For many homeowners, the basement is a mixed blessing. It is almost always a huge space that begs to be used, but making it a place that family and friends actually want to spend time in can be challenging.

The temperature may not be comfortable, it may be too damp or actually have leaks, it does not get enough light, the ceiling is unattractively low. Even installing a bathroom if the basement is below grade is an act of engineering wizardry.

How does a person make their basement comfortable, waterproof and even beautiful? Here are some tips.

Think Ahead

A homeowner who wants to remodel their basement should think of what they want their basement to be used for. Will it have an extra bedroom, an exercise room, a recreation area, a work area?

Is the basement big enough to accommodate all of them? If the homeowner can afford the services of an interior designer, they might want to hire one.

Interior designers are not just for the upstairs rooms. Call a reliable basement remodeler for advice.

Use Built-Ins

Built-in shelves, cubbies and niches solve the problem of aesthetics as well as storage space. There should not be too many built-ins, and they should be proportional to the room and simple.

Install an Open Staircase

This allows the basement to communicate with the rest of the house and also lets in more natural light. If the staircase has railings, wait until larger items of furniture are placed in the basement before they are installed.

Add More Windows

Modern building codes now require more than one way to get out of the basement during an emergency.

This is a good excuse for adding another window or two. At least one should be big enough for an adult to exit by. Many basement windows also have wells, which increases the light. These wells should have drains to stave off leaks.

Mind the Ceiling

Resist the urge to lower the ceiling. If the ceiling needs to be low to accommodate ducts, wires and other necessary structures, confine the low ceiling to one area of the room. Replace paper-faced drywall with fiberglass-faced drywall. Fiberglass drywall is mold resistant, even if it’s a bit pricier.

Ceiling tiles also do not need to be drab. There are ceiling tiles on the market that are beautifully sculptural. If there’s a flood from above, and there will be one, all a homeowner has to do is replace a tile or two as opposed to carve out a section of a drywall ceiling and replace it.

Waterproof

Even if the basement doesn’t flood from above, it will flood from below. It is important to make sure that the floor can tolerate getting wet and that there’s a drain and a sump pump.

Tile is an excellent material for a basement floor and can be softened by area rugs that can be taken up quickly and washed and dried if they get wet. A sump pump should have a back-up system in case the power goes out.

Add More Light

One tip to make the basement brighter is to install fixtures whose light is directed up. This gives better light in a room with a low ceiling, and makes the room look taller than it is.

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