Transform Your Basement with these Creative Ideas

Basements are undergoing a renaissance right now. “Traditionally, basements were filled with a sectional, a big screen television, a pool table and a mini fridge for small refreshments,” according to Patrick Garrett, real estate broker at H&H Realty in Trussville, AL.

However, he says the basement is now transitioning from man cave to family room. “Many modern-day homeowners are now going for the ‘wow’ factor,” Garrett explains. From movie theaters to offices and even kitchens, homeowners are using their basements for way more than storage.

Here are some imaginative ways that you can transform your basement.

Home theater

home theater1

Entrance to a Westborough, MA basement home theater. Image: CHIC Redesign

This basement home theater certainly looks opulent – but that’s actually a basic solid core door with upholstered vinyl panels. The photo below shows the inside of the theater.

home theater2

A true home entertainment experience. Image: CHIC Redesign

“From mass in-home family game rooms to full-blown home theaters, you can expect to see oversized recliner theater seating, high-resolution LCD projectors which produce theater quality images mounted to ceilings, and images the full width and height of the walls.” Garrett says. You could even add a popcorn machine to complete the movie theater theme.

Multipurpose game room

media room/game room/bar

Washington, DC-area multifunctional basement with a maple hardwood floor and custom bar. Image: Moss Building and Design

“Homeowners are also creating multipurpose fun areas and using a vast array of lighting options to brighten or soften the atmosphere,” Garrett says. “In my opinion, basements are still a highly sought out home amenity, even if just for the luxury of entertaining guests and friends.” This basement game room offers multiple areas for guests to relax and play.

Basement bar and brewery

basement bar

This Ottawa home has a bar and homemade beer. Image: Just Basements

What’s on tap? In this Ottawa basement home bar and brewery, there’s actually an 8-tap chrome draft tower. For complex basement redesigns, it’s especially important to plan ahead. “If you’re planning a basement remodel, establish your budget in advance,” advises J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a professional, he says it’s important to make sure that any work meets local ordinances.

Home office

home office

This Fulham, UK, town house basement has plenty of light. Image: MH Costa Construction Ltd

A home office in the basement can provide a nice, quiet place to work away from distractions. This minimalist home office in this townhouse has a cantilevered steel staircase and offers plenty of natural light.

Basement suite

mother in law suite

This Toronto basement has separate living quarters. Image: Rebecca Purdy Design

When you transform your basement with a separate bedroom, bathroom and office that look this inviting, be advised – guests may not want to leave. “If you are adding another bathroom, you will need to hire a licensed plumber,” says Sassano. “If you are simply enhancing an existing bathroom, some paint, a more modern vanity, new fixtures, towels, and accessories can make a huge impact,” he says.

Basement kitchen

basement kitchen

The kitchen is in the basement of this sleek London space. Image: Casey & Fox

Garrett says another trend he’s seeing among homeowners is kitchens in the basement. This London basement kitchen has a blue-grey glass backsplash, a quartz island, and a micro concrete heated floor. If your basement is cold, air may be seeping in, according to Sassano. “Hold a wet hand in front of a light switch plate or outlet; if you feel air, you have a leak,” he says. “Installing foam gaskets behind all the light switches and outlets can stop these energy leaks.” Other ways to boost your energy efficiency in the basement include using low-VOC caulk and foam strips around windows and door frames that leak air, advises Sassano. “Also, add door sweeps and door shoe gaskets around threshold and exterior doors,” he says.

Craft and laundry room

craft-laundry room

This basement area serves dual purposes. Image: RW Anderson Homes

In addition to being the laundry room, this Seattle basement also serves as a craft room. The spacious table provides plenty of room to work, and the storage bins hide all of your supplies. This basement would certainly make laundry less of a chore.

Kid-friendly basement

Kid-friendly basement

This Burlington basement has a custom storage system to keep toys neatly organized. Image: Peregrine Design Build

The best way to keep your house neat and clean is to give the kids their own space. Bright colors and natural light add to the allure of this kid-friendly basement.  “It’s important to determine the scope of your basement remodel, since load-bearing walls play an integral role to your home’s structure,” Sassano says. This can be a factor in how to best use the space when you plan to transform your basement.

Home gym

Home gym

Portland-based home gym in the basement. Image: Rhonda Divers Interiors

You’ll never have an excuse for not exercising when the gym is downstairs in the basement. This Portland basement gym includes a recycled rubber floor, and everything you need to get (or stay) in shape while watching your favorite show.

Do any of these ideas inspire you to transform your basement? Let us know in the comments.

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Playroom Ideas to Keep Kids Occupied for Hours

Playtime is an important part of your child’s developmental process. While playing, they develop cognitive and athletic skills, in addition to building confidence and learning how to be creative. TV and video games will try to compete for your child’s attention, but with the right playroom ideas and tools, you can create an environment that encourages active play (as opposed to passive entertainment).  Below, we’ve provided inspiration for some of the best playroom ideas that will keep your kids occupied for hours.

An enchanted forest

This Denver, CO, enchanted forest playroom creates the perfect fairy-tale setting. Image: Mile High Style

This enchanted forest has real tree trunks (from fallen Aspen trees), which have been bolted to the floor and ceiling. In the center is a ladder made out of tree branches, and there’s a ledge on the left side of the forest. Lights strung throughout add to the enchanted atmosphere, as does the tree wallpaper.  Soft carpet and plenty of storage complete this playroom.

A house

A house

The only thing better than a playroom is a playhouse. Image: Studio LA maison

This French playroom is actually a small house – with a basement, main level, and attic! Traditional and porthole windows add architectural detail. On the main level, there’s a tastefully decorated living area that includes furniture, throw rugs, and accent pillows. There’s also a study area with a desk and lamp, and curtains on the front windows. “Outside” there’s a swing and plants.

A Hobbit house

This Salt Lake City, UT, playroom is based on Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Image: Walker Home Design

This Hobbit-inspired playhouse includes the classic round door and Hobbit-inspired furniture. Those are real stones on the pathway, and the cool wave slide is just for fun. The greenery blends into the mural in the background. It’s important to include your child’s interests in playroom ideas. If they like it, they’re more likely to spend time in this area. Incorporate a variety of activities to keep your child’s interest and ensure that they don’t’ get bored. This room combines physical activities with opportunities to sit down and read or be creative.

A tent

A Tent

This Dorset, England, tent playroom brings the great outdoors inside. Image: Cuckooland

Camping doesn’t get any easier than this playroom with a tent cabin bed. The two poles hold the cloth side of the canopy bed up. However, the canopy is collapsible to provide a true camping experience.  To ensure your little one doesn’t get frightened when the canopy is down, the colorful lights strung from the top keep the tent from getting too dark – and create the appearance of stars in the sky. There’s also another exit on the right side, to ensure no one ever gets trapped in the tent.

A pirate ship

A pirate ship

Imagine searching for sunken treasures in this pirate-themed Minneapolis playroom. Image: Kuhl Design Build LLC

Your child can spend hours pretending to be Captain Jack Sparrow (or Capn Crunch) while sailing to far away lands in this pirate-themed playroom. The hull of the ship, which has cannon ports, was built in the area above the doorway and is accessed by a bridge made of planks. Inside the pirate ship, there’s a climbing wall and a slide.  Below the ship, there’s a jail cell that includes a lockable gate.

Climbing wall and slide

climbing wall slide

Kids can slide into this Victoria, British Columbia, playroom. Image: Horizon Contracting

The CDC recommends that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and this playroom idea can help your little ones to meet those guidelines. Since it’s indoors, the weather is never a factor. The climbing wall increases physical strength, coordination, and balance, while the tube slide – well, that’s just fun.

A miniature town

Grandchildren's Suite

The Grandchildren’s suite in Charlotte, NC. Image: Andrew Roby General Contractor

This playroom has everything from cabins and deer to trees painted on the walls and birds flying overhead. Kids can play with each other in the common areas (which include tables, chairs, and wall-mounted TVs) and also spend time alone in their respective mini cabins, which include a bed, table, lamp, and personal effects.  Each cabin is actually a playhouse kit that can be assembled with screws and nails. The kit includes functional windows, flower boxes, a door, wall panels, roof panels, and a handrail.

What are your favorite playroom ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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Bring the Sun in This Winter With a Sunroom

Research reveals that sunlight increases serotonin, a chemical in your body that makes you happy and keeps you in a good mood. During the winter months, the cold weather makes it difficult to spend as much time outdoors. Sunrooms provide an opportunity to bring the outdoors inside during these months. If you’re thinking about designing a sunroom – or you have one that you’re not using –  here are some tips for creating a sunroom that you’ll truly enjoy.

Decide on your objective

Decide on objective

Scandinavian-style sunroom in Washington, DC. Image: Barnes Vanze Architects

Leigh Spicher, National Director of Design Studios for Ashton Woods, agrees that sunrooms can put you in a good mood. “Let’s just go ahead and call your sunroom your happy place, and natural light is perfect for so many different activities, from meditation to reading to planting,” she says. Or, it could be a place to listen to music or take naps. In any event, Spicher says you need to decide how you want to use the room before you choose the finishes like paint colors or flooring.

Apply these three principles

After deciding the sunroom’s objective, Spicher says says it’s important to apply these three basic design principles.


San Francisco sunroom. Image: Carrington Hill Designs

After deciding on the room’s objective, Spicher says says it’s important to apply these three basic design principles.

First, your sunroom needs balance, according to Spicher. “This doesn’t mean you need double windows on each side of the room, but the space should not have all the furnishings pushed to one side,” she explains. A fireplace can also add warmth when the temperature drops too low.


New York sunroom. Image: DeGraw & DeHaan Architects

Second, Spicher says the sunroom also needs rhythm.  “Choose a finish, color or texture and repeat it through your room,” she says. “I love the use of a natural material like brick or hardwood in a sunroom; an interesting pattern like herringbone, creates natural rhythm and a feel-good vibe in the room.”


St. Louis sunroom. Image: Chouteau Building Group

The third element of a good sunroom is harmony, which Spicher explains as different elements working together. “I love to blend different natural elements, like wood and stone,” she explains. Spicher recommends filling the room with various different elements that make you feel good. “Create your sunroom as a personalized space for you,” she says.

Materials and finishes


Nashville sunroom. Image: Connie Vernich Designs

According to Lori Wiles, founder of Lori Wiles Design, the sunroom is getting a lot of attention as a relaxed addition to a home. “We’re creating strong structural elements in natural finishes like stone walls, iron strapping and lights, and wood that extend the character of the house in a more casual application,” Wiles says. “It’s really a bridge between inside and out, with the comfort and security of inside and the freshness and relaxation of being outside.”

Luxury vinyl plan flooring is one option that Wiles recommends. “Realistic looking luxury vinyl plank flooring is allowing us to get a wood floor look without the installation problems of natural wood.” She says it’s also available in a variety of colors and can mimic different wood species.

Design for comfort


Radiant floor with bluestone pavers in Portland sunroom. Image: Whitten Architects

When furnishing your room, the right seating can make or break the space, according to Eric Gustafson, president of PureModern. “It’s best to find the right sized chairs for your space and try not to overdo it,” he says. “Sometimes simplicity is the way to go, a few comfortable chairs can add the perfect touch,” he adds.


Bronxville, NY sunroom. Image: Vincentsen-Blasi Architecture

Since the goal is to spend a lot of time in this room, Gustafson recommends choosing something that expresses your style and will create a retreat-like atmosphere. “The sky is the limit when choosing décor – you can go with a minimalistic look where you may only want to add a clock and some throw pillows, or you can get adventurous and add some wall art or a fireplace.”

Add greenery


Boston sunroom. Image: LDa Architecture & Interiors

Greenery can create a smooth transition from outside to inside, according to Gustafson. “Planters are a great way to accomplish this because you can choose many different styles to fit any look you are going for,” he says. “Not only do planters add greenery to your sunroom but they can also be a great piece of furniture to complement your decor.”

Consider lighting


Miami sunroom. Image: Rob Downey Photography

Lighting is another element that you need to consider. “You should decide whether you want to go with ceiling/wall fixtures or lamps,” Gustafson says. “Each type of lighting can bring a different vibe to your sunroom, but luckily there are many different options to choose from and finding the right look to compliment your decor is pretty easy.”

You don’t have to unplug

sunroom electronics

New York sunroom. Image: Douglas VanderHorn Architects

Don’t forget to plan for using electronic devices. “To make the sunroom most appealing, we’re using weather friendly electronics like a TV in a low glare location that can be seen from several angles,” Wiles says. “Speakers are easy to locate almost anywhere and the remote controls can be out of sight in a cabinet or storage ottoman.”

Do you have additional tips for bringing more sunlight into your home? Let us know in the comments.

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35 Small Wine Cellars and Wine Room Ideas You Can Recreate

If you look forward to wine o’clock every evening, why not turn a spot in your home into a stunning wine room or wine cellar? You don’t need a large wine cave or hundreds of thousands of dollars to build one. All you need is a small area like a closet, pantry or corner to create your very own small wine cellar. Here’s how to emulate the most chic wine cellars out there.

wine room ideas and wine cellars

Turn a section of your cabinets into a wine cellar by adding shelving backed with a mirror to expand and lighten the space. Glass doors add a high-end feel to your new wine cellar. Image: Interior ID

The secret to a successful wine room is climate control

Wine is delicate and doesn’t do well with big temperature and humidity fluctuations. The most important facet in your collection of wine room ideas is how you’re going to keep your wine in good shape.

It’s all about keeping the temperature and humidity level in wine cellars from changing too much. The ideal temperature is 55 degrees F, give or take 3 to 5 degrees.

You have two options to maintain the optimal temperature and humidity in your wine cellar:

  • Invest in a good wine refrigerator, cooler or cooling system
  • Choose a cool, dry, dark spot for your wine cellar, away from windows or exterior walls, where the wine doesn’t experience exterior temperature changes

Once you’ve got that sorted, it’s time to create a space that’s well-organized and inviting. Some things you may want to add to your wine room include:

  • Wine racks, shelving or custom cabinets
  • A wine glass caddy
  • A bar table and stools or some armchairs for serving and lounging
  • Good lighting that serves as task lighting and ambiance
  • Barware like corkscrews, glass decanters and other accessories
  • A small wine refrigerator for champagne or fragile aged wine
wine cellars

Homeowners converted a closet into an elegant wine room complete with ambient lighting, custom shelving and a wine refrigerator. Image: Perry Custom Homes

Now it’s time for the inspiration. Check out these small wine room ideas that rival the most amazing wine cellars around. Cheers!

Wine room ideas for under the stairs

wine cellars and small wine room ideas

An inexpensive wire grid rack and some shelving can turn the unused space under a stairwell into a small, inexpensive wine cellar. To add resale value, invest in a glass door. Images: Zooi Designs

wine cellar ideas

Glass doors and lighting add a design touch to your wine room. Image: Volansky Studio

wine rooms

Walnut veneer pegboard and stainless steel rods create a contemporary wine room under the stairs. Image: Genuwine Cellars

small wine cellar ideas

One of the most unique wine room ideas features the industrial-style use of wood crates fitted with an iron grid and backlit with warm golden light. Image: Beyond Beige

Turn a closet or pantry into a stunning wine cellar

wine room ideas

A closet was converted into a wine room. Part of the drywall was replaced with glass to display the wine collection. Image: DCI Construction

wine cellar ideas and small wine rooms

Two pantries that were converted into a wine room. In the first case, the door was removed and the alcove finished with decorative tile. In the other example, a wine shelf was fitted inside the pantry. Images: Chairma Design Group and Mark Lewis Interior Design

Lighting is essential in a wine cellar closet conversion. Images: RH Carder Construction and Safdie Rabines Architects

For the ultimate tasting room, add a bar table or lounge chairs

best wine rooms

Add a small, intimate table next to your wine racks for a cozy tasting room. Image: Elle Decor

A small bar area and bar stools create a spot to enjoy your wine. Image: Moretti Interior Design

Turn a sitting room into a wine tasting room by adding vertical wine storage and a bar to the area. Image: Vintage View

A large recycled wood bar table next to a wine cellar can be concealed with sliding panel doors creates a minimalist wine room. Image: Studio Tramas

Innovative wine shelves and glass doors enclose and display your wine cellar beautifully

Glass doors add a high-end jewelry box effect to a wine collection. Image: Chambers & Stark

A custom glass display is the centerpiece of this contemporary loft. Image: Vin de Garde Cellar Systems

A designated glass enclosure in a high-rise apartment creates a contemporary wine cellar. Image: Flaunt Interiors

If you choose to enclose your small wine cellar in glass, be sure that the interior is artfully organized and well-lit. Image: IWA Wine

An artisanal wine rack system is accentuated by the custom glass enclosure. Image: Harwick Homes

Glass doors keep the wine collection cooler by insulating against temperature fluctuations. Image: Vintage Cellars

Custom kitchen cabinets make great wine cellars

Create a small but practical wine room with kitchen cabinets, a sleek countertop and a small wine cooler. Image: Dooley Custom Homes

Turn a small section of your kitchen into a custom wine room – just like this homeowner did – with some wall-mounted wine racks. Image: MIDMODERN Design

When you put your wine room together, take a cue from this small one on how to display your wine objects. Image: Collins Dupont

Lower kitchen cabinets paired with upper wine shelving provide plenty of wine storage, even in the smallest spaces. Images: Connecticut Stone and Sunflower Studio

Choose contemporary shelves or unusual wine racks that make a statement

Backlit floating ledges are the perfect wine storage system since wine bottles need to rest on their sides to keep the corks moist. Image: Made Studio

Wall-mounted wine racks make use of the vertical wall space that often goes unused. Image: SES Design Group

A wall-mounted rack against a cool, stone wall is all you need to create a simple wine cellar. Image: Atwood Custom Home

Mount floor-to-ceiling vertical wine holders on a hallway or basement wall to create an instant wine room. Image: Creative Design Construction

A store-bought wine shelf is given a custom look with red LED backlighting. Image: Brayer Design

Work a wine cellar into your kitchen

The latest design trend for wine cellars (and even refrigerators) is glass doors and glass enclosures. Image: Cell Art

This wine cellar has a state-of-the-art wine cooling system. But you can recreate the look at home, minus the cooling system, for a chic wine room. Image: Vintage Cellars

Designers added a commercial wine cooler into this contemporary kitchen. Image: Flynn Architect

With fall and the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time to create a small wine room of your own. A well-planned one is the perfect place to gather with friends and collect your favorite wines for years of enjoyment.

Want to see more stunning wine cellars and tasting rooms? Check out these 20 Luxury Residential Wine Cellars And Tasting Rooms.

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Create Some HER Time With Woman Caves and She-Sheds

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When they want a timeout, men have been able to retreat to the man cave, the garage, the shed or other areas usually uninhabited by their family members. Women also deserve a place to escape and have some quiet time alone (or with other women). Whether it’s a place to relax, work, read, craft, sleep or just sit and do nothing, women are creating their own spaces. Below are some of the trends in woman caves, she-sheds and other relaxing spaces that women can design and decorate solely for their pleasure.

woman caves basement retreat

A fashionable woman’s cave in Calgary, Alberta. Image: Urban Abode

Basement retreat

The woman cave in the basement of this Calgary home has everything a woman needs to relax and spend time alone – or entertain friends. A mix of leather and crushed velvet furniture provides a relaxing place to kick back. The purple hues in the room range from the deep tones in the curtains, chair and wall-papered accent wall to the mauve carpet and crushed velvet loveseat. The neutral wall color and white tables help to balance the color scheme. The adjacent bar has Carrera marble countertops and a small stainless steel refrigerator.

woman caves craft room

Woman caves can double as craft rooms. Image: Van Metre Homes

Craft room retreat

This Washington, DC craft room is stylish and functional. Large, sturdy tables with plenty of work space are the central focus in this room.  The comfortable task chair provides mobility without having to stand up. Plenty of storage allows the homeowners to hide fabric and other sewing supplies out of sight and avoid clutter. However, some of the sewing materials are also displayed on the wall as art.

woman caves reading nook

Woman caves can be as simple as a reading nook. Image: Alex Findlater

Reading nook retreat

Consider carving out some room in your home to create a small library. The white faux fur pillow and rug add feminine touches, while the transparency of the glass coffee table doesn’t take up any visual space in the room. The unadorned window lets in plenty of natural light. And the mounted cabinet provides additional storage for your most valuable book collections, while the glass front allows you to display them.

woman caves porch

A London-based porch turned into a cozy nook. Image: Joanna Thornhill Interiors

Here’s another idea for a reading nook. Just carve out a space on your front porch. You can use plywood to create a bench seat – and ply-bead panels painted white create architectural detail. Cover the bench with foam and your favorite fabric. Add a few pillows and a comfortable throw to create a cozy area. The plants and natural light help to create a serene retreat.

woman caves powder room

This Seattle powder room serves a lot of functions. Image: Six Walls Interior Design

Powder room retreat

This spectacular powder room has it all. The custom cabinetry (seen through the mirror) provides space for showing off shoes and handbags. The wallpapered ceiling mimics the design in the bejeweled chandelier and the custom-made wool and silk rug. The multifunctional vanity has plenty of space for makeup essentials and can also be used as a desk, and the chaise lounge is perfect for relaxing.


She-sheds allow women to create a space separate from the main house. You can purchase a standard storage shed and add your own style to it, or it can be a DIY project.

woman caves she-shed

This is a not-so-basic she-shed in Australia. Image: SheShedz

This wooden shed with French doors can be installed by the builder or delivered completely flat on two pallets with easy-to-assemble instructions. When painted white, it looks like the perfect cottage. The shed is ideal for a daybed and the white patio furniture helps to complete the clean, airy look.

woman caves shed

This stylish Lynwood, WA she-shed is a sight for sore eyes. Image: Ethan Allen Design

If you want a little more detail in your she-shed, consider this space, which incorporates a coastal vibe. This shed has French windows and flower boxes against a cool gray background. Inside, the beachy blue wall color combines with grays and whites in the bed, curtains, chair, pictures and other decorations. The she-shed serves a dual purpose, since it also functions as a guest bedroom.

woman caves outdoor

Get your creative juices flowing in this Perthshire, Scotland she-shed. Image: JML Garden Rooms

This she-shed studio in Scotland was built with structurally insulated panels so the shed can be used in every season of the year. It also features triple glazed aluminum clad doors. There are two roof lights to take advantage of natural light and the floors are engineered oiled oak flooring. The deck, which includes outdoor furniture, provides a space for the artist to relax and entertain guests.

Do these woman caves inspire you? Which would you like to build in your home for some time away?

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Creating a Home Gym That Makes You Want to Exercise

Nothing beats being able to exercise at your convenience – and in the comfort and privacy of your own home.  No driving in traffic, showering with strangers, wondering if the exercise equipment has been disinfected recently or being too hot or too cold.  Even if you’re not an exercise buff, designing your own gym allows you to create the type of space that is conducive to working out. Below, you’ll find design inspiration and tips to help you design a home gym that beckons you to work out.

This Orange County, California home gym features stained white oak plank floors. Image: Gaetano Hardwood Floors

“Compared with the cost of a gym membership or personal trainer, creating a home gym can pay for itself in no time,” according to Dan DiClerico, home expert and smart home strategist at HomeAdvisor.

And Wi-Fi-connected exercise equipment has increased the popularity of home gyms, he explains. “For example, a smart exercise bike with an interactive display makes it possible to join your favorite spin class without leaving the house.”

However, if you’re planning to install Wi-Fi-connected exercise equipment, he says it’s important to make sure there’s a good internet connection in the workout area. “That might mean installing additional wireless access points or range extenders to ensure fast internet speed. Otherwise, the weak signal could really slow down your workout.”

Space considerations

The dual fans in this Tampa, Florida home gym are stylish and functional. Image: John Cannon Homes

Fortunately, adding a home gym doesn’t have to be a major renovation project. “A finished basement or spare bedroom will do the trick,” DiClerico says. “Just make sure there will be enough clearance around and above the exercise equipment. Clearance requirements vary by machine but, in the case of treadmills, you generally want at least 6 ½ feet of free space at the back of the machine and 1 ½ feet at either side.”

The home gym is underneath the garage in this Minneapolis lakefront home. The walls are concrete and the ceiling is spancrete. Image: John Kraemer & Sons

If you don’t have an existing space, DiClerico recommends finishing the basement (unless, like the homeowner in the photo above, you can place the gym underneath the garage). “The average cost for finishing a basement ranges from $6,500 to $18,500,” DiClerico says. If you stick to the basics – hanging and painting drywall and installing plywood floors – he says you can control some of the costs. “But for the best workout experience, you’ll want good lighting, ventilation and audio/visuals, all of which will drive up the cost,” he explains.

This Chicago home gym is a weightlifter’s dream. Image: Raugstad, Inc

If you’re setting up your home gym to have a power rack, it’s going to take up a lot of space, according to Shawn Breyer, owner of Atlanta, Georgia-based Breyer Home Buyers. “Power Racks allow you to set the bar’s height at any level, allowing you to perform bench presses, squats, shoulder presses, etc.” He recommends a wall mount power rack.  “When not in use, they fold up and stick out five inches from the wall, allowing you to have your gym and your cars in your garage.”

Flooring considerations

If you plan on using weights in your home gym, it’s also important to make sure that they’re evenly dispersed across your flooring joist. “You don’t want to load up a dumbbell rack that happens to be in between two floor joists,” Breyer explains. “A 12-by-36-inch piece of 3/4-inch fir plywood can support up to 50 pounds without problems – but the average two-tiered dumbbell rack weighs 705 lbs.” Over time, Breyer says that either the plywood is going to warp or it’s going to collapse under the load.

This Cincinnati home gym has something for everyone. Image: Custom Homes

Breyer also recommends using rubber mats. “No matter what equipment, weights or workouts you throw at them, they can handle it,” he says. “Other benefits are that they’re easy to clean and provide great sound insulation – and that makes for a happy spouse.”

An Olympic platform sits in this San Francisco home gym. Image: Sarah Evers Hoffman

“Whether you’re setting up your gym in your garage or the spare room, if you are performing Olympic lifts such as power cleans and deadlifts, you need to have an Olympic platform,” advises Breyer. “Dropping weights can bust concrete and plywood, costing you hundreds or even thousands to repair the damages.” He says you can either purchase an Olympic platform or, if you’re DIY-inclined, you can build your own.

Resale considerations

This Corona del Mar, California home gym has rubber floor tiles and a garage door. Image: Jeri Koegel Photography

When deciding on the layout of your gym, consider how it will affect your home’s resale value. “If you have modified the house in any way, you’ll want to make the necessary repairs and changes prior to relisting your home,” Breyer advises. “And you need to put your gym equipment into storage.” He says home buyers like to picture themselves in your home. “If exercise is not a part of their lifestyle, a room full of gym equipment is going to decrease the chances that they will fall in love with your home and want to buy it.”

Equipment considerations

This spacious London-based home gym allows for plenty of equipment. Image: Originate Architects

Exercise physiologist, celebrity trainer and Nautilus, Inc. fitness advisor Tom Holland is host of the weekly Bowflex live stream “Breakfast Club.” According to Holland, your equipment is the key to a successful workout. “First and foremost, consumers must take time to select equipment that they are most likely to use on a consistent basis, especially cardiovascular equipment,” he tells Freshome. “While price is often a factor for most people, paying a little more on equipment that you will utilize is a much smarter decision than spending less on a piece that will sit unused.”

Holland recommends the following three pieces of equipment:

Bowflex SelectTech 560 Dumbbells. Image: Nautilus, Inc.

“The Bowflex SelectTech 560 dumbbells are the first-ever smart dumbbells that offer a fully interactive workout experience with a Bluetooth 3DT sensor and SelectTech app coaching you through your workout, allowing you to save time by working out at home and reducing the number of separate dumbbells from 32 down to only two,” Holland says.

The Bowflex Lateral X. Image: Nautilus, Inc.

“The Bowflex Lateral X is a unique cardio trainer designed to provide a full-body workout and move in three dimensions: side-to-side, push-and-pull and stand-and-squat,” Holland says. “These motions mimic real-life movements like yardwork, housecleaning and playing with your kids, which can help strengthen those otherwise-neglected muscles.”

The Modern Movement M-Pad. Image: Nautilus, Inc.

“The Modern Movement is a line of balance, core and strength training products that feature the revolutionary M-Trac app, which allows users to measure improvement in balance and agility or utilize a digital personal trainer to guide them through their workout,“ Holland says. “Both the Edge-Board Core Strength Trainer and M-Pad Balance & Strength Trainer are easy to store and perfect for tackling core strength exercises throughout your home if you are short on space.”

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4 Tips to Help You Create a Perfectly Cozy Breakfast Nook in Your Home

If you have enough space for it, we highly suggest incorporating a breakfast nook into your home. This space can serve as the perfect place for the family to gather, whether it’s over your morning cup of coffee or the kids’ homework after school. Keep reading to learn how to put together a breakfast nook that feels equally cozy and functional.

breakfast nook

Have your seating work with the angles of the room. Image: Moneyhill Interiors

Get creative with seating

Seating is the key feature of a breakfast nook. However, in this case, we’d encourage you to think beyond the standard table and chairs. Get a little creative with your seating. Breakfast nooks are supposed to be relaxed spaces and some shapely or otherwise out-of-the-box seating can go a long way toward driving home that feeling.

With that said, you have a few different options to consider. You could build your breakfast nook into a corner and offer rounded seating as shown in the picture above. Alternatively, you could create a full booth for a restaurant-style look or install bench seating underneath a kitchen window.


Make a statement with your lighting. Image: Twelve Chairs

Include statement lighting

Whenever you create a new functional area in your home, it’s important to include some visual clues to help denote it as separate from the rest of the space. Your breakfast nook is no exception. You’ll want to include a few design elements to help ground the nook as a space unto itself. The best way to do that is by hanging a statement lighting fixture over the table.

As for what we mean by “statement lighting,” in this case, we’re talking about anything that will catch the eye. It can either be through shape, like the one in the picture above, or size. A good rule of thumb is that, typically, your light fixture should run about 3/4 the width of your table.


Don’t forget the pillows and cushions. Image: Anne Becker Design

Keep it cozy

Picture it: You sit down at your breakfast nook every morning to enjoy a cup of coffee and ease into the day. That doesn’t sound like a space that should feel stark and cold, does it? Rather, just the opposite. We recommend that you make your breakfast nook as cozy as humanly possible. Create a space where people want to sit and lounge for a good, long while.

In terms of how to go about creating a cozy feeling in your space, it’s all about incorporating the right textiles. Here, you’ll want to opt for upholstered furniture over unupholstered seating, which tends to feel colder and less inviting. Then, pile on the accessories. A few well-placed throw pillows will go a long way here. If you live in a cooler climate, there’s no shame in including a throw blanket, as well.


Keep your breakfast nook a casual space. Image: Walker Architects

Stay casual and fun

Lastly, take the time to consider what aesthetic you’re going after in this space. Typically, breakfast nooks are more casual than formal. They’re spaces meant for a quick breakfast before work or school, an afternoon snack or an evening study session. Ideally, they should feel more fun than stuffy in order to encourage everyday use.

The two best ways to achieve this feel are through color and pattern. Take a note from the photo above and work these two design elements into your upholstery and accessories. Of course, you could also take things a step further and incorporate the wall into your design, as well. Consider adding a whimsical touch with a chalkboard wall or some patterned wallpaper.

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