How do you add livable space to your home? You could certainly build upward or outward – and our team would be delighted to help you with that. But these are not inexpensive projects. Adding a second story to a 2,000 square foot house can cost as much as $200,000. Adding a ground-level 400 square foot family room usually costs nearly $50,000.

Finishing a basement, on the other hand? That project can easily cost as little as $10,000 if you opt for a conservative yet functional living space. And you can really make a basement finishing budget go a long way when you have a good contractor on your side.

But like any major purchase, there are a few pros and cons to weigh before you rush headlong into a basement finishing project. Here’s what you ought to know ahead of time about your investment!

Pro: A Finished Basement Increases a Home’s Value

It’s no secret that homebuyers prefer houses with more livable square footage. A finished basement is especially appealing to the home gym types, and parents of multiple children love living in a house with a built-in tot containment zone.

In general, finished basement space appraises for about half the value of the house’s main floor. Just keep in mind that a refinished basement won’t pay for itself. You’ll probably only make back about 70% of the money you spent finishing your basement if you sell your house right away, so you’re better off undertaking this type of home improvement if you intend to stick around and enjoy it for a few years.

Con: A Finished Basement Lacks Ample Natural Light

Its egress window notwithstanding, a basement tends to have small portals for natural light. That means your finished basement will need more sources of electric light than the upper-level rooms. You’ll also want to take a few extra steps to make sure your finished basement isn’t too dark or sterile. Lighter window coverings, soft white light bulbs instead of fluorescents, and lighter shades of paint on the walls all work well.

Pro: A Finished Basement’s Potential Is Limitless

Limitless within reason, of course. A finished basement would make a lousy sunroom for the aforementioned reasons. Aside from its obvious limitations, a finished basement can be anything you’d like: a theater, family room, playroom, office, craft room, guest bedroom – or even a full apartment with a kitchenette, if you’d like to play landlord and make a little passive income.

Con: A Finished Basement Can Become Damp

Damp basements are a noted problem in Minnesota. Much of the central part of the state has sandy soil, which possesses virtually zero water retention. Conversely, the southwest region has a lot of loamy soil, which holds a relatively high amount of moisture. Either region poses a threat to finished basements, as their soil will give groundwater plenty of opportunities to permeate the foundation.

This is not the greatest setback so long as your basement finishing budget includes a dehumidifier. The machine is going to prevent mold and mildew growth and keep your basement’s humidity at a comfortable level but be advised that foundation waterproofing may be necessary to prevent aggressive groundwater infiltration.

Pro: A Finished Basement May Be the Only Way to Expand Your Home

Aside from their greater cost, other types of home expansions may not be feasible. Several home designs prohibit the addition of an extra level, and homes that are located on smaller lots or in jurisdictions with restrictive zoning regulations may not be suitable for new ground level additions. A finished basement, which isn’t subject to these limitations, may therefore be the only way to go!

Five Basement Remodeling Ideas

Whether you’re finishing your basement or breathing new life into an already finished space, some basement remodeling ideas are pure gold. Here are our five favorites that will complement any underground living space!

  • Recessed Lighting – Can lights are great for finished basements. They add that much-needed illumination but are tucked away to create the illusion of higher ceilings.

  • Understairs Storage – Why not make use of every square foot at your disposal? Adding a little door to the space underneath your stairwell will give you the perfect spot to store Christmas decorations.

  • Barn Doors – We love big, sliding barn doors in a basement. They divide rooms perfectly, don’t take up any space, and add a little rustic charm. (Just make sure to command your kids not to play with them.)

  • Shiplap Walls – These wooden boards install easily over any wall to give it a warmer and more inviting feel. Keep them au naturel for a Northwoods cabin mood, or paint them white to create a beachside cottage aesthetic!

  • Make It Colorful – There’s no law stating a basement needs lighter neutral tones to brighten up. Big, bold, and colorful decor and accent ceilings can also create a lot of great energy!

If you live in east-central Minnesota and need a basement finishing or basement remodeling contractor, then we’d be excited to help you enjoy more first-class living space. Please contact Angell’s Construction today for all your basement improvement needs!