House & Home

Your Handy Guide To Renovating That Basement Space Anew

Basements often get the short end of the stick when planning a full renovation. For most of us, the basement space is just a storage area, a utility space where we might keep a freezer, washing machine, or dryer, or even just an empty space we haven’t dared to venture into for years, and who knows what lurks down below now?

Sure, the space might be stuck underground with low ceilings and crammed utilities, but that doesn’t make them completely useless or without potential. This might be the perfect area for a spare room, a media space, a gaming area, or whatever else you find interesting. Perhaps this could be your hobby room, a meditation space, or even a bar and relaxing hangout for friends. 

With a little imagination (and a sledgehammer swing or two), you can unleash your basement’s full potential. Let’s help you with that, below:

Your Handy Guide To Renovating That Basement Space Anew

First, Fix The Dingy Basement Ambience

If we’re honest, our basement might not have the most pleasant fixtures at the moment. You might not have invested in this space since you bought it, and as long as the area didn’t leak, you were fine with that. That might have led to some grimy moisture issues and less-than-stellar air quality if left unchecked. Maybe using Bifen I/T for pest control measures is now worth your time.

You can use a professional inspection to sniff out any pressing problems with dampness, mold, radiation, terrible monsters, or whatever else has grown in that time. You can also inspect and fix outdated electrical/plumbing systems. Tackling those issues upfront pays off hugely in lasting comfort and safety.

Consider Verticle Square Footage

Basements tend to have lower compressed ceilings which can leave you feeling a bit, well…compressed. Fortunately, a few clever tricks can maximize that vertical square footage without destroying the home’s foundation, an outcome we assume isn’t ideal for you.

One option is to press out ceiling and walls with stud framing to conceal any ducts, pipes, and electrical cables while creating a continuous drywall surface. It just makes the space look a little nicer. Alternatively,  go for lighter-colored waterproof tiles to reflect light better and make everything feel more open. Installing recessed lights also flatters a smaller space and helps you manage the lack of natural light.

Fix That Basement Flooring!

The last noise you want to hear when walking into your basement is a rich squelch. If the floor is damp or any carpet is in bad condition, that’s what you’ll hear. It won’t smell great either. Luckily, drainage services can help, and you’ve got plenty of water-resistant flooring options that can handle the occasional spill or leak without causing damage.

Luxury vinyl planks are a good place to start. Some even choose roll floors, insulating the freezing concrete below during those cold months. If your basement seems to invite dampness for dinner like an old friend, you could even perfect the floor with resin epoxy and never have to worry about it again.

Consider The Navigable Space, However Small

Basements can be a little odd with layouts and dividing spaces. Most are just one wide-open cavern without any real walls separating different rooms or zones. But you don’t necessarily need to start installing a bunch of new partitions to benefit from dedicated areas. Sometimes a little creative segregating can do the trick for navigating the area comfortably while still having “areas” for utilities you’d like to use.

Things like hanging curtains from the ceiling or using freestanding shelving units to outline different spaces can work well. So if you have a spare room, someone can still have privacy if getting changed for example.

Even just angling bookcases strategically can create distinct “rooms within the room” by playing with sightlines. If you have a small area with a hot plate for cooking (make sure the ventilation is installed before using this), that can be a nice area between the cooking space and the bed, just like a studio apartment. This gives you more room without limitations.

Consider An Escape Window for the Basement

It’s not the most glamorous part of basement remodeling, but if you’re adding any new sleeping spaces or living quarters, it’s important to have reinforced egress windows (or escape windows) and window wells. They’re a helpful safety feature that provides an emergency escape route and entry point in case of fire or other issues. It can also allow for helpful draining of water. If you’re hoping to rent the room out, this is non-optional to stay up to regulations.

Sure, having to open new gaping holes in your foundation is a hassle and expense many renovators grumble about. Just hire reputable tradesmen to handle the window installation properly and you’ll have space to work with. Don’t forget – this also allows for incredible new natural light, and you can secure your home with strong doors or opening windows.

It’s All About Lighting Management

Without thoughtful lighting design, basement spaces have a habit of feeling like cold, shadowy tombs completely without sunshine and cheer. You shouldn’t have to enter your basement feeling like you’re about to spend fifty years locked in a dungeon.

But no one wants to waste limited basement space with a million lamps. Luckily, you can benefit from lighting strips, wall-mounted sconces, and hanging lamps where needed, diffing light from multiple directions without causing hard shadows.

We mentioned escape windows before, but you can also implement foundational lightings that allow natural light to peer in from the top of the wall too. This way, you can get most of the light of the sun if your property is angled in the right way and nothing is impeding that from outside.

Measure Dimensions for Cabinet & Cable Routing

Before decorating, designing, and putting together that entertainment space, it’s good to prepare. Getting accurate measurements is key before building cabinets and shelves or purchasing TV sizes that might not fit. You don’t want cabinets that don’t quite fit right because you eyeballed it. That’s why it’s smart to carefully measure every nook, corner, and divider so your installations fit in well without worry.

You’ll also want to plan cable routes before any new wall inserts go up and block access. If you measure and cut pathways along the skirting boards or inside walls, you can neatly tuck away TV, internet, and speaker wires out of sight but keep them accessible if needed later. A little preparation prevents that ugly tangle of random wires we’ve all become familiar with.

Air Purifiers Work Wonders

You may have implemented good ventilation into the space. You may have a fan to move the air around. But the truth is that any room underground is going to be less “fresh” than rooms upstairs. That doesn’t mean you haven’t cleaned or prepared the space properly, it’s just a fact of how air travels.

As such, it’s good to make sure the space feels airy and breathable. Having an air purifier unit in this space can be a wise investment, then. Not only does this allow you the means to HEPA filter out dust and dog hairs, but some units even have negative ions which can help cancel out the positive ions generated by tightly-contained electrical equipment, helping the space feel more comfortable to occupy.

With this advice, we hope you can more easily renovate and renew that basement space once more.

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Jess Benoit

Jess is a homeschooling mama of 3, wife, gamer, Whovian, Nerd

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