Whether your basement is a small room or takes up an entire floor of your home, there are plenty of options when it comes to using the space effectively. Maximizing efficiency also means getting the most out of the room, which could mean creating functional storage for seldom-used decorations or adding a usable family room. These basement decorating ideas offer ways for expanding how you and your family live and use the space.

First, think about what you need from the room. Would you like to put up out-of-town visitors in a comfortable guest room, kick back with friends, or create the ultimate kids play room? Whatever your wants and needs, there are many decorating ideas to help you make it happen.

The basement, however, can often be a more challenging space to remodel because it’s often an unfinished room. Regardless of how dark and foreboding your space may be, we’ve got a handful of basement decorating ideas that will help you create a room that you will look forward to spending time in.

Decide What Layout Works Best

Once you’ve figured out your budget and how you intend to use the space, determine a floor plan that will help you execute it. If you want to create a guest room, then you probably also want to add a bathroom and will need to plan accordingly. If your space is large, you can divide it into several rooms that serve different needs, whatever they may be. If it’s small, you can still use it for multiple functions with proper planning.

Use Neutrals

Strong and bold colors catch the eye by adding drama, but they also make a space look and feel smaller. Using them in your basement may make the ceilings seem lower and the walls feel like they’re closing in. Instead rely on light neutral colors like gray, taupe and white that make the space feel more expansive. Use similar colors for bigger furniture pieces such as shelves, sofas and tables. Add color and character in your accessories and coverings, such as throw pillows, curtains, rugs and vases.

Choose Open Concept

If your basement is on the smaller side, keep the area open by avoiding adding walls. Define different spaces or zones by using color and decor so your basement can serve multiple purposes well. For example, one half of your basement can become an adult relaxation area if anchored by a comfortable sectional, a large area rug, and lighting with dimmer switches. The other half can be a craft area with a large and sturdy table, storage shelves and brighter task lighting.

See the Light

Basement windows are often smaller than elsewhere in the house because the space is either partially or totally underground. Lighting will not only make the room feel bigger, but the bright light will make up for the lack of windows. Recessed lighting saves room though you may not have the ceiling space (or budget) to accommodate it. Instead, use wall sconces, table lamps, and floor lamps. To reflect light, hang mirrors strategically in the room.

Create Storage Solutions

Though your basement may also have a higher purpose, it often ends up serving as a general storage area. Incorporate shelves and cabinets and make sure storage units go from the floor to the ceiling to ensure you’re getting the most out of your space. Buy furniture that does double-duty, such as ottomans with a hidden compartment or side tables with drawers. Devote one end of your basement to general storage by hiding that area with a floor-to-ceiling wall covering in the same color as the surrounding walls.