Whether you simply need more storage or if your family is outgrowing your upstairs space, an unfinished basement provides a blank canvas for you and your family to utilize. Here are some ideas to consider before reaching out to your local contractor.
A basement flex space can be transformed into anything that your family needs and can be changed as these needs change. You can create a basement space that is a living room or rec room for your children, a guest suite with a bathroom, a wet bar or entertaining space, or a laundry room (or a combination!). If you want to design a bedroom space, keep in mind that it has to be located at the perimeter of the basement, as it needs an egress window to follow code requirements.
If your stairwell is closed off to the rest of the space, considering opening it up! An open stairwell connects the basement with the rest of the home and makes the room feel more spacious as a wall isn’t in your line of vision anymore. This also allows more natural light to enter your basement space, making it feel homey.
On the floor
Carpet makes the room feel warm and inviting but if you are worried about water intrusion, stick with luxury vinyl, an epoxy coating, or tile, which will keep your space safer during a heavy rain. To avoid creating a haven for mold to grow underneath your flooring, ask a contractor for options such as installing a vapor barrier below your flooring or raising the floor with a waterproof subfloor.
Whether you are turning your extra space into a game room for your teens or designing an adult entertaining space with a bar and pool table, your basement space should match the style of the rest of your home. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica but intend to weave some similarities from your upstairs spaces into your downstairs spaces. This consistency will help make your basement feel like part of the home rather than “the basement.”
Light the room
Ensure that you have enough lighting to make the space feel bright and welcoming. Due to the lack of windows in a basement, lighting is more of a crucial element than it is upstairs. Focus on overall lighting with added task lighting. Consider adding or enlarging basement windows if possible to let more natural light in.
Fix up the walls
Your home’s foundation walls are usually composed of concrete or cement block. Cover your walls with drywall, plywood, paneling or paint. This will give your basement space a clean and finished look. Have exposed brick? You might want to leave some brick revealed for an added design element. Consult a Kansas City NARI contractor for an expert opinion.
Make the basement feel like less of an underground space by concealing all of the pipes and mechanicals with drywall or paneling. Consider a suspended or drop ceiling depending on your ceiling height, or leave everything exposed and paint it for a more organic (and cost-effective!) look. Many codes call for a ceiling of 7 or 7.5 feet so ask your contractor what can be done with your current ceiling height.
Your main focus is on the inside of your space, but don’t forget about the outside! Try something different than a corrugated metal window well and go for fiberglass or faux stone. Purchase a cover for your well to prevent accidents but make sure that it’s easily removable from below in case of an emergency. Prepping your space outside, such as sloping the exterior ground away from the house, are helpful measures to ensure that water stays away from your indoor space.
Basements aren’t meant to be cold and dark anymore. Homebuyers like the added bonus of a finished basement space where they can expand their daily living. Boost the value of your home and enjoy extra living space for you and your family by finishing your basement.