While basements get a bad rap at times, if built finished out or remodeled later on, they actually offer a wealth of extra living space for many purposes and activities. For instance, a media room, living room, wine cellar, wet bar, gym, office, playroom, man's cave, laundry and guest room are all popular choices for basement spaces. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where basements are a commonly built element of most homes, you may just be sitting on a myriad of abundant new living possibilities! We've included some of our favorite basement remodeling ideas and images below. Which do you like best?

While decorative concrete may cost more than some other types of flooring, its proponents point to the long life expectancy of this material. Even cracks in the floor can be considered an attractive rustic feature as long as they do not reflect structural problems. Those concerned by the slippery nature of high-gloss sealers can add a non-slip additive to sealer or stain before application.
Basement water leakage can cause serious problems for a homeowner. Standing water can lead to mold growth, which poses health issues. It's also a haven for bugs and other pests. Over time, concrete blocks and foundations can sustain hairline cracks. While they may appear small on the surface, they can be the start of an enormous problem, so early repair is key. The only way to rectify a basement water problem is to remove the water and seal the leaks. This may involve removing existing paint or wall coverings as well as replacing soggy beams.
There are several types of basement remodeling depending on the outcomes you want. Whether you have nothing but damp concrete walls and floors or you have a finished basement with painted walls, a pool table and a wet bar will determine the scope of work for your basement remodel and the cost. Here are some common basement remodeling projects that homeowners take on and their related costs.

When it comes to basement remodels, the most costly way is to start with bare bones. If all you have is concrete walls and floors, you need to add framing, electrical, plumbing, flooring and trim. Basement finishing in a newer home that already has plumbing and electrical roughed in, a watertight foundation and some insulation installed—but no final finishes (like drywall or paint or carpet)—usually costs less than remodeling an already finished basement. This is because when you already have a finished basement, the pros will need to do demolition at the beginning of the project, which can add $500–$1,500 to overall costs.
Take care of some initial insulation in the basement by adding slip foam insulation on your cold-water pipes to prevent condensation from building up and then dripping inside your drywall or ceiling. Put slip foam on the hot-water pipes to prevent the loss of any heat. This should be done before boxing in any of the pipes in the basement. Tube pipe foam insulation costs approx. $1.50 – $3.70 per six-foot piece, which can range from ½” – 1” in thickness.
Last year I bought a house that had the stainless steel micro model installed. The house was surrounded by 80’ tall Maples & Birch. TONS OF LEAVES.Yes, it the micro mesh keeps all leaf and seeds out of the gutter 100%. What the manf and dealers won’t tell you is that you must clean the mesh 2x’s a year to get spring pollen, mold, & fall leaf dust off. Otherwise it will eventually keep EVERYTHING out, including WATER. Major ice problems flowing over the gutters. No it was not the result of ice damming. I removed it all & just deal with the leaves 3x’s each fall.Got ranch home with easy access to the gutters - get the micro mesh. Easier to clean that than clean gunk out of the gutter.hire a young buck to climb a ladder. A whole lot cheaper.
Last year I bought a house that had the stainless steel micro model installed. The house was surrounded by 80’ tall Maples & Birch. TONS OF LEAVES.Yes, it the micro mesh keeps all leaf and seeds out of the gutter 100%. What the manf and dealers won’t tell you is that you must clean the mesh 2x’s a year to get spring pollen, mold, & fall leaf dust off. Otherwise it will eventually keep EVERYTHING out, including WATER. Major ice problems flowing over the gutters. No it was not the result of ice damming. I removed it all & just deal with the leaves 3x’s each fall.Got ranch home with easy access to the gutters - get the micro mesh. Easier to clean that than clean gunk out of the gutter.hire a young buck to climb a ladder. A whole lot cheaper.
"I have found many of my ideas reading your magazine. I cut out pages and put them in a folder. When I first moved in, I didn't even have a TV, so I would just sit, read, and picture the house and basement finished. It now looks just as I pictured it. I saved by using recycled material: The rusty tin was from an old building that was being demolished; barn boards were from an old barn near my parents' farm. The barn door came off another old barn of a friend who said it was from an old boxcar they cut up in the 1940s. My grandfather built the house in 1927 and hand-dug the basement with my grandmother. Now my kids will have great memories of the house—and my grandparents, I know, would be happy."

Your basement will likely need to be fitted with additional wires to support more lights and electronics. You will need to hire a licensed electrician if you plan to install additional overhead light fixtures, outlets and other components that require additional wiring. The cost of electrical installations depends on the exact project, but licensed electricians tend to charge between $50 and $100 per hour.
Most cities and towns will require a permit for basement remodels. In addition, there are several codes that dictate what can be done in this area. For example, a basement must have a ceiling height of a minimum of 7-feet. If your basement has a ceiling height lower than this, it may not pass code if remodeled. In addition, plan the cost of the building permits, around $430 on average, into your budget.
Failure to obtain proper permits can result removing (demo-ing) any current finishing work or remodeling already installed. You could also face fines. A "stop work order" may be issued, which usually causes double the fees when you do, eventually, apply for the permit(s). If you have to file an insurance claim and can't produce any permits, the insurance company may deny the claim. Finishing a basement without permits also can affect the home's resale value.

Pure design genius animated this basement remodel from lifestyle blogger Landeelu. For one, she decided to paint her doors a dark color, giving them a custom look that stands out from the cooler gray walls. Next, she added pops of interest with unique items, like the aged gold ceiling light fixture from Joss & Main. The fireplace not only adds warmth to the room for guests, but provides a welcome focal point. The result is an adorable space that can now rightfully be called an integrated part of the home.

Sourcing supplies, clearing debris, and doing prep work can all help you save on basement costs. Consider what skills you have and talk with your contractor about what will shave money in each area. You may have the tools and strength to demo walls, which can save you several hundred dollars. Sourcing the materials for the pro takes this task off their labor time and saves you money. Doing prep work and finish work is also a way to cut down on total cost. Painting the walls yourself at the end of the project could save you hundreds of dollars. Negotiate all these aspects before signing your contract.
Old homes may suffer from sagging foundation beams as a result of shifting ground or decay and deterioration of the original building materials. Foundation beams can be raised and shored up successfully, but the right tools, like a pneumatic jack, are essential. Depending on how much the foundation beam must be raised, this job may require several days of incremental steps to complete - which means increased labor costs. Hiring professionals is the best option for this job. Expect costs to run about $10,000 for repairs like a shifted foundation.

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While decorative concrete may cost more than some other types of flooring, its proponents point to the long life expectancy of this material. Even cracks in the floor can be considered an attractive rustic feature as long as they do not reflect structural problems. Those concerned by the slippery nature of high-gloss sealers can add a non-slip additive to sealer or stain before application.

Walk-out Basement – Because the house is built on a slope with the front of the house on the higher part, the basement looks like the first floor of the home from the back of the house and you can “walkout” of the back door into the yard. A walk-out basement gets a lot of natural light. A deck has to be built from the first floor to the ground out back.
The cost of a small basement remodel—changing flooring and moving one wall—can cost a few thousand, whereas a major remodel of adding another bathroom and bedroom or an entire downstairs apartment can cost tens of thousands. You might have to move walls and plumbing, pull up flooring, tear down ceilings; and upgrade the sump pump, HVAC, and electrical amperage.
Do it yourself (DIY) basement finishing costs mostly depend on the cost of materials used. Materials for a 1,200 sqft basement with a small kitchen and bathroom will cost about $19,000 for an open-plan and about $27,000 for one with rooms. DIY basement finishing can save at least 30% of your finishing cost, but you’ll still have to pay for plumbing and electrical work.

The first step in finishing your basement it keeping it dry. Basements often deal with a lot of moisture vapor and hydrostatic pressure, which allow water into an unprotected basement. Because of this, any finished basement has to be waterproofed first. First, test your basement for moisture vapor so you know how much moisture you’re dealing with. There are homes tests you can do yourself or you can hire a professional to do the test for you.
Drywall must be applied to any framed basement walls you have and must be applied to any additional walls used to create your basement bedroom. A standard 8’ by 4’ panel will cost between $10 and $20, depending on the thickness. The cost to install these panels varies, but most homeowners report spending around $1.50/sf. The total cost of your project will range between $1,152 and $1,982, with an average cost of $1,915 to install a wall.
Maybe it’s just great extra space, a blank palette—there are so many awesome ways you can use the basement. A movie room, game room, family room or kitchenette can provide a special place for the family to bond and have fun. Man caves and/or woman caves have become trendy and there are plenty of modern basement cave ideas available to inspire your own private space.
Wall finishing systems are rapidly gaining in popularity. These systems feature fiberglass panels and pieces of trim that fit into PVC framing. Panels covered in fabric offer an attractive finished appearance to the basement without the work of drywall taping and painting. Advantages include durability, moisture- and fire-resistance and the ability to remove panels for access to water pipes and electrical wiring.
Finishing a basement can cost between $25–$50 per square foot on average, depending on how the basement is finished, whether any challenges come up or whether there are special circumstances with the project. For this reason, a 1,000-square-foot basement can cost up to $50,000 or more to finish. Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, a general contracting company based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. Larger basements may have a lower cost per square foot than tiny remodel jobs.
Basements can be daunting spaces for remodeling. Cluttered, dark, and chilly, basements often convince homeowners to turn their attention to other projects in the home. But basements don't have to stay that way. They can be remodeled and finished so that they not only integrate with the rest of the home, but become a beautiful and valuable asset to the property.
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