Tips for Freshening Up Your Basement in the Coming Weeks

basement renovation
Canadian House recently renovated furnished and staged with living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, finished basement, garage, deck, back yard and exterior

If the impending arrival of Christmas and the New Year has you scrambling to find room for guests to stay, you plan to set up a home business in 2023, or you need more room for your family to spread out (especially teens), you may be realizing that you need to make better use of your basement.

Here are some ways to freshen up this space over the coming weeks to best utilize this handy part of your property:

Plan Out the Project

Start by working out what you want to get out of renovating the lower part of your property. For example, you may want to set it up as additional bedroom space or create an extra living room or play area for your kids. Perhaps you need it for home office space, for storage, as a gaming zone, or for a mixture of things, such as sleep quarters for guests and a handy gym or meditation area. Regardless of your goals, if you’re clear about what you want to achieve from the outset, this will make the renovation time go more smoothly.

It is never too late to invest in good-quality Australian-made chairs for occasions. Having a lot of chairs available is crucial because during the holidays, more people will come over to visit. It is a good thing that you will be using them in your basement room to save you the trouble of bringing them up. If they are not in use, you could simply store them in the basement.

With the outcomes you’re looking for top of mind, you can also plan out the entire project more comprehensively. It’s vital to schedule tasks and come up with an order in which jobs need to be done, so you know what to factor in and when, especially if you need external aid, such as from contractors like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. Plan out the project step by step to clearly see what you need to order in and when, and can line up the appropriate tradespeople in the proper order.

Before You Renovate

Take care of business before you renovate your basement. That means, for example, conducting radon testing, assessing the basement’s heating capabilities, and performing sump pump maintenance. It is safer and much easier to do these things before a renovation. Other considerations during prep may include these.

  • Preventing moisture
  • Lighting stairwells and making them safer
  • Repairing water damage or other types of damage
  • Adding light sources
  • Getting building permits if necessary

You also need to ensure there is an escape route in case of a fire or emergency. Also, think about the proper flooring options and finishing the ceiling.

Declutter to Make More Room

You probably have a basement that’s currently overflowing due to being used as a general storage area for all of your and your family’s “stuff” over the years. If so, you’ll need to declutter to turn this basement into an often-used area you want to be in. This task is vital since you need to make room for new uses of the space and declutter to determine precisely what work needs doing in the space.

Look for items currently taking up room in your basement that you can store in other parts of your home or sell, donate to charities, recycle, or bin, as need be. Getting rid of a lot of junk from your basement will make the space feel bigger and enable you to set it up appropriately for the function(s) you have designated for it, too.

Sort Out Any Issues in the Space

If you haven’t spent much time in your basement in recent months or years, you may not know what condition it has truly sunk into. As such, to freshen up this space, work out what issues need addressing and sort them out ASAP. For example, you may find many areas that require repairs and maintenance work.

Basements often don’t have good ventilation and may have leaky windows, ceilings, or other spots. One of the first things you may want to do is to pull up and dispose of old, smelly carpets or linoleum and the like and to get rid of problems like mold, mildew, plumbing leaks, damp spaces, smells, bacteria, and more.

Often, it’s well worth investing in installing air conditioning or heating units if you live somewhere that gets very hot or cold. Heating and cooling can help to dry damp basements out and keep the need for external assistance to a minimum. Plus, it pays to install a chandelier ceiling fan or other product that will help to move hot air around. As a result, you won’t need to utilize air-conditioning so much and can cut emissions and power costs.

Other common basement issues include pest infestations, such as those arising from too many mice, rats, termites, or snakes, and replacing windows that let in too much hot or cold air.

Finish Off the Area

Finally, it’s time to finish off the below-ground area. For example, you may want to make it more comfortable by adding soundproofing or laying new flooring. You might also want to add lots of personal touches to the space to identify it as your own.

You can paint the walls and ceilings and then furnish the basement with vases, throw pillows, artwork, and more that cater to your specific tastes and the style of the building, if relevant. 

Don’t rush the process; keep asking yourself how you want to use your basement and what will make you feel comfortable rather than thinking about what other people may expect to see there. 

12 Basement Renovation Possibilities

Now onto the really fun parts. Depending on the size of your basement, you could go with several possibilities or have a multi-functional space. Here are some cool ideas for your basement revamp.

1. Small Apartment or In-Law Suite

Your basement could become a second home for your teens, young adult children, in-laws, or even renters. Essentials include a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette.

2. Second Bedroom

If you do not have the budget, need, or space for your basement to become a small apartment, a second bedroom is a great alternative. For instance, it could give your teens more private space or serve as a landing place for frequent guests.

3. Home Theater

Basements make ideal home theaters because they are typically windowless and naturally dark. You can choose among many home theater styles, but recessed, soft lighting you can dim is important.

4. Bar

A basement bar could be just the spot to taste liquors and host neighborhood parties or friend game nights. Add a refrigerator, beer tap, cabinets, seating options, and games such as darts.

5. Wine Cellar

Transform your basement into a wine cellar to proudly display your wine. It takes a bit of planning to customize the space for your needs and preferences but is worth it. Keep factors such as air space, insulation, and racks in mind.

6. Kids’ Playroom

Slides, rock climbing walls, bean bag chairs, and playhouses are just a few possibilities for a basement play space. Bright colors, easy-to-clean flooring, tables for crafts, and comfortable seating should make the space more appealing and easier to take care of.

7. Laundry Room

Moving the laundry room downstairs can give you valuable space upstairs. If you are upgrading appliances, think about energy-efficient washers and dryers to save money. Other investments to consider include tall storage cabinets and tile flooring.

8. Home Gym or Workout Room

Your basement could be the ideal place for you to get sweating on the treadmill or exercise bike. You could organize the room into workout stations or even install a sauna.

Turning the space (or part of it) into a yoga room or meditation space could work, too. Lighting often is important for meditation, though, and basements are not known for their natural light. 

Plan ahead to make sure the lighting works for your needs. Options include natural LED lights, scented candles, hanging string lights, and dimmable lamps.

9. Home Office

If your basement has windows or you do OK without natural light, your basement could become a fantastic home office. It is separated from the rest of the house, which means fewer distractions. It can save you money on taxes, too.

To be able to work comfortably, you may need to paint the walls with colors that are energetic/creative (yellow, red, orange) or peaceful (pastel pink, blue, or natural green). Seal cracks and gaps with caulk or insulating sealant, and use door sweeps under the door to absorb sounds.

10. Second Living Room

What’s better than one place in your home where you can relax? Why, two places, of course! Create a second space for watching TV, playing games, unwinding, or chatting.

11. Hobby Room

If you enjoy sewing, painting, or even putting together model train sets, you could convert your basement into a hobby room. Space and organization are critical to consider as are details such as electrical outlets, lighting, and heating and cooling.

12. Library or Study Room

Quiet spaces are underrated. Your basement could become your go-to place for studying as you finish your degree or your children’s preferred spot for homework. Lighting and comfortable furniture are two priorities in this case. You can also use the basement to show off your favorite books.

Basements hold a lot of potential. They can add tremendous value to your home and life, whether you turn them into small apartments, home gyms, or study rooms. Just remember to prep the space first with heating and sump pump considerations, among others.

Is it Legal to Finish a Basement Without A Permit?

Getting permits takes time and understanding of your obligations. If you fail to apply, home inspectors will not be able to sign off on the basement in the event you move out, and you will be subject to city fines. But how can you find out if the basement work you had in mind requires permits? Not knowing can certainly cause some anxiety in those who choose to take renovations into their own hands.

It is legal to finish a basement in most residential areas without a permit, depending on what work you’re going for. But if a renovation includes certain features, it could require a permit to complete the work. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to ensure that any work done on your home complies with the applicable regulations.

When most people go in for a basement, they prefer to get features that are more likely to require permits. There’s a high likelihood that you’ll need a permit-holder to finish a basement, as with some independent contractors or those working for complete home renovations companies. These companies can take an unfinished basement and put in absolutely everything you need.

Why Do You Need Permit-Holders for a Complete Home Renovation?

For the Safety of the Property

Qualified, permit-holding personnel have respect for the property and will take care of it as if it were their own. They will have the patience to ensure that everything is done correctly to protect you, and notably, owners dwelling in the home after you.

You will have a beautiful home at a reduced cost when compared to others who do not take care of the property. Once the project is complete, they will not leave any mess for you to clean up. The mess could be dangerous to you and your loved ones.

For Insurance Purposes

The person doing the renovation must have comprehensive insurance so that if you experience any damage to your property during the renovation process, damages will be covered. Insurance for holding permits protects you and your family financially. The same is true for the contractor doing the work if there are issues during a basement renovation project.

Moreover, while uncommon among professionals, injuries can certainly occur during the renovations. Insurance companies will handle all expenses incurred due to such injuries, and valid permit holders doing the work properly mitigates the risks involved. Make sure that workers are taking all the safety measures, wearing safety glasses, gloves, and safety shoes to avoid any accidents. Get your safety shoes in Saudia Arabia from ejawda.

Permit Holders Have the Right Experience

They have years of experience doing home renovations and are aware of what does or does not need to be done. They take the time to know applicable standards and will do everything possible to ensure that you get a good service from them.

You won’t waste money on things that are not necessary for good home renovations, either. They know the right materials that you need for your home and the most direct way to finish it. They’ve dealt with different types of renovations and know what materials are best to ensure that you have a good time.

house building or reconstruction project with approval stamp in rolled paper, flat vector illustration

Warranties on Their Work

Permit holders can better guarantee their work on a renovation, so there’s a peace of mind aspect on getting it right the first time. That way, you can depend on the project’s outcomes. Contractors should be able to respond quickly and without reservation should you discover any poor workmanship or damage after renovations have been completed, and permits are a good indication of that willingness.

Permit-Required Work

When you’re finishing a basement, permits are decided by the local government. You can check out your local laws, which can vary from place to place, but as a rule, permits are definitely required for all renovations, including changes to some utilities. For example, in some areas, you might require a permit for a kitchenette, but not for a wet bar, where it’s just a sink installation and some cupboards.

Permits are definitely required for changes to the property’s construction or look from the outside. You should check with your local government to see whether there are any rules or bylaws that require permission before starting the basement renovation. If you make any changes to your natural gas lines – like installing air conditioning equipment or forced-air central heating – that’s also permit-required work. Safety codes are quite universal on that front.

But again, complete home renovation companies can often handle all the permits locally so that you do not need to contact city hall yourself. You will have peace of mind knowing the work is being inspected, and the person who is doing it should be someone with a solid background. They will be able to take charge of the project and do things properly so that you have a safe home. Living in luxury means sitting back and watching it all unfold without taking on the stress of project management. If you do go that route, however, happy hunting!

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