Real Estate Blog

5 Tips for Finishing Your Basement the Right Way

The basement is often one of the forgotten rooms in your home. It’s importance is clear and obvious, but despite being part of the foundation that literally keeps your house upright and in one piece, the basement usually becomes little more than a junk pile. It’s dark, musty, frequently damp, and basically is the place your leftover home goods go to die a slow death. In this day and age it’s important that you maximize all the available assets at your disposal, so instead of spending a fortune adding on to your house or moving into a larger space, you can realize a huge benefit by finishing the basement. Yet you’ve got to do things the right way. A poor renovation will only end up costing you far more money in the long run. So here are five tips for finishing your basement the right way.

First and foremost, make sure you reinforce any weaknesses in the walls and the foundation. As a house ages, it settles in uneven ways. The elements work to bring your home down over years and years, and if you live in an area with harsh winters it’s the foundation that takes the brunt of the beating. Even a small crack can cause huge damage down the line in the form of floods and mold infestations. So before you turn your basement into a usable room, have every inch of the walls and foundation looked over. Repair things as necessary, and reinforce what you can.

It’s also important that you bring a little light into the picture. Basements aren’t exactly known as bright spaces, and you’ll need to remedy that if you really want to use the room. If you have windows they’ll likely be small, but consider replacing them with new, higher quality panes that will aid in insulation and offer better light and fresh air options. Otherwise, lay plans for installing lights in the ceiling. Recessed lighting will make a huge difference. If you don’t have the money for that, simple track lighting will also work quite well as long as the ceiling isn’t too low.

Now that you’ve got light and protection from the elements, consider ways to improve the air quality. Basements are well known as dingy, mildewy dungeons, and to insure the finished basement is usable during all four seasons you’ve got to prepare for every weather pattern. If you already have central HVAC in the home, consider putting in additional vents to help keep the basement climate controlled. Think about having a dehumidifier mounted on the wall, and even an air purifier with a HEPA filter if you have the space.

At this point you’ve laid the appropriate groundwork, so turn your attention to storage options. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to use at least some of the basement for storage, even if the rest of it becomes the screening room you’ve always wanted. The best option will always be creating built-in storage on the walls. Just make sure you figure out what you want to put together before you finish off the walls, because after that it will be too late. If you want to go with something simpler, think about a series of shelves, or perhaps even building a closet so you can keep all of that storage out of the way.

So you’ve done your basement foundation repair, your lighting design, your climate control work and your storage organization. Now it’s on to the creature comforts. Even with quality work everywhere else the floor is going to get chilly. Think about the details that will make your basement an enjoyable place to hang out. Plush carpeting on the ground to protect your feet, comfortable furniture that sits low enough to make up for the low ceiling and bright colors on the walls that make the space feel larger. This is where the fun comes in, so enjoy designing the space in a way that fits your personality and your family’s needs.

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