There are so many ideas you could take up and spin that outdated basement you’re harbouring into a delightful space. 2019 has brought a lot of basement ideas that you can renovate towards and finally start enjoying the entirety of your property. We’ve scoured the internet looking for such renovation ideas and some actionable advice as to how you can get started with the remodelling. Breathe new life into your basement with these trending room usage and design ideas from other homeowners in Toronto.
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What you can make out of your basement
1. Video Games Room
A lot of Twitch streamers have had their home basements renovated into comfortable and well-lit gaming studios in Canada. While this would have been considered a waste of space since gaming was viewed as a past time, the recent monetization of quick reflexes and great conversation while playing has taken the world by storm. A gaming room is a sure way to start a side business worth investing in the renovation of your basement. There are many designs to pick from, but the general spending should e justified with a pretty high ROI.
2. Family Room
You probably have the living room for this right? No, it’s not the same thing. Create a space specially designed for family bonding activities that would otherwise leave the rooms above the basement in need of cleaning attention. If your family enjoys watching movies together, this is your chance to make movie watching an event you all look forward to. Comfortable seating, perfect lighting systems and an entertainment system should be on the budget. Go with what your family enjoys the most.
3. Air BnB Room
The 3rd party accommodation industry has seen a significant upsurge in Toronto of late. You’re not late to the feast, there is plenty for you to dig into if you decide to turn your basement into an AirBnB space for guests to frequent. Run a quick search of how much a day costs living in a self-catered AirBnB space in your neighbourhood to get a scale of how much extra income you could be making. This could be a long term project with the possibility to earn you out of the investment loan that several banks can hand you.
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4. A Gym in The Basement
It doesn’t take more than a few strides for you to turn any space into a fitness area, your basement would be perfect to convert into a gym for the entire family. With good ventilation, well-insulated walls and the right equipment, you could start on the path to a healthy family at nothing more than a few minutes workout daily. Investing in your family’s health is perhaps one of the smartest spends you can do nowadays.
This will include bringing new workout equipment into the picture, so be sure to have enough budget for that. You can find more design ideas for home-based gym and fitness center on Pinterest.
5. Home Bar
Make your house the place your family and friends can’t wait to get to by installing a modern bar in the basement. You can have competitive games like billiards and darts to make each time spent in the bar space memorable. There are various modern home bar designs, be sure to make the most of every inch in the basement. Adding a bathroom along with the fun space would be cherry on top. Have a young family, no problem, this could give you the privacy you need to entertain your friends far from your kids.
6. Home Office
Take advantage of the way more companies are embracing the work-from-home concept with a new home office in your basement. A quiet and conducive space for you to focus on what brings money home. Taking the office underground could be an awesome way to move the work away from distractions above ground. Be sure to insulate and at the same time ventilate to make the environment perfect regardless of what temperature it is outside. Different people need different things in their offices, a constant is that this won’t cost you as much as all the other ideas we’ve also suggested.
7. Storage Space
Not that you should turn your basement into an indexed storage space for your family’s lesser-used belongings, but you could actually turn the space into an organized silo for things you’d rather not throw away. Free up space around the house by decluttering while neatly packing away other stuff in your newly revamped basement. You could go with a series of drawers, or isles to make finding anything later easier. Either way, be sure to use the vertical dimension of the basement just as much as you do the length and width.
8. Extra Sleeping Space
Got a teenager? what better way to give them that freedom they all seem to want so much with the keys to a new dwelling in the basement. Most basements turned into teens getaways include a study area, bathroom and closet to make sure they burst out of their cocoons with as much of their own effort as they can exert. Keeping in mind that they’re not eight any more should hint far into how you design the new space. Allowing them a little access to design can be a great idea for them starting on bigger responsibilities.
9. Band and Musical Instruments Practice Room
That room where all things media takes place. Someone learning the piano, what better space to practice without involving everyone else. Your kid’s band just found a new practice room, leaving the garage for the cars. Invest in their musical talents while allowing them to explore more options this way. Designing a room from where a lot of noise will emanate before it starts sounding beautiful requires a lot of insulation. We wouldn’t want the neighbours calling late at night complaining.
Modern equipment would only take the practice room up a notch to a recording studio. Staying modest and allowing the space to have enough space for the sound to sound sweet to the band or instrument learner will save you on your budget. Maybe a few new instruments with that would be more appreciated.
10. Bowling Room in The Basement
A room doesn’t have to be a gym for you to work out in it. A bowling room can have you work up a sweat, brings a lot of enjoyable moments for your whole family and is sure to become the centrepiece feature on your entire property. Clean shiny floors and good music have always complimented each other. Several homes quietly don bowling rooms in the basement and yours can too. It’s sure to take longer to achieve compared to the rest of the ideas, but each dollar invested will sure find it’s way back in unrivalled days of fun and fitness.
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11. Putt-Putt Golf in The Basement
A family activity you could make your specialty is golf, or at least just the putt-variety. So much fun with competitive yet bond-building recreative moments that are worth turning your basement into a few holes. This is a low budget renovation project for the basement and should have you all gathered for hours on end at a time in a few weeks should you go ahead with the idea. Several designs from Pinterest can spark your imagination, and get your family interested in the concept.
12. Basement Study Room
If you’ve got kids in school, how about dedicating the entire basement to their studies? Bring in study tables, a good chair and racks to place their books. Be sure to include your kids in designing this project to avoid going overboard with facilities they don’t actually need. Several homes with such basements also have dedicated bathrooms for those long study sessions that make going up the stairs and back more of a distraction than a needed break.
13. Run A Company In The Basement
Got that idea that keeps you up at night but just can’t get yourself to get started? You could lessen the risk by starting a company right in your basement. You won’t have to rent an expensive office until you’re absolutely sure to stay afloat. Renovating for office use with a few employees requires less comfort than function focus. For companies that eventually transition out of the basement, starting small was the best move and it can happen like that for you as well.
14. TV-themed (Game of Thrones Room)
How about a Game of Thrones Themed basement? Imagine having the iron throne ready waiting for you at home after a long day at work to relax and have quality time with your family. Your house in this case. Metal is a big theme with the chair, great lighting too and a long family table with matching chairs for everyone would make you the coolest family in the neighbourhood. You can turn your basement into any theme besides the GOT. Here’s some motivation in that direction.
15. Family Hall of Fame
Make excelling at sport, academics or even at work a thing you all cherish with a hall of fame in the basement. This is essentially a lot of frames with pictured moments made immortal to give each of you the edge to keep striving for first place when motivation is low. Pull out those trophies gathering dust somewhere in the attic and display them where they will encourage even more amazing milestones to be reached.
16. Basement Swimming Pool
With a lot of insulation and waterproofing, you can do away with the outdoor pool and bring it inside where you can enjoy the water all year round. Homes with swimming pools in the basement appreciate in value better after installation compared to having one outside. They also leave your family with a fun place for parties, to work out, and to entertain yourselves on the regular. This is a rather time-consuming project and will need some significant investment. You should look to have this done for your sake and not so that you eventually sell the house as some buyers actually prefer homes without a swimming pool.
17. Laundry Room
You can take all the laundry below the ground by reinventing the basement into a complete laundry service space for your family. Washing machine noises, the music playing during ironing sessions, and even a place to hang dry those delicate materials is a great convenience your family will thank for in the long run. A lot of water pipes would definitely be called for, along with a floor able to drain any leakage should you be washing clothes and leave the basement. Coming back to a mess when all you expect to come to is clean linen is the worst, and you should think of all this when setting the project outcomes with your basement renovation contractor.
18. The Man Cave
Need a place for your man to have his ‘me’ time, even when sometimes that’s spent with his friends? You could as well reclaim the basement and turn that into his place to watch sport, drink, laugh madly with friends without disturbing everyone else above ground. It seldom takes much to build a man cave. Essential to the task is knowing that a lot of spillages, noise, and napping will take place down there, so you have to design a room that’s easy to clean, keeps noise pollution at a low and gets enough air to auto-refresh when nobody is using it. A long couch for game nights with the recliner for him, along with a minibar would make for the perfect start to a man cave in the basement project.
19. Wine And Booze Room
Where do you store your wine and strong drinks? Is it somewhere your children also have access to? You should consider turning the basement into your cellar. Sealing the room from external moisture, dust, and heat is the main objective, while you can have the bottle on shelves or in their cases. There are plenty of ways of storing your beer, however, cold should be the first and preferred way and so a dedicated refrigerator could come in handy. Securing such a room from your kids should be of importance to you. A lock and key access control system is the least you could do to keep that precious liquid from getting into the wrong hands in your house.
20. Extra Guest Room
Hate putting guests together when you have family weekends hosted at your house? You should consider renovating your basement into an extra guest room. Depending on how much space you have in total, you could have a bathroom installed as well to make the new room more convenient to live in in the short term.
You probably know just who would be using that room when they come over, and that should go a long way when designing. Where you have a lot of young ones as part of the extended family, this could be the room they share bunks in and make memories that will eventually be told later when they’re older.
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Getting Started With A Basement Renovation Project
Have you found some ideas that would turn your stale basement into a dream living space? You should look through some options for funding with your bank to ensure project success without jeopardizing your standard of life. Many banks offer renovation advances that you can apply for easily. A good example is the Construction Loan from TD Bank.
Be sure to take your time picking the right contractors to enact the needed tasks to bring the ideas we have compiled to reality. If this is your first renovation project, looking into how to hire a basement renovation contractor and the reviews that may have been left from their past work is the best way to engage only the best. As with any other project around the house, things might go sideways, and working with a certified professional will be your lifeline.
Potential Problems With A Basement In Toronto
If your house does not have a basement as yet and the idea has been brewing in your mind long enough, you might as well goa head an have one created. However, there are plenty of problems that might impede your enjoyable occupation of the property. Not to scare but to make aware, these few areas of concerns should be high on your watchlist and should be clearly addressed along with the project’s progression.
A New Resource Demanding Load
Extra space comes with the need for lighting, extra water pipes and a completely new load level on your utilities. These inevitably mean you might also be spending more each coming month on bills. Putting measures in place to counter the spending, or having enough funds allocated beforehand is strongly advisable.
Potential Fire Hazards
The new wood, cloth, paint, plastics and other flammable building materials that go into the building of a basement pose a fire threat. It should be thought of to have enough exits from the building should a fire ever start from the added materials. The basement too should be equipped with fire exhaustion kits to save your property from collapse should it ever be engulfed in flames. Be sure the fire department does a proper check of the new basement to make peace with the rest of the neighbourhood’s homeowners.
Adding More People
When you add more space to your dwelling, more people are expected to move in. Be it through you leasing the new basement or your relatives coming over, this could pose a security threat to the neighbourhood. This is something that a few hours of homestead PR can resolve to avoid panic calls to the police when new faces are seen by unexpecting members of the community.
Water Storage Management Issues
Adding a jacuzzi in the basement will give you many memorable moments, but without the right protection in place, that water could sip into your building’s foundation; effectively compromising the integrity of the entire property and some of your neighbours’.
Such a project will definitely increase your property’s value. The same cannot be said for your next-door neighbour. Be sure to have looked into the implications of a new basement beyond your doors. If need be, letting those that are affected know could ease its existence into all of you in a better mood.
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Bylaws You Should Adhere To
Along with those mentioned above, keep the following lines of thought when considering a basement renovation or development project.
Don’t Alter Your House’s Front
There is a limit to how much the renovation work can change your home’s appearance with worries that it could affect the overall worth of houses next door.
The Basement Height Limit
Your basement’s roof should be at least 6ft 5in high. Added to that, you cannot use T-Bar type concrete supports.
A window should be included with the bathroom for ventilation. A smoke detector should be installed and regularly maintained.
When you’re about to place a portal into the basement from the front of the house, changing heating systems.
All these are things most likely to happen regardless of the idea picked for your basement renovation.
You Don’t Need A Permit To Renovate Your Basement if:
- a) The intended work will not require calling the plumbers for new pipes to get connected to your existing plumbing,
- b) You won’t be adding another living space on your property, and
- c) No new materials are going to be added to the property.
Now, these three are a hard bunch to satisfy, which almost always means a permit will be needed before any work is done. Be careful of contractors who, out of desperation will try and bypass the need for permits and even promise you a price cut for a quick job. This always leads to having to spend way more trying to get back on the side of the law. In addition to bad conduct, such contractors will leave you with uncertified construction conditions that could result in the damage of your property when they’re long gone.
You can access the entire list of bylaws, guidelines, along with the administrative contact details to get you started with the basement renovation permit application process here.