Adding or enlarging basement windows and adding exterior doors are jobs for a professional, but the resulting natural light and ventilation will significantly increase your enjoyment of this living space. To add below-ground windows you'll need to dig a window well. The retaining wall for the well may be made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers, as in this window well. The terraced timbers serve as pot garden perches as well as steps for an emergency exit.
Accounting for variables such as square footage, materials, electrical and plumbing, the average basement remodel ranges from $11,034 and $29,226. Some cost as little as $5,000, with top of the line remodels costing over $40,000. The average cost to homeowners is $20,126. Expect to spend between $10 and $35 per square foot depending on the changes made.
First, what are you using your basement for? This will greatly determine what finish you give the basement. A living area needs to feel warm and cozy, a bedroom needs to have a quiet and relaxing finish and a game room needs some exciting colors. There are plenty of websites offering basement finishing ideas you can borrow. We have our own list below that you can use as a starting point. Find a style that pleases you and adapt it to fit your finished basement.
Before walls and flooring can be added, the basement must first be professionally framed. Framing an unfinished basement can be very expensive; not only will it require a large amount of labor, but material costs are high as well. If you consider all the lumber your contractor will need to lay, plus crossbeams and studs, you will find that lumber is going to be one of the costlier aspects of the project.
Finishing a basement can cost between $25–$50 per square foot on average, depending on how the basement is finished, whether any challenges come up or whether there are special circumstances with the project. For this reason, a 1,000-square-foot basement can cost up to $50,000 or more to finish. Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, a general contracting company based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. Larger basements may have a lower cost per square foot than tiny remodel jobs.
For $500-$5,000, Do-It-Yourselfers can waterproof the walls with a brush-on compound, then add carpeting, paneling, a dropped ceiling or other touches to make a basement into a more usable living area. Actual costs depend a great deal on what shape the basement is in at the start of the project, and whether the upgrades include such items as ground-level windows; improved lighting; a full- or half-bath; and a laundry area. The upper end of the price range includes hiring contractors to install proper ventilation, electrical wiring or plumbing.
Finishing the ceiling of a basement can be a tricky proposition. In most basements, important pipes, wires, and ducts already crisscross this area, often lowering the total ceiling height. If you were to install a drywall 5 or standard ceiling, you would be encapsulating these items, making them difficult to find and access in the event of an issue. Therefore, most basement ceilings are finished with some type of drop or suspended ceiling, sometimes known as an acoustical ceiling 9 or a grid ceiling.
If you are going for a movie screening room, then go with a dark neutral, or simply go dark. You want the walls to recede and you don’t want a lot of glare from your projection equipment or tv. Make sure to use a flat paint and paint the ceiling in a dark neutral to prevent light from bouncing around and creating glares. For a classic, old world move theater feeling, go with a rich burgundy or deep navy.

You will need to obtain permits that meet the building codes in your area. Not only that, there are usually required permits for plumbing and electric work. Finally, once the basement is finished, it will need to be inspected in order to recalculate your home's value. If a contractor refuses to get a permit, DO NOT HIRE THEM. It's smart and it's the law.
You already have stairs to the basement, but when you're doing basement renovations, make sure they meet code and look good. If they're not in a convenient location, consider moving them to a better spot. Codes vary with staircase configurations and baluster shape, so you'll need to talk to the building inspector about your plans. It's also a good idea to consult an architect or other design professional for help in designing a staircase that works well with your other plans for the space.
When putting a wall over a recently constructed frame, sheetrock is the industry standard for a durable option, that can be painted easily. It can help insulate the room due to its density and generally lasts a long time when maintained. If you’re trying to significantly drive down costs, using paneling for the walls is an effective option. It’s very light, inexpensive and pre-finished in a variety of different sizes and types. Labor costs may also decrease because paneling is easier to transport and work with.

Basement remodeling can be stressful, and understandably so. But the styling aspect will provide some much-needed fun. Seeing your newly finished basement take shape as the flooring is installed and the walls painted will be exciting and there is no feeling like seeing it come to life as furniture is put into place and light fixtures are installed.
In addition to floors and walls, upgrading your basement ceiling is another option to consider. Finishing your basement creates a new room in your home and a part of any room is the ceiling. While it’s cheaper to leave the ceiling the way it is, many basements have exposed wiring and duct work that service the home above. In certain cases, leaving all this exposed may be the better option, but for others, upgrading the ceiling could be the right choice. Understand that any addition to the room will up the overall price, so be sure to make the right choice for the space and your wallet.
Basement remodeling adds value to your home, increases your useable living space, can protect your foundation from moisture damage, and looks great. Many people remodel a basement to create space for an aging parent or to make room for more children. Another reason for basement remodeling is to create a rentable space that is separate from the rest of your home for a long-term renter or for short-term renting.
Sometimes a finished basement floor makes the bottom stair a little too shallow, throwing off the whole run. Tom Silva's fix: Measure the rise of each step. If any are shorter than 7 inches, you can remove the treads and add spacers to pad them out as you go up. Just keep heights below code maximum, and make sure they don't differ in height by more than ⅜ inch.

Cork is an eco-friendly flooring material that can be installed over an existing floor or concrete. Cork is derived from the bark of the cork tree, meaning trees are not cut down during harvesting. Cork flooring is durable and has good insulating qualities, but if you choose cork flooring for your basement, make sure you choose a type that is recommended for a basement environment as not all cork flooring is appropriate for basements.


Drywall must be applied to any framed basement walls you have and must be applied to any additional walls used to create your basement bedroom. A standard 8’ by 4’ panel will cost between $10 and $20, depending on the thickness. The cost to install these panels varies, but most homeowners report spending around $1.50/sf. The total cost of your project will range between $1,152 and $1,982, with an average cost of $1,915 to install a wall.
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