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Do's and Don'ts of Finishing a Basement

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Drywall with mud and text that says, "Do's and Don'ts of Finishing a Basement."

Finishing a basement is a huge project for any homeowner to tackle, but it's also incredibly rewarding as it provides increased living space and a boost in home value. Finished basements are great for families and anyone who loves to entertain guests. But before you get started on the project, you should do a little research and planning.

Basements have unique features that can complicate the construction process, so it's wise to be knowledgeable and prepared. Check out our list of do's and don'ts of finishing a basement to ensure that your project will be a success.

DO: Inspect Everything and Create a Plan

Before you start any work on your basement, it's a good idea to do some prep work. Prep includes a thorough inspection of the basement and all of its major elements, including HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as structures like basement walls and floors. Make a note of things that cannot be moved — such as the furnace, water heater and other utility items — and create your floor plan around these items.

You'll want to have a professional inspector take a look at your basement and ensure everything is functioning well and in good condition. The inspector can let you know if anything needs to be fixed before beginning your basement finishing work.

Be prepared to deal with moisture issues in basement walls and necessary upgrades to existing electrical and plumbing systems. Certain things may also need to be brought up to current building codes before doing any more work. Be sure to fix anything that needs work now, as it will only create a more costly fix later on if you wait.

Make a plan for any needed repairs and the work you want to be done in your finished basement. Find out what permits are required, and make sure to have them before your construction starts.

DON'T: Underestimate the Construction

Finishing a basement can be a complicated project, and it's best not to DIY unless you are skilled in construction. Even if you feel confident in DIY home remodeling projects, finishing a basement is like starting from scratch. There are many extra precautions and duties necessary to ensure your basement is warm, dry, comfortable and attractive.

Remember that you can call in the experts on a project of this size. A qualified contractor can help you from start to finish by guiding you through the project and giving you the finished basement of your dreams. Licensed electricians and plumbers may also be necessary to bring your project to completion. Spending a little more and hiring experts will save you headaches and future problems.

DO: Keep the Possibility of Flooding in Mind

Basements are naturally more susceptible to flood and water damage. Plan for the possibility of flooding by finishing your basement in a way that prevents and mitigates water damage as much as possible. Your inspector or contractor can advise you on the best preparation methods for your area, possibly including the following:

  • Installing a sump pump

  • Using a water barrier or waterproofing materials on walls

  • Using water-resistant flooring

  • Installing electrical work higher up on the walls

If there is any water damage already present in the basement, you'll want to be sure to have everything professionally cleaned and fixed before finishing the basement. You don't want to simply cover up a mold or mildew problem. Get it fixed now to avoid future damage and problems.

DON'T: Neglect Aesthetics

Often, the basement, even when finished, doesn't get the same level of attention to detail as the rest of the home. Many homeowners are tempted to go with bare walls and castoff furniture in the basement.

But a finished basement is an extension of your home's living space and should get the same treatment as other spaces in the home in terms of aesthetics and design. It's also a place where you can really let your personality and style shine, so go all out with good flooring, wall treatments, furniture and decor and beautiful color schemes.

The more appealing you make the space look, the more you'll want to spend time there. Have fun with it, and you'll end up with a gorgeous space that you love.

DO: Add Some Luxury

It only takes a few high-end items to make your basement feel more luxurious. Consider adding quality lighting options, a gas fireplace, heated floors or a home entertainment center. You may also want to think about including some food and drink prep and storage areas in your new basement.

Go all out with a kitchenette or bar area, or simply include a mini fridge, microwave or quality bar cabinet to provide easy access to snacks and beverages while you are having fun.

DON'T: Put Up a Bunch of Walls

Plan out your space well and consider an open floor plan unless you're planning on putting in bedrooms and bathrooms, which will need more privacy. Utilizing an open floor plan can make the main space feel larger than it is and give you plenty of room for fun and entertainment.

Basements often have lower ceilings and can feel more confined, so keep them open with fewer walls for the best effect. If possible, you may want to leave some unfinished space for utility and storage as well and separate these spaces with finished walls.

DO: Add Entertainment Pieces

One of our favorite basement finishing tips is to add in some fun entertainment pieces like games and gaming furniture. Take your basement to the next level by creating the ultimate rec room with classic games that everyone loves.

Add a pool table to your new basement room, or consider other fun game tables like foosball, shuffleboard, table tennis, air hockey and more. Your family and friends will love hanging out in your newly finished basement with touches like these!

Complete Your Basement With Games From HB Home

Finishing a basement can be a huge task, with much to consider along the way. However, completing your basement can also be very rewarding when it's all said and done. When you've covered all your bases, you're left with an amazing new hangout space for you to enjoy with your friends and family.

Follow our tips for finishing a basement, and shop online with HB Home for the best game tables and gaming furniture and accessories. Contact us today with any questions — we are happy to help you get the pieces you need for your dream basement room!

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