Creating a Basement Apartment – Part 1

by Carmen Corbin on December 30, 2011

Extra space in a home is often an opportunity for extra income, and the basement is usually the best candidate.  Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, here are some ideas for creating a basement apartment that is sure to attract plenty of renters.

The Essentials

Access:  Older homes sometimes already have a separate exterior entrance into the basement, with either a standard doorway or wider double doors that are pulled up to access the stairway.  Because those old pull-up doors can be cumbersome, remove the doors and consider putting an awning over the stairwell.  Any exterior entrance should also have a railing installed for added safety.  If the basement doesn’t already have a separate entrance, your home improvement contractor can create one.  If you’ll be renting to a family member or adult child, you may be comfortable with sharing the home’s main entrance for access from the interior.

The Studio Apartment:  If your basement is small, a studio apartment may be the best choice.  Because everything will basically be in one room (except for the bathroom), space saving measures will be well appreciated by your tenants.  Storage closets and shelving, and even a fold-away Murphy bed can keep clutter at bay and free up much needed space.

The Multi-Room Apartment:  Larger basements can be divided into separate rooms.  Sketch out a basic floor plan to come up with the best use of the space, and be sure to keep in mind the location of access to plumbing pipes and electrical wires.  You can even add a small laundry area – stackable washer/dryer units are a great way to save room.

Furnace/Mechanical Areas:   Because a home’s furnace, water heater and other mechanicals are often located in the basement, you may want to restrict access to this area by creating a locked closet or furnace room. 

Basement Waterproofing:  The last thing you and your tenant would want to deal with is a flooded, wet or mildew ridden basement.  Take a giant preventative step by hiring a basement waterproofing expert to evaluate the condition of your basement.  They’ll also let you know if any mold remediation is necessary.

In part two of our series, we’ll take a look at basement kitchens and bathrooms, as well as some ideas for flooring and decorating.

For more ideas on creating a basement apartment, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

Google+ Comments

Previous post:

Next post: