Basements do not have to be dark and cavernous, they can be light and be laid out as a second family room. With the right goal in mind, and a few helpful tips, you can bring your basement to life and use it as a gathering area for your friends and family.
It's important to be realistic. Most people use their basement for storage, and if you are one of these people your things aren't going to turn into a theater and magically look neat and pretty. Creating a designated storage space is the way to go, and there are plenty of reasonable options to do so and remain aesthetically pleasing. Home Depot offers stackable, and freestanding shelves that will get your things off the floor, and into a tidy, space saving arrangement
With your storage taken care of, you can now think about what type of floor, furniture, and entertainment system to put down under. Remember, if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, it's important to protect your investment in the basement with waterproofing. This is a lot easier said than done, so using area rugs, or tile that can be easily mopped and cleaned is a safe bet.
Your furniture should be comfy as you ultimately want your friends or kids to enjoy your converted basement. If you have room, and want a funky alternative to a sofa, look into a LoveSac or two. These are a lot of fun, and super comfortable. They can be easily moved and the covers are machine washable.
The last tip is to remember that your basement should be painted with light colors. Avoid using dark colors as they will emphasize the lack of sunlight coming down to your new family room. Compare a few colors such as tan, light brown, or even a bright blue.