Basement. The very word conjures up ideas of cave dwellers, dark enclosures and a feeling of claustrophobia. No wonder it is always the basement that horror movies love to visit for their most heightened scares.

But the trend towards more livable, open spaced and uplifting basements is shifting how they are viewed in the modern home. A revamping of basement designs is allowing homeowners to rethink a living space with new options, a modern aesthetic and an eye towards livability that was previously only reserved for the basements of the most opulent homes.

The modern basement, when designed with livability in mind and the expansive feel of high ceilings, has all the makings of a space readily used for hosting, entertainment, even dining or reflection.

The master architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said,

“Space is the breath of art.”

High ceiling basements are the breath that makes a lower level livable and visually pleasing.

Basement Ceiling Options Allow for Better Living Spaces

In the past the basement of a home would generally be only eight or eight and a half feet in height. The result was a far less welcoming space.

Homeowners are increasingly realizing that the basement space is more inviting and thus more usable and valuable when designed with the advantage of a high ceiling. Today’s most desirable homes include basements with nine-foot, ten-foot or even higher ceilings. Such options are usually available from any builder worth their salt.

In a home market that is increasingly valuing livability and aesthetic, the marginal cost of choosing one of the higher ceiling options will mean better resale value in the future, in addition to the improved usability of the space while you live there.

Basement Ceiling Ideas to Consider

While higher ceilings are one of the basement options you should consider, there are additional ideas that can help with the look and feel of your lower level.

Working with your home builder or architect you should make the basement as livable as possible. What type of molding and what molding height you choose can help a basement feel less “cellar” and more “dwelling.”

Placement of HVAC and other ducting drops can also lead to more livable and pleasing basements when carefully positioned and spaced to limit the impact of the lowered ceiling. You may even want to consider sufficient space in your basement ceiling to allow for all vents, plumbing and electrical to be run without ceiling drops. Although costlier, the effect can make the higher ceiling even more pleasant and livable.

Finished Basement Ideas Beyond Higher Ceilings

Higher ceilings in a basement are considered the single most compelling architectural change to make a basement friendlier and inviting. But there are other finished basement ideas that can help the space go from “meh” to “oh yeah!”

Choices like complete molding in both baseboards and crown molding. Door and archway selections that give the feel of home spaces usually given more architectural “love” such as the kitchen, living room or master bedroom.

Another consideration is basement use. While the most common uses of a basement can drive design, sticking to creating a basement with a sense of space and livability can still be maintained. Spaces like play rooms, home gyms, home theaters and an entertainment bar are common in bases. Don’t let that limit your desire for openness. Apply the same principles mentioned above regardless of use and you will have a basement that improves livability and resale value in the long term.

Whatever your opinions of a basement, the reality is that the traditional afterthought take on basements is changing towards a more holistic and inclusive architectural approach in the modern home.

At Natale Builders we expertly design homes with the most livable, welcoming and architecturally enduring principles. High ceiling basements are just one of the options that make our homes the most desirable homes in Western New York.