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If you’re thinking about renovating your basement, you have a wide range of possibilities. You may want to convert it to a family room, a media room, one or more bedrooms, a second kitchen or some combination of these. Think about your family’s needs and priorities to figure out how to use the space available.

Your Intended Use Will Dictate the Layout
If you want to convert the basement into one or more bedrooms, you will obviously have to put up walls if the area isn’t already divided. It’s also a good idea to add a bathroom if you’re planning to turn your basement into sleeping quarters. A full bathroom will be more convenient than a half bathroom, but space constraints may limit your options.

If you want to turn the basement into a family room, an open floorplan may be the best option. Think about how to use furniture, flooring and other visual cues to separate the space into areas with distinct purposes.

If you want to install a large TV and have room for a pool table and furniture, take measurements and sketch a variety of configurations to see which will make the area the most functional and comfortable. Remember to leave room to put in a bathroom so family members won’t have to run up and down the stairs. 

If your current kitchen is too cramped, you may want to consider turning part of your basement into a second kitchen. That can give you more working space on holidays and special occasions and make it easier to prepare large meals. If you want to create a dining area, think about the number of people you would be likely to host so you have enough space for a table and chairs.

Your basement probably has a furnace, water heater and possibly a washer and dryer. They may be distracting if you see them while you’re relaxing in a downstairs family room, but you may not mind if they’re tucked away in a corner. Think about whether you will want to close off those appliances to keep them out of view.

Talk to Local Contractors
Do some research and speak with at least three contractors in your area who have experience with basement renovations. Discuss your goals and seek their advice on choosing the best layout. If you want to add a bathroom and/or kitchen, talk about how to use the existing plumbing to keep costs under control. 

Request estimates for materials and labor, but don’t base your decision on price alone. Ask for references and contact previous clients to learn about their experiences. Make sure that any contractor you hire is licensed and insured.