Basement Ideas: A Comprehensive Guide To Transforming Your Basement

Rustic home cinema
Rustic home cinema
Finished Basement Company

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So, you're thinking of doing a home remodeling project. More specifically, you want to transform your basement into something awesome. Well, this article is just the thing you need.

This piece is a bit long so it's best to have an idea of what's coming. Right off the bat, you'll discover a few significant advantages of basement remodeling. Then, the article will list seven of the best basement remodeling ideas to date. Lastly, the article will cover some of the most crucial points that you need to know before starting your basement remodeling project.

We know you’re excited, so let’s get right into it!

Advantages of Reclaiming Your Basement

Before we start giving you a couple of terrific ideas for your basement remodeling, it's best that you are acquainted with a few significant benefits of converting an ordinary basement.

  • Best Value. According to the "cost vs. value" report released by Remodeling Magazine, basement remodeling is the least costly home project you can do when it comes to increasing a home's livable space. This shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, adding a new room to any house would require supporting structures which typically include a foundation, roof and/or walls. With a basement, the general structure is already there. It's the reason why basement remodeling offers the best value for the money per square foot.

  • Plenty of Space. Adding any kind of room to a house will always bring more space. However, in most cases, the space it adds is not really that much if you're honest about it. On the other hand, remodeling the basement will give you a lot more livable space. This is because most homes have large basements. In fact, the project may expand your living space by one-third of what you already have.

Simplistic basement design
Simplistic basement design
Austurban Homes
  • Resale Value. First of all, you need to carefully consider the idea of remodeling the house for the sole purpose of increasing the resale value. It's because no home remodeling project will give you a 100% return of your investment at the point of sale. Having said that, basement remodeling is your best bet if you want to get the most of your money back when the time comes that you have to sell your house.

  • Can Become a Great Hangout Spot. It may be hard to imagine that a damp, dark and dank basement can become the best hangout spot of the house. And yet, the basement is actually the easiest to cool down and heat up compared to other rooms. If done right and with the right materials (i,e, sound-dampening, natural insulating) along with plenty of lights and cozy furniture, a basement can quickly become the most pleasant place in a dwelling.

  • Maximum Creativity. The issue of adding a new room to the house is that there's a need to stick to a certain theme. Otherwise, the new room could stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the rest of the house. This is not the case with the basement. Since the basement is somewhat hidden from the rest of the home, there's no limit to the style and theme. In other words, you can let your creativity run wild.

Basement game room
Basement game room
Ashton Woods


You’re probably itching to check out a few basement ideas. Hence, below some of the popular ones:

Home Cinema

This article wouldn't be right if it didn't start with the most popular basement idea which is your very own home cinema. One of the reasons why it's a favorite basement renovation is because it's able to cater to every member of the family.

The gentlemen can gather around to watch their favorite sports, which can be very fun especially during the playoffs and finals of any game. The ladies can enjoy the latest chick-flick together with the friends. Of course, the ladies can cry and sob as much as they want without the fear of being judged by other cinema goers. Also, the kids get to shout and jump around in excitement as the story of their favorite cartoon characters unfolds on screen.

Men's den home movie theater
Men's den home movie theater by Sneak Peek Design
Alyssa Lee Photography

The usual style of a basement home cinema typically features dark colored tones. This is because darker colors pave the way to better lighting conditions, which then enhance the viewer's experience. If you want to add more style, you can integrate floor lights and a carpet with an exotic and sexy pattern.

Another idea is to have a raised platform in front of the viewing screen. The raised platform can work as a stage for the little ones to show off their talents. Adding a mini-home bar setup with the appropriate seating located behind the main cinema seats is also a great idea. Such a setup would allow for a "social zone" in the basement in case no one is in the mood for watching a film.

Basement cinema lounge
Basement cinema lounge
New Wave AV

Wine Cellar

This basement theme leans towards creating an atmosphere suited for the adults rather than the children. Nevertheless, it's one of the best ideas ever. Imagine lounging in your basement cellar and sipping your favorite wine. It's an excellent way of ending a long day and forgetting about the worries for a moment.

There are plenty of styles and themes when creating your basement cellar. For example, a wooden wine rack, mood lighting, and comfortable seating is an excellent setup if you merely want a wine cellar without a lot of fuzz. Such a configuration is also a lot easier on the pockets.

Basement wine tasting area
Basement wine tasting area
Finished Basement Company

You can also go for something that's industrial type. Such a setup would typically use metal wine racks with pipe tubes for support. The flooring can be a concrete laminate. Basically, it's meant to feel as if you are in an active kitchen storage.

Of course, you can also go for the "temporary escape," which means transforming the atmosphere of the entire cellar into somewhere different. For example, the Mediterranean magic is a popular idea. It typically features wooden wine racks and traditionally-styled furniture with flooring and walls made of stones resembling the Mediterranean architectural pattern and design.

Rustic wine cellar
Rustic wine cellar by Locati Architects
Roger Wade Studio

Home Bar

You don't need to know rocket science to figure out why a basement home bar is a popular idea. Such a setting is a perfect place to entertain guests, and have interesting discussions. Also, it can be your own space if you need a place to take the edge off. It doesn't matter if it's a romantic evening or a drink with friends, a basement home bar can be a very enticing place.

As always, there are plenty of ways to create the theme of your basement home bar. You could go for something like the classics, which includes wooden furniture with a dark tone finish and accompanied by warm yellow lights. Or, you can also go for something more modern. Such a setup would include plenty of dimmed ambient lighting, usually in the shade of red or blue. Furniture is typically in minimalistic or modern style.

If you have kids or teens in the house, you might want to invest on a rack that comes with a lock and key. You really don't want the kids to be messing with all that alcohol unattended.

Ultramodern basement bar
Ultramodern basement bar
Finished Basemet Company

Kid's Game Room

If you think about it, the basement is a perfect spot for the little ones. For one, it can prevent the kids from scattering the toys all around the house. It might even save you from stepping on that infamous foot torture device, also known as a Lego brick. You can also rest easy knowing that your kids are safely playing in your home, and not away from the confines of your house. For the kids, being able to play rain or shine is an exciting idea.

How you design the kid's game room largely depends on the interest of your kids. If the little ones love video games, then you can rack the room with a killer console setup. Or, if your kids are into skateboarding, you can build ramps and place rails if the room is large enough.

Another alternative is to just place removable furniture, fixtures, and other additions. The main idea here is having a room that can easily evolve as your kids grow older.

Basement game room for kids
Basement game room for kids
Poss Architecture + Planning and Interior Design

Adult's Game Room

No rule says that the kids are the only ones that can have fun. With this basement idea, the adults can spend an enjoyable time conveniently.

Just like the kid's game room, the amenities you place in the basement primarily depend on the adult's interest. Having said that, the most popular choice for many homeowners include a pool table, a dartboard or a ping pong table. While you're at it, why not add a mini-bar to make the basement game room more dynamic.

An adult game room on your basement can easily become the go-to place for your friends and family to have a delightful time. With the cost of going out these days, such an idea will also prove to be a wise investment.

Man Cave
Man cave
Jauregui Architecture Interiors Construction

Home Gym

If there's one subject that most people can agree, then it's the fact that we could use more exercise. However, the act of going to the local gym can be a serious hurdle for many. So why not place the gym in your basement.

A basement home gym is not only accessible and practical, but it can also save you money on sports centers subscriptions that you're likely not going to take full advantage. Of course, creating your basement home gym will require a bit of investment. But, you'll soon realize how much you can accomplish with a modest amount of budget. You just need to be smart about your gym equipment.

You can start with the simple and cheaper items such as an elastic band, a yoga mat, exercise ball, and free weights. The beauty of a home gym is you can slowly accumulate gym equipment at your own pace so it will be easier on the pockets. Later on, you could invest on an exercise bench, a multi-station or stationary bike.

Home gym
Home gym
Finished Basement Company

You can also place a few additions that are not really crucial but can significantly improve your workout experience. For example, a large mirror is a great plan. Other ideas include a small refrigerator for cold water and wall shelves for rolled towels. Installing a large TV can also help improve your output. Watching your favorite show while working on the treadmill keeps you from getting bored with the workout.

Another great idea is to place large motivational quotes on the wall. It can help you get motivated during the days that you're not quite up to the task.

Basement kickboxing room
Basement kickboxing room

Laundry Room

The washer and dryer often create noises when it's being operated. Hence, isolating them to the basement and away from the most commonly used rooms can help make the lives of the homeowners a bit more pleasant. Having a basement laundry room also has other advantages.

You probably know that water drops down to the lowest level it can settle. Hence, in cases of water spills, overflow or other problems, you don't have to worry too much as the laundry room is already at the lowest point of the house. If it's on the second floor, then water will likely drip and seep towards the lower levels leaving moisture and water damage in its path. Also, the basement laundry room means you'll have a safe storage place for keeping the powerful and hazardous detergents and cleaning solutions away from children.

If you have pets in the house, why not also add a separate washing room for them in the laundry room. Pets tend to be splashy when bathing which may cause accidental damage to electronics. Also, the claws may leave an unsightly mark on your main bathroom. You can save a lot of headaches if you have a separate washroom for your furry friends.

Basement laundry and crafts room
Basement laundry and crafts room
Reined Custom Homes


Creating an admirable basement space does have its own set of challenges. Thus, before you start deciding or envisioning what your basement space will be, below are a few crucial points that you need to know.

Functionality First

In most homes, the basement is often mostly unfinished. It's typically dark and foreboding. Hence, it's not commonly used. Therefore, it's a wasted space. When you are upgrading your basement, it's likely that you are reclaiming a part of the house for better use.

Hence, when trying to decide what the basement will be, think about the needs of your family first. Otherwise, you could be spending money on your wants, and then, later on, spend money again to cover the family's needs.

Decide on the Layout

After you have figured out a working budget and what you want the basement to be, then you need to look at the floor plan carefully. By doing so, you'll have a better idea on how to execute your plans.

For example, if you decide you want a guest room in the basement, then you'll likely need to add a bathroom. Hence, plan accordingly. If you think the basement is too big for an adult's game room, then you can divide the area into zones so you'll have space for other ideas. If you think the basement is small, then you can maximize by creating a basement with multiple uses, which can be done through proper planning.

Multifunctional basement area
Multifunctional basement area
Finished Basement Company

Neutral Colors Are Your Friends

Bold and strong colors may be exciting as they add drama to the room, but it has a big downside. Such kind of colors tends to consume more space visually. In other words, bold and strong colors may feel and appear as if the basement ceiling is lower than it really is and the walls are closing in.

Neutral colors are recommended for basement spaces. Neutral colors typically include white, taupe and gray. Such colors pave the way to a more "expansive" feel. For bigger furniture (i.e., tables, sofas, shelves), you may also choose to go for something with a neutral color for the same reason. If you want to add more character and drama, apply it to the smaller pieces such as accessories, vases, rugs, curtains and throw pillows.

Keep in mind that this is just a rule of thumb, and you can safely disregard the advice in some setting. A good example is the use of darker colors for a home theatre. In such an environment, darker tones are preferred for better viewing pleasure.

Chic basement lounge
Chic basement lounge
Walker Home Design

Consider an Open Concept

Basements tend to be smaller and adding walls or dividers will only make the room feel and appear even smaller. Thus, it's highly recommended that you go for an "open concept."

Open concept means that you get rid of the divider walls, but you still get to section the place. Rather than using walls, you use colors, decor and/or lighting to define the zones. For example, if you want an adult's relaxation area and crafting area in the same basement. What you can do is to use dim lighting, a large rug and a comfortable sectional sofa for the relaxation area and bright lights, storage shelves and a sturdy table for the crafting area.

Basement bar and lounging area
Basement bar and lounging area
Finished Basement Company

Never Skip on Lighting

One primary reason why the basement feels smaller compared to the other rooms of the house is the lack of lighting, which is expected as basements are either entirely or partially underground. To counteract this problem, never skip on adding lights. In fact, you'd want to err on the side of having too many lights, rather than having too few.

Recessed lighting is among the best choices for a basement setting as it does an excellent job of adding ambient lighting. However, if the budget and/or ceiling space does not allow for recessed lighting, then you have plenty of other options. For example, you can use floor lamps, table lamps, and wall sconces. To make the room feel even more expansive, place mirrors on strategic locations.

Classical basement bar
Classical basement bar
Finished Basement Company

Think Storage

Even though you may have big plans for your basement, it typically ends up as a general storage area. Hence, it's better to plan ahead from the very start. You can maximize the storage capacity of the basement by adding cabinets and shelves. You'd also want to maximize, and that may mean having a storage space from the floor to the ceiling. You can also use furniture that maximizes storage space such as tables with drawers and ottomans with a secret compartment.

Basement storage
Basement storage
E/L Studio

Ensure Ventilation Safety

You'd want to contact a professional to check for the ventilation system of the house and the basement. If you have fuel-burning equipment for heating, you'd also want to have that checked. Your primary concern with this step is to ensure that the basement does not accumulate enough carbon monoxide that it becomes life-threatening.

Basement fireplace
Basement fireplace
Finished Basement Company

Do a Thorough Inspection

Before any work can begin for the basement remodeling, you must do a thorough inspection. A proper inspection can help you stick to your budget. For example, you might be thinking that your budget is enough for the work needed. When the work starts, it turns out that there are hidden rotting that needs to be repaired first. Instances like this can quickly bloat your final tab.

When checking for the basement, your primary concern is humidity and rotting. To check for humidity, what you can do is tape a plastic sheeting (about 2 feet in each side) in the ceiling and flooring. Wait for about a week or two. If there are condensation droplets formed on the plastic sheeting placed on the flooring, then it's likely that the foundation of the home is not sealed. If you find droplets on the sheeting that's on the ceiling, then you need to dehumidify your basement.

Grab an awl and use it to probe for possible insect damage and rotting. Check the wood-framed windows and still plat. Also, check all the joist including the header, rim, and floor.

You'd also want to check for any sagging of the floor joist. The best way to do this is to grab a ladder. Choose one end, place the ladder and start climbing up until you're at eye level to the joist's underside. Then, look across to the other end. Any sagging should be visible.

Concrete basement fireplace
Concrete basement fireplace
RD Architecture, LLC


Turning your basement from a dark and damp pit into a very inviting space is perhaps the best home project you can do. Not only it's the least costly, but it's also easier and cheaper to maintain. Furthermore, what you want your basement to be is all up to you, especially considering that the basement does not need to stick to the theme of the house.

Having said that, be sure to know the significant factors related to basement remodeling and the things you need to check before proceeding. By doing so, your basement project will bring you loads of fun and living space, without the draining hiccups.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.