Finished Basement Ideas

Hanna KielarNovember 25, 2019

If you’re lucky enough to live in a region where finished basements are commonplace, you know what amazing assets they can be. Basements add square footage to your home and are often a place for fun space – bonus rooms that you otherwise wouldn’t have.

While all basements are great, it’s important to use that square footage appropriately to really make the space an asset to your home. Don’t let your basement become a dark, unused dungeon. Instead, try one of these great ideas for making the best use of your extra space.

Is Finishing A Basement A Good Investment?

Finishing an unfinished basement can add a ton of value to your home. Check out similar real estate listings to estimate a selling price per square foot for your home, and you can see how increasing your home’s finished space can quickly make it more valuable.

The way you finish your basement might also affect the value it adds to your home. For example, adding an extra bedroom and bathroom is likely to increase your home’s value more than just adding an extra living space. However, if you have to run plumbing to the basement if it doesn’t already exist, you’re looking at a larger cost. It might be worth it, but consult with a local realtor to find out what sells best in your area.

How Much Does It Cost To Finish A Basement?

The cost will depend on a lot of things, including the current state of your basement, what you want to add, and the cost of labor in your area. Your best bet is to get a quote from multiple contractors to compare your options. Consider getting quotes with and without things like extra bathrooms to see how differences in upgrades change the cost of the update.

The cost will also depend on how much you’re willing or able to do yourself. If you’re comfortable getting your hands dirty and putting up drywall or painting, you’re going to save a lot of money compared to hiring everything out. Even doing something like the final painting will save you hundreds of dollars.

Basement Decorating Ideas

Once you have a finished basement, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with it. The best option is to take a look at the other spaces in your home and decide what you are lacking or annoyed by. Do you have toys all over the place and want to contain them? Is there a treadmill in your bedroom? Do you have a hard time fitting the whole family together to watch a movie? Identify your current problems with your home to pinpoint the best possible uses for the basement.

The worst thing that you can do with a finished basement is fill it up with boxes and treat it like a storage unit. There are so many more interesting options! Here are some great ideas for transforming your finished basement.

Movie Room

If you love watching movies, a theater is a great use of square footage. Basements can be perfect for movie rooms because they are often dark, making for optimal watching conditions at all times of day.

The central focus of a movie room should be a big television or projector screen. Surround that with very comfortable seating – make space for the whole family plus extra visitors. Keep snacks nearby in a mini fridge or cabinet for a real movie theater experience.

Game Room

Board games are a great way to have structured social time. For board game lovers, a dedicated game room is a must-have. If you love having friends over to play, this is an awesome option for your basement.

The most important part of a game room is a table with comfortable seating. The size and shape of the table will depend on what games you usually play and how many people play at once. It might even be better for you to have several small tables. Hanging a large scoreboard on the wall is a fun way to track champions.

Another thing to keep in mind is storage. Whether you play one game or many, you probably have pieces and items that need to be stored when not in use. If your space has a good closet, consider adding wall-to-wall shelving specifically sized for your games. No closet? Definitely invest in a storage cabinet of some sort.

Home Gym

If working out is your passion, you might want to put a home gym into your basement. This makes it more convenient to work out, which makes you more likely to actually do it. Plus, there’s no monthly membership fee.

Furnish your home gym with the equipment you prefer to use, whether it’s a treadmill, free weights, or even a ballet bar. If you currently go to a gym, check out the features they have that you enjoy and see how you can bring them into your space.

You might want to install rubber flooring or rubber stall mats, especially if the room has carpet. That way, you can wipe them clean and not let your sweat soak in. You also want to be sure that there are plenty of fans and ventilation so you stay comfortable. You could also add a bathroom to the space with a shower to clean up afterwards. Finally, consider adding a water tank or small fridge if your space doesn’t have a sink!

Play Room

Sick of the toys taking over your house? While that will probably never be fully eliminated, having a dedicated playroom can make a big difference. One of the most important parts of a playroom is organization – you need large baskets or bins so that it’s easy for kids to put their toys away when they’re done with them. If something is too tall, they won’t be able to get anything down from there or put anything back.

Customize your playroom according to your kids’ ages and interests. Art easels, Lego tables, reading nooks, and homework stations are all great options. Make sure that any storage you install works for the height of your child.

Living Area

Sometimes, what you really need is a second living room. Maybe you want to keep your main living room formal for guests and want a place that just feels comfortable when your family is alone. Or maybe you have a big family and want to be able to split up into two spaces.

For the perfect second living area, a comfortable couch is a must-have. Don’t forget the TV on an entertainment center with space for movies and video games. Storage ottomans are a great place to keep blankets and pillows for an extra-cozy space.

Guest Suite

If you have a lot of friends and family who come to visit, the best use of a basement might be creating a guest suite. This gives guests a bit of privacy and keeps them out of your way.

In an ideal world, a guest suite will have a bedroom and an attached bathroom. Include a comfortable bed with plenty of bedding, a chest of drawers, and a chair or bench. Make sure that there is hanging space in a closet or on hooks. It’s a good idea to spend a night in your guest room to see if there is anything uncomfortable or missing that you can easily replace.

Storage Space

You don’t want your basement to become a junk pile, but sometimes what your home really needs is storage. While it’s not the ideal use of an entire finished basement, if you’ll have multiple rooms, one of them might be perfect for out-of-season storage.

The best way to fit storage into a small space is to work vertically. Install shelves that go up to the ceiling and store your items in large, labelled bins on those shelves. Don’t leave a lot of items all over the floor – that’s how storage rooms quickly become junk rooms.

Billiards Room

If you’re interested in billiards, ping pong, or air hockey, the basement might be the only place where you can fit the large tables. Don’t shove them in the corner of the room – make them the star of the space right in the center. Remember to consider how you’re going to get the large table into the basement.

In addition to the large game table, provide some seating for your guests. Make sure that there are high tables where people can easily set their snacks or drinks while standing to play a game. Have storage for snacks nearby so everyone feels comfortable. Don’t forget speakers so you can listen to music while you play.

Craft Room

Avid crafters know how many craft supplies you can really easily accumulate. If you have the space to create a dedicated craft room – or even a craft zone – this can be a great way to keep the rest of your home free of clutter.

The main thing that a craft room needs is a large work surface. Tables on wheels are great for giving you flexibility, depending on the project you’re working on. Look for furniture with lots of storage space, and group similar small items together. Be sure that there’s plenty of light so you can work effectively.

Home Office

If you work from home, you know how easy it is to get distracted by the everyday things all around you. The best way to combat that is, of course. with a dedicated home office. Having a finished basement might give you the square footage that you need to make that possible.

Most home offices need a desk, a computer, and a comfortable chair, but everything else will depend on your line of work. You might need space for paper storage, a large whiteboard for brainstorming, or a second chair for clients who come to consult with you. Customize your space so that it best meets your daily needs and keep that space exclusively for business.

If you have regular clients coming to visit, consider adding a door to the outside. Enabling clients to enter directly into your office without having to go through your home is much more professional.

Separate Apartment

If your basement is big enough and has a dedicated exit, consider making it into its own apartment that you can lease out or list on Airbnb. This could be a great way to fund a basement renovation and make extra income.

You will need to be sure your apartment has everything it needs to comply with local zoning laws. Most tenants will expect at least one bedroom, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Decorate the space as clean and neutral as you can to appeal to most renters. If you plan to rent the space furnished, invest in pieces that are durable.

Be sure that the apartment is sound-proofed from your home. This might mean adding extra insulation or closing up interior doors. This will give privacy to both you and potential renters. Deciding to rent a portion of your home is a big decision, but can be great for you financially.

Wine Cellar

Wine lovers will immediately recognize that basements can be the perfect storage place for wine. The dark, windowless rooms make for safe conditions to keep wine pristine. If you want to turn your basement into a wine cellar, don’t just stack boxes up – add custom shelving from floor to ceiling and make the room spectacular.

In addition to wine storage, you might want to have a wine tasting bar. Include enough seating for your usual guest list, and stock the bar with plenty of glasses. Also include some space for displaying your most prized bottles. A wine cellar will also need a dishwasher or a sink to clean up.


If you’re a book lover, creating a library in your basement might be a great idea. You can shut out the world in the library and read for hours.

Make sure to create several different comfy reading areas with several types of lighting. If you want a soft lamp light, put that right by your favorite chair. You can also install lots of custom bookshelves wall-to-wall to store and display all of your books.

Finished basements are a huge luxury to have in your home. Be strategic with how you use yours to make the best of it and really enjoy the space.

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Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.