Skip to main content

10 Basement Renovation Tips

A basement renovation is an undoubtedly great investment. It adds value to your home and increases its functionality.

Amanda Scott
Amanda Scott
White walls, couch, chairs, TV mounted on the wall, lamp, pendant lighting.

1. Assess the Area

crack in wall, door, blue blob of water, note pad, pencil, kegerator.

Before beginning a basement renovation, make sure to assess the area. This will help you better plan and budget for the project. When you are reviewing the space, make sure to look for problems in the structure or water buildup and damage. Uncovering any problems beforehand will help you get a better idea of the total cost as well as save you the surprise and trouble of discovering it later on into your project.

You can also use this phase of the renovation to create your wishlist of everything you want in your dream basement. Once you set a solid budget you’ll probably have to significantly cut down your wishlist, but this step helps you visualize what your basement could look like, and helps you prioritize your expenses. Be sure to look online and through catalogs for design inspiration.

2. Set a Budget

Dark gray calculator, blue buttons, hand, note pad, pencil.

The average basement renovation costs between $33 and $50 for each square foot. This number can increase if you are adding a bathroom. The good news is that most people recoup the majority of their investment with an increased home value. Since this can be a costly project, it is important to set a budget beforehand. To help you meet the needs of your budget, you might want to set priorities. For example, if a bathroom addition or a brand new fireplace is important to you, then you might want to cut back in other areas, like with the flooring or storage.

3. Hire a Contractor

Yellow work glove holding hammer, wrench, nails, tool box.

In most cases, it makes sense to hire a contractor to help you with the basement renovation. However, it is also smart to avoid hiring just anyone to do the job. Instead, do your research to find a contractor that you can trust. You can ask for references to get a better idea of the contractor’s reputation. Sometimes, you might have to wait a few weeks to get the right person for the job. This is usually beneficial in the long run. After all, a skilled contractor is more likely to complete the job correctly so you do not have problems during or after the installation.

4. Sign a Contract

Paper, signature, pen, two hands clasped, shaking.

Once you hire a contractor, make sure to sign a contract. This document should identify what you expect to be completed during the project. It should also outline the costs involved. You should never pay the full cost of the project up front. If you do this, you are more likely to run out of money when you may end up needing it for something more important down the road. Also, paying ahead of time can sometimes discourage the contractor from finishing the home renovation on time.

5. Be Realistic About the Timeline

Calendar, finger pointing, red x and green x.

It can take time to transform your basement, and it is important to have realistic expectations. The average basement renovation can take anywhere from one to three months to complete. The process is longer if you choose materials that take awhile to ship or if you experience problems during the renovation. If you are looking to rewire your basement, update the plumbing, or add a kitchen, the process can be significantly extended. To help you stick to your timeline, it is best to choose the materials ahead of time and avoid making changes as you go.

6. Pick the Right Upgrades

Suede brown walls, toilet, shower, sink. Kitchen, stainless steel stove.

The right upgrades can make a big difference in your return on investment. This is why many people spend a little bit more to add a bathroom, a kitchen, or extra rooms. Again, when you are planning our what your basement will look like, be sure to choose things that would look good to potential buyers as well as yourself.

7. Don’t Forget About Storage

Open cabinet, towels folded, cleaning supplies. White cabinets, gold pulls.

Many people use their basements for storage. While a basement renovation can usually improve the functionality of the area, it can also eliminate the storage options in your home if you aren’t actively remembering to incorporate it. This is why it is important to add closets and shelving for the things you need to store. Make sure that these areas are functional and appealing at the same time.

8. Insulation Matters

Thermometer, thick roll of insulation.

Basements get cold much quicker than other areas of the home. Although you might have heating and cooling options, the space also needs insulation. When the basement is properly insulated, the cold air will stay out of the home and the hot air will remain inside. This promotes a more comfortable environment where you will enjoy spending time.

9. Make Sure the Area Has Sufficient Lighting

White counter, stainless steel pendant light shades, round metal pendants.

Sometimes, basements feel dark because they lack a lot of windows and natural light. To prevent your basement from looking dark, it is a good idea to install sufficient lighting. If starting from scratch, consider incorporating pendant lighting in your newly renovated basement. Pendant lights add a modern element to any space while remaining completely functional and customizable. If you do not plan to alter the wiring in your basement, consider using lamps to brighten up your space.

Functional basements often have adjustable lighting options as well. Some adjustable lights allow you to change the harshness or color of the lighting based on what you are doing. If you are relaxing, then soft lighting options are ideal. For a game night, however, you might prefer brighter lights. LED lightbulbs are the preferred choice for this sort of living space, as they typically allow you the freedom to customize your space to the brightness of your liking.

To enhance the lighting in the basement, make sure to choose an appealing paint color. Lighter, neutral hues are often preferred to darker colors.

10. Get Inspired

Black table top, magazine opened, faucets, pendant lights.

There are so many amazing basement renovation options, and it can be difficult to choose the ones that are right for you while still sticking to your budget. To help you, look for inspiration before deciding on a final project. Check out's catalog for expert tips, new products, and design styles. When you do a little research, you might discover ideas for built-ins or shelving units or other space-saving ideas. You can also use this as an opportunity to determine what layout is best for your space and how your desired add-ons will fit into your basement. Inspiration can even help you determine the right paint or cabinet color, just remember to keep an open mind about it.

If your basement needs updating, these 10 tips can help you make the most of this home renovation. Follow these tips so you can maximize the return on your investment, improve the value of your home, and make this area of your house more functional, visually appealing, and cozy for all of your friends and family.

Related Articles

Shop Products

24 Inch Wide Double Tap Kegerator for Full Size Kegs with Electronic Control Panel
Starting at $1,267.93
Available in 2 Finishes
Cassidy Bar/Prep Faucet - Includes Lifetime Warranty
Starting at $296.80
Available in 5 Finishes
Trinsic Single Handle Bar Faucet with Limited Swivel Spout
Starting at $277.13
Available in 5 Finishes
Riviera Single Light 7-3/4" Wide Mini Pendant
Starting at $199.99
Available in 2 Finishes
Dome Single Light 16" Wide LED Pendant
Starting at $165.12
Available in 3 Finishes
RLM Single Light 10" Wide Pendant
Starting at $109.90
Available in 5 Finishes