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8 Tips for Making the Basement a Functional Space

8 Tips for Making the Basement a Functional Space
4 min. read

Image: Artazum / Shutterstock.com

Not sure what to do with the basement in your home? It’s easy for it to become a dark and dingy area you want to avoid, but you could be missing out on so much! A basement can be a blank canvas you can transform for any number of uses.  

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve listed 8 top tips that will help you rework your basement into a functional space – no matter your budget.

1.   Prepare the Space Appropriately

Before diving into a basement renovation, it’s important to know exactly what you want to do with the space and the condition it is currently in. For example, if you plan to convert your basement into a living space for the kids or a tenant, you’ll need to follow local building codes very carefully and obtain the required permits. Building codes can dictate the type and size of windows (typically egress), the height of the ceiling (normally 7 feet minimum), and any insulation and ventilation requirements.

If you only plan to use the space for more utilitarian purposes – such as extra storage or a laundry room – you probably don’t need to worry so much about obtaining permits, but it’s always best to check.

2.   Super Storage

One common use for a basement (which requires very little extra work) is to turn it into an extra storage area. In this case, it’s smart to install good lighting and ensure the stairs are safe and secure. To keep things tidy, fit shelves, hangers and a variety of cabinets to store anything from winter clothing to food.

3.   Foam Mat Flooring

For those looking to make their basement a little more appealing for a low cost, transform the cold, concrete floor into something soft and colorful. The easiest, most cost-effective method is to fit square foam mats together. These are often designed to piece together like a jigsaw puzzle, and they’re great for playtime or creating a makeshift gym. Plus, they’re easy to remove and stash away if you make other plans for your basement down the road.

4.   Paint Makes All the Difference

Another easy way to revamp your space and make it more appealing is to simply give it a new paint job. If you don’t plan on living in the basement, simply paint the bare cinder blocks and rafters. Choose whichever colors you like, and feel free to mix it up a little — remember, you have a blank canvas to play with! You could even paint the concrete floor.

5.   Curtain Partitions

Want to split up the space a little without making it feel cramped? Simply hang a curtain rod and use curtains to divide the area or hide certain elements – such as appliances or storage areas. In this way, you can use the rest of the space to work or entertain.

6.   String Lighting

Image: Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Many basements have a limited electrical supply, but that doesn’t mean you need to hire an electrician to fit more sockets and wire extra lighting. Use string lights to create a stunning effect and cozy atmosphere for a fraction of the price. This temporary measure is easy to upgrade in the future, and can be a great option if you only plan to use your basement occasionally rather than live in it.

7.   Think Comfort

If you plan to make your basement a more permanent living area, it’s worth taking the time to do it properly. First, consider insulation for the walls and floors, as well as moisture protection. Next, think about plumbing, electricity and ventilation. In terms of finishes, once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s just like any other room in the home. Make it attractive and functional — no one wants to struggle up and down narrow stairs every day! Just be sure to follow your local codes and obtain the necessary permits.

8.   Ideas for Your Basement

Still not sure what to do with your basement, but you really want to make the best of it? Let the following ideas inspire you:

  • Family fun room: Make a space for the whole family to relax – complete with board games, a movie night or video game set-up, and anything else you and the kids enjoy.
  • Arts and crafts studio: A great option for a semi-finished basement, you don’t need to worry about making a mess, and the basement can provide the peace you need to get creative!
  • Basement bar: Go underground and unleash your inner bartender! This is an excellent way to entertain guests while keeping the noise to a minimum and not disturbing sleeping kids.
  • Laundry room: A popular use for the basement, this also doesn’t require a full renovation. What’s more, being underground reduces the noise from the washer and dryer while freeing up space in the rest of your home.


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One Comment

  • […] If you’re thinking about a larger remodel, be sure to concentrate on the areas that buyers tend to focus on when house hunting. Kitchens and bathrooms are always a good option, though try to avoid going overboard — it’s typically best to stick to a mid-range remodel in these rooms rather than going high-end. Other areas to think about are entrances, attics, and basements. […]

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