Tips on Updating your Basement

Tips on updating your basement

Does your basement need renovation? Basement remodeling offers a high return on your investment as it will add more living space without having to add onto your home. This is something to think about it if you plan on moving sometime soon or just need more space. Whether you have a bathroom, bar, living space or entire basement that needs to be designed or updated, we have a few tips for you before you start your project.


Set your budget and do your research, so you are knowledgeable about what it costs to update a bathroom, bar, basement etc. You should also look into permit costs, so this doesn’t surprise you in the end.


Get at least 3 written quotes from licensed contractors. If you are also needing an architect or interior designer, do the same with them. Have everyone also give you a timeline on the start date and the job completion date, that way you can plan. 


Are you working with an unfinished basement? Have an idea of the layout you are wanting, so you and your architect, interior designer and/or contractor can do a walk through of your idea and expectations. They can then let you know if your placement of each piece is practical and cost effective for your budget. If you are working with a completely unfinished basement, start with the basics and educate yourself on getting a permit, waterproofing, radon testing, mold testing, pipe insulation, framing, electrical, plumbing, wall panels/drywall etc.


We have come up with a list of tips for those with unfinished basements:

- Place bedrooms where there are windows.


- Place the TV room in a darker area of the basement (helps with the tv glare).


- Design with storage in mind. No one can ever have enough storage places.


- The first room you walk into from the stairs should be the living area, bar area and/or man cave as you want to draw friends in and make them feel comfortable.


- Measure out your pool table or other game tables to make sure they fit in the space you were creating.


- What are you missing in the rest of your house? Make sure to try and include this in your basement plans.


- If you’re planning to do a kitchen remodel, make sure to run electrical circuits into the floor system, so you don’t have to go back. Same goes if you are planning a new upstairs bathroom, run the waste and supply lines now. This way you don’t have to ruin your finished basement when you add those things later.


- You can save money by planning around your current plumbing and electrical sources.


- You can never have enough lighting in your basement. Remember the basement is usually dark, so make sure you have enough can lights placed and if the budget permits, add more window wells or glass doors for a walk out basement and more natural light.


- Examine your flooring options. Most basements are carpet, but if you have a nice concrete slab and want to do something stand out, look into doing concrete or epoxy flooring.


- Make sure your theme and designs match the rest of your home, so everything flows nicely.  If you have a modern house and design the basement in a farmhouse style, you might have a problem on your hands in the future. Always design as if you were going to sell your home, so you make better decisions and don’t just follow the trend (unless this is your forever home and that’s what you like).


If your basement is already finished and you are wanting to update the tile, tub and vanity in the bathroom for example, you won’t need to brainstorm any plans. If you are wanting to add a bar area though, do some research on pinterest and google to see what layouts might work for your space.  Again, your contractor will be able to assist you and give you other ideas if needed once he has examined the space and knows where your electrical and supply lines run.


We have come up with a list of tips for those just doing some basement renovations:

- Make practical and neutral decisions for the main wall colors and tiles as you can always bring crazy and fun colors/patterns back in with your furniture and decor. Design as if you were trying to appease others. This will help be a good guide if you end up selling your home. If you go with bright yellow walls (because that is what is trending now) you might have to go back and re-do them at another time (unless this is your forever home and that’s what you want).


- Lighter wall colors will make the room appear larger


- It’s easier to stay in your budget if you don’t customize sizes for anything you are updating.  Pick standard sizes.


- Depending on your basement room situation and how many bathrooms you plan on placing downstairs, weigh the pros and cons of ½ baths, ¾ baths and full baths (if room permits) in your basement.


Once your plan is in place, now comes the fun part. Picking out the tile, carpet, tub, paint colors, appliances etc. Work with your contractor to figure out what pieces he needs first and when. He should be able to give you a timeline on the items needed, so you are on track while he works. Some tile stores have enough tile in stock and allow you to bring home that same day, while others you are having to order it.  The same goes for your appliances, vanities, carpet etc.


There maybe some bumps along the way, but once your project is complete, you will be amazed at the changes and glad you took those steps to renovate!


Now it’s time to sit at your basement bar with a beer, wash your hands in your newly renovated bathroom or play a game of pool in your new basement living space, whatever the case, have fun and enjoy your new space!

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