In many homes, the basement or cellar is a place for storage, water heaters, and laundry. That’s because basements are often dark and dreary. The musty smell is enough to send family members running back upstairs. The dank environment turns unfinished basements into wasted square footage. It’s possible to fix these issues and make the basement a welcoming oasis. Here are five ways to turn your basement into a comfortable living space the whole family can enjoy.

Let the Light Shine In
One of the biggest turn offs about basements is how dark they can be. Windows should be clean of debris to let in the sunlight. Make sure storage items don't block the windows and natural light. Keep stacks of boxes and other storage items low and away from the windows. 
Use ceiling fixtures to complement the natural light in the room. Bear in mind that hanging light fixtures can lower the ceiling height. Recessed lighting can keep clearance high and provide plenty of light. Brighten up the walls and ceiling too with paint colors like white or ivory.

Keep Basement Air Fresh and Clean
Damp, stinky air will also keep your family out of the basement. Excess moisture creates musty air that breeds odor, bacteria, and mold. Your basement could be suffering from indoor air pollution. This dirty air can make people sick. There are steps you can take to provide clean air though.
Clean polluted air with a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. Waterproofing the walls and foundation can fix persistent moisture issues. Comfortable temperatures are necessary too. Basements need adequate heating and air conditioning, so they are not too hot or too cold compared to the rest of the house.

Create Cozy Seating Areas
Image via Flickr by noluckmurphy
Make your basement a comfortable place to spend time together with cozy furniture and accessories. Plush couches and relaxing recliners encourage your family to settle in and spend family time in the basement. Throw pillows and end tables tie the look together. 

Provide the Latest Entertainment Options
A finished basement needs to provide family entertainment. Today that means that your home’s wireless internet connection should extend to the basement. Everyone can use all of their devices and stay connected to friends and family. Don’t forget to include a smart TV or Blu-ray player to stream the latest movies and shows. Add a quality sound system to turn your basement into a home theater.

Complete the Look With Flooring
Cold, hard concrete floors look unfinished and don’t encourage your family to spend time in the basement. Add padded rugs or wood flooring that adds warmth and matches your decor. Installing a basement subfloor first can ensure floors will stay warm and dry. Family members won’t suffer from cold feet anymore when they go barefoot in the basement.

Follow these ideas to turn a dark, unwelcoming basement into a cozy living space your family can enjoy. Memories of the cold, dank space will be gone. The basement will become your family’s favorite meeting place to spend time together.