Many homes in the Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA metro areas have a basement. Unfortunately, that basement space is often unfinished. Unfinished basement space is most common in older homes, particularly the charming craftsman homes and bungalows found in local neighborhoods.

Many homeowners, especially as their families grow, look to find ways to take advantage of the extra space a basement offers. Unfortunately that often just means using the basement as storage space.

But unfinished basement space is wasted space!

There’s so much you can do with your basement. You can:

  • Build out a quiet home office
  • Create a man cave or home theater
  • Turn it into a play area for the kids or an inviting fun family room

Many people think that turning a basement into a useful space is an overwhelming project and one that’s not worth taking on. But in today’s post, we’ll talk about how you can make a basement remodeling project more manageable and make the results something you’ll want to show off!

Plus, finishing and remodeling your basement can add value to your home. The ROI of a basement remodeling project might be almost 70%, according to some estimates.

Step 1: Planning

The first step of any home construction or remodeling project should be planning. The more time you spend planning and preparing, the more ready you’ll be once you start getting down to work.

Questions to ask yourself…

  • What do you want out of your finished basement?
  • What features are must-haves for you and your family?
  • What’s your budget?
  • Will you do the work yourself or work with a contractor or remodeling firm?

Step 2: Use Technology To Reimagine Your Space

There are great tools like Sketch Up and Room Sketcher that allow you to make a model of your space and experiment with how different layouts will look. Home Depot even has an app that can help you visualize how different color paints can affect how a room looks and feels.

Step 3: Make Important Considerations


There’s a lot to think about once you’re actually ready to start your project. Keep reading and we’ll let you know what you should think about. Plus we’ll offer a few creative ideas to get the most out of your basement remodeling project!

Controlling Humidity & Temperature

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to remodeling a Portland or Vancouver basement is making your space warm, dry, and welcoming. There’s nothing worse than a damp, cold, and musty basement!

Remember, moisture can actually cause serious damage to your home! Foundation cracks, damage to the structure of your home, mold growth, and pest infestations can all result from excess moisture entering your home’s basement.

An active basement waterproofing system, like those we install in Portland and Vancouver homes, can help keep your basement dry and free of mold and mildew. Once waterproofed, additional insulation can help regulate your basement’s temperature, allowing it to hold in heat during the winter and stay cool during the summer. This can help reduce the electric bill for your entire home!

Finishing Walls & Floors


To really enjoy your finished basement, it should look and feel like an extension of your home– not just an afterthought. Start with high-quality drywall for the walls and think about luxurious options for the floor, like the stained and finished concrete floors we specialize in here at Rock Solid Waterproofing.

Concrete is a great material for a basement floor because it’s:

  • Durable and can stand up to plenty of heavy use
  • Versatile and easily finished in a huge variety of decorative colors and styles

Also, think about the effect noise will have on your enjoyment of your new play area, man cave, or home office. Basements, especially those with low ceilings can be echo-prone. You can use rugs to reduce echoes or use acoustic tiles for extra soundproofing.

Light & Lighting


The cliche of a dark basement is a cliche for a reason: it’s hard to have a bright, cheery basement! If you’re remodeling your basement to convert it into a more functional, usable space, pay close attention to the lighting you choose!

  • First, if possible, make use of natural light. That means you’ll need plenty of ground-level windows around the perimeter of your home. You’ll be amazed at how much natural light will enter your basement, even during Portland and Vancouver’s dark winter months.
  • Next, think about the layout of your space. Open spaces with few walls let light flow through. Use archways instead of doors to separate spaces whenever possible.
  • Now, consider the importance of color. Warm, light colors can make your space feel as though it has better lighting and is more open than it really is. Dark colors can really make it feel like the walls are closing in on you.
  • Finally, think about the lights you use. No bare bulbs! Use warm natural-colored light bulbs and fixtures that diffuse light throughout your remodeled basement space.

Interior Design & Decor


No basement conversion project is complete until you’ve finished decorating. Just as a house doesn’t become a home until you add special, personal touches, your basement needs a little interior design and decorating TLC, too.

Depending on why you’re converting your basement into a more useable space, you may want to it to reflect your home’s style. You can go the other way, too, allowing yourself to be more creative and go in a completely different direction! Imagine the possibilities. How about a sleek modern basement home office while the upstairs retains its Arts and Crafts charm?

Some ideas to inspire you:

  • Think about using your basement space to highlight and show off your interests. Maybe a collection of Timbers or Trail Blazers memorabilia? Or display souvenirs you’ve collected on vacations with your family.
  • Don’t forget to hide those appliances! Use curtains, or partitions to keep your hot water heater or washer and dryer accessible but out of sight.
  • Reclaim extra space under the staircase. Check out these ideas for under-staircase storage, reading nooks, and other cool projects!


Step 4: Time to Get Started!


Remember, while it can be fun to think about what you might do with your basement space, you’ve got to follow through and actually do it!

At Rock Solid Waterproofing, we’re a great first call if you’re planning a basement remodel. We can help you waterproof your basement and install awesome flooring that will work for just about any basement conversion or remodeling project.

Photo Credits: Mosaik Design, Geoff Sloan (flickr), Kyle Murphy (flickr), Geoff Livingston (flickr)