For some homeowners, a basement is just some space where they can store stuff they don’t want in their upstairs living areas.

If you’re the type, however, who understands how a finished basement adds value to a home, then it’s not surprising if you feel quite excited about sprucing up this space. Of course, the first step to finishing a basement is having a design in mind.

That being said, let’s talk about how to design your basement – from getting your ideas down on paper to planning electrical installations to finding the perfect accessories, and more.

Step 1. Decide How You Want to Use the Space

The great thing about a finished basement is it’s full of possibilities. You can turn it into a studio apartment, a game room, and so on. Before hiring a contractor, though, consider how you want to use this extra living space, so you can start researching basement design ideas.

For example, if you want to convert your basement into a rental, consider if you want to create a studio or a traditional apartment. With the former, you could save some money because you can opt for an open floor plan, but with the latter, you could charge a higher rental price.

Of course, with a traditional apartment, you may need to build new walls, so keep that in mind when budgeting for this project.

Or maybe, you’re thinking of turning your basement into a new home office. Given that you’re likely to spend a lot of time here, make sure your basement floor plan can accommodate furniture, business equipment, lighting, etc. You should also think about a separate entrance, as well as sound insulation if you’re expecting clients to drop by.

Step 2. Consider If You Want to Hire an Expert

When you’re clear on how you want to use your basement, you can decide whether to work with a basement design planner or if you want to DIY most of the work.

Now, if you opt to hire a pro, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry anymore about designing your basement. While most of the work will be taken care of, don’t expect the designer to be able to read your mind. The more details you can give, the better your basement design will turn out.

If you plan to go for the DIY route, though, there are extra steps you have to take. First, look into some design software. There are paid ones, which offer more features, but there are also free options that can help you plan a room layout. It’s best to choose one that’s easiest for you to learn.

Step 3. Design Your Basement But Leave the Electrical/Plumbing Work to the Pros

Assuming you’ve found the perfect software and now have a basement layout to work with, the next step is to hire an electrician and a plumber.

Remember, with anything that requires electrical or plumbing work, a DIY job could result in a disaster. Unless you have professional training, you shouldn’t mess with electrical or plumbing systems. It’s not only because you might cause irreparable damage to your home, but also because you might hurt yourself.

Another reason why you should hire experts has to do with cost-effectiveness. If you want this project finished asap, they can do what they need to do every day, instead of waiting for weekends like DIYers. They’ll also do the job safely, minding the necessary codes and regulations, which a typical homeowner might not be too familiar with.

Step 4. Don’t Forget About Aesthetics

You already know how you’re going to use your basement. You even have the right basement layout ready, but have you thought about how to furnish it?

When designing your basement, don’t only focus on the floor plan. Try to visualize the end result so you don’t end up with bare walls and a hodge-podge of furniture.

Don’t forget it’s not just a basement anymore. It’s another living space like any other room in your home. That means you should think about colors, furnishings, and other decor elements that make for a cohesive look.

And speaking of furnishings, you might want to look at these accessories if you’re converting your basement into a home theater. For a game room or guest room, try to measure the space before buying a pool table or a bed. You don’t want to end up with something that’s too big or it might end up overwhelming the whole space.

Bonus: Some Tips for Hiring Basement Finishing Contractors

Finishing a basement isn’t a cheap endeavor, so you have to make sure the results are worth it. To help you find a contractor that can turn your basement into the space you’ve envisioned in your design, there are some questions you have to ask when evaluating candidates.

First, ask about their experience. Finishing a basement is not a job for first-timers. You want a contractor who has at least 5 years doing this specific type of job.

Second, you should ask if they’re licensed. If you end up with an unlicensed contractor, you can’t take it up to your state’s licensing board. Suing for damages might be your only option, but it can be an expensive and long process before you get compensated.

Third, ask about permits. Your contractor should take care of these, and if they don’t, consider it a red flag. There are other contractors who’ll pull the necessary permits for your basement project. Other things to ask include their insurance coverage, price quotation, and project timeline.

Want More Home Improvement Guides?

Now that you know the basics of how to design your basement, don’t stop here.

For more home improvement tips and advice, don’t forget to check out our other posts. You might just find your next project.

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