If you’re planning to improve rather than move, or if you’re improving to move with more profit, then converting your basement into a living space is a nigh-on perfect solution.
You might want a chillout room or a self-contained flat with plumbing and cooking facilities, but there are some basic tips that you have to follow if you want to make a success of it.
Use or create a separate entrance
Even if you’re using the basement as a play or gaming room, you won’t want hordes of grunting teens clomping through the main part of the house. It’s even more important if your basement is to be used as accommodation, so develop and strengthen an existing door or knock one through.
Have at least one egress window
This is vital for safety, especially in the case of fire. The window needs to be easily opened from the inside and wide enough for people to get through in a hurry. You can widen an existing one or install a whole new one, but it must be there.
Make the ceiling as high as possible
Ideally, the ceiling should be seven feet high for at least 75% of the footprint. This may involve some serious digging down, so factor this into your plans before you even start.
Think about underfloor heating
Even the plushest, best-constructed basement conversion will sometimes feel a bit cold or damp. One way to offset this is to use underfloor heating because not only does it keep toes toasty, it pretty much eliminates the water vapour problem that comes with many other forms of heating.
Forget about chandeliers
Unless you’ve got a seriously high ceiling in your basement, recessed lighting is the way to go because it doesn’t encroach into overhead space. Similarly, if you’re working with a small basement, recessed wall and even skirting board lights are a good idea.
Do try to fit in a bathtub
If you’re using the basement as a flat, think creatively about the bathroom. Even if you can only fit in a compact Japanese-style bathtub, do so because it’ll make the place more homely and welcoming, especially if you have paying tenants.