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August 30, 2021
Basements often turn out to be the most neglected part of a house. In fact, many American home owners admit that they only ever go down into the basement when they absolutely have to. This is very unfortunate as basements can be utilized with great success to optimize your living space. With a bit of effort, a basement can be turned into a very comfortable bedroom, study, game room, or family hangout. Here are a few things to consider when looking to transform your underutilized basement into a functional living space.
Do a proper assessment of the area
Before you start any physical work on the basement, you need to assess the entire area. In many older homes, basements were only built to be about five feet high which is definitely not ideal. Although this can be rectified by digging deeper into the ground, it will be an expensive exercise that requires a lot of work. In addition to assessing the height of the basement, it is also essential to check for radon to determine if a mitigation system will be required. Local building codes may require the addition of walk-out exits and large windows depending on what the basement will be used for. The possibility of turning an unlivable basement into a cozy room will depend largely on your available budget. If you cannot afford the required excavation or modifications, you may have to put your desire to revamp a room to use elsewhere in the house.
Protect against moisture at all costs
Since basements are usually not very well-heated or ventilated, they are more prone to uncontrolled humidity and dampness than other rooms in the house. If this dampness is ignored for too long it can cause extensive damage to the house. When addressing moisture issues in your basement you need to consider both damp proofing and waterproofing. Damp proofing will protect against moisture from the soil, while waterproofing offers protection against both soil moisture and bulk moisture intrusion (moisture from rain, snow melt off, or drainage). The location of your home will dictate which method you should employ as simply damp proofing your basement will not suffice in some high rainfall areas.
Furnish and decorate the area
Once you have protected your basement against dampness and done all the other renovations to make the space livable, you need to furnish and decorate it. Although you probably already know exactly what you want to do with your newly renovated basement, chances are you haven’t finalized the furnishings and décor yet. This is by far the most enjoyable step of your basement transformation and the one you can apply as much creativity to as you want. Pick furniture and decorations according to the purpose of the room, whether it will function as a lounge, a home office, or a man cave, as well as your personal taste.
Basements are among the most underutilized and neglected areas in residential buildings in the USA. Thankfully, with a bit of creativity and a decent amount of work, even the dullest of basements can be turned into a very comfortable and enjoyable living area.