Basement Finishing Basics

basementsIf you are interested in adding an exercise room, entertainment area, or playroom to your home, the perfect space may be beneath your feet. If your home has an unfinished basement, remodeling the basement might be the most cost-effective way to incorporate these features.

When considering a basement remodel, start by using a piece of grid paper to make a rough floor plan, marking the locations of major appliances, like your furnace, washer and dryer, and water heater. Next, you will want to note any of the following:

  • Interior and exterior access points
  • Existing plumbing locations, which are important to know about in case you want to include an additional bathroom, or wet bar
  • Location of vertical support columns
  • Locations of windows and doors
  • Floor, ceiling, and wall materials

Given their location underground, basements are vulnerable to dampness, which makes basement remodeling a bit more challenging than first meets the eye. But, with the right materials in place, your basement will be protected from moisture, as well as the mold and mildew that can come with an improperly finished underground space.

Most basements have low ceilings and few windows, which can create a dark and cramped feeling if not addressed properly. Fortunately, there are many creative ways to make your basement light and airy.

Here are some tricks-of-the-trade for transforming your basement:

  • Stay away from dark wood paneling and instead consider drywall painted in light tones to make the room brighter. Semi-gloss paint will gently reflect even more light into the room.
  • Open up the visual space. Consider glass double doors, a rounded archway, or a pass-through area between rooms to create smooth transitions from one area to another.
  • Check to see if existing windows can be enlarged. Or, consider installing a small boxed window for a mini-garden to grow herbs or start plant seedlings.
  • Add depth with built-in bookcases and entertainment units. Light them strategically with interior lights, or from the top, to cast light downwards.
  • Disguise vertical support beams and horizontal ceiling pipes or floor joists by covering them. Alternatively, you can use pipes and beams as interesting accents by painting them with bold colors for added flair.

Unfinished basements are much like a diamond in the rough—unexplored splendor awaiting your discovery.

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