How To Upgrade And Utilize Space In Your Home That You Already Have
Need more space in your home but you aren't ready, or able, to invest in an expensive addition? The answer may be right under your feet. By remodeling your basement, you can expand your current living area and, oftentimes, spend far less than an addition would cost. With proper planning and design, you could have that brand new home office you need, a larger laundry room, a family hang-out space, a media room, a home gym or even a homework room just for the kids. Here are 14 tips to help you get started with your basement remodeling project.
1. Work With A Professional Remodeling Firm
Your first step should be to find a reputable remodeling firm. Do your research. Ask your friends and coworkers about remodeling firms that they have used. Were they satisfied with the builder's quality of work? Did the builder act as a trusted partner throughout process? Did they quickly address and remedy any issues that arose during their projects?
Look online at remodeling firms' websites to see photos of their work and interview several professionals before making a decision to work with one of them. Find out if the firm you are hiring can help with the design of your new basement, or if they will refer you to an architect who specializes in remodeling projects.
2. Evaluate Your Basement For Structural Deficiencies
Once you've found a professional remodeling firm that suits your needs, have them evaluate your basement for structural issues. Do your walls lean? Is the floor cracked or uneven? Can your electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems handle the demands of your remodeling plans? Fixing significant structural deficiencies can be expensive. It is best to understand all of these issues before you proceed any further.
3. Assess Environmental and Code Requirements
It's important to ask your remodeler about the current state of your basement while you assess the scope of your remodeling project.
- Are there signs of mold or dampness in your basement?
- Will the current ventilation system allow for a healthy living space or does this need to be addressed?
- Is the basement's insulation satisfactory or is it freezing in the winter and humid in the summer?
- Do the ceiling height and staircase width meet the code requirements in your jurisdiction?
- If a bedroom is included in your basement remodeling plans, will you need to dig a window well since the code in most jurisdictions mandates that there is easy egress to the outdoors in case of emergency (as shown below)?
A professional remodeler should be able to answer all of your questions, inform you of any potential issues and give you cost-effective solutions to fixing any problems before your project is underway.
4. Visualize The Space You Need
Your basement can expand the current living area in your home in a significant way, so think carefully about what kinds of rooms you would truly use as you visualize the newly remodeled space. Write down your ideas and discuss them in detail with your remodeler or architect. Make sure that the final plans will meet your needs and expectations.
5. Set Up A Home Office
Need a quiet, dedicated space for your home office away from the hustle and bustle of the main living areas in your house? Remodeling your basement may be the answer. If you don't have enough room for an enclosed office, delineate the space with visually impactful, permanent room dividers. Be sure to add task lighting and overhead lighting, where possible.
6. Build A Home Gym
Many people are opting for an in-home gym these days. Carve out some space in your plans for a spot where you can work out without having to leave your house. Choose a durable flooring material that will hold-up under the weight of your equipment but will also feel comfortable as you move through your exercise routine.
7. Make A Homework Or Arts & crafts Room
Keep your kids on task by providing a quiet place for them to do their homework or create their newest art projects. Be sure to include a closet with shelving in your plans so you can put supplies out-of-sight and keep everything organized. Install a custom bulletin board where you can neatly showcase your kids' latest masterpieces and add bookshelves to hold textbooks and knick-knacks.
8. Plan For A Functional Laundry Room
If you don't have a dedicated laundry room in your home, include one in your basement remodeling plans. Having a functional room with plenty of storage and a counter where you can fold clothes would make it a pleasure to do your laundry every day instead of a chore. Consider adding retractable racks where you can hang your laundry to dry and a wall-mounted ironing board that can be tucked out of the way when you are not using it. If you have a large family, think about installing two washers and two dryers for time efficiency.
9. Include An Inviting Guest Bedroom And Full Bathroom
Give your houseguests a comfortable and well-appointed place to stay. Include a bedroom and a full bathroom in your plans, if space allows. Don't forget that most jurisdictions require egress to the outdoors from a basement bedroom.
10. Kick Back In Your Very Own Media Room
Family movie night will take on a whole new meaning in your custom media room. Comfortable seating, low lighting and even a popcorn machine can make your media room feel like you are in a real movie theater!
11. Have Fun On Game Night
Set up a place for your family to relax and have fun together in your new basement. Add a kitchenette to your plans so making and sharing snacks is super convenient.
12. Utilize Every Nook and Cranny
A good designer or architect can help you utilize every nook and cranny of your basement. Incorporate built-in shelving in your utility room to hold large items, such as luggage. Consider adding a playroom that can be tucked underneath the staircase as a fun hideout. And, include as many storage closets as you can in your plans so that your new space remains neat and tidy.
13. Reflect On Your Lighting Needs
Typically basements are dark, so plan for layered lighting to create a warm and inviting space. Natural light is, of course, most desirable. Ask your builder if it is possible to install window wells or doors to the outside to allow the natural light to pour in. Opening up the interior staircase to the main living area above will create a sense of flow, making your new basement an extension of your home, not an afterthought. It also allows more natural light to reach downstairs. Recessed lighting is an efficient way to light all areas of your new basement to make it inviting, with no dark corners. Task lighting is helpful in a laundry room or arts & crafts room. However, a media room needs low lighting and no windows, so keep all of that in mind when planning for your renovation.
14. Consider The Comfort
Whether you are planning for a high-tech media room or a family recreation room, you will want to consider extra creature comforts. Ask your remodeler if any special wiring is needed to get proper WiFi or cable service to your newly remodeled basement. Discuss whether or not you need to install a thermostat that will allow you to keep your basement toasty warm on a chilly night. Before you select flooring materials, think about how you will use each room in your new space: soft carpet may feel good under your feet, but laminated wood flooring may be more practical in certain areas of your basement. Look at websites, such as Houzz, for design, storage and other ideas to make your new basement a cozy retreat.
Remodeling your basement can add value and comfort to your home. With proper planning and professional guidance, your project can be a pleasant and rewarding experience. And, when your family is enjoying movie night in your new basement, you'll wonder why you didn't remodel it a long time ago!
At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury renovations and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.