If the “Stay Home” orders of 2020 had your family begging for more room, maybe there’s a basement renovation in your future. Or there should be. Almost all houses in and around Sun Prairie have basements. In many cases the space is unfinished. It’s the place for furnace, hot water heater and “junk.” Finishing or updating your lower level adds value to your home. And it dramatically increases the enjoyment you get out of it. All without changing its original footprint. Consider the space you have on your first floor. Gaining almost all that area in new living space would be great, right?
When it comes to including your basement in daily activities, possibilities are unlimited. Consider that vast space beneath your living room as a blank canvas. Get creative. There’s more to a finished basement than a new ceiling and drywall. Have you wanted a home office, a room for hobbies or maybe a dedicated workout space? The concept of the “man cave” and home theater are alive and well in lower level designs.
Basement Renovation Options
A finished lower level adds value to your home – when it’s time to sell, and for the family every day. You get a significant amount of family-friendly space for a relatively small investment.
Consider the possibilities for a new basement plan:
- An additional bedroom – as the family grows additional bedrooms are valuable, as are guest rooms for friends and family. NOTE: this may not be possible for every home because building codes require two forms or egress (ways to get out) and that usually includes a large enough window for a person to fit through. Your remodeling contractor knows the laws and will advise you on the best options.
- An extra bathroom – when the whole family is home are bathrooms crowded and in demand? Adding a bathroom – a half-bath or complete facilities – is one of the best ways to expand you living space. If you’re adding a workout area having a shower “next door” would be great, right?
- A family ‘hangout” – transform a dark, dreary storage space into a game room, media center or play room for the kids. The space “below decks” is ideal for the themed get-away space you’ve always wanted. Ready for your Bucky Badger Bar?
- Efficient storage – finishing the basement doesn’t mean doing away with vital storage space. It means making it efficient, clean and accessible.
A Finished Basement – High-return Investment
There are subtle ways finishing your basement pays dividends. Consider:
- Solid ROI –a finished lower level may not be factored into the overall living space when it’s time to sell, but there’s no disputing it’s a positive feature in the eyes of buyers. National real estate organizations suggest finishing a basement will return 70% to 75% of its cost when you sell. You get all the benefits right now and almost all of it back when you sell.
- Use all your space – when you need more living space and cannot build up or out because of zoning and lot restrictions, your basement is waiting.
- High return from lower costs – a basement can be finished with style and plenty of “wow” factor without using high-end, costly materials. Hardwood floors are poor choices for basements. Functional materials combined with colors and textures make the space your own.
Create A Basement Remodel Outline
After you’ve researched possibilities through all the many media available, sit down and put pencil to paper. Create an outline of what you really want to create in your dream basement. Once you’ve completed your list it’s time to get hands-on. This is the most interesting part. Consider these steps to putting your thoughts on paper:
- Measurements – get a good tape measure and measure all the existing walls in the basement. The dimensions of your foundation dictate your limits. If there are existing partitioning walls, you’ll want to know sizes of the ones you plan to keep.
- Scale drawing – you’re not an architect, but you can still make pretty accurate drawings of your basement layout based on your measurements. Use ink to mark the foundation and pencil to draw in existing walls and where you think new rooms should take shape. Pencil because you’ll change more than once. Don’t forget doors and windows.
- Details, details – a typical unfinished basement has very few electrical outlets. On your personal plan, mark where you think outlets should go. You’ll find electricians charge per outlet for some jobs so be prepared to revise your plan – but better to start with more than you really need.
- Plumbing – if you’re planning to add a bathroom locate existing plumbing so your new room will connect easily. Many newer homes have plumbing connections for additional bathrooms “roughed in” so you may be limited to location.
- Sound and video – advanced planning to hang the big flat-screen TV and wire rooms for Internet access or cable/satellite connections saves time, money and headaches when construction begins.
Simple Dos And Don’ts For Basement Rooms
Interior design specialists offer suggestions for basic things to do when planning basement rooms. As well as a few things to avoid.
Begin with a “to do” list;
- Function comes first – making the basement space functional for your entire family should be the No. 1 goal. Whether that’s for better storage, family fun, workouts or doing laundry the new layout needs to “work.” There are two consideration to keep in mind:
- Any area that needs privacy need a walls. Bedrooms, bathrooms are “no brainers.’
- Separate utilities from activities – protect heating/AC units and hot water heaters, softeners, etc.
- Embrace the “open concept” – your basement may already be one big room, or at least one space larger than the rest. Nowhere does and open floor plan fit better than in the basement. You can break up space and traffic patterns with furnishings to create rooms within the room.
Next comes areas of the planning process you should avoid:
- Don’t discount aesthetics – while function is the No. 1 priority, nobody suggests you should overlook making the space special. Color is the key. Light colors brighten a space with few, small or no windows. Dark hues are confining but work for theater or special effects. Don’t overlook the impact of wall art, striking furniture and colorful décor. Are you ready for your Badger room with a Motion W on the wall? Or maybe a green and gold Packers party room? You know exactly what you’d add first, right?
- Don’t underestimate the need for lighting – basements go unused because they’re dark. A few bare ceiling-mounted bulbs barely light the way. Make sure you plan for plenty of lights – ceiling lights in the new rooms, well-lighted stairways, etc. include plans for more than one way to turn the lights on/off, too.
Professional Skills Add Value To Basement Renovation
Basement finishing projects are often considered ideal do-it-yourself projects. And they are – if you have a lot of time, all the right tools and the experience and skill to use them. If none of these apply to your situation call a pro. When it comes to a first-time basement finishing project or remaking an outdated effort, we’ve got the skilled craftsmen to do it right. Now that you’ve had weeks to recognize the need for more family space, give Sims Exteriors & Remodeling a call at 608-825-4500. Or email us to discuss the dozens of basement renovation options available for your Sun Prairie WI home.