When we started on plans to finish our basement the most common question we got was, “are you going to do a home theater?” Our friends, family, even our contractor assumed we would.
And they almost had us duped into it. Right through this door…
I am not sure if it is the same everywhere, but here in the Midwest the home theater in the basement is considered an essential. Maybe it is because we live in the frozen tundra at least half the months out of the year. Sure, the idea of cuddling up and watching movies all winter long sounds fantastic.
Everyone else has one. Surely we must do the same, right?
In suburbia, it is all about keeping up with the Joneses. Doesn’t it help our resale value to have the same features as all the other homes?
But, would we ever really use it? And, if we don’t, then it is not really a feature, right?
There was the perfect space for a home theater in the back of the basement. It was windowless and presumably not good for much else. The room is bordered on two sides by utility rooms, which would have made routing wires to a hidden AV closet easy as pie.
But, doubting our use of a home theater, we wondered what else could we do with the space.
We love watching movies, but as we really thought about how we function, we couldn’t imagine ourselves using a dark, windowless room. We already have two large screen TVs, one in our main floor living room, and one our very generously sized basement family room.
Although part of the appeal of a media room is the level of darkness you can achieve, that only really matters during the daytime. And, guess what? We hardly ever watch a movie in the daytime. And, when we only get daylight for what seems like a fraction of the day in the winter…we want to enjoy it, not hide out in a dark room. That is why we fell in love with the big windows and walk out basement in this home…it doesn’t feel like a basement.
So, that begs the question…what do you do with a dark, windowless room?
W started with a list. We wrote down all the functions we could use the space for.
- Storage Room
- Home Theater
- Home Gym
Then, one by one we talked ourselves out of the ones that didn’t feel like a good fit, like the home theater.
We have amazing amounts of storage in this home. Too much if you ask me. We have so many closets and a third car garage, that I actually wish we had less space and were forced to purge things more regularly. So, extra storage space was definitely out.
The workshop was a strong contender for a while especially since we were in the midst of finishing the basement and our unheated garage is unusable half of the year. We have been using the basement bathroom (yet to be finished) as a tool closet. But, we don’t have any large tools, like a table saw. And, the space has not ventilation. Ultimately, we realized we could make a nice tool storage are in one of the utility rooms instead and we probably don’t need a dedicated workshop space.
We couldn’t find a single reason to cross home gym off the list. As tempting as popcorn and movie marathons are, we knew we would get much more use out of the gym. We already had a treadmill and some other equipment that became homeless during the basement remodel. Besides the convenience of a home gym, we save a ton of money by not having a gym membership. And, I do not miss working out in front of other people…I like to sweat in private!
We value a healthy lifestyle. We knew the best use of this space would support a healthy lifestyle. I am proud to say both my husband and I work out 6 days a week in our home gym. And, our boys beg to workout, too. We supervise them trying out the treadmill and doing sit ups and push-ups. My hubby assists our oldest on the pull up bar. We are happy that they are growing up to know exercise as a normal daily routine. Because we so highly value our workout time, our boys know it is important and wonderful.
Over a year later, we have absolutely no regrets about forgoing the typical home theater room, and opting instead for a home gym. We have decided wherever we go in the future, any home we have must have a room dedicated as a home gym. It is a non-negotiable.
Making your home function for you is paramount over worrying about what your neighbors do with their space or resale value. It is your home.
We are programmed to believe a home is temporary and we will continually “move up”. Subscribing too much to those beliefs leads you to live temporarily or put things off while waiting for something better.
Make your home right for you, right now. Don’t wait for the next place, it might not come. Tweet this!
You don’t have to do what other people do. You don’t have to use your home the same way. So many of my students and clients lament about their formal living rooms and dining rooms going undone, because they don’t need the formal spaces. I say, make them work for you! What things do you wish you had more space for? Turn an unused room into a playroom, an office, a music room, a library, or a home gym. Make it work for you!