Remodel Your Basement in 3 Easy Steps

Madeline Pillow
Written by Madeline Pillow
Updated May 21, 2015
basement remodel home theater
Movie theater rooms are becoming a popular addition to basements. (Photo courtesy of Moss Building & Design)

Relax with family, sit at the bar, or work out — redone basements serve many purposes.

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Basements are a catchall: a man cave, a playroom or all of these things and more. Finished basements function as a truly versatile room in your home. It will always be a room that can be changed to meet the needs and priorities of your current living situation. 

Different stages of life may require your basement’s function to change or it may be a yearly season (spring cleaning) that makes you see that your basement could serve a more useful purpose. For example, at Christmas with all your children’s toys, you may realize that the basement should become the hub for your kids and their furry and plastic companions. Or, with the kids out of the house, you may find yourself ready to create that dream theater room getaway.  

Here are three easy steps to explore your options for basement remodel to fit the needs of today.

Step 1: Decide how to use your basement

The first step toward capitalizing on this space is finishing your basement. Many homeowners want to relocate to another home because of space, but if you have an unfinished basement in your home, it's a great alternative to relocating your whole family. 

Finishing your basement is an easy and efficient way to get the space you need. A turnkey team can finish a basement in a three- to four-week timeframe. Renovating your basement provides potential for the best value per square foot because the structure/footprint is already in place. 

Once that's completed, you have many options to use a finished basement. While a playroom makes the most sense when your children are young, updating the space to an additional bedroom or an entertainment room can serve your children better as they enter their teenage years. 

Ideas for finished basement functions can include:

• Play room• Storage area• Bar area• Extra bedroom• In-law suite• Family room• Media room• Gym area• Office

basement remodel
Brick is a great medium to utilize when remodeling your basement because it automatically brings personality to a room. (Photo courtesy of Moss Building & Design)

Step 2: Utilize your whole basement

Even within a basement, there are spaces that are underutilized. Under your stairs is a great space to provide additional storage, a small desk area, wine storage, a small mudroom or a children’s small play area (think a cute play fort). 

It’s also an area that you can easily add shelving or cabinetry for organization.

Step 3: Redefine your basement design

It's often said that you need to visualize what you want in order to achieve it. With your basement, keep this idea in mind in order to redefine it. A basement doesn’t have to live up to the movie version of the room of water leaks and creaky nighttime noises. 

Traditionally, basements are not seen as a room that has a specific design. As a multipurpose room, they take on whatever function they need to and become a bland room as a result. By seeing basements in a new way, it can become part of your home design and can be dressed up as a distinct room of its own.

MORE: Guide to Basement Remodeling

Incorporate design by rethinking materials you use on your walls, floor and ceiling. One way to make your basement feel less like a typical basement is by adding texture. Most basements don't have a lot of natural light, so when you remodel your basement, you can add texture to create focal points and play tonally with artificial light.

Ceiling texture can come from exposed beams, tray ceilings, coffered ceilings or by using textured panels or tile. Some of these options may not be possible with all basements as basement ceiling heights can vary with building codes and with the home’s structure.

You can create more interest in your basement design by using different material on the floor or designating different areas with different flooring. You can choose carpet, ceramic tile or wood. A new, popular choice is cork, which is very resilient and can add a lot of personality.

basement remodel man cave
Incorporate design by rethinking materials you use on your walls, floor and ceiling. (Photo courtesy of Moss Building & Design)

MORE: 5 Alternative Flooring Options for Your Basement

Finally, texture can be integrated into your basement design through your walls. Options include paneling, stone work, metal work and brick.

In a recent basement remodel in Ashburn, Virginia, the metal work in the walls not only provided a focal point, but also added dimension to the room in the way the metal interacts with the lighting in the basement.

You may also bring in texture through brick like a recent remodel in McLean, Virginia (see main photo). Brick is a great medium to use because it automatically brings personality to a room because brick itself is not a uniform material.

Once you’ve completed these three steps, you are well on your way to a new creative and functional space. The versatility of a finished basement will ensure that this room will always reinvent itself for your needs as opposed to other rooms in your home. By consistently reassessing your needs and how your basement can supplement these needs, the lifecycle of your basement will live on in every season and every major life event. 

Editor's note: This is an updated version of the article originally posted on June 17, 2014.

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