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Designing your Basement Layout

In many homes the basement is an infrequently used space where you find seldom used sports equipment, an oversize chest freezer, out of season clothes, and broken articles waiting for repair.  Why not make this area work for you. Finishing your basement will provide functional living space and organized storage while increasing the value of your home. With good planning you can create rooms as pleasant as those in the rest of the house and fashion special purpose areas for your family’s activities. The following steps will help you develop the basement layout that meets your needs.

Pre-inspect: Thoroughly inspect the space for cracks, leaks and signs of moisture. Undertake waterproofing, if needed. Check for and seal entry points where rodents and insects can enter. 

Determine usage: Decide how you’ll use the space. Do you want a play area, games room, home office or fitness area? Will you install a bathroom or laundry room? Will the space become a granny suite or an income generating apartment? Do you want one large open space or many smaller rooms? Do you wish to construct a storage area? Is a fireplace in your plans? 

Consider structural challenges: Decide how you will deal with I-beams, posts, the furnace, duct work, plumbing, electrical wires, the hot water heater and gas lines. Will you incorporate them in the plan, cover them or move them? Do you have a low ceiling?  Do you wish to enlarge small windows? Do you have a means of egress? Will you need a separate entrance? 

Set a budget: Decide how much you are willing to spend on your basement renovation. This decision will affect your choice of flooring, lighting, ceiling finish, cabinetry, soundproofing, etc.  

Draft a floor plan: Measure your basement space. Draw your plan (by hand or using computer design software).  Diagram the walls, doors, electrical outlets, switches, and plumbing. Include as many details as you can. Tape or chalk your plan on the basement floor. Walk through it making any changes you deem necessary. 

Find a certified contractor who specializes in basement finishing. Talk to him about your ideas and your overall vision for the space. Share your floor plan. He’ll have tips to enhance the look and feel of your renovation and will help you finish your basement in ways uniquely suited to your needs.  

With a little planning and imagination, you can design a comfortable, useable area for your family in your underutilized basement. When your basement development is complete, you may find you spend more time downstairs than upstairs!When you’re ready to create a bright, roomy basement, call the Calgary basement experts, Econo Basements at (403) 768-0256 or email at We have the experience, knowledge and proficiency to help you achieve your dream.