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Basement Layout: What goes where

How do you arrange a room that takes up an entire floor, has poor lighting, and is usually cold and dreary? Where do you even start? There are many ways to approach your basement layout, but you should focus on a layout that adds convenience, organization and function to your home.

Define the Space
Basement RemodelingFirst and foremost you must determine what you’ll be using the basement for. Do you want a play area for your kids? Do you need a craft area, guest room or home office? Define the areas before you decide where they should be located in the room. Also, some things in your basement can’t be changed or would be costly to change, such as a metal beam. As says, your basement layout will have to work around these aspects.

Some homeowners may want to build an apartment in their basement with a living room, bedroom, kitchen and full bathroom. Others may want something simpler like a game room, personal gym or laundry room. The writes that by deciding on the purpose of the space, you can then determine the basement layout. For example, a bathroom may have to be located near a wet bar with a sink to keep the plumbing simple. 

Plan and Measure
Once you’ve planned your basement layout and chosen a reputable basement contractor to help you, it’s time to start measuring. recommends starting out by measuring the outside perimeter of your finished basement. suggests using 1/4-inch graph paper to lay out your design. Make 1/4 inch equal one foot, and if you don’t have enough room on your paper, tape more graph paper together. Try to keep your measurements as accurate as you can get them so you don’t end up installing something that doesn’t fit! writes on their website that you should allow at least 8 to 12 inches of space from the outer perimeter to account for walls built around ductwork and pipes. They write that it is easier to hide mechanical works behind a new wall rather than creating bump-outs and boxes around a wall-hugging design.

You could also try using 3D software to measure the layout of your basement. recommends using the Ikea Home Planner to lay out the basics of what your basement might look like. It can also help you plan where things like electrical outlets, windows, doors and interior walls would go. There are a number of other programs you could use for designing layouts as well, such asHome Design from Better Homes and Gardens. However, cautions that there are many factors that can interfere with a 3D software design. Use them only for visualization purposes.


Make a Budget
Set a budget and stick to it; there are ways to remodel your basement without cashing out your 401K. You can find various calculators online that can help you determine how much you will have to spend on certain materials. These are just ballpark figures, though, so the real number may be different. Basement contractors can also help you figure out what you will need and how much everything will cost.

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