How to Convert Your Basement on a Budget

For some, having a basement means having valuable storage space. For others, it means having some space that is currently wasted but has the potential to become a valuable addition to their home.

Many people who like the idea of converting their basement never explore it very closely because they think it is going to be expensive. However, turning your basement into a pleasant, livable area doesn’t have to cost the Earth. It is entirely possible to carry out an effective conversion on a budget.

Planning Permission and Regulations

Most people won’t need planning permission to convert their basement. Turning a basement into living space can qualify as a change of use rather than development. If you need to lower the floor in order to increase headroom however, this may require planning permission because it increases the volume of your house. Or, this may come under your “permitted development” rights. If in doubt, check with your local authority.

What will be required of your conversion, regardless of whether it is a simple change of use or not, is approval under building regulations. Make sure to seek guidance before carrying out any significant works, such as anything affecting the walls of your basement, and if in doubt consult a professional.

Floor, Walls, Electricity & Hot Water

Depending on the form of your basement prior to its conversion, you may need to install a new floor or clad the walls in some way in order to ensure that it is safe, practical and pleasant as a living space. The requirements here depend very much on what kind of flooring and walls are already in place. Common sense should get you at least part of the way towards working out what is required, and once again if you have any doubts it is better to consult an expert than to take any risks.

kitchen-styling-area-with-water-tap

To make your basement into a habitable area, you will need to extend utility supplies into it if they are not there already. At the very least, this is likely to include electricity. It may well also include a water supply of some kind. Even if you have no plans for any other plumbing, you will probably want it to benefit from your heating system. Therefore, if extending your heating leads to pressure problems, you should consider investing in a hot water circulation pump.

Safety Notes

Remember that all plumbing, gas or electrical work should be carried out by somebody with the appropriate skills. At the very least, a qualified professional should be called upon to thoroughly check such installations before they are used. You may wish to apply this principle to floors as well to ensure they are sound.

Decorating and Furniture

This is the stage at which you truly turn your basement into a part of your home. It is also the stage at which you have the most freedom in what you do, both in terms of personal tastes and in terms of controlling your budget. You may choose any kind of flooring and wall decoration you like, from cheap yet attractive vinyl floors to luxurious carpets or real wood, and from a simple lick of value paint to opulent designer wallpapers.

cute-dog-and-girl-on-sofa

The same principle applies when kitting out your new room with whatever furniture you may want it to have. Your options are hugely varied, and you have a lot of choice in how much you want to spend. If you want, you could splash out on expensive designer furniture. If a budget conversion is your goal, however, second-hand furniture can be attractive, functional and very cheap. If you feel you are lacking creative vision check out these case studies from the team over at Basement 2 Rooms.

Written by Jennifer Nixon (@PR_Yoma collaboration)

Writer / Blogger on The Fairytale Pretty Picture. Currently working in the head office of a large retail company in London, UK and living in Essex.

4 Comments

  • September 24, 2016

    Rachel

    Basements building seems to be the ‘in’ thing right now here in my part of London, it is also seen as a better conversion than the loft x

  • September 24, 2016

    Fashion and Style Police

    This is a fab post. I will keep this bookmarked incase we decide to renovate.

  • September 25, 2016

    MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    Great post, I shall make note of the tips and suggest we do the same to the husband.

  • September 26, 2016

    Grant R

    Great tips. It seems almost criminal nowadays not to use every space going in the house. We’ve got almost none left!