Basement Design Ideas


Basement Design Ideas are a large part of home renovation how to projects. When you know how to deal with finishing your basement, then you understand what it takes to do the better part of all renovations. The issues you face in the basement will be the same for most people renovating any part of the house. The basement can have some extra requirements not typically associated with the main level or second floor of a home depending on the type of structure.

Basement Design Ideas

To get into the basics of basement design ideas for this post, we will look at what you need to consider to make your plans work. Whether you’re designing a basement or an entire house the renovation concepts are the same. You need to consider the structure of the home and everything within the walls and ceiling. Basement design ideas are more than just what color you choose for the wall or trim picked out for doors and windows.

basement design ideas

Most designers I’ve worked with have no understanding of construction, so when they come up with a lot of their design ideas, homeowners are paying out double to triple the amount of money for the same thing just because of what it takes to make the design alterations. When you understand the knowledge behind home construction, your basement design ideas and any other area of the house you have plans to alter, you’ll save hundreds to thousands by knowing what’s involved.

This post will be the first of a few to help you realize; it’s not just what you see but rather what you do not see that may cost you big money.

Type of Basement:

  • Concrete block
  • Poured Concrete
  • ICF

Concrete block

If your dealing with finishing a basement that has concrete blocks as it’s structure then it is best to waterproof all the exterior walls. With a membrane in place, you’ll protect your finished basement just in case of a future crack. Concrete blocks are susceptible to cracks that lead to leaky basements. Knowing you have this type of foundation is the time to make sure you took proper measure to ensure a dry basement for the future.

Poured Concrete

Poured concrete basements do not have the initial problems of leakage as a block foundation, but they can still crack causing problems. If the opportunity to have a waterproofing membrane in place is available, it would be well worth the cost to save on potential problems down the road. Where I live, this is the most common form of concrete basements all the homes in the area have. A note to remember is if you ever see a crack in a wall running down the foundation, you can be sure there is also a crack on the opposite side as well. If the crack is not close to being entirely opposite in direction, then you may have a spidering effect happening on the floor. You’ll discover, instead of having a spot where one crack goes off in two directions, you have three or more cracks running off in different directions.


An ICF foundation (Insulated Concrete Form) is one of the more superior ways to have a dry basement. ICF foundations usually never have the inherent leaks with getting leaking cracks like the other two products used for foundations.

Style of Basement:

  • Bungalo
  • Split Entry
  • Back or side split
  • Two Story


The foundation for a bungalow could be buried in the ground from a few feet to almost the entire wall. How the foundation sits on the ground makes a big difference to whether you can have a walk out basement door or do you need a staircase that takes you from ground level to a basement entrance that has proper drainage set up. The other big issue is the further the basement is buried into the ground the smaller your windows will become unless you have window wells and drainage installed. Window wells allow for larger windows to let in the light but lack in notable appearance when looking through them to the outside.

Split Entry

A split entry is designed to try and maximize on the home design and landscaping of the property. If this type of home is placed on a flat lot, then the foundation is only a few feet in the ground giving you larger windows all the way around the home. Most of these homes were designed to be built on a hill. By placing the home in the hill, you have easy access for how a garage and front entrance can be fitted in as the interior staircase from the landing way can change from a 50/50 to the combination required like 30/70. Instead of equal steps from the entrance landing, you could have less to the basement area and more to get to the upper level.

Back or side split

The back or side split home was designed to fit just about anywhere you need a home. They are three to four levels and share the same concept as a split entry and bungalow combined. The reason it can share the bungalow concept is the third, or the fourth level of the basement could very easily be entirely buried with no windows.

Two Story

A two story is pretty much in the same boat as a bungalow when it comes to all the land terrain you could be facing. Both bungalows and two stories require you to have steps covering 8-10 feet depending on ceiling heights for your home.

Home Renovations How To Monthly NewsletterSo depending on the lay of the lot with the type and style of home will determine:

How big is your basement?
Do you have large, smaller or no windows?
Do you have a basement entrance?
How high are the ceilings?
Are there crawl spaces?

Every one of these questions will play a part in your overall basement design ideas. The big thing to remember with all of this is before you do anything, you need to draw out your plans for all the space. That way you can get the full potential of the space you have to work with in your design. These plans will show you where some things are a requirement now while other things could wait if you’re not planning to do the whole basement at once.

So just what are we looking at:

Any plumbing required in the concrete floor needs to be addressed first.
All exterior walls to be insulated and vapour barrier where required.
If you’re planning on a sub-floor, now is the easiest time.
Interior framing if needed to separate between the different rooms.
If you require plumbing for a bathroom it’s next.
Get the basement wired for all the electrical.
If you have stereo wiring and data lines, nows a good time.
Time to close up the walls and ceilings.
Tape, mud and paint the walls and ceilings.
Trim out windows, doors and paint all trim.
Depending on design finish fireplaces, book shelves etc before or after flooring.
Install all your flooring.
Finish baseboards and any other trim work, then paint or touch up.


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  1. Wow I want that basement!

    Brilliant site you have here, I’m forever looking at properties but tend to stop once I see how much work is needed to get it into a good shape. Sure I can picture that lovely kitchen and cosy living room with the fireplace but WHERE do I start?!

    Your site will be a great platform for anyone looking to make some really impressive home improvements

    • In the beginning, a lot of things may look donting but when you know the segence and the deatails to what is involved things can be so much easier. Understanding the process is a lot easier when you know what your up against. This website and the others related will help those looking to get a better understanding move forward with their projects.

  2. Thanks for this article. I’ve always been put off basements because I just feel like they’re dank and dark and smelly – but it’s more realistic that I just wouldn’t have the confidence to actually do something about them myself.
    This article has given me a lot of information to think about and in the future I certainly wont look at basements the same way. I might one-day get the bat cave of my dreams! (very similar to your pic)

    • Travis Smithers

      Depending on where you live and the condition of your basement there is a lot of room that can come in very handy at times. All basements can be used to some degree for something providing extra space to make the overall fuctionality of your home fit your life style better.

  3. This website is really nice. You have a great set up with appropriate pictures. Obviously you have put in a lot of time and effort with creating this website. The before and after pictures are a great feature, also. The free tutorials are a very nice touch, especially for the do it yourself person. This is a great website. Keep up the good work

    • Travis Smithers

      Glad to hear you like the site as I have been developing this site to take over the DIY and renovation knowledge for those who want to know from my primary website TD Remodeling.

  4. Some great design ideas here. Unfortunately, they will be no good for me as I don’t have a basement, but who knows in the future, perhaps that will change!

    I love the idea of having a basement, they seem so cosy to me. I would probably like to decorate it with artwork and bright colors and have it as a quiet creative space.

    • Travis Smithers

      People have been reclaiming basement areas for many different reasons and your ideas would work out fine. There are some areas that do not even have basements and probably never will while other areas never consider building a home without one.

      A lot of it has to do with where you live and if you do have basements then it all comes down to how you may want to use it as a living space. Nobody knows what the future may bring so one day you may own a place with a basement and you’ll be able to do your creative designs to it.

  5. coughlanmaureen

    This is a great website very interesting I really enjoyed reading this post!
    Gave me some great ideas on home improvements and I loved your images !
    You have a great knowledge of building concepts and provide the reader with a variety of valuable information thanks for sharing!
    I will be coming back to this website again as it could help me a lot when I redecorate my home

    • Travis Smithers

      Always glad to help and through the years have done so many renovations that I thought I would see about helping out others with ideas and knowledge I’ve gained working and helping out people in my area.

      One of the biggest things is to understand the procedures and know what you like and would want to do. From there you’ll be able to make things happen. Happy renovations!

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