Creating a Functional Basement

As a designer, I’ve noticed that it’s common for basements to become the “catchall” for things you can’t find places for in other in other areas of the home. It’s easy to do, especially because basements are easy to close off and hide. However, this “out of sight, out of mind” mentality also creates a TON of wasted space that could otherwise be a great aspect of your home. Lower-level spaces can just as stylish and useful as any upper-level space! Here are 3 ways to help you use your basement more:

1. Get rid of the clutter!

There are probably things stuffed down in your basement that you haven’t used in years and most likely won’t use again, decide what you’ll use (be realistic) and get rid of the rest.

With whatever you have left, the trick is to organize! Use your space wisely by storing things in shelving that can be closed off in order to keep nice, clean lines. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

2. Make it multifunctional

Every family has different needs and wants for their “extra” space. It could be a game room, guest bedroom, playroom, theater, or even all of the above. Through good space planning and furniture with multiple functions, all of these needs can be met.

For example, if you need the space to serve as a family room and an occasional guest bedroom you would want to choose a sleeper sofa, a daybed, or possibly bunk beds to sleep extras.

If you need the space for the kids, try incorporating a desk for crafts and homework (remember to choose low maintenance finishes) and MANY places for them to store their toys and supplies.


Ceiling heights in basements are typically lower than they are on upper levels and need I remind you that you are underground? The combination of the two can create “dungeons”.

Keep colors in the basement fairly light and neutral to keep as much natural light in the space as possible (it also helps downplay any unattractive architectural flaws). This includes the walls, the ceiling, and even the flooring.

Recessed lighting will create great general lighting without having anything hanging (lower ceiling problems). Recessed lighting is also fairly inexpensive to install so be sure to position fixtures throughout the perimeter of the space. In addition to recessed cans, you could use sconces and/or lamps where you need them.

I hope you’ll be able to see your “catchall” basement in a new light!

Store and Organize: Kids Rooms

I recently moved into a new house that needed a little TLC. The last few months of our lives have been lots and lots of projects, meanwhile living in a mess of paint brushes, blue tape, sawdust, and piles of stuff...

One project that is in the works is a girly pink room for Navy! She adores the color pink, as most girls do, and wouldn't accept any other color in her room. She was even pretty persistent on wanting to "help" with the painting. And actually, she did pretty good!

When designing kids rooms, a major element is ORGANIZATION and designing the means by which we are going to keep all the toys and trinkets looking clean in a childs room. You know what I am talking about right? The small little toys that are strewn about, the dress ups, the clothes that have exploded out of the dresser, the papers and drawings... if there isn't a plan for organization, kids rooms can get quite chaotic.

This is the stage I am at in the designing and planning of Navy's new room, organization. Here are a few fun ideas I have come across!

When it comes to shelving in a kids room, smaller cubbies tend to organize things much batter than a few large shelves where things get stacked up and still appear messy. Ikea makes a great cubby type shelf with the perfect 12"x12" shelf size. You can further organize things into baskets or bins too.

Plastic bins and labels will be your BEST FRIEND as you organize your childs toys and things. I love being able to sort Navy' toys into categories, or keep sets together so you don't start missing pieces. We have lots of stackable small totes that keep our playdoh, art supplies, tea set, puzzles, musical toys, and other things organized.

Bookshelves are a MUST in a kids room. I seem to pick up more books every day than anything else. A designated spot for the books will help keep things organized. Also, books can add lots of color to a room and become part of the decor! I love this forward facing bookshelves.

It has been funny for me to watch how quickly Navy has learned that her pictures can be hung on the fridge. Right now the doors and sides are completely covered in paintings and pictures. I would love to figure out some way I can display these in her room or in the house other than cluttering the fridge. The things she makes are just too cute not to show off!

So, although Navy's room is a work in progress, here are a few shots of where we are at.

Opal Portfolio: Abundant Health Showroom

We are in the process of completing a Showroom for Abundant Health in Spanish Fork, Utah. They sell all the tools you need for using Essential Oils. We are excited how it turned out!

We have also been installing art and furniture in their call centers and office spaces, we are excited to show you how that has all come together soon as well. Until then here is a sneak peek.

Designing a Contemporary Cabin

We have the amazing opportunity to design a contemporary cabin in Eden, UT. We have just begun pulling together all the interior material specifications and are having such a good time using rustic materials in a modern way!

Here are a few inspiration images that illustrate the style we are implementing in this cozy cabin.

Sneak Peek: Williams Residence

We have been working hard! We are excited to reveal one of our most recent projects. Here are a few sneak peek shots.


Elisabeth Michael Opal Design Group