Imagine this: what’s currently your empty, dingy basement is a completely different space. You go down the stairs, and there you see it, a spacious, beautiful, room. Maybe it’s an en-suite you’ve designed for your in-laws.

Maybe it’s a fancy theater room, or maybe it’s a play area for the kids. Wherever your imagination takes you, you can get there with basement remodeling.

Of course, remodeling your basement can be a bit stressful to think about. There’s so much to consider, such as basement remodeling ideas, costs, and taking all the right construction steps.

Because there’s so much involved in remodeling your basement, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. In it, you’ll learn everything you need to about basement remodeling in 2021.

Finally, you can turn your basement into the best room of your home, at a cost you can afford. Read on to learn more.

Step 1: Basement Remodeling Ideas

Before you start taking apart your basement piece by piece and putting in new floors and partitions, you should think about how you want to use the space. The basement design will be inspired by these ideas.


First, you’ll want to think about whether you want a bathroom in your basement. Usually, if it’s a larger basement, the answer is yes. If your basement measures at least 1,200 square feet, you should think about half both a full and a half-bathroom.

This way, when your guests use the basement space, they won’t have to go all the way upstairs to use the bathroom. If you’re planning on having guests sleep in the basement, then a full bathroom just makes sense.


When people think of a basement, they don’t often think of where the hallways will go because they’re thinking about the uses of the room. However, you can actually create separate rooms and hallways.

Remember to include this in your plan when redesigning your basement. You don’t want your guests to feel like they’re closed in! A hallway can also provide a bit more flow in a larger basement.

Bedroom or Ensuite

Speaking of sleeping over, many people who redesign their basement consider the basement design ideas of making it into another bedroom or ensuite space. If you have family members who often come over and spend the night, this is a perfect solution.

Living Room or Entertainment Area

If you enjoy entertaining, other basement ideas include making the basement into a second living room or entertainment area. You could simply put in a couch and TV, but if you’re feeling fancy, you could even set up a gaming station or in-home theater.

Other entertainment ideas include putting in a bar, pool table, or other party favorites.

Massage Room/ Home Gym

If you’re big into self-care and health, then you could make your basement into a massage room or home gym. You won’t have to make too many changes to the interior since these are pretty private activities, but you should think about a few things.

For example, think about installing glass walls or doors so you’re looking out the window when you’re running on the treadmill. As for the massage room, you could think about putting in new floors that transform the space into a spa.

Wine Cellar

Are you a big wine aficionado? Then you can set up a wine cellar in your basement. You can decide where racks go and install fancy lights to show off your wine collection.

You can also change the floors to wooden ones so your guests feel like they’re in a fancy restaurant.

Step 2: Get the Right Building Permits

Once you’ve thought about what type of remodeling you want to do in your basement—and you’ve budgeted to make sure that you can cover the cost of remodeling a basement—it’s time to get the right building permits.

Depending on where you live, you might need a building permit when you decide to refinish your basement. Check to see if what you’re doing is legal and find out if there are any fees you have to pay.

If you have any issues doing this, get in touch with a lawyer to find out if there are any laws that make it possible to do your remodel.

Another important reason for getting the right building permits is that you can demonstrate, when selling your home, that construction was done up to code and safely. If you can’t prove this, it might negatively impact how much you can sell your home for.

Additionally, if you have an issue with your homeowner’s insurance related to your renovated basement, you might not be covered in case of an emergency.

Step 3: Do the Prep Work

Before you start remodeling your basement, you have to go down into your basement and do some prep work. If your basement is quite old, you might need to waterproof it before starting construction. Additionally, look out for mold other types of toxins.

You can easily get a mold testing kit from a hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot.

Once you’ve checked for mold and other potential toxins, cleaned out your basement, and waterproofed it, you’re ready to start constructing the basement of your dreams.

Step 4: Frame Your Walls

Because of the basement remodeling ideas you came up with, you should have a pretty good plan of what your basement will look like. If you don’t, put together a plan with an interior designer to make sure that the interior is possible in your basement.

Then, you’re ready to frame your basement’s walls. To do this, you have to order lumber. Don’t forget to buy the bottom and top plates!

If your basement floor is made of concrete, this impacts the type of concrete you should buy. Buy wood that’s pressure-treated—for example, timber strand—and install it using a floating wall.

This way, the concrete can contract and expand without putting pressure on the rest of your home.

Once you’ve put in your timber, it’s time to install the drywall. When you do this, remember to use spike nails that measure 6 inches, placing them 24 to 36 inches apart from each other. When framing your walls, use 16 inches on the center.

You also need to do fire blocking, sealing the top plate that touches the concrete wall.

Step 5: Put In the Plumbing

Once you’ve framed your basement walls, it’s time to put in the plumbing. This can be a bit tricky, so if you don’t feel like you’re up for the job, you can simply hire a professional. However, if you like home improvement, we’ll cover how to put in plumbing here.

First, you want to complete the rough-in plumbing step. To do this, you have to cut the concrete where the new pipes will be installed.

If you already have pipes in your basement, it might be a good idea to design the remodel around the pipes. However, you can always shut off your wire and change the plumbing slightly.

If your basement has a floating floor, then you’ll have to get into your crawl space to make these changes.

When installing the plumbing, follow all the required codes. Different types of plumbing have to be different sizes, according to local codes.

Step 6: HVAC and Electrical Work

Now that you’ve installed the plumbing, you’ll want to get to work on the HVAC and electrical work. To do this, we recommend that you hire an electrician. After all, you could end up getting electrocuted when doing this part of the remodel.

An electrician will handle installing more HVAC units if you need them. Chances are, you already have some in your basement. But if you’re going to be using it more often now, additional units can be helpful.

As for installing more electrical wires, think about what you’ll be keeping down here and what lighting you want to install.

If you’re planning on having many different exercise machines plugged in, you might need extra outlets. If you’re going to have lights installed to show off your wine cellar, you might need more wires installed in the ceiling.

Step 7: Finish Your Basement Walls

Once you’ve installed the HVAC units, electronics, and plumbing, it’s time to finish your basement walls. The first thing you want to do is put up the drywall. You can do this yourself, but we recommend hiring a professional.

This is especially the case for putting the drywall on the ceiling since this can be quite challenging and hard to do correctly because of the weight of the material pressing down on you.

Once you’ve put the drywall in, it has to be covered with mud and tape. This should also be done professionally since you might otherwise end up with uneven walls. If you do it yourself, you want to end up with a level 4 finish.

Finally, you’ll add texture to the drywall. Usually, the type of texture you want is knockdown texture.

Step 8: Paint Your Walls and Ceiling

Now that your walls are sturdy and smooth, it’s time to paint them. It’s possible to do this on your own, especially if you’ve painted walls in your home before and have a bit of practice. Remember that you need to put primer on the walls first.

Then, when it comes to the paint itself, remember to buy high-quality paint. You’ve already put so much work in. You don’t want your basement looking less impressive simply because you bought cheaper paint.

You also want to make sure that the paint colors go with the aesthetic of your basement. If you’ve set up a wine cellar, you should go for darker, neutral, velvety tones that go with the classy vibe you’re going for.

If you’re setting up a play area for your kids, on the other hand, you could go for fun, bright colors they’ll enjoy.

Step 9: Do the Trim Work

Once you’ve finished painting your basement, you need to complete the trim work. This involves installing light fixtures, mirrors, and switch plates. You’ll also remove the construction lights you’ve been using—after which you can use your new lights!

Step 11: Put In the Flooring

Then, you’ll put in your basement’s flooring. There are many options available to you, whether the surface is concrete or a floating floor. These options include stained concrete, vinyl, tile, carpet, and hardwood.

Step 12: Move the Furniture In

Finally, you’ll move the furniture in. This includes anything from a bed to a couch to a storage space for your in-laws’ things since they’ll be staying the night so often. You can also move in technology, such as your big-screen TV or gym equipment.

Now, you can take a step back and look at your beautiful, remodeled basement.

Need More Information or Considering Hiring a Professional Remodeling Firm?

Design Tech Remodeling is a design-build remodeling firm that would be an excellent place to start. Since 1997, this multi-award-winning firm has been remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, lower levels, and master-suites for southeastern Wisconsin residents.

Contact Milwaukee NARI’s 2021 Remodeler of the Year today!