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7 Expert Tips on How to Create a Basement Apartment

So, you’re finally ready to take the plunge. You’re ready to tackle that overwhelming project you’ve been putting off for months, even years – finishing your basement.

An unused basement is not only a waste of space, it’s potentially a waste of income as well! With a basement apartment, for example, you’ll have extra space for guests, in-laws, or moody teenagers, as well as a rental space to create an additional revenue stream for you and your family.

If you’re considering building an apartment in the basement, you’ve come to the right place. Listed below are a few basement transformation tips that will help you get the most out of the space beneath your home.

Let’s get started!

  1. Survey Your Space

The first, and most important, step in your basement transformation is to survey your space. In order to plan effectively, you need to know the exact amount of space you’re working with and what you need to add to your checklist.

Measure the entire basement, both the height of the room and the length of the walls. Keep in mind that, for the space to be considered liveable, your basement needs to have a minimum of 7-foot ceilings.

You’ll also need to inspect the plumbing and wiring, as you can’t have an apartment without installing them if your basement isn’t already connected to the rest of the house. Now, you’ll need a permit to complete this type of upgrade, so be sure to add that to your checklist as well.

  1. Protect Your Apartment From the Elements

Your next step should be to inspect the insulation and moisture protection. Because, as with any home, your basement apartment needs to be protected from the elements.

If the walls aren’t already insulated, you’ll need to add insulation panels and batting. This will help regulate the temperature of the apartment in addition to lowering noise from both inside and outside the space.

Moisture protection is another essential, as you might one day go downstairs to find your apartment underwater if you don’t install it. You need vapor barriers to prevent moisture from spreading through the walls and floor.

  1. Keep an Open Floorplan

When you build a suite in your basement, you only have so much space to work with, which makes it easy to unintentionally make the space feel cramped and closed-in. To combat the low square footage, it’s a good idea to keep your floorplan as open as you can.

Remember, this is meant to be a mother-in-law apartment or small rental space, it’s okay if you’re unable to separate the bedroom from the living space. There’s nothing wrong with a studio apartment!

  1. Install High-Quality Flooring

Once you have your floor plan mapped out, you’ll likely need to replace the flooring or cover the existing concrete with a higher quality flooring. Concrete isn’t the most comfortable material to walk on, but you can’t put just anything in a basement apartment.

Wood flooring, for instance, is prone to warping because of the additional moisture. With that in mind, you’ll need to go with a more sturdy option, such as tile, carpet, or engineered wood.

  1. Allow Your Furniture to Multitask

When you’re outfitting your mother-in-law apartment with furniture, look for pieces that are multi-functional or able to be stored away. Let’s use the bed as an example. A typical bed can work, but a murphy bed that folds into a desk or a platform bed with built-in drawers are better options.

Another great piece of furniture for a basement apartment is an ottoman or coffee table that can also be used as a storage space for blankets and other essentials. With the right furniture, you can include everything your renter or guest could need, regardless of the size of your basement.

  1. Plan the Kitchen With Care

It’s not a true mother-in-law suite without a kitchen area. That said, you need to plan the kitchen area with a bit of extra care, as appliances and other kitchen furniture can eat up space quickly.

Think about what you want to use your space for and what that space would need. For example, if you’re planning to rent out your basement apartment, your kitchen will need to include a few more things than a simple guest area requires.

  1. Don’t Forget Storage Space

There’s nothing more frustrating than a living space without any storage space. First of all, clutter is detrimental to both your mental and physical health. But past that, any guests or renters you have in the space will quickly become frustrated if they don’t have a place to store their belongings.

Because basement apartments have limited space, this is another area that you’ll need to plan carefully. Actual closets are best, but if you don’t have the space or budget to build them, there are alternatives. Look for storage options that go under other pieces of furniture or can be stored away when not in use.

Build the Ultimate Basement Apartment With This Guide

Though it takes a bit of time and effort, a basement apartment is a worthy addition to any home. Your in-laws will have their own space when they visit (a safe distance from you!), and when you don’t have visitors, you have the perfect Airbnb or full-time rental space.

The key is to take your time and make decisions carefully. As long as you design your apartment in the basement with yourself and your needs in mind, you can’t go wrong.

Looking for more tips and tricks for improving your home? Be sure to check out our blog!

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