basement-remodelToday’s article was written by Bryan Sebring of Sebring Services, a design and build company located in Chicago-land. Bryan is very passionate about educating homeowners during the design and remodeling process.

The basement is often the largest but most underused space in the home. Piling it up with storage boxes and old electronics means missing out on a great opportunity to expand your home’s living space. Basement remodeling will not only add more space to your home, it could also boost your selling price.

The basement comes with the advantage of being a large, unobstructed space. This allows you to put it to many uses. You can create a single room or split it up into two or more rooms. Instead of letting it stay dark, musty and unused, consider undertaking a basement remodeling.

No Shortage of Ideas

When you think about basement remodeling, the first question on your mind is probably what you will turn it into. There is no shortage of ideas. Some homeowners opt to create an extra bedroom or two while others go as far as creating a personal museum down there. This is obviously a big decision and you need to go slow on it. The most important thing is to consider what your greatest need is. If you have a shortage of bedrooms, turn the basement into an extra bedroom. If you work at home and need a home office away from the noisy little ones, a home office it is. If the kids’ toys are cluttering up the living room and causing endless injuries, consider creating a playroom for them.

If there is no pressing need, then you can add a room for entertainment purposes. Some good ideas include a home cinema, a game room, a bar, a kitchenette or even an extra family room. If you love photography, you could turn it into your own personal gallery. If you have a priceless collection of sports memorabilia, consider creating a mini museum to enjoy with friends.

You can even create more than one room. Use a creative divider, such as a sliding barn door, to separate the two rooms. You could turn it into two bedrooms, a game room and bar, a kid’s play area and adult game room and so on. Discuss with your contractor what each idea involves. Consider the complexity and cost of each and choose the one you are most comfortable with.

A Word on Safety

Before going ahead with your project, check what the local code says on basement safety especially if you plan to turn it into a living space such as a bedroom. A basement fire is a major hazard and could cause major damage to your home and even worse, injuries or death. Talk with your contractor about installing basic safety measures such as an egress window, smoke detectors and fire sprinklers. Additionally, check that the basement has been well protected against moisture entry and damage.

Inspiring Ideas

To help you get started on basement remodeling, we have put together an in depth article: 8 Awesome Basement Remodeling Ideas, which includes a beverage center, a wine cellar and a private gym. Click to see the rest of the ideas and get inspired.

thurs-bathroom-lighting

There are so many options today for beautiful bathroom lighting. Gone are the days of the simple overhead ceiling light that would create shadows, and that certainly wasn’t anything to admire.

Task lighting is key in the bathroom – from the make-up mirror to the steam shower stall – direct lighting makes whatever you need to do easier.

When you’re designing your bathroom, make sure you give lighting as much thought as you’d give the finishes, like the type of tile or color of paint. The right lighting will make all the difference to how functional your bathroom is and how beautiful it looks.

Take a leisurely stroll through a number of lighting stores before you decide on one light fixture. Think about what style of light fixture suits your home, and your bathroom in particular. Consider, too, whether you want lights that can be dimmed in the bathroom. One final thought: different light fixtures sometimes use different types of bulbs. Try to minimize the variety of bulbs your bathroom lights will need. You might find changing five different types of bulbs (and keeping them in stock in your home) a colossal pain!

Check out these beautiful bathroom lighting ideas:

Photo: decoist.com

Photo: decoist.com

Pot lights set into natural wood blocks is simple, modern, yet rustic. The overhead lighting also complements the wall sconces. The chance of shadows making your morning routine is eliminated.

Photo: housetohome.com

Make use of the natural light that comes through large bathroom windows. The candles on the wall won’t give off a lot of light, but they do add a lovely and warm ambiance.

Photo: DIY Network

Photo: DIY Network

This one is a really fun example of how you can mix and match chandelier-style lights to transform both the function and personality of your bathroom.

Over to you: Have any lighting ideas? Let us know!

 

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This article is a guest post from our friends over at Sunline Energy.

Most homeowners want to reduce their carbon footprints. But they often delay making improvements because the process seems overwhelming.

There are just too many options and approaches to choose from.

However, you don’t have to green your home all at once. It’s possible to make minor changes – one room at a time. And you can use your accumulated utility bill savings to continue making additional improvements later on.

If you’re looking for a good place to start this greening process, we recommend the bathroom – one of the most resource-hungry rooms in the entire home.

Every trip to the bathroom has a financial and environmental cost – whether you’re taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or simply putting on makeup.

Any steps you can take to cut down your water and energy consumption will go a long way in reducing the ecological impact. And it’ll also put more money back into your wallet.

Below are some powerful tips for greening your bathroom.

Let’s start with water use.

1. Install Low-Flow Toilet Fixtures

This simple fix helps to regulate the amount of water used whenever you flush. Some attachments even let you choose the size of your flush – depending on what type of “business” you’ve just conducted (i.e. #1 vs. #2).

2. Use High-Efficiency Water Fixtures

Did you know it’s possible to equip your faucets and showerheads with aerators that conserve water without sacrificing pressure? You won’t notice any difference – until you receive your next monthly water bill.

3. Capture Rainwater

Rainwater isn’t always safe for drinking – but it’s perfectly acceptable for toilet flushing and bathing. With a rainwater catchment system installed, you can reduce your reliance on expensive water from the utility company.

4. Recycle Greywater

Similar benefits exist if you recycle the used water in your home. Again, this “greywater” isn’t potable – but you can reuse it for toilet flushing. And depending on the system in place, you can even safely take showers with properly treated greywater.

Let’s take a look at ways to reduce energy consumption within the bathroom.

5. Install LEDs and CFLs

There now exist a whole range of energy-efficient lights that mimic the look and feel of incandescent bulbs. But these power-savers use a fraction of the electricity.

If you haven’t already installed LEDs and CFL’s, now’s a great time to start. And you might also think about installing timers or motion detectors to make sure the lights remain off when not in use.

6. Take Shorter or Cooler Showers

Everyone loves long, hot showers. Even we do. But every second in the shower represents money going down the drain – literally. Your furnace must work overtime to heat all that water.

Fixing this is easy. You can either take:

Shorter showers that don’t use up as much heated water.

• Cooler showers that don’t consume as much energy.

Power Conservation Has Its Limits

Energy conservation is vitally important. But no matter how many changes you make, there is only so much power you can actually save.

After all, you’ll still need lights to see. And who wants to take cold, short showers?

This is why many homeowners explore another important greening strategy – one that offers unlimited benefits.

They install solar panels on their properties.

Doing so helps these homeowners reduce their reliance on the utility grid. As a result, they save money every month, and they’re also able to shrink their carbon footprints.

The more photovoltaic (PV) panels you install, the greater these benefits.

But you don’t need a large solar installation to get started. A few PV panels should be enough to cover your bathroom’s electricity needs.

And with the savings earned, you can expand the size of your installation until your entire home runs on nothing but clean and free sunshine.

Have additional tips for greening your bathroom? Feel free to comment down below.