Room in Review – Terrace Levels

March 22, 2022

Terrace levels and basements are one of the most renovated areas in a home. It’s unutilized square footage just begging for you to reimagine it. Historically, the most common areas added to basements are movie rooms, bars, and game rooms. More recently, people are thinking of new ways to use this space and we can point to a few reasons why.


Bid Farewell to the Dark, Dank Basements of Old

There was a time when going down to the basement was a form of punishment. Some poor soul who had to fix a utility problem or pull out the Christmas decore made the lone journey down. Newer construction methods and reconfigurations brought basements out of the dark ages. Today, basements are more usable and actually pleasant to be in. Most basements are now considered “daylight basements” which means there are windows in part of the space. Nothing takes away the creepy effect quite like some sunlight.


In fact, maximizing light in the design for your basement or terrace level is one of the most important things a designer can do. The layout must be strategic to make the most of the light you do have. Looking to add another bedroom that will actually count? You have to include a closet and a window to do that. You will also need access to a bathroom.  So, make a priority list for your design firm so they can advise you how best to layout the space.

Another way to maximize the light is to use mirrors, recessed lighting, paint, and other design tricks to give the feeling of a bright, open space. Even without windows, it’s amazing what smart design and well-executed renovations can do. With bright and welcoming areas to work with, homeowners have shifted their use of basements to include even more solutions.

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While movie and game rooms are still a request, clients are also asking for their basements to solve more issues and do more for them. A popular choice is a wine cellar with an accompanied wine tasting area. This has to be one of our favorite ways to use the space! The moody feel works in your favor by adding more dramatic design elements that make you want to sit, sip, and savor.

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Terrace Level & Basement Best Practices

If you’re considering a basement renovation, we have a few items for you to consider before you choose a plan.

First, how do you want to balance your desired wish list with the practicality of your preferences? An experienced firm will help you prioritize your wish list and preserve your return on investment. This balancing act will help you get what you want without compromising resale value. 

Next, remember that many important utility items live in the basement. You will need to keep access to them for regular maintenance or service. Most of the time this is simple to work around with a clever floorplan. Sometimes though, you need high levels of creativity to achieve the look you want without losing the functionality. In this project, we disguised an electrical panel and utility room with hidden doors. This gave access without compromising style.


Lastly, we would encourage you to let your imagination run a bit. The basement might be one of the most pigeonholed areas in the home when it comes to design. This space can feel elevated, intentional, and special with the right plan and proper execution.


We would love for you to watch our web series on a terrace level renovation that illustrates many of the tips found in this post!

You can also visit our website to view our portfolio and see even more examples of basement renovations.

Until next time!