Hi. My name is Anne. And I hate basements.
Sure, they’re great for storage. They’re great for housing furnaces and hot water heaters and laundry facilities. They’re a nice place for kids to throw balls and get rowdy. Am I glad we have a basement in our house? Yes. Do I enjoy spending time down there? No. If given a choice, would I ever CHOOSE to hang out in my basement? NO.
Lately Ryan’s been obsessed with playing down in our basement. And why wouldn’t he be obsessed with it at this point? He’s pretty much mastered the stairs and is able to go up and down on his own. In the basement there are fun fun toys like a little tykes car, a toy lawnmower, a life-sized stuffed tiger, a Tball set, an empty kiddie pool, and an easel! And even though it’s mid-March there’s no playing outside for this guy- the high temperature today was something like 10 degrees **[I wrote this post a week ago. When it was 10 degrees. Today at press time I think it’s 50 something]**. So of COURSE he wants to head down to the basement and get his fun on every chance he can.
And what do I say to that? Ugh. Ugh. And ugh. Lately I’ve been coming up with excuses for why Ryan should go play downstairs alone while mommy remains upstairs. Mama has to empty the dishwasher, Ryan! Mama has to put away these groceries! Mama has to start making dinner! Mama has to clean the toilets! Seriously- to me, anything that takes place on an upper level of the home with a view out the windows and actual daylight streaming in sounds better to me than anything that takes place in our dark, dingy, cold subterranean living space. And in all honesty, our basement isn’t even THAT bad. Our house was built in the 1930s, so we could theoretically have a very nasty and skanky type of basement. What we do have is a basement that I guess could be described as half-finished. There are some nicely sheet rocked and painted walls down there that allow us to have four separate rooms (main room, “bedroom”, bathroom, laundry room). Everything is carpeted in decent berber carpet, except for the bathroom and laundry room. There is a built-in entertainment center area with a spot for a TV and lots of storage shelves and cabinets. But the original walls aren’t finished off- they are just brick walls that have been painted. The ceiling isn’t finished either. It’s exposed beams and plumbing and recessed can lighting throughout. And it is dark, dark, DARK down there, and that’s what I hate the most. The main room of the basement has two teeny tiny little windows that barely peek up over the ground. So even if it’s the brightest of bright sunny days outside, the basement is still dark and dreary. And that’s where my problems lie. I’m not sure if it’s a permanent case of Seasonal Affective Disorder or a lack of Vitamin D or what, but I can’t stand being in a dark, cold, dreary basement when I could be in a cozy, comfy, upper level of a house looking out the windows and letting that glorious sunlight hit my eyes. Mainly, most basements just depress me. They are dark, cold, not usually as comfortably furnished as other parts of the home, and typically contain cobwebs and corresponding creepy crawly creatures. In addition, there’s nothing for me to DO in our basement, other than the occasional load of laundry. Sure there’s a T.V. down there, but again, there’s also a T.V. upstairs, so I’d much prefer to sit in our sunlight-laden living room and watch T.V. there. And it’s not that I don’t want to play with Ryan or be around him, I just don’t want to do it in the basement. So I’ve been letting him hang out down there alone, staying close by so I can hear what’s going on, and checking in every few minutes. (The checking-in backfires though, because when he sees me he shouts Mama here! Mama downtairs! Mama car! And then it’s over, I’m stuck. I mean, I can’t keep saying no to the guy!
I’m hoping once the weather has officially warmed up and spring is once and for all upon us that his location of choice with switch from the basement to outside. There is no way I will allow us to to hang out in that dungeon when there is a whole sunny world outdoors to enjoy. I can’t imagine anything worse than having to spend time in a basement during a glorious spring or summer (or fall, and sometimes winter) day. In fact, the only time I can be okay with spending time in my basement is if the weather outside equals the dim atmosphere of the basement.
Before I close, I have to say this: I don’t hate all basements. The basements of newer homes are typically spacious and bright, with large windows and sometimes even french doors with walk-out capabilities. Lots of newer and modern homes have living rooms and family rooms in the basement, where the family spends much of its time. If you have a house like this, please don’t think that I’ve forever hated coming to your house and spending time in your basement! Like I stated above, if the windows and sunshine are plentiful and furnishings are cozy, I’m just as happy to hang out in your basement as in your living room. There just will always be something I enjoy more about being above ground than under it.
Finally, I’m accepting suggestions and helpful advice for making my basement more cozy and livable! Although we’d love to fully finish it off, that won’t be happening any time soon. Any thoughts on what I could hang on the walls to make the space cozier? (Remember, most of the walls in the main space are CEMENT- makes for a tough time decorating!) Does there exist a type of fake window that I could hang on the walls to give the illusion of daylight streaming in? Or how about a lovely wall-papered nature scene, something like this? Thoughts?
I have next to nothing as far as pictures go of our basement. It’s not even worth taking my camera down there. But I did once, and here’s just a little glimpse into what it’s like down there.