Making The Most Of The Basement: Creating A Living Space That Works

Many homes come with a basement space, but not all of them are ready to be lived in. An unfinished basement can be a great area for kids to run around in on a rainy day, but if you’re looking for something a bit more usable, there are several ways you can remodel or change things up in order to create a bigger living space. Whether you want to add another bedroom for guests, build the perfect library, or create a den where the family can get together and have fun, there are tons of options for a basement space.

Photo via Pixabay by Addigibson


The keys to making big changes in the basement are to start with a good plan and work out a budget. A renovation that involves drywall, flooring and better insulation will obviously require more money and the help of a contractor, so this is a big decision that will require some thought. You’ll need to consider how to make the most of the space, especially if you want it to have multiple functions, and if there’s no bathroom you might decide to add one. This will add to the cost considerably, but will be worth it if the basement is to become a guest area or an added living space.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to make the most of your basement.


Safety first

Before you start with any new project in the basement, it’s imperative to make sure the area is safe and up to code. Any basement space that is intended for live-in use, for instance, needs to have a certain amount of windows of a particular size so that anyone inside can escape in the event of an emergency. If there’s insulation installed already, make sure it’s fairly new and asbestos-free. Check for moisture and make any necessary repairs to ensure that mold and rot won’t occur.


Breathe easy

The air quality in your basement is of great importance, as it can become dangerous in certain situations. To clean it, focus on several factors: if you have a dryer downstairs, make sure it vents outside; keep the HVAC system clean and in good working order, including the filter; and remove chemicals and cleaning solvents from the area. Because basements can get musty, you may consider airing it out by opening the windows before doing any work inside. Other ways you can improve the indoor air quality are proper venting around combustible appliances and determine if your humidifier is properly maintained.


Make design decisions

Some basements have exposed ductwork or columns that can make designing the space tricky, so it’s important to figure out how you’ll deal with these issues before getting started with a renovation. This could save you a lot of time, money, and grief in the long run. There are plenty of creative ways to get around ductwork, including re-routing it to the floor and covering it with a bench or built-in.


Choose the right lighting

The right lighting can make or break a basement. Typically, this is the darkest area of the house, even with added windows, simply because of its location. Using the right light bulbs will ensure that the space is warm and inviting rather than lonely and desolate. You might use “soft” light bulbs or bulbs that mimic natural light to achieve the desired effect.


Making the most of your basement space can help you create an area for your family’s enjoyment, or a spot for your loved ones to relax in when they visit. Start with a good plan and utilize the help of a professional when undertaking big jobs, as attempting a DIY project may not be the best idea for a larger project.

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