Turning unused living space into functional living space not only increases the value of your home, it more than maximizes its enjoyment. Most homeowners with unfinished basements usually focus on their basements as their next major home remodeling project, using it to create a below-ground oasis that can include everything from a child’s play room, a fitness center, or state-of-the-art home theater, to a home office, man cave (or woman’s retreat), wine cellar, home spa, basement brewery…or whatever you can imagine. With the right planning, designing, and building expertise, you too can turn unused, lower level space into high-level living.

Know Where to Start Your Basement Remodel

The best way to start planning your basement remodel is to take a thorough look at your space and identify any problems that need to be corrected, such as eliminating moisture. You may need to waterproof your basement before any work begins. Check your local building codes—you and your contractor need to be aware of any particulars connected to permits and installations. Know what your floor space is like so you can get the most out of it and bring out the positives. And then you’ll want to consider all of your design options to create the kind of space you’ve always wanted.

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Imagining the Ultimate Basement Remodel

Just let your imagination run wild for a moment. If you could envision the ultimate basement remodel with just about any kind of amenity, what would it look like?

Here are some ideas that might pique your interest…

The Perfect Wine Cellar – Turn your lower level space into the ultimate wine connoisseur’s dream, complete with a 600-bottle in-wall wine cellar and cooler. With a wet bar and entertainment area just off to the side, if you enjoy hosting elegant wine tasting parties and entertaining friends and family in style, this is your ultimate basement dream come true.

Man Cave Central – Whether it’s a space just for the guys, or the perfect teen’s hangout and game room, there’s something to keep everyone happy down here in the ultimate man cave. From a pool and foosball table, arcade games, workout gym side room, entertainment nook, and enticing novelty touches, this fun retreat will always be the most popular room in the house.

Party Down Below – With everything you need to throw the ultimate basement party: wet bar, dining table with chairs, comfortable sofa and cocktail table, widescreen TV, home entertaining takes on an edgier feel. There’s something about being in an atypical space that just brings out the more playful side of people.

Media Centered – If you want to feel like you’ve got your very own movie theater (minus the high-priced admission), you can create the ultimate media room, complete with the widest widescreen TV system you can fit and high-quality surround-sound system, luxurious leather reclining seats featuring everything from dual-cup holders and built-in folding trays to soothing, heated massagers. Create a food prep area including a popcorn machine, microwave, mini fridge and a wet bar, and you can have the ultimate entertainment center in your very own home.

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Taking the Basement Remodeling Plunge

Before you begin your project, take the time to map out your basement layout in detail, and take into account the purposes it already serves. Look at basement design ideas to get a feel for the possibilities in your own home. Clever built-ins can help distinguish room divisions and aid in organizing functions.

However you decide to create the ultimate finished basement, keep in mind that remodeling your basement pays off in a number of appealing ways. Transforming an unfinished basement into usable space makes use of space you already have, expanding your livable space and square footage. It also adds an extra floor of quiet, private space away from the activity upstairs that makes your home more attractive to your family and potential buyers. And because it is finished, by improving on the insulation and energy efficiency of your basement, you’ll also improve your home’s overall comfort level, saving money on heating and cooling costs.