An estimated 90% of new American homebuyers leave their full basements unfinished. If you consider yourself part of this large majority of homeowners, there are many ways you can take advantage of this unused space and increase your home’s resale value in the process. Here’s how you can turn your basement into your family’s new hangout spot or bedroom.

 

1. Install ventilation

A common problem in basements (even if they’re fully waterproofed) is mould, mildew and mild dampness. Fix this by installing or upgrading ventilation, ideally with ductwork or ceiling fans. Installing a dehumidifier will also make the air more comfortable in the basement as well.
Install ventilation

 

2. Install broadloom carpet

By installing broadloom carpet, you’re providing your friends and family with warmth on their feet. However, make sure to choose a natural fibre such as wool if possible, as synthetics are often susceptible to the damp air of a basement and can be difficult to clean.
Install broadloom carpet

 

3. Paint the ceiling

If your basement has a low ceiling, paint it a dark colour. Dark colours create the illusion your ceiling is higher than it actually is. Also, dark ceilings add some coziness to the space and create the perfect setting for a home theater or TV room.
Paint the ceiling

 

4. Install lots of lighting

Don’t let your basement become a dark den. Focus on general all-over lighting for the room which is best achieved through recessed ceilings. Just make sure you leave enough headroom when you install your new lights. You want to make sure the ceiling remains at least 7’6” high as many building codes call for that much clearance.
Install lots of lighting

 

5. Embrace the natural light

You can amplify the natural lighting of your basement by keeping the furniture and carpeting light in colour.
Embrace the natural light

 

6. Choose furniture that looks like it belongs upstairs

Many homeowners relegate their old worn furniture to the basement because they fell as though no one will ever see it—and this is why many people don’t use their basements. Investing in some new (or gently-used) stylish furniture will provide your friends and family with an extra incentive to take a trip downstairs.
Choose furniture that looks like it belongs upstairs

 

7. Install a new staircase

For many, the staircase leading to a basement may seem like an afterthought, but you can open up your stairwell to help incorporate your basement into the rest of your home.
Install a new staircase

 

8. Purge and store

In order to turn your basement into a living space, you’ll need to find a space for all your boxes and storage items. After determining which items to keep, install some aesthetically pleasing shelving, cabinetry or creative storage solutions to give your items a more stylish home.
Purge and store

 

9. Install an entertainment centre

What better way to bring people down to the basement than with a large flat-screen television and a surround-sound audio system? Make the basement your home’s entertainment destination by bringing an electrician down to install a dedicated electrical circuit and speaker wire. Design a customized home theater and you’ll have the whole neighborhood over before you know it.
Install an entertainment centre

 

10. Use folding bookcase doors as functional portals

Make maximize use of your space by installing a bookcase door for entry into your laundry or furnace rooms. These doors do double duty by not only covering an entranceway but also act as a stylish storage option.
Use folding bookcase doors as functional portals

 

11. Make sure you’re insulated

Installing installation will not only help control the temperature in your basement, but will also add another layer of moisture control. Make sure to choose insulation that includes a vapor barrier on both sides.
Make sure you’re insulated

 

12. Add trim and moulding

Inject character into your basement living space by adding the same architectural details found in the rest of your house like wainscoting, crown moulding and baseboards.Add trim and moulding

 

13. Install a fireplace

Make any basement space more livable by installing a fireplace. This feature will be sure to bring your family and friends downstairs—especially to cozy-up in the colder winter months.
Install a fireplace

 

14. Paint the pipes and ductwork

Exposed pipes and ductwork can create a cold, industrial feeling in your basement. Add some style and warmth by painting these two common household eyesores to match your décor.
Paint the ceiling

 

15. Throw down some pillows

Pillows are a cheap and easy way to automatically add some warmth to your basement living space. Find some soft cushions that will not only add some extra comfort to your couch, but will also add a colourful accent to your space.

Throw down some pillows