One recurring problem all parents deal with -- especially on weekends and school breaks -- is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)
While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you've expended all the possibilities, you're back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.
If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive -- with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you're willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!
Setting Up a Game Room
Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you'll also discover that you don't have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It's rarely necessary to get the "deluxe" version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there's a wide range of sizes and prices available -- both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.
Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children's birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don't have to draw straws or pull rank!
If you are looking to increase the living space in your home, the answer might just be right under your feet. Remodeling your basement has the potential of uniquely transforming the look of your home. Although this has a unique set of challenges, with proper planning, it can be achieved. Here are some tips on how to remodel your basement into a functional living space. Make a Family Room The basement is a great place for casual social activities, a perfect spot where the entire family can get together and relax with a board game or a big screen television. Make it inviting and alluring, just like any other room in the home. Some new furniture, a great sound system and excellent lightening would be a great way to start. Include a Bath and Bedroom Adding a bedroom and a bath makes the basement an ideal suite for guests. The dimensions should be determined by who will use it. For a double bed, you will need a minimum of 125 square feet, for twin beds, 150 square feet will serve your needs. When adding a bedroom, be certain there is an emergency exit that leads directly outside. A professional will need to be consulted in regards to adding a bathroom as specific regulations will apply. Add a Kitchen With a mini kitchen in the basement, entertainment gets easier. This would require access to hot and cold water, electrical outlets, exhaust vents, a small dish washer, under counter refrigerator and anything else that would allow for more comfortable living. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase In most homes, there is a staircase leading to the basement. When remodeling, take the opportunity to improve the look of this entryway to your new living space. If it is not properly positioned, consider moving it to a better location. Consult with a designer or an architect for guidance on redesigning your stairway. Add Windows Adding windows is great for basements, but this task is better left to the professionals. If this is properly done, it will improve the ventilation, add light, and make it very comfortable. Adding windows may require digging a window well. A retaining wall made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers should be added to the well. If properly done, it could also serve as an emergency exit. Finish the Walls. The walls of the foundation are usually made of poured concrete and reinforcement materials. Cover the walls with materials of your choice. Plywood, paneling or any material that would make the area more inviting. For example, covering the walls in the living area with sheets of maple-veneer would add an arts and crafts feel to the room. There are many options and trained professionals that can help you achieve the look you want. Finish The Ceilings Basically, there are three options available to you when remodeling the basement ceilings, leave the pipes and duct work exposed, conceal it with a dry panel or hide everything with a suspended or drop ceiling. Choose Comfortable Flooring In most cases, basement floors are made of concrete, unless plywood sub-flooring has been installed. Concrete works with most floor finish choices like tile, carpet, vinyl and paint. For below grade installation, solid wood flooring is not recommended as it shrinks and expands causing gaps. However, engineered wood flooring is recommended as it shrinks less.