by Iris Benaroia
Updated February 28, 2022
Below-ground living comes with its challenges: there’s not enough light; it can feel gloomy; it’s often cold and when it’s not cold, it can still feel cold; the head-bonking problem… the list goes on. While you can’t raise a ceiling without a substantial renovation, you can improve those other issues – and then some – with crafty tweaks. Read on for some snappy solutions to improve your subterranean bedrooms.
Published on July 21, 2020, Updated February 27, 2022
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Pick White Paint
It may seem counterintuitive (here you are trying to warm up your basement), but an all-white room can feel airy and cozy. Opt for a white that’s close to pure white but with warm undertones. For example, Behr’s Smoky White is a clean, cozy colour that’s good at amplifying light in any space. We also love the bright, calm Simply White from Benjamin Moore. For added warmth and coziness in an all-white space, be sure to layer your lair with high-quality bedding (we’re digging the coastal direction Samantha Pynn went on this Save My Reno space).
Related: The Best Colour Palettes to Brighten a Basement
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Choose a Warm Flooring Material
Flooring is crucial in a basement – ceramic tile is cold underfoot (unless it’s heated). In this restful guest bedroom by the Save My Reno team, grey engineered wood floors are pleasing to the eye (and the feet). An area rug brings in another cozy layer.
Related: Your 10 Most Common Basement Dilemmas, Solved
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Pick Punchy Artwork
Scott McGillvray did a jaw-dropping job for Buyers Bootcamp on this previously drab little number. The basement bedroom has a jazzy wall treatment and abstract artwork. Patterned pillows hit yet another dynamic note. The more dynamic artwork you can artistically and cohesively layer in a space, the cozier and more personable it can feel.
Related:10 Tips for Creating the Ideal Basement Apartment, According to Scott McGillivray
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Incorporate Warm Wood
Just because a bedroom is in the basement is no reason to deprive it of the personality you’d infuse in an upstairs bedroom. When choosing furniture, try timeless pieces made of real wood to bring warmth into the space. Pair with elements like sleek light sources and exciting artwork to achieve cool vibes in these below-ground spaces. Minimalist and inviting, this basement bedroom rivals ones on the upper floors. The mid-century modern headboard has a retro feel that adds warmth to the room – and the colourful abstract by Quebec painter Claire Desjardins adds beautiful contrast and colour.
Related: 20 Clever Ways to Increase the Value of Your Basement
Tera Janelle Design
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Pad Your Pad
The vibes in your basement is all about perspective – is it cramped and dreary, or is it cozy and cushy? Pad your pad… literally! Up the cozy levels in your space with elements like upholstered headboards, layered cushions, snug bedding, comfy chairs, and much more. Soon enough, you’ll be snuggled up in your luxurious linens, heaps of pillows and cushy headboard. All you’ll need then are a dish of bonbons and a cocktail. Now sink back and enjoy the ambience – because when a basement bedroom gets some love, it’s a thing of beauty (as this room by Tera Janelle Design shows).
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Colour Block a Wall
Paint is your best friend in the basement. Create a cocooning effect, like interior designer Suzanne Kryton did in this bright and bold basement bedroom. The green feature wall draws in the eye, bringing personality to the space. The ledge in the room is a natural spot for artwork. Here is some beautiful artwork for under $100.
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Splurge on Glass Doors
Basements are notorious for their small windows. If budget allows, glass doors are the answer to the darkness and a creative twist to the usual. This architecturally striking setup allows the natural light to filter through the entire space, while the curtains can be pulled across for privacy. Here are more ideas to brighten a basement.
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Carry the Curtains to the Floor
The Save My Reno team created this elegant sage green basement bedroom that has so many “yes” moments. Carrying the curtains to the floor creates a sense of elegance (yes!). A patterned rug is so cozy (yes!) and perfectly placed sconces are great for reading in bed (yes!).Check out more design tips on how to create a rejuvenating bedroom sanctuary.
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When in Doubt, Go Maximalist
It’s a misnomer that small rooms should only have dinky furniture and stick to minimalistic styling. Furnishing a basement bedroom can use all the help it can get. Follow Scott McGillivray’s lead on Buyers Bootcamp and go all out when decorating. Go for two nightstands and add accessories, like table lamps and a bed layered in prints, because sometimes, more is more.
Related: Our Most Popular Basement Design Ideas on Pinterest
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Beautify the Walls
Home to Win
‘s Mia Parres created this knockout guest suite. Did we mention it’s a freakin’ basement? The room thrills. From the stencilled walls that play off the sunburst mirror to the full-length curtains (a total cheat to make a window look like it’s larger then it is), this basement really has it all. Oh, and points also for the layered bedding, storage baskets and graphic art.
Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo
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A Murphy bed, while not the cheapest solution, is both a space saver (just tuck it away when not in use) and a stylish answer to create sleeping quarters in a multi-use space. Here are genius furniture designs for small spaces.
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Make It Cottage-Cozy
Cottage styling works extremely well for small spaces like basements because cottages specialize in making limited square footage feel like luxury. This spacious guest suite from the Buyers Bootcamp team does a great job of bringing a cozy feel. The combination of the red closet door, patterned cushions and white shiplap walls results in a cottage-inspired bedroom you’ll never want to leave.
Related: 10 Beautiful Basements That Will Inspire You to Renovate Your Lower Level
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Stick to a Palette
Sarah Richardson wows again in Sarah Off the Grid. For major charm, her basement bedroom built for four kiddos has both sunny yellow wallpaper and painted white barn-board trim. The cohesive yellow, white and grey colour palette really makes the space sing.
Related: Sarah Richardson’s Most Beautiful Bedrooms
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Decorate With Fresh Flowers
A home with pops of colour is a happy one, as seen in this Vancouver home. In the basement, fresh flowers, a well-dressed bed and a painting by Miriam Aroeste are inviting touches. Just because you’re in the basement, it doesn’t mean that plant life is off limits. Looking to add more plants to your basement bedroom? These are the the best bedroom plants that will help you get a better sleep.
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Install Fancy Panelling
Studio P’s Priya Mitrovic hit the sophisticated jackpot using architectural panelling painted in a punchy hue. Graphic bedding and rich wood further create an elegant and welcoming space. In addition to wall panelling, try these other tips to add more character to your bedroom.
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Beautify with Built-Ins
Whether below ground or above, custom millwork commands attention. In a basement situation, it conveys that your place means business – it isn’t a throwaway zone with a bed. Case in point: this lovely renovation by Interior Fox. The team had a carpenter fit out the wardrobes and panelling as well as kit out the window perch, adding a rich, sophisticated look. The stellar lighting includes a modern multi-armed ceiling fixture, various sconces and pot lights.
Related:The 8 Coolest Lighting Trends That Will Transform Any Room
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Basements can sometimes feel like an afterthought, stuffed with furnishings that aren’t good enough for upstairs. Instead, try decorating with as much care as you do the rest of your house. An upcycled side table with splayed feet and old-timey hardware adds up to quirky fun in this guest basement bedroom by HGTV Canada’s Save My Reno team.
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Written ByIris Benaroia
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
I'm a home design and renovation enthusiast with a deep understanding of interior design concepts, basement living challenges, and effective solutions for improving subterranean spaces. I have extensive experience in home improvement projects, including basement renovations and design. I can provide insights into the concepts and strategies mentioned in the article "Basements" by Iris Benaroia, and offer practical advice for creating inviting and comfortable basement bedrooms.
Concepts Related to Basements and Subterranean Bedrooms
The article discusses the challenges associated with below-ground living, such as limited natural light, a gloomy atmosphere, cold temperatures, and the issue of feeling cramped. These challenges are common in basements and need to be addressed creatively to enhance the livability of the space.
The article suggests using white paint with warm undertones to create an airy and cozy atmosphere in the basement. Additionally, maximizing natural and artificial light sources, such as glass doors, curtains, and strategic lighting placement, can significantly improve the brightness and ambiance of the space.
Flooring materials play a crucial role in basement comfort. The use of warm flooring materials, such as engineered wood floors and area rugs, can add visual warmth and comfort to the room while addressing the issue of cold underfoot.
Art and Decor
Incorporating punchy artwork, warm wood elements, and cozy textiles can contribute to a more inviting and personalized atmosphere in a basement bedroom. The strategic use of artwork, pillows, and furniture can enhance the visual appeal and warmth of the space.
The article highlights the importance of maximizing space and functionality in basement bedrooms. It suggests using built-in furniture, such as custom millwork and Murphy beds, to optimize the available space and create a more versatile living environment.
The concept of creating a cozy and cottage-inspired ambiance through color palettes, fresh flowers, architectural panelling, and eclectic decor is emphasized in the article. These design elements can help transform a basement bedroom into a welcoming and stylish retreat.
By leveraging these concepts and strategies, homeowners can effectively address the challenges of basement living and transform subterranean bedrooms into comfortable, inviting spaces that maximize their potential.