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Ladders set up at the site of a full residential basement remodel that is still in progress.

8 Ways to Increase the Comfort and Value of Your Home with a Basement Remodel

Are you and your family desperate for some extra space in a crowded Ann Arbor house? Do you just want to improve the overall comfort and livability of your home? Are you looking for ways to increase your property value before selling? If you have an unfinished basement, the answer to all of those problems is right beneath your feet: an Ann Arbor basement remodel!

You may have a basement that is technically finished with walls and flooring but is not tailored to accommodate your needs, or you may have one that is just dark, dank, and uninviting. An Ann Arbor basement remodel will help with that. Planning your basement remodeling project may feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, it is a fun challenge.

Not sure where to start an Ann Arbor basement remodel? This guide goes over eight ways to make your basement more comfortable and better suited to your unique needs, as well as increase your home value. When you are ready to start swinging the sledgehammer, give the expert team of service professionals at My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea a call. We have remodeled many basements in the Ann Arbor area, and we have the skill and expertise to transform your bottom floor into the best part of your house.

1. Create a New Layout

Let's do the most fun part of the planning process first. Whether your subterranean floor is just a big, cavernous space with no interior walls or a maze of rooms that really are not working for you and your family, this is your chance to design the perfect space — or spaces — that will make all the difference in how you use the entire house.

It is a good idea to grab a pencil and a piece of paper and make a rough sketch of your floor plan design. Don't worry, it definitely doesn't need to be an artistic masterpiece, but seeing everything on paper really helps to identify potential trouble spots and make sure you have included everything you want and need.

What Rooms Should Be Included in the Basement Floor Plan?

The possibilities are nearly endless! Spend some time really thinking about what is missing from your upstairs floors. Every house has pain points, and if you identify what isn't working upstairs, you will know exactly what you need to add downstairs to remedy those problems.

Most people don't really want to go to another floor to use the bathroom, so if you are planning to create a "hang out" space downstairs, consider putting in at least a half-bath (just a sink and toilet) in the basement. When it comes to plumbing, you are a little more limited in where exactly the room should go. It needs to be as close as possible to your existing plumbing, so it makes sense to situate the basement bathroom under or at least near an upstairs bathroom or kitchen. If that is not possible, at least try to get it near the laundry room.

Here are a few basement design ideas for fun and functional spaces, to get you started on thinking about what you want and need:

  • Extra bedrooms for guests, or for family members who are currently sharing a bedroom and really wish they weren't

  • Home theater for family movie nights

  • Rec room with a pool table or other game tables

  • Art or music studio

  • Crafts and hobbies room

  • Wine cellar and tasting room

  • Man or woman cave

  • Home gym or dance studio

  • Home office

  • Children's playroom

  • Laundry room

  • Work and storage space for a home business

  • Self-contained suite for rental or relatives

2. Put Up Drywall and Install Flooring

If you already have a finished lower level to work with, you are ahead of the game and can move on to the next step. But if all you have is a concrete floor and framed-in walls, drywall and flooring installation are going to be the first things your Ann Arbor handyman team needs to tackle. Finished rooms are obviously a lot more pleasant and welcoming, but they also go a long way towards increasing the selling price for your home.

Below ground areas are actually not usually included in the square footage of a home when it goes on the market, but most buyers will be pleased and impressed by a professionally completed Ann Arbor basement remodel. When prospective buyers see a finished basement, it convinces them to make an offer on the house because they see how much additional space they are getting, and they don't have to deal with a basement remodel themselves right after moving in.

What Type of Flooring Should Be Used for a Basement Remodel?

Solid hardwood is not a good choice for your subterranean floor, because it can't be installed over concrete without a subfloor, and it can be warped by excess moisture. However, if you love the natural look of hardwood, engineered wood flooring is a great alternative option for flooring installation. It is composed of a thin veneer of hardwood bonded to a premium plywood backing, so it looks exactly like hardwood but can be installed over a concrete floor and it is resistant to warping. Other popular choices for Ann Arbor basement remodels include tile, vinyl planks, carpet, or laminate flooring.

3. Upgrade Lighting Fixtures

Numerous horror movies feature a poorly lit basement, usually with a single lightbulb swinging back and forth ominously, so it is no wonder most people are not interested in spending time in a dark, unfinished area below ground. Obviously it can be really difficult to get natural light in a subterranean area, so it is important to have enough lighting fixtures to adequately brighten up the rooms and reach into all the nooks and crannies.

What Kind of Light Fixtures are Best for an Ann Arbor Basement Remodel?

If ceiling height is a concern, recessed lights and/or wall sconces are smart choices that will provide ample light without taking up any precious head room. LED lights are common choices for Ann Arbor basement remodels because they provide a strong light source and conserve energy.

4. Don't Forget Ventilation

Ventilation may not be high up on your list of Ann Arbor basement remodel priorities, but it should be. A simple ceiling fan can make an airless basement space a lot more pleasant and comfortable, and it can also save you a significant amount of money on energy costs. A ceiling fan is capable of changing the temperature in a room by four or five degrees, by recirculating cool air that "settles'' near the floor, and warm air that rises to the ceiling. That means you can set your thermostat higher or lower to reduce strain on your HVAC system and save money on your utility bill. If you plan on creating a hobby space for a hobby that produces noxious fumes, adequate ventilation to the outdoors is, of course, critical.

What If I Don't Have Room for a Ceiling Fan?

You may not have room for a traditional ceiling fan, but they do come in recessed models that, just like recessed lights, sit flush in the ceiling and don't take up space in a room with a low ceiling. Also called "hugger" fans (because they hug the ceiling), they don't move as much air as a traditional style, but they are a big improvement over nothing.

5. Include Storage Solutions

All too often, the basement becomes that place where you put stuff "for now," and it never budges again. Having a whole floor of your house serve as basically a storage locker isn't necessarily the best use of space, but that doesn't mean you should eliminate all the storage space when you plan an Ann Arbor basement remodel.

Smart, custom storage solutions will give you somewhere to keep all that stuff that needs to be tucked out of the way, like large sports equipment, boxes of stuff you want to keep but not look at, and so on. Our handymen are skilled at custom carpentry, and can make built-in storage options such as shelving, cabinets, bins, bookcases, hobby benches, and much more — there is no end to the options when it is being custom made just for your home, and it is a great feeling to have a place for everything and everything in its place.

How Can I Get This Mess in the Playroom Under Control?

If the rest of the house is pristine, but the playroom always looks like a toy hurricane ripped through it moments ago, you are certainly not alone. It's not easy to keep children's play spaces neat and tidy, but our team can create custom playroom storage that will make tidying up easy enough that even kids can do it. Your options for custom playroom storage include cubby shelves, bench seats along the wall with hinged toy boxes underneath, a net "cage" for stuffed animals, and lots more.

6. Make Sure Your Basement is Safe and Protected

While your basement remodel is underway, it makes sense to take some precautions to ensure your home is running safely and is protected against disasters. Your Ann Arbor handyman can help with all these preventative maintenance measures that should be completed during your basement remodel:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (this is especially important if you have a combustion furnace or gas-powered laundry appliances)

  • Clean out vent hose or pipe for automatic clothes dryer

  • Insulate hot water heater to make it more energy efficient

  • Repair or replace sump pump

  • Seal windows to block moisture and air drafts

  • Repair loose, creaky steps

  • Replace steps that are too narrow or unsafe for some other reason

  • Install handrails or grab bars

Is Dryer Vent Cleaning Really That Important?

Absolutely. A dryer vent that does not get regular cleaning from a professional is a major fire hazard. Lint makes its way into the vent over time, where it partially or completely blocks air flow. That causes the dryer to struggle because it has no way to vent hot, humid air from wet laundry, and it can create an electrical spark that sets the lint on fire and sends flames racing through the walls.

This part is obviously not as important, but still good to know: aside from reducing the risk of fire, dryer vent cleaning can save you money on your energy bill by keeping your dryer running efficiently so it doesn't need to use as much energy to dry your clothes.

7. Assemble New Furniture

Once your Ann Arbor basement remodel is perfectly finished and laid out to your exact specifications, you are going to need some furniture to fill the area. When you're furniture shopping, keep in mind that some things are simply not going to fit down the stairs, no matter how much you push and pull. To avoid that problem, consider getting flat-pack furniture and assembling it in the basement.

If just thinking about trying to decipher pictographic instructions gives you a headache and the very sight of an Allen key causes you to break out in a cold sweat, don't panic! Our Ann Arbor handyman team has assembled numerous types of furniture and managed to get everything put together perfectly.

8. Add the Finishing Touches

Finally, don't forget those little touches that will make your new living space feel like home. Our team can hang curtains or blinds, install an awesome basement bar with a mini fridge, mount a TV on the wall, put up artwork, and whatever else you need to wrap up your basement remodel.

Do You Want a Basement Remodel? My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea Will Get the Job Done!

If you are in Ann Arbor or a nearby community such as Milan, Ypsilanti, or Dexter, you can rely on the service professionals at My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea to make your dream basement a reality.

Give us a call today at 734-666-3021 to book an appointment, or to chat with our friendly customer service staff and find out more about our reliable handyman services. Whether you need a drywall repairman, a basement remodeling expert, or anything in between, we’re here to help.