If your basement is currently being used to store all your lost and forgotten items, you’re missing a trick. With just a bit of creativity and a small amount of work, you could soon transform it into a second living room, a snug family room, a playroom for the kids, or even an entertainment zone. Don’t overlook just how valuable that extra square footage is – or just how easy it can be to transform. While there’s no shortage of interior styes you could draw on for inspiration, the rustic style is one that lends itself particularly well to subterranean spaces. With just a few accessories, an earthy color palette, and some warming textures, you could soon turn your dusty, neglected basement into a dreamy living space. Ready to get started? Then without further ado, here are the ten essentials you’ll need to create the perfect rustic basement.
1. Pick a neutral color palette
You don’t need a log cabin to pull off the rustic look, but what you do need is a neutral color palette, especially when we’re talking basements. As hunker.com notes, basements have a tendency towards looking a little dark and dreary, even when they’re blessed with windows. A neutral color palette of whites and taupes will help inject some much-needed lightness and brightness. That being said, there’s another option to consider. If you’re convinced that your basement is always going to be just a little bit dark no matter how much white paint you splash around, then go with the flow and embrace it. A deep, dark color scheme will add ambiance and complement the rustic vibe perfectly. Mustards, blues, burgundies… so long as it’s rich, earthy, and isn’t going to make you feel like the walls are closing in on you, go for it.
2. Inject some appeal with wooden beams
Nothing says rustic like some original architectural details. If your basement is already replete with wooden beams, so much the better. Simply expose them, highlight them, and display them to their full advantage. If it’s beamless, don’t panic. Just buy some instead. A few wooden planks and pillars will add a big enough hit of rustic appeal to justify the expense.
3. Keep it rustic with wooden accents
Don’t stop at wooden beams. The more wooden accents you can introduce into your rustic basement, the better. As martinecbuilders.com recommends, use as many different tones of wood for the beams, floor, and cabinets as possible. For that comfy rustic feel, timber is essential. Ideally, use wood that hasn’t been planed or polished to within an inch of its life. The rustic style doesn’t try to disguise little imperfections, it celebrates them. Cedarwood is a great choice for walls, trims, and cabinetry, being both durable and one of the most affordable options around.
4. Add a basement saloon
If you want to elevate your basement to something that’s going to be the envy of all the neighbors, add a basement saloon corner. A wooden bar with a few matching barstools is the perfect accessory for an authentic rustic basement. Once it’s installed, decorate the wall behind with a few photographs to draw the eye.
5. Go big on stone
Forget plastic and fiberglass – the rustic basement is all about natural materials. We’ve already touched on the importance of wood, but another material worth a mention is stone. As sfgate.com comments, wood combined with stone creates a dramatic, rustic effect that’s going to lend itself beautifully to your basement. If you’re planning on adding built-in wooden cabinetry as part of your basement reno, consider topping them with a stone countertop. A stone fireplace will add both practical and aesthetic value, but check with a professional that ventilation won’t be an issue before you invest.
6. Have some fun with accessories
A rustic basement is where you can have fun with accessories – after all, the room has way more than just practical value. Some distressed wood art, a plaid throw, and some sheepskin rugs will all look great. If you intend on using the space for entertaining, a ping pong table will add an extra-special touch.
7. Introduce plenty of texture
The rustic style is all about warmth and coziness. One of the best ways to introduce both of these two things is via texture. But don’t limit yourself to just one kind: the more varied the textures you introduce, the better. Sheepskin, wool, velvets… have fun and add as many varieties as possible. Don’t forget that plants can add texture too: if your basement doesn’t get enough natural light to keep a plant healthy for long, you’ll find no shortage of faux plants on the market that will do just as good a job.
8. Add some open shelving
Unless you’re into minimalism in a big way, you’re probably going to need to introduce some shelving and storage units to your basement to give your clutter a home. Unless your knick-knacks are the kind that are best left unseen, rustic open shelving is the best way to go. As well as being practical, they’ll add an extra level of decoration that will lend itself perfectly to the rustic scheme.
9. Clever flooring
Unless you want to break your rustic theme in a heartbeat, you might want to steer clear of any flooring that’s too contemporary. A modern monochrome tile pattern might suit your kitchen, but there’s no place for it in the rustic basement. Wooden floorboards can look superb, but stick to types you know won’t rot if your basement has any insulation shortcomings. Carpeting can add warmth (often a concern in the basement), while tiling is easy to maintain and available in enough varieties to suit. Don’t feel limited by color, either. If you’ve chosen a neutral palette for the walls, you can afford to get a little darker and earthier on the floors. If you prefer to keep to bare floorboards or tiles, don’t overlook the importance of a few cozy rugs.
10. Stick to functional furniture
A rustic basement is no place for delicate, whimsical furniture. It’s a strong look and it needs furniture to match. Keep any pieces you introduce strong, functional, and sturdy. Don’t worry too much about choosing matching pieces, either – an overly coordinated look is the enemy of the rustic theme.