Max's favorite place is his basement bedroom known as the "down under." It provides him with the solitude he so desires and a place to spend time when he wants to think. The down under is very dark, and Max likes it that way, rarely turning on a light for illumination. There is only one window that provides partial sunlight, so it is usually "dim" or completely dark. When Max wants the blackness even blacker, he lies under his bed; it's
"... a place I go inside my head sometimes... and you float like a cloud." (Chapter 5)
It provides him with a feeling of coolness and emptiness where "nothing matters." The down under is also respected by his grandparents: "There's no lock," but Grim and Gram always knock and wait for Max to tell them to "come in." Kevin also likes the down under, and he feels at home when visiting Max there. Although Grim and Gram renovated the basement for Max, it is far from elegant--the "cheap paneling" is "glued up," and it "sort of buckles away from the concrete cellar walls, a regular ripple effect..." The rug also "smells like low tide," but the down under is a place Max can call his own, an escape from the outside world where he feels like an outsider.