If you live in a home with an unfinished basement, it offers something exciting: possibilities.

Making the decision to invest in a basement finishing project can potentially add a lot to your home and life. You gain not only a whole new space for your family to spend time in—something the pandemic has made more valuable than ever—but also the opportunity to turn that space into something that makes your home more comfortable, useful, or entertaining.

If you’re in the early stages of considering basement finishing, imagining the many features you can add to your home in the process may help you make a decision.

1.  An HVAC system

For most finished basements in the Charlotte, NC area, the HVAC system you already have won’t work well enough for your basement as well. This is an important feature to factor into your basement finishing budget in order to ensure the space you create is comfortable enough for your family to enjoy year-round.

2.  Recessed LED lighting

Where most of your house can take advantage of ample natural lighting, basements have more limited access to the daylight. Getting the lighting right in a finished basement is crucial to creating the right atmosphere. Recessed LED lighting is a good option, because it doesn’t take up as much space as larger lighting fixtures, but still provides plenty of light.

But thinking about limited space options doesn’t mean you have to trade in aesthetics. Many of the finished basements we’ve worked on included stylish lighting choices that helped the owners make the space their own.

3. Windows

Windows aren’t just a nice-to-have in a finished basement, they’re also an important safety feature. Including egress windows in your plan will allow your family an extra way to get out of the basement in case of emergency. But in addition to the practical, windows can let in a little extra light, which can go a long way in an underground space.

4. Quality flooring

Unfinished basements tend to have cement flooring. But one of the biggest changes you can make to turn your basement into a place you like hanging out in is changing the flooring to something that looks better and is more comfortable. You can add carpet, hardwood floors, laminate, tile—whatever you like.

5. Kitchen or kitchenette

Make your finished basement considerably more useful by including a full kitchen or a kitchenette. Adding a whole extra space for storing and preparing food can bring a considerable amount of convenience to your household. You and your housemates never have to compete for kitchen space again, and preparing food for dinner parties (once those are safe again) is much easier when you have more counter space and appliances to tap into.

6. Bar setup

Even if you don’t go the full kitchen route, your basement can become a comfortable place for mixing drinks and snacking if you add a wet bar. Including a bar setup can also make it a great space for entertaining down the line.

7. Walk-in pantry

A finished basement can also be put to use for storage. If you want to keep extra nonperishables at home, but have limited space upstairs, a walk-in pantry can provide much needed room for things like dried foods, canned goods, pickles, and preserves—not to mention paper goods like toilet paper, if you want to stock up.

8. Entertainment center

Do you ever have fights about who gets access to the main TV in the house? Adding an entertainment center to your finished basement can make those arguments history. You can plan out the space to your preferences—including adding shelving for your Blu-Ray or video game collection, and space for any devices you plan to hook up to the screen.

9. Built-in bookshelves

If your book collection keeps expanding beyond your current space, your basement can become the solution. Give your basement the feel of a cozy library by adding built-in bookshelves. If you want an excuse to keep buying new books, a whole new set of bookshelves to fill is a good one!

10. Fireplace

Add some extra warmth and ambiance to the space during the cold months by including a fireplace. A good contractor can make sure you plan out and install a ventilation system that makes it safe, so you can enjoy the extra warmth and light with no worries.

11. Soundproofing

Want to be able to watch movies, play video games, or socialize with your buddies as loud as you want? Soundproofing can ensure that what happens in your basement doesn’t infringe on the comfort of anyone upstairs.

12. A door (or doors) to outside

Installing doors that go directly outside can add a lot of convenience for anyone that spends much of their time in the basement, and can increase the safety of the space in case they ever need to get out fast. Depending on the design of your home, you may be able to install large doors that open up to a patio, making it easier for anyone in the basement to take advantage of the outdoors.

13. Gym

Staying fit is a definite challenge when you’re stuck at home most days. This is the perfect time to build a home gym, and your basement could be just the right space for it. Adding gym equipment to your finished basement gives you the incentive and means to exercise more often, and more easily.

14. Home theater

An entertainment center is one thing, but for serious cinephiles, the basement can be turned into a home theater. Add plush seating and a large screen, and you’ve got the perfect setting to enjoy your favorite movies. You can even splurge on a popcorn machine, if you want to replicate the movie theater experience more effectively.

15. Barn doors

Including barn doors in your basement finishing project can add some extra style, plus give you an easy way to move between rooms. And they can allow you to add a little extra privacy to different areas of the basement.

16. In-law or guest suite

A lot of the features we’ve covered provide you a way to use the extra space to indulge in your hobbies and passions. But there’s also a practical and useful way to employ your finished basement: as somewhere for a loved one to live and still have their own privacy, or for guests to stay when they visit. If you expect that a family member, such as an aging parent, may have trouble living alone in the near future, but you know if they move in that everyone will be happier if they have their own space, your basement can be the solution.

Optimize the Space You Have

An unfinished basement is wasted space. You have passions, hobbies, and practical needs. By putting the basement to use for the things your family wants or needs more of, you can potentially defray family tensions, indulge more in the things you love, and make your home go further for you.

If you’re ready to start turning your basement finishing dreams into an actual plan, Fineline Construction can help. Get in touch for a free consultation.