How to Renovate Your Basement Like a Pro


A basement is often one of the most underutilized spaces in a home. A finished basement adds usable square footage to a home and increases value. Whether you have a finished basement you’re looking to improve or a blank canvas waiting to be designed, here are some tips to keep in mind for your basement reno.

Invest in the Planning Stage

The key to a successful basement renovation is proper planning from the get-go. Consider setting a portion of your budget aside for having a professional come over to help you plan and design what you want to do, and to help you use the space in the most optimal way. Most basements come with pipes and rough-in for a bathroom and/or kitchen, so it makes sense to start with those areas and then plan from there.


Before you begin any basement remodel, you will want to address any water issues. Being the lowest point in a home and often below ground level, basements can be prone to dampness and are at risk for flooding. It would be devastating to invest time and money in finishing a basement only to encounter issues with mold or water intrusion and have to rip it all out. Consult with a trusted, experienced basement contractor to address any water concerns before you begin your project.

Choose the Right Materials

You’ll want to choose materials that are compatible with a finished basement. Flooring and drywall are areas you may want to invest more of your budget into, since you want to ensure they’re high-quality and water-resistant.

Vinyl plank flooring or a tiled floor work well in a basement. Carpets of any kind might seem attractive to add warmth to a cold floor but may be problematic, since they can hold moisture. Solid wood flooring is also not advisable, since it has the tendency to shrink and expand with temperature changes, resulting in gaps or warping.

Drywall comes in different grades for different applications. It is wise to select a sheetrock that is at least water-resistant. This will reduce the chances for mold growth.

The cost to finish a basement can vary greatly depending on the size of the space, the design plan for it, and the materials chosen. When budgeting for your basement renovation, be sure that material types are factored into the cost.

Maximize Natural Lighting

Basements are often devoid of natural light, which can make them feel dark and dingy. If your basement does have windows, be sure to include them as a focal point, if possible. This will create a more inviting space.

If your basement does not have windows, you may want to take the opportunity during your basement renovation to add some. This will add to the cost to finish your basement but will provide light and aid in air circulation. For a more affordable fix, consider investing in dimmable pot lights, which will up the brightness when you need it but can be lowered when you want a different ambiance.

Consider the Function

Basement renovation contractors may have wonderful ideas of how to finish your basement but be sure they line up with your preferences and lifestyle. Think about what the space will ultimately be used for. The plan for usage can modify plans to include additional lighting or electrical features. If you know what the space will be used for in advance, you can plan for these elements to be included instead of adding them after the fact.

Add in Storage

Many homeowners use their basements for storage even before they are finished. To avoid losing that space, consider building in storage during your basement remodel. Adding a small area of built-in closet storage or closing off a section that conceals a storage space allows you to keep most of your square footage for everyday use while also retaining some storage capacity. To maximize space, some homeowners tie in storage with areas that conceal basement appliances, like water heaters or furnaces. Reserving an area for storage is also an attractive feature for future homeowners.

Don’t Forget Ductwork

Many homes aren’t built with registers or vents installed in the basement. This can result in a space that’s too hot or too cold in certain seasons. When you are planning for your costs to refinish a basement, you should consider adding vents that integrate with your existing HVAC system. Your basement renovation contractor can advise you on the best placement of new registers and how many might be needed to properly heat and cool the space.

Even with a small basement remodel, there are so many options to choose from. Working with an experienced professional can help you navigate these choices and suggest areas for optimizing the use of the space. At the end of the day, the cost to finish a basement is significantly less than the cost to put an addition on a home. has a network of pre-screened basement renovation contractors near you that can help you transform your basement into your new favourite room in the house. Take advantage of the free renovation calculator find out how much your basement will cost!

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