Are there times you wished your home had more space? The answer may be right under your feet. Turning your basement into a finished living space can add 1,000 square feet or more of new space to your home! Remodeling Magazine even claims you can often earn back as much as 70 percent of your remodeling costs (given that the appraised value of square foot space underground is about half that of the rest of your home).
A finished basement can also provide extra enjoyment as an ideal getaway for each member of the family. It can be a space to work on a hobby, practice music, watch the big game on TV, host a party, or simply read in a quiet space. When you decide to sell your home, the extra finished space could attract more buyers as they wouldn’t have to finish the space themselves.
If you’re considering remodeling your basement, here are a few factors to consider:
1. Determine How You Will Use the Space
First, decide how you’ll use the space. Do you want to create an extra guest bedroom, or would you rather use the entire area for recreational activities? You may also want to reserve some space for enclosed storage. Remember that even if you want to keep the space open, you can get the feel of different spaces within one room by varying flooring materials or building dividers and adding creative trim.
2. Should You DIY or Go with a Pro?
Even if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, it’s good to consult with a professional remodeler before you begin your project. They can give you realistic feedback on achieving your goals within your budget. A finished basement is a big investment and at the end of the day, you’ll benefit from someone who can help you avoid mistakes and make your dreams a reality.
You or your remodeler should begin with good building practices by observing the following:
- Controlling moisture,
- Adding ventilation and lighting
- Enclosing ductwork, while also making pipes and wiring accessible
Electrical, cable and data lines will be based on the use of the room so it’s important to think ahead. Remember also that egress windows have become a code requirement for most areas. While this can be a sizable cost for smaller finished basements, the natural light and improved emergency access often alleviate cost concerns.
3. Implement Highly Requested Items for Finished Basements
When preparing your basement for yourself, don’t forget to think ahead about what an owner in the future may want. Here are some highly requested items for finished basements.
- Fireplaces – these are often requested for finished basements. They’re a terrific way to keep the space toasty and cut down on moisture. Common types of fireplaces include real wood, gas, and electric.
- TV/Gaming/Theatre Rooms – perfect for entertaining and relaxing. These are most commonly paired with in-wall sound and secure television mounts.
- Bars – these and built-in refrigerators are among the most requested items for a finished basement, especially for those who enjoy entertaining. Get some inspiration to get you started!
- Lighting – the key to making your basement feel like home. Make sure to provide adequate lighting for your basement to appeal to homebuyers in the future.
4. Get Creative!
You can make your space uniquely yours with customized touches like a wine cellar, gaming room, or special craft room. While these may not be desired by everyone, a finished space is the most important factor to give your family and future homebuyers a vision for utilizing the extra space.
Matthew Breyer is the owner of Breyer Construction & Landscape, a family-owned residential remodeling company in southeast PA that specializes in designing and building custom outdoor living areas and other home improvements.