Basements and cellars are often neglected spaces in the home, which is one of the reasons why so many households with these spaces suffer from damp issues, as they are left forgotten about and unventilated. However, with a little bit of TLC and a professionally installed basement tanking system, you can transform your basement or cellar into pretty much anything that you want it to be.
This got the team at Garratt’s Damp & Timber thinking about what our favourite basement conversion ideas are, and what we would do with our own cellars given the opportunity. From a sensible office and workshop to a more extravagant home cinema and bowling alley, below are our favourite 10 conversions.
One of the most popular cellar conversion ideas is to transform the space into a wine cellar, perfect for the wine connoisseur who only wants the best conditions for their bottles. The basement is the best environment in which to store wine due to the lack of light and temperature (although this must be regulated for the best results).
Crucially, there must be little to no humidity in the atmosphere otherwise the cork in the bottle will shrink, causing the wine to evaporate and oxidize. By waterproofing the basement, moisture levels can be kept to a minimum by ensuring that water does not penetrate the structure.
Having your very own home gym is the dream of many a fitness fanatic, and the thought of not having to wait around to use machines at a commercial gym that charges an astronomical membership fee for the privilege is enough of a reason for many. Many households feature some form of exercise equipment, such as a bike, treadmill and the odd fluttering of weights, but they can take up far too much space in more commonly used living areas.
By converting the basement into a gym, you can invest in the equipment you want and not have to worry about anyone else accidentally walking into it or hurting themselves. If it is a household where young children live, you especially want to make sure that any heavy weights are stored out of the way.
Once again, ventilation is important given the vapour and humidity created during excercise.
Who wouldn’t love access to their own private cinema room? In many ways, a basement makes the perfect setting for a cinema due to the lack of sunlight, thick walls that provide fantastic acoustics and a dedicated space where you can install a projector screen.
Your cinema room doesn’t have to be reserved exclusively for film nights, either, with the space making quite the setting to watch the game with family and friends (according to sport-loving members of the Garratt’s Damp & Timber team).
If your home is lacking in space, or you just want somewhere a little more comfortable to offer guests than a spare bedroom and foldaway bed, converting your basement into additional living space is a good idea. The otherwise under-utilised space can easily be transformed into a lounge without too much fuss.
Equally, converting your basement or cellar into guest accommodation can open a new source of income. In London, where millions of tourists travel to every year, there is always a huge demand for rooms. Websites such as Airbnb have made it easy for residents to offer out their spare rooms to travellers and there are many basement conversions that are regularly booked by tourists looking for somewhere to stay that won’t cost as much as an expensive Central London hotel.
What big kid wouldn’t love to have their own games room? If the spare room isn’t quite big enough for what you have in mind, the basement could be the space you have been looking for. With room enough for a pool table, arcade games, maybe even a ping pong table, your basement can easily be the games room you always dreamed of having.
If consoles are more your thing, why not take on board the cinema conversion idea and plug into the projector for the ultimate gaming experience? Once again, the acoustics of the basement will make games sound simply incredible and you will never want to play elsewhere again.
For those with an artistic edge - whether they are a painter, dancer or musician - a basement or cellar conversion idea can be to use it as a studio. Ideal for when you want to retreat to an excluded space to focus on your hobby (or even your job), your own studio can really lend itself to increased productivity.
Those that work from home often cite the need for their own working space – not just to keep distractions to a minimum, but to help with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Keeping your work and home life separate is essential, especially if you are a freelancer that often works from home.
A basement can also be utilised as a workshop for those that love to DIY and is a welcome gift both for the Tommy Walsh of the family and those who don’t want to hear the constant sound of drilling and sawing. All you need to get working is a workbench and somewhere to store your tools and you are good to go.
While other areas of the home, such as the garage and shed, are more traditional spots for a workshop, the basement makes for an ideal space if other options are unavailable.
Having your own place where you can retire to, crack on with some work or study is, for many, a little slice of heaven. Like having a workshop or studio, a study/office is an ideal place for someone to call their own, especially if they tend to bring their work home with them.
With some basic decoration, office lighting, a few bookshelves, a desk and computer chair – as well as a well-placed router so as your laptop can connect to the internet with a decent WiFi signal – the ideal study or office won’t take much preparation at all.
Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of work involved in converting your basement into your very own bowling alley but, if you have the financial means, why wouldn’t you? A bowling alley would certainly make for the ultimate man cave, making for a fantastic feature for any children (or big kids) living in the household or that come around to visit.
Finally, why not convert your basement into your new social hangout and install your own bar? No one likes fighting for the attention of the person behind the bar for a drink on a Friday night, making the idea of being able to pull your own pint even more appealing. Not only that, you can always guarantee your favourite drinks are always in stock!
Complete the fit with furniture and games (every bar needs a dartboard) to give it that authentic pub-feel. Invite your friends over and enjoy the craic, but make sure to get last orders in before closing time.
Before you can go ahead with any of the above ideas, your basement or cellar must be properly waterproofed with a professionally installed tanking system in place. While our team can’t help you to install a bowling alley, we can ensure that your basement doesn’t suffer from issues such as rot, mould and high moisture levels in the atmosphere.
You can get in touch with Garratt’s Damp & Timber today by calling on 0208 535 7536 or send us a message via the contact page and we will get back to you as soon as we can.