More Basement Remodel Know-How offered “5 Genius Basement Remodels” to accompany my article in today’s paper about the recent popularity of basements renovations.

Many homeowners are intimidated by the vast open space they often confront when starting a basement remodel. So ServiceMagic suggests “building small rooms inside of the larger one.”

Daryl Llewellyn, owner of Paramount Custom Homes, often uses French doors to delineate separate areas in a basement.

Here’s more basement renovation insight.

1) Create divisions in wide open spaces: Erect half walls instead of full walls to section off spaces for different uses (exercising, watching movies or a children’s play room). Full walls may block out natural light, making the area feel dingy. Try painting the areas different colors to create more division and make the spaces feel cozier.

2) Add a bathroom: If the space is used regularly, consider adding a bathroom. This will keep you and your guests from running up the stairs every time they need to use the facilities. One of designer Sandra Elizabeth Clinger’s most extravagant basement remodels included an 8-piece spa-like bathroom retreat with a steam room, showers and a large community soaking tub.

3) Close off storage spaces: You don’t have to sacrifice your storage area, but if you wall off a section and add a door, you can keep that clutter out of sight. Consider installing a shelving unit to keep that space organized.

4) Let there be light: Proper lighting is key in a basement, especially when there is little to no existing natural light. Replace the windows if they don’t allow in much light or add smart lighting to make the room feel more open and less dark.

5) Open up the staircase: If there is a door at the top of the staircase, consider removing it to further allow natural light to filter into the area. Llewellyn knocks down the wall leading down the staircase and installs a handrail to make the room appear more open.

If these ideas don’t mesh with the style, size or shape of your basement, a professional can help. Designer Kristi Dinner uses themes to add zest to her basement remodels. She drew on rich color, velvety fabrics and dark wood furnishings for this 1890s saloon-themed basement.