thoughts on basements

23 February 2011

About a year ago, we were getting some quotes on getting our basement finished, and I asked you all your thoughts on basements. Your comments were so helpful as we looked what to do with this:
basement plan

We worked with where the bathroom was. I had originally wanted to move the bathroom and put a window in, but it saved us a lot of money to keep it where it was. Here is what we came up with:
basement after plan
We put less down on our home so we could pay cash for the basement to be finished so there was really no wiggle room in terms of our budget. Here are some things we learned on our basement journey that many of you had suggested as well-:
*include everything that you possibly can when getting original quotes  When contractors are giving quotes, they want the job and will go much lower in the bidding process than if you add things in later.  Will they paint? Submit plans to city, get necessary permits? Install light fixtures? Doors? Hang mirrors? Put up trim? Install faucets? Install flooring? Fireplaces?
Some things I wish I had included in the original estimate: built-in shelves on both sides of the fireplace,  finishing like beadboard in the bathroom, board and batten in the playroom, crown moulding, custom shelves built into all closets, etc.
* lighting, lighting, lighting You all stressed this and it is key in a basement. Take your layout to an actual lighting store and have them help you figure out, don’t rely on what the contractors say. Have dimmers put on can lights; it’s much better to have it too bright than to have too little light. My husband doesn’t have windows in his office downstairs, so we thought a ceiling fan would be best. The ceiling fan is pretty, but it has the worst light ever. I didn’t even think about that when I picked it out. Now we’ve got to come up with other solutions in there.
march 2010 025
*insulation/vapor barriers pay for the best you can get in this dept. We also had additional insulation put under the kitchen floor so it didn’t sound like a herd of elephants when people were walking above.
* flooring  We went with a soft, plush carpet with a good pad and haven’t regretted a second of it. So warm and cozy and the kids will get down on the floor and play. Of course, the bathroom doesn’t have carpet, but now I want to find a bigger rug because the floor gets so cold in there.
*storage I have never heard a homeowner complain that they had too much storage. Storage can make everything feel more open, spacious, and organized because everything has a place. We love our closets and storage room.
* a playroom We love our playroom, but let me tell you something I’ve discovered. When everyone is home, they all love to play down there. But when my older ones are at school, my little boys like to be where I am. If I’m upstairs, we haul the legos and the cars upstairs to play. That’s fine, but if I was designing a new home I would put a little play area right off the kitchen/laundry.
What else would you tell someone finishing a basement?


  1. Amanda @ Serenity Now1/8/14, 5:52 PM

    I don't have a basement, but boy, do I wish I did!! As a child, I didn't like playing in our basement. I'm pretty sure I thought the BIg Bad Wolf lived down there. :s Hopefully, I haven't passed those fears on to my kids. :s

  2. Like Jenae, our kids loved the idea of the basement playroom @ first, but eventually all the toys migrated to the main floor. My DH & I moved our bedroom downstairs and our bedroom became the playroom.

  3. melissa*320 sycamore1/8/14, 5:54 PM


  4. Thanks for the tips! I don't have a basement but if I ever did...

    FYI- I've seen in the last few weeks, Target has had some rugs (small and large) on clearance for up to 75% off. But you would know as well as any Target lover, YMMV.

  5. Plan on going at least $5K over-budget. AT LEAST.


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