Monday Makeover: The Finished Basement.

Happy Monday! Starting today, I am going to give you a reason to go to work and earn that paycheck. Monday Makeovers, posted, every week will feature a new area of the home, to inspire you when it comes to home decor. We’re going from the bottom up, so today, we tackle the basement.

Not every basement is the same. Some homes in Northern Kentucky are older and the basements simply cannot be finished due to their design. But for those basements that are designed to be lived in, here are some ideas to add a few extra square feet of living space to your home.

It’s also important to note that you should have an escape route like an egress window for fire safety, especially if you plan on letting anyone sleep down in the basement. Even if it’s just your kiddos having a slumber party a few times a year or you falling asleep down there after a long movie.

Do it right and do it once. Safely.

There’s nothing like sitting in your brand new media space, Netflix on, beer in hand – or wine – or pop and a leak springs from behind the sink you just installed in the wet bar. What’s worse? You don’t find it until you have to rip up the carpet, cut a huge hole in the wall and remove the counter top surrounding the sink that was not installed properly. Do it right the first time and you’ll only need to do it once.

Low ceilings.

Many homes that are over 30 years old have low, low, ceilings and during that time, the ideal method of hiding all of the electrical wiring and HVAC was to cover it with a tiled drop ceiling*. UGH.

Fast forward to 2019 and open concept has taken on a new definition. Now, homeowners are choosing to completely omit a ceiling and instead painting the joists and under sides of the subfloor flat black or white giving the space a more industrial theater look without looking cluttered or like a junk box at Home Depot.

If you are looking to do something like this in your own home, One Project Closer is another website to check out to learn some tips and tricks. Learn from their mistakes before you lift a paint brush.

*Editors Note. I will say that drop ceilings have come a long way from the days of the corky, 2′ x 4′, office-like ceilings of the ’70s and ’80s. Armstrong even has a wood plank that goes over a drop ceiling grid creating a stunning space with little effort. Check it out here.

Wall yourself in and stay dry.

Do you insulate walls in your basement if the concrete is already there to protect you from the elements? What kind of wood should you use? For this I turn to the Family Handyman, a great website that I myself have used when starting a project. Another good idea, talk to a local professional. There are a ton of great experts here who can help you get the right materials and do the job correctly. Do not be afraid of hiring someone for a couple hundred dollars to oversee your project when thousands of dollars is at stake.

Finally, basements are typically wet, especially those in older houses. Take a look at this post from Bob Vila about how to make sure your basement is dry. One major reason why you want a dry basement is because of mold build up which can be unsafe for humans and bad for carpets and electronics.

Drinks anyone?

If you are renovating a currently finished basement, say, from the ’50s, ’60s, or ’70s, you may be tackling that once infamous basement bar. A staple of finished basements in that time period, they can now seem oversized, bulky, and completely out of style. This website helps everyone from new creations to reimagined spaces. The best part is some of the ideas don’t even require a sink, just an outlet and a nook.

Filling in the space.

Now that you have the basic needs taken care of it’s time to fill the space. A lot of the time old furniture that is not old enough to put to the street finds its way to the basement to be used for kids’ video game tournaments, binge watching Netflix on a cold Kentucky day, or a big sports weekend. is a really good website to peruse when you’re looking for inspiration. They have rooms of all kinds and links of some of the items on display so if you find yourself really loving that Mallard Duck Sculpture, you can snag it for your own built in shelving. Check this page out for some style inspo, you won’t be disappointed.

So what will you do with your finished or still unfinished basement? A home gym? Movie theater? Bar and board game space? Let us know your ideas by posting them in the comments.

Erica Wisher, REALTOR, selling NKY

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