Increase your space by reclaiming your basement

It is possible to double your house for half the money especially if you have existing space that you’re not using to its best advantage? Attics and basements are two perfect examples of wasted space that you could revamp to be light and airy bedrooms. Today’s blog focuses on reclaiming your basement, inspired by our experience of transforming a pokey Victorian flat into a large family home.

Work with light

The biggest challenge of basement living is the lack of light, but don’t despair because with a little budget and the right use of light and imagination you can give the impression that your basement is on the ground floor. You might want to go on an ‘inspiration trip’ to get some ideas but using a mirror shaft system is one clever way to bring the light from outside into your basement. You can also ensure that artificial light looks as natural as possible by working with hidden under-counter lighting or ‘hiding’ the lights behind a ceiling recess. Incorporating LED lights into handrails is also very effective. Opt for warm LED lamps and resist the urge to choose the modern stark look before you end up with a ‘glorified cellar’ instead. Layering your light is also an effective way to get a more natural look with artificial light. In addition to using your hidden LED lamps, cluster beautiful hanging pendant lights to create a layered look.

Did you know? LED lights, although more expensive to purchase upfront, are 80% more efficient and last up to 100% longer than other lamps.

Look for hidden assets and streamline the building process

Period features can actually fetch a generous price, for example, Victorian flagstone flooring. See what existing features you have that you don’t want to incorporate into your new look and get a valuation. This could be used against the building costs.

Another way to cut building costs is to streamline the process. A basement is challenging in that it isn’t easily accessible for removing rubble and bringing in building material so if you can work with your builder by identifying the best exit point or pulley system you may be able to minimise your building budget and save time on the project.

Did you know? You need to ensure you get building plan approval as well as neighbour approval (in the case of a shared wall) before you can redo a basement. You also need to underpin (strengthen) the foundation. Don’t forget to damp-proof either (try adding a wall membrane)!

Choose your décor with prudence

Even when you are using the best lighting technique you need to ensure you also choose light coloured paint, flooring and cupboards. Light laminate flooring and off-white walls will work brilliantly with your warm LED lighting. Also bring in elements from the outside such as pot plants and wicker furniture.

Did you know? French doors work well in basements to bring a bit of the outdoors inside, if you can fit them into your building plans.

Watch the episode where the Ellises transformed their basement into a beautiful area with two spacious bedrooms on a tight budget. You will surely be astounded with the change you can make to an old damp basement with the clever use of light and imagination.

Get Started with Sarah Beeny's Tepilo now.