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Creative space-saving design tips from a full basement remodel

A beautiful, space-saving basement remodel for a growing family.

J. Salmon Design Inc. recently completed a Grafton, Massachusetts, basement renovation project. The family's goal was to create an extension of the upstairs living area with space to play and a welcoming environment for friends and family to gather.

This project incorporated so many elegant space-saving solutions that I’m excited to share with you. Read on to learn about my top design and renovation tips for maximizing your space, along with real-life examples from our Grafton basement remodel.

It’s time to get inspired to see the potential hiding within your own home!

When designing to maximize your space, think of function first.

The most successful renovations and design updates aren’t just beautiful—they’re purposeful. As an interior designer, I strive to transform homes in ways that improve my clients’ lives, designing with their tastes and lifestyle in mind.

Before you start your next renovation project, ask yourself:

· How do we use and move through our spaces?

· What are the challenges we have right now?

· What do we wish we could do more of?

· What are the storage needs we have today, and will they be the same 5–10 years from now?

Once you have these answers, you’ll be able to identify which renovations make the most sense and prioritize your budget to get results that will bring you the most joy.

For this Grafton basement remodel, we began by getting a clear picture of how the family imagined themselves using the basement. We talked about the needs now and the ones they anticipated as their family grows.

It became clear that the highest priorities included plenty of smart storage, space to play, a family room to watch movies and games, and comfortable accommodations for houseguests. These needs informed every decision we made moving forward.

For instance, we incorporated a new bathroom with a shower and kitchenette area into the floor plan to make guests feel at home. These elements helped the environment feel like a natural extension of the first floor. As a bonus, the new kitchenette cabinetry serves as a supplemental pantry. Now, extra items like holiday dishes, vases, and candles that were hard to fit into the main kitchen cabinets have the perfect home.

Built-in cabinetry in a basement provides plenty of extra storage

Built-ins & custom cabinetry offer attractive, space-saving storage.

Built-ins are by far the best investment for space-saving storage. Not only do they look great, but they also maximize your storage capacity more than any piece of furniture—all while adding value to your home.

I often design built-ins around family room fireplaces, in home offices, in laundry rooms, and in mudrooms. This basement project was no exception.

Built-ins can take the form of open shelving, cabinets, pantry storage, or even bench seating. These features are permanently built-in to your home's interior rather than freestanding.

An expert should design any built-ins to ensure they blend seamlessly into your home. My Grafton clients and I decided that built-in cabinets around the desk and in the kitchenette area would help them make the most of their vertical space while keeping the look clean and streamlined. Puzzles and games are now close at hand but out of sight.

Office built-in cabinetry for storing games and doing homework

Unlock the potential of your underutilized spaces.

A designer's eye is trained to see potential around every corner, including ways to maximize space and hide clutter.

Here are some of the places where possibility may be hiding in your home:


Under the stairs may be one of my favorite places to add storage. In fact, even in my own home, I have transformed our basement under stair into a multipurpose closet that organizes materials for school art projects, scrapbooking, sewing, bracelet making, and coloring for my two girls. Investing in organizational storage systems ensures materials find their way back to where they belong and makes it easy for little ones to find things.

In our Grafton basement remodel, we created a similar solution to the one I use in my own home, utilizing an under-stair closet for anticipated craft organization.

Under stair craft storage


Many homes have at least one closet that isn't doing much for them. With the proper organization system, could your coat closet become desperately needed toy storage? Or could a walk-in bedroom closet be repurposed as a laundry room?

I always encourage clients to use the space they have to fulfill their family's needs, even if that means thinking outside the box. While client organization systems are an investment, a thoughtfully designed closet can do wonders to declutter your space and keep items easy to access.


Some floorplans have tight corners or small alcoves that lack an obvious purpose. Consider adding a built-in bench/bookcase to better use a space like this. Or, add a corkboard or a few hooks to turn a small area into a family command center.

A designer can help you make aesthetically pleasing choices that maintain your space's flow. J. Salmon Design offers a 90-minute consultation perfect for surveying your space and identifying your home's hidden potential.

Invest in smart organizational pieces and keep surfaces clear.

Whether or not you’re ready for a remodel, there are plenty of ways you can bring order to your space with the right design choices.

My number one tip when selecting furnishings is to choose multi-functional pieces to achieve the style you love while giving loose items a place to live. Storage ottomans, console tables with baskets to hide toys, and storage benches are perfect for keeping a room aesthetically pleasing and concealing items you need nearby.

Clear countertops can also go a long way in making a home feel more peaceful. Floating shelves keep cookbooks, and other kitchen items nearby without taking up valuable workspace.

Finally, be sure to let the light in. Avoid heavy window treatments and invest in high-quality lighting fixtures and lamps.

In our Grafton basement remodel, we incorporated storage cubbies and lots of baskets for toy storage in the playroom. We also selected a media console with storage capabilities. And finally, even though the basement has several distinct areas, we kept the look bright and cohesive with recessed lighting and timeless, neutral color choices.

Kids basement playroom with plenty of room to grow!

Do you need a fresh perspective to help you reimagine your space?

I'd love to help you explore your options and find solutions that fit your style and needs.

Learn more and book your appointment today.


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