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Finishing Your Basement with Flair   by Gaby Hyman

As your family grows, converting or finishing your basement into living space not only opens up your house and increases room for work or play, but it can also add significantly to your home value. You must exercise care in the design of your basement, ensuring structural integrity before you pick up a hammer. A successful finished basement relies on adequate electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling components, as well as sound drainage and moisture control.
Potential Basement Usage
Before you begin, select a design for your basement that accommodates existing walls and space while meeting your needs. Your basement must be dry, have sound existing walls, and adequate head room. There are many possibilities for a finished basement, including:
  • Entertainment. As your children grow, a finished basement can be a playroom for the kids and their friends, or a game room for adults. If you're planning an entertainment center, check first to see if your basement has appropriate telephone, cable, satellite, broadband, or other electrical wiring.
  • Office. Do you or your spouse need a quiet home office space that will be out of the way of your children? Basement finishing may be able to give you the privacy you need to be productive while the children play upstairs. To be as comfortable as possible, you may want to beef up your utilities for power and air conditioning.
  • Exercise. With the obligations of work and caring for your children, it can be difficult to make time to run to the gym. A finished basement can include a work-out area that benefits both the adults and children in your home. Consider installing sports carpeting and mirrors. If you're lucky, you may be able to meet heating and cooling requirements with a simple vent to your floor-level living space.
  • Guest Room. Did the birth of your youngest child mean the end of your old guest room? Do you have a live-in nanny or relative who should have some private quarters? Design your basement as a new guest room or small apartment. If you're considering adding a bath, you'll need to know if there's electrical, water supply, and drainage available.
  • Utility or Craft Space. Do your children need space to work on special projects for school? Do you need a larger laundry center, or a place for crafts and hobbies of your own? Remodel your basement to accommodate these needs, making sure you have adequate water and power to get the jobs done.
Finishing Your Basement
You may want to engage a basement contractor to inspect your home and help with the design of a new basement. Flooring, lighting, insulation, heating/AC and dehumidification systems may be of paramount importance to you.
A room dedicated to a single use is easier to design and complete. But if you hope to use your finished basement for laundry, entertainment, office work, or as a separate bedroom, be sure to embrace all the necessary plumbing, electrical, flooring, and insulation concerns. If you're converting your basement to an apartment or room to let, be sure you design it to your local and state building codes as well as plan independent meters to measure utilities if you don't want to include them in your rental fees.
About the Author:
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



Read More About Basements

How to design for a finished basement
The different steps involved when remodeling your basement
Start to finish your basement
Finishing your basement with flair
From the underground up: remodeling and renting out your basement
Increase your home value with basement remodeling
The return on investment of a basement remodeling project
benefits of remodeling your basement
New users for an old basement
Dealing with basement flooding
Spruce up your basement for a returning college student




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