4 Tips for Finishing Your Basement

Even though many Americans are seeing the light at the end of the devalued housing tunnel, it can still be a tough market for homeowners wanting to trade up for more space.

An addition is costly as well, with a nationwide average cost of $200 per square foot. Ranging from just 25% to 50% of the cost of an actual addition, making an existing basement into livable space can be a budget-friendly option.

Before you start framing up the walls or hiring a contractor to install flooring, you might want to make sure you’re considering the unique needs of a basement space.

Account for Higher Moisture Levels

Basements are infamous for trapping moisture and can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew.

Installing an air purifier and dehumidifier can help keep the space dry once it’s free from those contaminants, but before you renovate your basement, you’ll want to have it inspected to make sure it’s sealed up well and has no mold already growing. If your basement already does have mold growing, you’ll want to have that removed before you begin your renovations.

You’ll want to use products that are designed to withstand moisture, such as pressure-treated wood for framing and green, mold-resistant drywall.

Keep Lighting Considerations in Mind

Even with small windows, many basements are naturally dark spaces. You can either capitalize on that by decorating in deep, dark hues, or you’ll want to make up for the tendency toward darkness by providing additional lighting.

One option is to add an open stairwell that will provide additional natural lighting in the basement. Another is to use light or bright colors in the walls, flooring, and furnishings. One more way to lighten the space is to add a variety of lighting, from wall and ceiling fixtures to indirect lighting embedded in a trey ceiling.

Make the Space Functional & Flexible

Perhaps right now, you need a play room for the kids, but in a few years, you may need an extra bedroom for a teen who needs his privacy or perhaps even a home office. By keeping differing uses in mind, you can make sure to choose a layout that allows you to keep your options open.

Open, by the way, is something basements typically aren’t, so getting large pieces of furniture in can be a challenge. If you’re redoing part of the ceiling or doorway, you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Keep the Rest of Your House in View

Even if you keep the stairway closed off to the rest of the house, you can give the basement a warmer and more homey feel by making sure it blends in with the rest of the house. A drop ceiling probably won’t help you do that, nor will paneling.

Perhaps you want to offset your traditional décor with a contemporary look downstairs, but will that bode well for resale?

The more the basic elements of your finished basement coordinate with the rest of your home’s design, the more livable it will seem, to you and to others.

D.R. Hartman Construction Inc

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  1. Sarah Smith says

    I want to finish my basement. Thanks for the advice about planning for higher moisture levels by installing a dehumidifier. I would also recommend getting a professionals help with checking the walls and sealing any cracks that you might find.

  2. Justin Knox says

    Thank you for the help. I am looking for a basement contractor to help finish out my basement. I like your idea to make the space flexible. I am not sure what we will use the basement for yet, so flexibility is key.

  3. Megan Earl says

    I’ve been in my house for a couple of years now, and I think I’m finally financially stable enough to be able to finish my basement. I really like what this post says about getting a mold-resistant drywall. The last thing I want is to have mold in my basement! DO you have any tips as to where I could find the drywall supplies I would need to finish my basement?

  4. My basement is a pretty dark place to be in, and so I am considering remodeling it. The number one thing that I want to do is to work on the lighting. I really like your idea about opening up the stairwell and adding lighting fixtures. However, I think that another good way to increase the lighting would be to add mirrors as well, because they will reflect light.