Make the most of your home’s basement by refinishing it as an extension of your living space and property value.
If your home has an unfinished basement, you have an undiscovered treasure worth thousands of dollars. Here are some ways to make the most of this potential investment rather than leaving it unused or solely as a storage area.
1. First, consider how you might want to use this additional area. Some basements are mere cellars with dirt floors and stone walls. These make great cooling areas for canned goods, certain smoked meats, sealed baked items, a freezer, and other food preservation needs. Some families turn cellars into a second kitchen for holidays. Go online to find home remodeling ideas for your cellar space.
2. Other homes have semi-finished basements, with concrete floors and stone or concrete walls. There may be electric and heat facilities, or these can be easily added. Get a couple of estimates from reliable contractors about how they can refinish this area, including utility issues like heat, air conditioning, air quality, and lighting. Ask them to check for radon, lead paint, and possible toxic fumes from stored chemicals. Have the appliances, like furnace and water heater, maintained to ensure safety. Suggest a dollar amount that you can afford to invest, and offer a few ideas of your own. When you have the estimates, you will have a better idea of the costs and timeline that will be required to transform your new living space.
3. Consider possible uses for your new living space as you consult with contractors and plan your budget. For example, a growing family may decide to turn part of the area into one or two bedrooms. Check with contractors about building codes and to be sure the proposed rooms are well vented and heated. A fire escape plan will be needed as well, possibly through a window or an added exit.
Some people use part of the basement as a recreation room, adding fun things like a television, VCR, game table, computers, sofa, daybed, or even a refrigerator with beverages and snacks. With supervision, the refinished basement can make an excellent playroom for kids. Check for mold, pests, or leaks before getting too comfortable.
Other folks turn the basement into home office space by painting walls or putting up wallboard, laying carpet or tile, and buying office equipment.
Another use is as a hobby room for sewing, reading, writing, studying, or other favorite pastimes.
4. Decide whose space the new area will belong to. Setting boundaries early on, if needed, can help defuse possible conflicts later. If the space is to be shared, you may want to propose a schedule of times when the new room will be used for play versus usage for at-home office work.
5. Make it personal. Add special touches like framed photos or wall hangings, area rugs, and accent pieces to present an inviting allure. Just because it’s downstairs doesn’t mean it should be off limits. Encourage family members to enjoy the reformed basement in the way it is now available to be used. After all, you want to get your money’s worth from the investment.
A basement makeover can be fun and affordable, so find out if yours is a good candidate for remodeling.
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