There is no shortage of finished basement ideas to incorporate in your home. How you choose to use this untapped space is only limited by your imagination. With so many possibilities, it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin, especially if this is your first remodel. To help you get started, here are five considerations to help you in the planning process.

1. Define your goals for your new space.

The best way to figure out how to use your finished basement is to determine what your home is missing. There are so many ways you can use your basement. A movie room, wine cellar, game room, or wet bar can provide a special place for family and friends to enjoy. Once you’ve set a goal for the room, a contractor can help determine designs, specifications, and timelines. 

Tip: Use 3-D design to see how your ideas will look in your new space. 3-D designs give you a sneak peak at exactly what you’ll be getting before building begins, saving you time and money. 

2. Set your budget.

Before you start crunching the numbers, decide on what details you want. You may want to add sound insulation for a media room, or built-in storage for a craft room. Provide a list to your contractor so they can formulate an accurate estimate of your wants and needs. Your budget should also include money set aside for any unexpected issues. “You don’t know what you’re going to find before you start tearing down walls,” says Alyssa Mendez of Cormack Construction Management. “Electrical work may not be up to code or there could be asbestos or mold hiding behind plaster.” Budgeting an additional 10 to 15 percent can help accommodate any unplanned expenses.

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3. Let the light in.

Next comes the task of transforming a dark basement into a well-lit room. Make the most of any available natural light, then complete the look with artificial lighting to create a warm and inviting space. Add windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. Strategically place floor and table lamps to complement recessed lighting, creating  light all around you. 

4. Plan for utilities.

Plumbing and heating can transform a space into a comfortable and convenient room. Adding in-floor or baseboard heating makes the room functional year-round. Plumbing for a bathroom, mini-kitchen, or wet bar makes entertaining functional and convenient. If you’re looking to save time and money, locate appliances and fixtures requiring plumbing near existing roughed-in plumbing areas. 

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5. Remember the finishing touches.

Finished basements have traditionally been an afterthought of bare walls and mismatched furniture demoted from other living spaces. By putting effort into the decor you’ll set the tone for the environment you want to create. Start with a color scheme, using the 60/30/10 rule as a helpful reference. Finally, accessorize with a few, carefully selected pieces such as wall art, throw pillows, blankets, and specialized decor elements— to complete the space.

What is the 60/30/10 rule? It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color or texture, and the last 10% should be an accent.

Home Remodeling in NH’s White Mountains, Lakes Region, and Western Maine

If you need help refinishing your basement, contact Cormack Construction for a no-obligation consultation. For more than 35 years we’ve been providing home remodeling and construction services in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Lakes Region, and Western Maine.

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