Your unfinished basement may have been your secret spot for putting away unneeded items. But you know it hasn’t been very functional — and surely doesn’t add much to your home’s value. In contrast, a renovated basement extends usable space; this includes room for working, cooking, entertaining, or simply relaxing. Plus, it is an upgrade that adds to the value of your home.
Renovating your home doesn't have to be a daunting task, that's why it's always recommended to seek professional help. Book a chat with one of our Interior Design Gurus to get valuable insights and tips.
Basement Renovation Guide: Access the Room
While most renovation projects begin with a plan — we’ll keep that for number two here. The first step in a basement renovation is checking for moisture and mould (here’s how). If you find any of these (sometimes due to poor landscaping or a leak in the foundation), you’d want to get rid of the problem with a mitigation plan.
If you have mould issues, you can seek advice from one of our Sustainable Construction Gurus on how to eliminate the mould and changes you can make to avoid mould and dampness in the future.
Put Together a Plan
When thinking about your basement renovation, ask yourself questions like the following:
What do you hope to accomplish?
How will you use your basement, and what goals do you want it to meet?
Will you be knocking down any walls?
Are there any new rooms you wish to add?
These will help you understand your vision for the project — and eventually create a detailed plan. This includes deciding the rooms you want (e.g., living room, kitchen, bathroom), and how they will be laid out in a floor plan. Also, decide on a budget realistic to your project vision — and be prepared for any surprise costs.
During the planning stage, be sure to check with guidelines for basement regulations; these govern several factors (for example, adding a fire exit).
If you'd like some expert advice to ensure your basement complies with regulations, book a chat with one of our RIBA Chartered Architects, who will be able to give you personalised guidance over video call.
Clear the Space
Before the renovation begins, spend time clearing the basement. From storage boxes to old furniture items, get rid of everything. If there are items you wish to reuse (by, for example, repurposing old furniture with fun ideas), be sure to keep these upstairs until the basement renovation is complete.
Take Care of Framing, Plumbing, and Electrical Systems
Framing is the structural framework for your project — so it essentially forms the backbone of your renovation project. We recommend taking a start here. Next, work on the plumbing and electrical systems; don’t hesitate to discuss this with professionals in the field to ensure you’re up to code.
Work on the Insulation and Hang Drywall
Basements tend to be cold —- so to survive in a generally cold climate (like the UK’s), it’s essential to put insulation in place. This makes sure you can stay comfortable (and adds to your home’s value). You can choose from spray foam, fibreglass, and foam board; look into the pros and cons of each before choosing.
Next, hang your drywall (the outer surface of the walls that you can see). You can hang drywall horizontally or vertically, with the former being easier to put together. When done, seam the caulks and screws for a solid, smooth surface.
Paint the Basement
It’s now time to bring those walls to life! Start with a coat of primer (even better if it's waterproof) and add two coats of paint. If you’re creating a family or pet-friendly space, using washable paint is your best bet.
Put in the Flooring and Fixtures
Choose a suitable type of flooring for your basement (here are some of the top options you can consider). Alternatively, you can put an epoxy seal over existing concrete floors. Whichever type you choose, making sure it’s water-resistant will go a long way — also why we discourage using carpets in basements.
Next, put your fixtures in place. From sinks and showers to cabinets and kitchenettes, these depend on the goals you’ve set for your basement. Finally, don’t forget the details: hardware, shelving, lighting, blinds — all these details will make a huge difference!
Our Final Thoughts
Before you start enjoying your newly renovated basement, get your final inspections. This makes sure your work is in line with local codes and regulations — and is equally important for your safety. Have a city inspector look at your space and provide any feedback. Once approved, you’re all set to start living in that completely new space.
Stuck with your basement renovation? Book one of our Interior Design Gurus for a 30-minute video call. Transforming your home into a space you love shouldn't be a daunting task. With HiiGuru you can save time, avoid costly mistakes and bring your goals to life with experts by your side.