what
you want when you’re working out. Finished basements are also often fairly large, open spaces,
allowing room for equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, or weight machines.
The Best Use for Your Basement Space
The same qualities that often lead to basements being under-utilized can be an advantage if you use
the space in the right way. By using or staging a finished basement in a way that plays to its
strengths, you can enjoy the full potential and value of your home’s square footage.