If you are considering buying a home in an area with lots of hills, you may find several selections with walkout basements. A walkout basement is a portion of the home that is partially underground, but opens up on at least one side to the ground level outdoors.
This design is not uncommon in the hilly, river country where I live, and the large walkout basement in the home we currently own was certainly a selling point. Even though our home looks quite modest in size from the front, the walkout basement almost doubles our square footage and puts the uneven terrain on which the home was built to its best advantage.
There are, however, a few things to consider when buying a home with a walkout basement for your family.
Lighting can be an issue
Some of the spaces in our home, including two bedrooms and a bathroom, get no natural light. There are no windows in those rooms at all, and there is a hallway separating them from the rooms that open to the outside. Light is definitely an issue in those rooms.
Adding lighting to the rooms helped a lot, since the overhead fixtures were inadequate even with the brightest bulbs. Choosing light, paint colors with enough tint to still show up in the artificial light made a difference, too. Just be aware that if you have rooms with no natural light, you will have to make more effort to brighten them up and keep them from seeming like dreary caves.
Escape routes are limited
If your new home has bedrooms underground, like ours, you will want to give serious thought to how those are used because escape routes in case of a fire or disaster are limited. We would not allow our youngest to have one of the downstairs bedrooms when we moved into this home, because we felt it was unsafe for her to be in a room with only one way out in case of a fire.
If you are using the space for a study, home gym, man cave or whatever, you probably won’t have to worry as much about escape routes, since no one will be sleeping there.
Decorating can be tricky, but fun
As I already mentioned, choosing the right paint color is a must. But the large expanses of wall space in a walkout basement can be both a challenge and a treat. You won’t have large window treatments or scenic views to work with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create some dramatic displays of your own.
You can buy posters that fill an entire wall, and give you a view you’d only dream of outside your real window. Turn your room into a jungle treehouse, an underwater cave, an island paradise, or the view as seen standing on the front step of your very own Hobbit hole. Your imagination is the only limit.
Don’t like the idea of giant posters? That’s okay, too. With nothing to interrupt your wall space, you can do all sorts of things with paints, fabrics, shelves, hanging guitars, a full sized propeller, skis, or whatever suits your fancy. Take your time, and really enjoy decorating this one of a kind space.
More by Tavia:
How My Kids Reacted to a Fire Drill
First Person: Lessons From Our Failed Home Sale
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