Get up in the morning, grab a shower and a cup of coffee, and head out the door for your morning commute with a breakfast bar in hand. This used to be the morning routine for most Americans, but in recent years, things have started changing.
Now, more and more people are choosing to telecommute. This means that a skimpy “home office” with a printer shoved under a side table somewhere simply won’t do. Instead, people need more space: space for storage, space to spread out and work, and space to have peace and quiet. If you don’t have a spare room to convert into a work space, have you considered creating a cozy basement home office?
Long the territory of either musty storage or man caves, basements are now getting an organizational twist that makes them ideal for working at home. Here are our top basement remodeling tips for creating a home office that will work for you.
What Happens Up Must Come Down
Remember that whatever’s going on upstairs will be happening right above your head, so consider orienting your work space near an area of the basement that’s well away from kids’ bedrooms, play rooms, or media rooms. Since most basement ceilings are unfinished, you can even install soundproofing material to keep noise out.
Pre-Plan for Wiring in Your Basement Home Office
As you think about your layout, make plans for plugging in or hard-wiring computer and telephone equipment. Since most things are wireless these days, this won’t be as much of a problem as it used to be. If you’re planning on running equipment off of Wi-Fi, consider that the range of your home Wi-Fi might not reach all the way into your basement and an extender may be necessary.
Let There Be Light … and Lots of It
Humans aren’t vampires and we require light to stay energized and awake. Since most basements aren’t big on natural light, you’ll need to create a lighting scheme that’s bright enough, yet still comfortable. Finishing off the ceiling and installing recessed lighting will give a wonderful glow to the entire room. If you can’t do this or need additional illumination, floor and table lamps, as well as under-cabinet lighting, can help brighten up darker areas.
Build-In Plenty of Storage and a Workspace
There’s nothing worse than a cramped and cluttered home office, and you definitely don’t want that as the end result after working hard on a basement remodel. Before you get started, carefully plan the layout and include a beautiful built-in work area, cabinets, and easy-to-reach shelving. Sure; you can bring in office furniture, but nothing warms up a space and makes it your own like having it custom-built.
Create Warmth for the Winter
Because basements tend to be cold and damp, take the proper finishing steps and make the space more hospitable even during the winter months. If you’re not installing carpeting, consider utilizing rugs to make the floor less cold. (You’d be surprised at how cold temperatures from an uninsulated floor can make your feet uncomfortable — even if you’re wearing socks and shoes.) Properly insulate exterior walls to keep the heat inside.
Speaking of heat, while space heaters will get the job done, a safer and more attractive approach is to tie into your existing HVAC system. Since heat rises, plan your vents or heat sources to be installed near the floor to minimize your energy use. With the proper planning and an experienced contractor to help you through the process, instead of kissing your spouse goodbye in the morning, you’ll be kissing your commute goodbye, instead!