When we hear from clients a year after the have developed their basement, one of the most common things that they tell us is “we love our basement, but one thing I wish we had done is add a little bit more storage”.
And it’s very true…. extra storage can make your entire home feel bigger, while a lack of storage can make even a large home feel small.
Too often homeowners try to plan every square ft. of their development for living space without leaving anything left for storage and this can be a big mistake.
It is always good to think about adding storage anywhere possible. Also, adding unfinished storage can save you money on your development. Generally, I would recommend that 10% of the basement area be reserved for storage at a minimum.
Three simple but effective ways to add storage in your basement are
Extending the mechanical room by just a few feet can make a big difference to your basement storage. Extending an 8’x10’ mechanical room to a 10’x10’ adds 20sf of space which is enough room to add multiple shelves and to stash a whole lot of seasonal items.
If that isn’t enough, you can always add a dedicated storage room whether it be finished or unfinished. We generally recommend an unfinished room to budget conscious clients because it can save on square footage costs.
One tip for building a storage room, is not to plan your built-in shelving until the end of the project. It is best to figure out exactly what you plan to store before finalizing your design.
Also, often it is more cost effective and better for resale not to add any built-in shelving at all, but to instead purchase units from Ikea or the big box construction stores. That way if you go to sell, your buyers can have the option of using the room for storage or maybe converting it to something that suits their needs better.
Third, utilizing the crawlspace is key. Finishing a crawlspace can be tricky and expensive, so it is much better to utilize as unfinished storage.
And finally, the more closets the better. They don’t necessarily have to be built-ins. Ikea wardrobes are amazing for adding storage but still leaving you with flexibility in case your needs change or you go to sell.
So many basements have awkward nooks that aren’t really big enough to be used as rooms, and these are great spaces to use for closets whether built-in or store bought.
So when you are planning your basement renovation, give a little thought to adding storage. Keep in mind that as your family grows, so will your storage needs.