How to hide support posts in finishing a basement

My new ranch home has a full unfinished basement which I plan to turn into a family room, storage room, bedroom and bath. No matter how I arrange the floor plan though, I will end up with 3 steel support posts running down the middle of the family room.
Any ideas on how to make them look like part of the design? They can't be concealed of course, but maybe somebody out there has come up with a creative way of using their presence in a basement family room.
Thanks.
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Someone a while back replied to a very similar question:
http://www.madridinc.com/large_pole.html
I'm not sure how it turned out, but it certainly looks pretty good in the picture.
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snipped-for-privacy@spamless.net says...

Wrap them in hemp rope and call them cat scratching posts? ;-)
--
Keith

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says...

You can get nice oak pole covers at Home Depot. They have a series of long oak slats on a flexible backing (like a tambour desk) that wrap around the pole. They come with base and top caps.
Dennis
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46erjoe wrote:

If you can't manage to bury the columns in a wall, a few ideas are:
- Attach some coat hooks and call it an overgrown coat rack.
- Attach one or two TV mount arms off it and hang your TV (CRT or LCD) there.
- Wrap the column on all sides with media storage i.e. CD/DVD racks, magazine racks, etc.
- Build a round table around the column and put some bar stools around it.
- Put a small refrigerator with a microwave on top of it against the column.
- Hang a hammock between two of the columns or a column and a wall.
Another thing you can do is investigate with an architect or engineer to see if you can sandwich the existing beam with steel plates on both sides (cheap and easy) to allow you to remove the most offensive of the support columns.
Some combination of those ideas will probably make the best of the situation.
Pete C.
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wrote:

Tile or paint the floor around them like the deck of a schooner, do the rest of the floor in blue, and disguise the posts as masts.
Hang parasol shades off them, and build little round tables around them.
Build up massive pillars around them, and mock up matching ones on the sides of the room, and put fake beams on the ceiling connecting them all.
Candy strip them.
Entomb them in statuary.
Build little closets/storage racks around them.
Wrap them in giant LED flexible sheets.
Wrap them in planters, fountains, fish-tanks, or any combination thereof.
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It's a basement. Unless it is partially above grade with a window wall, and has a high enough ceiling to not have that bigass beam and duct trunk down the middle of the ceiling, it is always going to look like a basement. Not good, not bad, it just is. If you can't bury them in a wall, highlight them with dayglo paint, mount stuff on them (maybe a spiral of rope lights?), and go for the retro 60s look when basement playrooms were all the rage. Checkerboard tile on the floor, or maybe that multi-colored striped carpet, accoustic ceiling, and of course that lovely 3/8" wood paneling on the interior walls, with painted concrete on the outside walls. If the kids are small, put exercise mats down that strip, and make a jungle gym that has the posts running through it, or maybe tile a track pattern into the floor and make a big-wheel track down there.
I have seen imaginative basements done where the some of the walls were not full height, and rooms were L-shaped, burying the posts in the corners, with half-walls between some of the dedicated spaces- it all depends what you plan to use the space for, where your mechanical room is, where the laundry is, etc. Personally, I prefer plain gray concrete down there, and plan to rip out most of what the previous owner (badly) did here.
Oh, and note well- don't bury your mechanicals- a common problem with finished basements. Electric, gas, any valves, etc, need to be obvious and accessible. Around furnace, water heaters, softener, et al, make sure there is room for a fat workman to fit, and big enough doors and passages to get the old ones out and new ones in, when the time comes. If your furnace and water heater aren't set up to draw outside air for combustion, make sure that space is well vented. (But you knew all that...)
aem sends...

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I didn't respond to a similar post not too long ago, but ... when I did our basement in Chgo, I had a similar problem. Two became the ends of a wet bar/island. The drain was a problem; had to use a sump to get it to the washer drain <g>. The third, I forget how far apart these were; it was quite a span, I had a friend help me disassemble and reassemble my bumper pool table so the post went right straight up through the exact center of it! It was quite a conversation piece and made for some "different" fun playing pool!
I think if I did it again, now I'm older, I'd probably replace them with a I beam in the ceiling and make a minimum of two posts out of it, maybe none of the engineering wasn't too expensive. In those days I was a cheap bass turd though, so creativity took precedence over cost <g>.
When we sold, the buyers actually had it written into the contract that the table and all related peripherinalia remained in place, so I guess they thought it was interesting too. OH yeah, I had an electronic scoreboard I made, two sided, hung from the post too. The "post" turned into a square cupboard kind of thingy about three feet above the table surface. Then we had a big split-top we placed on the table to make a dining place out of it for parties. Worked OK, but ... NOW I think it looks pretty clunky and even funny! Guess I grew out of it <g>.
Think outiside the box; you'll think of something! How about a nautical theme; lots you could do with that.
Pop

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I had similar poles in a basement in my previous house. The original owner had boxed them in with 1"x4"s and 1"x6"s and stained them. They stuck out like a sore thumb. I painted them white, and for some reason, that really helped to integrate them into the room.
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I boxed mine in (2 of them) with the same paneling that I used for the walls. Did the same thing on the duct work that ran along the ceiling. I did mine when paneling was the in thing. It is what it is--- MLD
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