All around the country, people are letting valuable home space go to waste, often without even realizing it. Basements, even those that are nothing more than a cold concrete room filled with packing boxes, have loads of potential. No matter your budget, renovating your basement is a surefire way to make better use of this unused space. Who knows, the basement might even become your favorite room in the house after you spruce it up.

Below is the bottom-line advice for renovating your basement along with a few great ideas that are sure to get you excited to start for yourself.

Before You Get Started

Basement renovation is not just a walk in the park. It takes serious preparation and planning if you hope to get things right. In addition to considering hiring a building contractor, those that are planning on remodeling would do well to follow the advice below.

Layout: Depending on the size of your basement, you might consider dividing it into multiple rooms (if it hasn’t been already). Bedrooms should be located along the perimeter to allow for windows. It is also generally a good idea to use the area with the best natural light as the main socializing area. Televisions can be located in darker areas to reduce glare.

Repairs: You should never begin a basement remodeling project without making sure that your basement is in great starting condition. A few of the most important things to do include:

  • Testing for moisture. If there is condensation in your basement, that means it isn’t properly sealed. Dehumidifying is often necessary in basements with excess moisture.
  • Probe for rot. Because basements are notoriously moist, it is easy for rot to develop. Use an awl to probe for rot (as well as insect damage) in rim and header joists, floor joists, and wood-framed windows.
  • Check fuel-burning equipment. Before starting a basement remodel, hire a professional to come in and check your home’s ventilation system and fuel-burning equipment. This is necessary to ensure that there is no carbon monoxide buildup.

Codes and Permits: As with any home building project, it is necessary to check to make sure you are within building codes and whether you need a building permit. Basement renovation will almost always require a permit. For instance, in most areas a ceiling height of at least 7 feet is required. Does your basement fit the bill?

Best Basement Renovation Ideas

Of course, there is a lot more to consider before renovating your basement than the points discussed above. But they are a start. The fun part of remodeling your basement comes after all of the logistics are worked out. And that fun part is actually deciding what you want your finished basement to look like and be used for. Below are ten of our absolute favorite basement renovation ideas.

1. Hang Zone

One of the best uses for a basement is as an extra socializing area, especially for teenagers and children. This picture features the perfect “hang zone” complete with comfortable couches and a crackling fireplace. Support posts were removed and replaced with ceiling beams to open the room up.

2. Library

Love to read? Then why not consider adding floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in your unfinished basement? Throw in a couple of comfy chairs and maybe a desk with a reading light and you’re all set.

3. Office 

The basement is the perfect location for a home office away from the noise and hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. The one pictured here is nice enough to host clients but all that you really need is a desk, a comfortable chair, and a clean and tidy space to be ready to work.

4. Pool Room

Creating a pool room is one of the most common basement renovation ideas. Your home’s bottom floor is the perfect out of the way space for a pool table. Add lighting and game room decorations to complete the look.

5. Stylish Storage Space

Renovating your basement doesn’t have to mean turning it into a space for your family to spend time in. Even just adding storage shelves along the walls is a big step up from keeping boxes piled haphazardly on the floor.

6. Home Bar

Having a home bar is the dream of many and the basement is the perfect place to put one. The home bar in the picture above is a simple yet stylish way to renovate your basement.

7. Home Theater

The basement is also a great place to locate a home theater. Because it is located under the rest of the house away from other rooms, minimal soundproofing is usually required. All that you need is a television, some good speakers, and a comfortable place to sit.

8. Relaxing Retreat

Why not just keep things simple and turn your basement into an extra family room? Emphasis relaxation here and create a comfortable and inviting space that welcomes you to kick back. 

9. Wine Cellar

If you are a fan of fine wines, then you might want to consider turning your unfinished basement into a personal wine cellar. A nice wine rack and appealing lighting is all that it takes to get started.

10. Laundry Room 

A basement renovation doesn’t have to mean turning your home’s bottom floor into a space that you’ll actually want to spend time in. You can always emphasis function. Cleaning up your basement and making it your home’s designated laundry room is another great way to make use of the space. Installing carpets, redoing the walls, and adding bright lighting will make folding towels a much more enjoyable experience than doing so in a dark and damp room with a concrete floor.

Renovating Your Basement

To create the best basement room possible, it is usually best to bring in the pros. While you might be able to perform minor renovations on your own, an experienced building contractor is generally required for more thorough jobs. Plus, hiring a contractor will ensure that you get exactly what you are looking for out of your basement renovation - not some willy-nilly job that leaves you wishing for more. here.