“No matter how low you go, there’s always an unexplored basement,” said author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, highlighting the popularity of this space in many American homes. Unless you live in a southern state or California, chances are, your home has a basement.

Originally built to store water, food, and wine, basements today are being used for everything from entertainment to gaming, and even as studies, or gleaming gourmet kitchens. Because basements are either partially or fully underground, many homeowners opt for a remodel to make the most of this unique space as their family grows. If renovation is in the works for your household, you may find inspiration from the following tips for basement redesign.

Let the Light In

If you will be spending a considerable amount of your free or working time in your basement, then finding ways to increase natural light is key. If you have the budget for it, the ideal way to do so is to dig beyond the basement to create a small terrace with a glass ceiling.

This light-filled space can then be connected to your basement via sliding doors. To ensure lighting is evenly distributed, replacing the basement ceiling with glass flooring so that light from the ground floor also finds its way to the lowest floor. There are less costly ways to bring in the light, of course, including the use of sun pipes. These harness light from above and direct it downwards towards the basement. Of course, this type of lighting won’t be as intense and will require regular cleaning/unblocking of pipes.

Keeping the Water Out

The more you ‘open up’ your home to the Great Outdoors, the more flooding and water damage may become a concern. This is particularly true if you opt to turn your basement into a high-end home entertainment hub, complete with top-quality electronics.

Basement waterproofing should be a main priority when working on your house; not only should your ground have proper sloping (to encourage water to move away from rather than towards your home’s foundations), but it should also have a fully functioning gutter system. Interior water solutions like basement sealants will ensure that any water that is soaked up by the ground during a flood will not actually make its way into your home.

Find Your Passion

Unless your need your basement as an office, you should see this space as a potential haven in which to practice or engage in your favorite hobby or activity. Provided there is enough light, simply opting for wooden decking, indoor plants, and calming hues, can turn your basement into an ideal yoga studio. If film is your thing, meanwhile, why not invest in a large screen and install comfy ‘theatre sets’ in rows, as well as a ‘popcorn and cola booth’ in one corner to entertain guests? If you are a budding Chef and you have an outdoor pool, you might wish to connect the basement with your garden space (once again by digging a small connecting terrace) and install a fancy kitchen. Your basement can become a central point of entertainment, especially if it is well connected with the rest of your home and your garden area.

Design Makes the Home

Whether you are using your basement for work or entertainment, designer touches can significantly raise the appeal factor of this space. From recessed spotlights to graceful pendant lights, a modern chandelier, or artistic lamps, lighting is one way to go from ‘blah’ to ‘wow’. Chic items like chesterfield sofas, artwork (photography, painting, and sculpture), and gorgeous accessories like throws, blankets, and cushions, can have a similar effect. Keep it lively by renewing décor on a seasonal basis, changing fabrics and soft accessories in line with the current Pantone.

Regardless of the use of your basement, arguably the most appealing way to make this space authentically usable and attractive, is by increasing natural light. Once your basement is well lit, a simple wooden decked floor can instantly transform it into a gym or yoga studio, though if you have bigger plans for this space, find inspiration in your hobbies. Whether a new kitchen, gaming room, or gourmet space tickles your fancy, aim to see your basement as an extension of the rest of your home in terms of design and ambiance.