Making the Most of Your Unused Basement Space: Unlocking Its Potential

basement remodeling

Chicago Basement Remodeling

 Are you tired of having a dark and musty Chicago basement that serves no purpose other than storing boxes of family heirlooms and holiday decorations? If so, it’s time to transform your basement into a functional and inviting space that you and your family can enjoy. Basements are often overlooked and left unused, yet they possess immense potential and can be turned into an extension of your living space. In this blog post, we will explore the countless possibilities of utilizing your Chicago basement space and provide you with inspiration to unleash its full potential.

  1. Home Office or Study Area

With the rising trend of remote and hybrid work schedules and homeschooling, there has never been a better time to convert your basement into a dedicated home office or study area. This quiet and secluded space can be optimized for productivity and focus, away from the distractions of everyday life. Install ample lighting, and comfortable furniture, and ensure proper ventilation to create a serene and inspiring workspace. An office area is perfect within a nook of unused space set apart from the main living and play area.

  1. Entertainment Zone

Want a space to kick back, relax, and entertain guests? Turn your basement into an entertainment zone. Add a large flat-screen TV, comfy modular seating, a wet or dry bar, and perhaps even a pool table or foosball table. This area can become your favorite spot for hosting gatherings, movie nights, or simply a place to unwind after a long day.

fitness area

  1. Fitness Area

Are you one of those people who swear to exercise regularly but struggle to find the time or motivation? Transforming your basement into a fitness area can provide you with the convenience and privacy needed to stick to your fitness routine. Install rubber flooring, purchase exercise equipment, and consider adding a mirror wall to create a small gymnasium right at home.

Modern at-home fitness equipment can also be streamlined to work within any sized space. Peloton and other similar brands offer slim stationary bikes and fitness mirrors to follow along to a workout in limited spaces. This space can also be used multi-functionally as a tumbling zone for the kids to build indoor play gyms and forts.

  1. Guest Suite

Wouldn’t it be great to offer your guests a comfortable and private space when they visit? Convert your basement into a guest suite complete with a bedroom, bathroom, and a cozy sitting area. If your space or home already has a walk-out basement, a separate entrance would really add the finishing touch providing a comfortable hideaway for your visitors, ensuring their stay is enjoyable and stress-free.

  1. Creative Studio

If you have a creative side or love crafting, the basement can serve as an ideal space for your hobbies. Whether it’s painting, pottery, or woodworking, transform the basement into your personal creative studio. Customize the space with proper storage, workbenches, and inspiration boards, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your artistic endeavors.

Now that we have discussed how to create functional spaces within the basement area that flow into your main floor living areas, let’s review some must-have features to really maximize the ROI. 

  1. Ceiling Height

How tall is the ceiling height in your basement? If you are barely working with a 7-foot ceiling and plan to incorporate a home gym within the space, think through the motions and how the ceiling height can affect your usability. If you are on the taller side and try to do jumping jacks or any overhead weight motions, chances are you will hit the ceiling during your exercise routine. Ceiling height can also make the space feel crowded and uncomfortable no matter the finishes or brightness you try to bring into the space.

Depending on ductwork or other plumbing and mechanicals that run through the ceiling, you may have the option to raise the ceiling height. If that doesn’t add enough height to the space, you should consider digging out the floor to achieve the added headspace you want. This can be a costly addition to your basement remodel, but when considering long-term usage and ROI in adding more livable space to your home, it could very well be worth the investment.

  1. Adding a Bedroom

Having a private basement suite for guests is a great addition to any basement remodel. Keep in mind there are building codes in Chicago that must be met to make it a true bedroom for resale value. Talk to your contractor about local codes; however, a general rule of thumb to follow is that to be a true bedroom, the space must have a door and a minimum of a “24×20” egress window. The window must be able to fully open to be considered a safe exit point.

  1. Proper Drainage

With snowfall and rain in the Chicagoland area, basements can be damp and musty, especially in older homes and duplex downs. Don’t overlook proper ventilation when remodeling your basement. When taking the space down to the bare bones, don’t skip the mechanicals to ensure your investment is protected against moisture intrusion and flooding. Fix leaks, add vents, and be sure to check the foundation and exterior walls for any signs of seepage.

If you are also planning on adding laundry, a wet bar, or a bathroom into the space you may need to connect new waste lines. This may require installing a sewage ejection pump and evaluating the basement’s drainage capabilities. In heavy rain or snow melt, everything flows downhill. Work with a licensed and trusted contractor who will help you do an in-depth review of your space and provide recommendations to protect your investment for many years to come.

  1. Enhanced Lighting

Unless you are blessed with a walk-out basement with great floor-to-ceiling windows, traditionally the basement is a dark cave-like space. With minimal windows, your chances of catching the afternoon sun are slim to none. Lighting options are endless and a great addition to make the space feel bright, warm, and welcoming. Offsetting general lighting, such as ceiling can lights, with ambient lighting (think floor lamps or wall sconces) can create the perfect cozy ambiance. When adding more lights, be sure to work with an electrician who will check your electrical panel and make sure it can handle the additional load. 

  1. Flooring

The biggest factor when deciding on a flooring option for your basement is moisture. Water and moisture can seep through the foundation and cause flooring to lift and promote mold growth. Work with an experienced basement remodeling contractor who will walk you through options that will work best within your home. The basement flooring options are vast, from luxury vinyl, ceramic tile, carpeting, laminate, etc. The method of installation is also important to consider (ie: glue down versus floating). Your contractor can help guide you through all of these important decisions to make sure your basement is just as you envisioned.

  1. Windows

If you are looking to add more natural lighting to your basement, consider replacing existing windows with a larger version. Don’t forget an egress window is required to have a true bedroom space. If your basement windows face a busy Chicago street or sidewalk and safety is an issue, consider replacing windows with glass block. This is a great alternative to add privacy without compromising on natural light.

Contact Our Chicago Basement Remodelers

Your basement doesn’t have to be a dark and forgotten space any longer. By thinking creatively and embracing the potential of this untapped area, you can add significant value to your home and improve your lifestyle. Whether it’s a cozy guest suite, a functional home office, or a vibrant entertainment zone, your basement can become a versatile space that caters to your specific needs and interests.

So, dust off those cobwebs, roll up your sleeves, and unlock the hidden potential of your basement today! Work with our basement remodelers team at Arete Renovators in Chicago to turn your blank canvas into a beautiful basement addition. Our skilled design team and remodeling contractors can help you zero in on your priorities and vision and deliver space that will increase your home value and give you many years of enjoyment. Contact our team today to request an in-home consultation 773.683.3033.