Have the last few weeks or months in lockdown made you see there’s a real need in your family for more separation of space? Or have you realized that it’s high time you get your basement in optimal condition so you can use it as a home office or other helpful zone? If so, you’re no doubt keen to get working on it ASAP. Refreshing this part of your property is a good job to tackle in summer and can help you make the best use of the space, and even add value to your home.
Here are some tips to follow when you’re ready to start the project.
Work Out Your Goals and Develop a Plan of Attack
Your first step should be to understand what you want to achieve from doing up your basement. For instance, do you want to use it as an extra bedroom so your children can have their own spaces, or as a guest bedroom area? Or will it be used as an additional living room or play area, or as an office or storage zone, or a mixture of things? Once you’re clear about how the basement needs to function for you, this will help direct other decisions about it. It pays to develop a plan of attack for the project, too. Scheduling tasks and working out the order to complete everything in helps to keep you on track, and it makes it easier to know which contractors to hire and in what order if you need outside assistance. Plus, it helps you know when you need to have certain materials on hand.
If your household is like most, at the moment, your basement is probably used as a storage zone and not much else. The problem with this is that all that “stuff” adds up, and you soon find yourself with a cluttered area you can’t even move around in. One of the first jobs to do in your basement, then, is going through the items in it. See what you can say goodbye to and what needs to stay. Decluttering gives you more room to turn the area into the zone you require, and it makes the space feel bigger. Where appropriate, get your family or housemates all together to go through things together. Make separate piles for what you’re keeping, what you can sell or donate, and what should go in the bin.
Add More Lighting and Outlets
Since they’re located on the bottom of a property, most basements have little or no external lighting due to a lack of windows or skylights. Many basements haven’t been used as more than storage space before, either, so they don’t have many electrical outlets. As such, to make the zone more functional, you’ll probably need to add these components. Depending on the setup of your home, you may be able to get a builder to install one or more windows to your basement or possibly even a skylight. Otherwise, have an electrician or other qualified tradesperson install more lights and light switches, so you have enough illumination in the room to use it well.
Similarly, utilize the services of a professional to add extra power points and related electrical outlets (such as Ethernet cables) as needed. Alternatively, if your basement has ample light fixtures, you could research online to learn how to turn a light fixture into an outlet. This way, you can reconfigure electrical fittings rather than having to add new ones. You’ll save money if you can do these kinds of jobs yourself, too, but ensure you do so safely.
If you’ve never used your basement as anything other than a storage space, you’ve probably never looked closely at all its walls, floors, ceiling, and nooks and crannies. As such, once you’ve cleared out extraneous items, take stock. You’ll probably see plenty of spots where repairs and maintenance work is required to get the room looking its best. For example, you may need to pull up and dispose of old, smelly carpet and take care of leaks, mold, mildew, and any issues causing damp and related smells and bacteria. Look out for pest infestations, too, such as mice or rats or termites.
Plus, you may need to patch holes in walls, repaint the ceiling and walls, replace or repair windows, or add insulation to make the room more comfortable year-round. The best bit about doing up a basement is generally decorating it. While this is fun and necessary, do make sure to follow the steps listed above first, so that you end up with an area that is safe, secure, attractive, and functional for years to come.