From media rooms to home offices, there are several ways homeowners can transform their basements. When deciding how to design your basement, you have to focus on what you want to use the space for most. There really is no right or wrong way to set up the space, but knowing exactly what the main purpose of the room will be will make the transformation process much easier. If you have a basement, but no idea what to do with it, our team of mortgage professionals is here to help. Listed below are six different ways homeowners can transform their unused basement spaces.
Several homeowners choose to transform their basements into large multipurpose media areas. If you have always dreamed of having a home theater, an unused basement provides the perfect layout. Here are a few helpful tips to get you moving in the right direction towards a mega media room.
- Don’t put the viewing screen or TV across from a window; the darker the space, the better. If you absolutely must put the screen across from a window, install black-out shades or dark, heavy curtains.
- Don’t fear if your basement has low ceilings, you will be seated the majority of the time you spend in there.
- Platform seating is a great, yet inexpensive, touch to add to any home theater. While theater seating can really add up, placing a platform under your second row of seats elevates the back row, providing optimal viewing without draining your wallet.
Personal Fitness Facility
Before setting out to purchase fitness equipment to fill the basement, measure the space’s dimensions. Be aware that low ceilings may cause certain pieces of fitness equipment to not fit properly in the space. Therefore, measure the room and measure the equipment before purchasing. Also, make sure the equipment can make it down the stairs. If it is welded together or does not disassemble, you may have trouble making a sharp 90-degree turn when moving it down the stairs.
A home office should ideally be the same size as a guest bedroom. It is important to note that if you add a closet, your home office will be considered an extra bedroom according to code and you will be required to install a window. If you are concerned the space will feel cramped, use a double set of French doors on a basement office to maximize natural light and create a feeling of openness.
As previously mentioned, if you decide to turn your unused basement into a guest bedroom, building code will require you to have an egress window no more than 44 inches from the ground. You are permitted you create a step-up or enlarge the window to meet code.
If you want to create a guest suite, place the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom with a direct entrance from inside. Make sure if you install a shower there is enough clearance for your guest to lift their arms above their head without hitting the ceiling. Lastly, you will need a fan to exhaust to the outside.
Bar and/or Wine Cellar
Before you begin picking out countertops for your new bar, it is important to set a budget. Installing a bar is extremely similar to installing a new kitchen without the appliances, so your expense will be comparable.
If you don’t have a large budget, there are other alternatives for the space that provide the same effect. Consider adding in a horizontal section of cabinets that can also be used as a buffet and leave room for a fridge. Also, purchasing cabinets from a big-box or modular furniture store rather than installing custom cabinets can save you a considerable amount of money.
If you absolutely must have a classic bar or wine cellar, it is best to determine your maximum budget and work backward. Make a list of items you want to include in the space with your must-haves prioritized on top. This will help you determine which features you can and cannot live without.
Are you looking for a new stream of monthly income? If so, consider turning your unused basement space into a rental unit. Transforming the space into an apartment is no different than transforming it into anything else. Before beginning the renovation process, verify that your neighborhood is zoned for multifamily residences. Hiring a general basement contractor for this type of project is highly recommended. They will ensure that the right permits are produced and all construction components meet building code.
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