Finishing Your Basement the Right Way

This project was completed by Forward Design Build:  Dramatic Home Theater

This project was completed by Forward Design Build: Dramatic Home Theater

When it comes to remodeling your basement, you want to do it properly. In addition to the fact that a well-finished basement can boost your home's resale value, it also makes for a great place to spend time. There's also a financial incentive to finishing the basement correctly in that doing it the wrong way can cost you thousands down the road. 

Why Remodeling the Basement Correctly Matters

While some people equate a “basement” with a damp, cold area thick with spiders, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a basement can be an amazingly functional space. To accomplish this, however, homeowners must take it a few steps further than just slapping up drywall and installing a floor.

To make the basement functional, homeowners must consider how they wish to use the basement: Will it house overnight guests? Is it a game room? Is it a place for teenagers to hang out? It’s essential that these considerations be at the forefront of all of your remodeling decisions, before the space is finished.

Top 6 Considerations for a Well-Finished Basement

To ensure that your basement is a place people want to spend time, consider these aspects throughout the remodeling process:

1. Natural light

Natural light is a rare resource in a basement space. Beyond being a delightful addition, however, it’s often a welcome result of legal requirements. In Michigan, building codes state that basements that contain habitable space require a second way to exit (such as through an egress window), so installing windows in a basement is critical on multiple fronts. 

To ensure that you’re positioning your windows correctly, arrange them in those areas that will be most used, such as by a basement kitchenette or seating area. This can help the basement feel open and will contribute to a more finished space. 

2. Ceiling height

Basements ceilings are often low. To improve this, consider consolidating typical basement obstructions like wires, pipes and ducts to a particular area and then raising the ceilings throughout the rest of the basement. This will help the space feel larger and airier, and can also make it a more enjoyable space to host overnight guests

3. Proposed use

Basements have dozens of potential uses, and one of the biggest considerations for finishing a basement correctly is ensuring that the renovation plans fit the intended use of the space. For example, if a basement will house visiting guests often, it should have a comfortable bedroom, a bathroom, a nice seating area and potentially a kitchenette so visitors can make coffee or grab a bottle of water without heading upstairs. 

If it’s a space for teenagers to hang out, it will need a lounge area and a wall large and tall enough to accommodate a big-screen TV. A basement that’s designed as a workout area should feature ceilings with enough room to accommodate activities like lifting the arms over the head or running on a treadmill.

4. Systems to deal with water removal

For basements in the Ann Arbor area, water infiltration needs to be a consideration so it’s smart for homeowners to consider how they will deal with excess water before it becomes an issue. Small changes, like installing floor drains and opting to use a flooring material that can handle getting wet, are smart approaches. Bonus points if you choose to install a sump pump in your storm drain. While these line items can add up on the front end of a basement finishing project, they’ll save you plenty money down the road if your basement does get water

5. Lighting

Aside from natural light, a basement’s second most welcoming component is great artificial lighting. Good lighting brightens a space and can help make it feel larger than it is. For best results, install lighting that is ambient or points up, rather than overhead lighting that points down. Wall sconces and lamps are ideal for basement spaces since they soften light and make the space more welcoming.

6. Noise Insulation

Insulation is essential for a comfortable basement, and it can also dampen sound. This is especially important to take into consideration if you want to have a booming home audio system for watching movies or plan to have your teenager's band practice in the basement. 

A Smart Remodeled Basement

Considering these needs now can save you time and effort down the road and will ensure that your remodeled basement functions exactly how you want it to.

Finishing a basement can be a challenging process; be sure that you’re doing it the best way possible with the help of a quality team. Here at Forward Design Build, we specialize in helping our clients build out their perfect designs – both now and for the future. To learn more about how to finish your basement with your current and future goals in mind, or for expert help in getting the job done, contact us today!