Inspired Lower Levels

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Basement Design Begins With One Item

Designing and decorating a basement can be a daunting and intimidating task, but it can also be a fun adventure that can make your basement a highlight of the home. For some design motivation, we turned to Josh Lambert, owner of Featherstone Home Accents in Overland Park.

Story by Jeanie Erwin

KCH&S: Embarking on a basement design project is a bit intimidating. Where is the best place to start to get, and keep, the project moving?

Lambert: First, determine how the space will be used. Do you want to use it as a family room, a game room, an office or studio? Once you define how you want it to be used, you can design toward the best functionality of that space in the practical sense. If you want to use part of the space for work and part of it for entertainment, you may want to consider noise limiting elements or lighting as you move forward with your design.

KCH&S: One of the most difficult aspects of design for most people is deciding on a design style. What is the most effective way to do this?

Lambert: Choose a piece to inspire you throughout the project. It can be a pillow, a picture, a lamp… anything as long as it is something you love and representative of a style you would like to achieve. Once you have that piece, design around it. Let it inspire your choices in colors, furniture and textiles.

KCH&S: It is very easy to get lost midway through a project and find that we have moved away from that design aesthetic we were trying to achieve. How can we avoid this?

Lambert: Most people do not have one particular design style but rather draw inspiration from many styles. This can lead to problems when you are designing because it is easy to overwhelm the space with all of the things we love. It can also serve as our strength, though. I always tell people to fill the space with what they love, but have a plan for the piece before you put it in. No matter what it is, you can design around it and make it work — that is the hallmark of a truly good designer.

KCH&S: Are there things that we should consider when designing for basements that may be different than designing for upper levels?

Lambert: Absolutely. Basements have a different feel and a different set of challenges that you should consider throughout the project. The ceilings may be lower which can affect your choice in furniture size, color schemes, noise levels, and lighting. The footprint may be smaller, and you will need to consider how it is finished out.

KCH&S: What is your best piece of advice for designing a space that will be beautiful and well used?

Lambert: I have three rules I like to use. First, if you love it use it. Just have a plan. Next, don’t be afraid. If it is right for you, it’s right. And thirdly, decorating a room is like decorating a cake. It has layers. Take it slow and decorate in layers. Start with flooring and wall colors, then move on to bigger furniture items, and finally fill in with accessories. If you follow that rule, you will not be overwhelmed with choices and you will not over design the space.

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