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From Drab to Fab – Basement Bathroom Ideas

An unfinished basement is a prize for many home buyers. This unused real estate offers significant development potential at a fraction of the price. The bathroom is no exception. Basement bathroom remodels can be significantly less costly than their upstairs counterparts, costing roughly $15,000-$20,000, based on the materials you choose, labor that you can contribute to the project, and the space that you have to work with. In this article, we’ll help you maximize your basement bathroom remodel.

Maximize Your Ambient Lighting

Many homeowners are hesitant to put living spaces like bathrooms in the basement because the space feels heavy. Without outside light, a basement bathroom can be a dark and intimidating place. By maximizing ambient lighting with large mirrors over the vanity and the installation of recessed lighting in inconspicuous places, you can reduce the dark feeling of most basements. Adding a few extra lights, either sconces or hanging fixtures, you can complete the atmosphere and allow users the feeling of a brightly lit room.

Install a Good Fan

When creating a basement bathroom, you need to remember a few key factors. One of them is ventilation. In above ground spaces, you can always crack a window to let excess moisture out of the bathroom. This isn’t possible in many basement bathrooms. By installing a high-powered silent fan, you can remove excess moisture and prevent problems like mold growth and water damage to wallpaper, hanging artwork, or other vulnerable surfaces.

Plan Your Layout Realistically

IF you are a dreamer, it’s easy to conceptualize exactly how you want your basement bathroom to look before you even know where your plumbing lines are. That’s a problem. First, locate the appropriate space for the bathroom, next evaluate the ways to design the space based on what exists, not on air. If you have a small space, consider hiring a professional designer to create a layout – the result will feel more spacious and inviting than what most homeowners are capable of on their own. If you hit hurdles along the way, adjust the plan accordingly. Although basement bathrooms are cheaper to build, you may have to sacrifice the ability to construct a new space with plumbing lines and wet walls placed at your discretion.

If you have plans for a full bathroom, make sure you have the space to build it in. Don’t force too many items into a small space, or you’ll end up with a bathroom that feels small and cluttered instead of relaxing and luxurious.

Use Accent Items Carefully

There are a wide variety of amazing materials available for bathroom remodels, from glass bath tiles to granite countertops, they can amaze, impress, and add a touch of class to your space. Don’t go overboard, however. Remember that one or two accent items that stand out create a better, more dramatic impact, than a room full of over the top features that get lost in each other. A basement bathroom requires a little more effort in this regard. Basement bathrooms can be frightening spaces – some are just glorified outhouses. To make yours stand out from the crowd, incorporate it with your home’s overall style – even if you haven’t finished remodeling the rest of your basement yet.

Evaluate Your Plans for the Overall Space

Will your basement be converted into a rental unit (and does it have the necessary entrances and exits)? Will it be a recreation area or playroom for the kids, or will it be a family space? Are you turning it into a man cave? A craft space? Storage? Factors like these should impact the style and features you incorporate into the basement bathroom. For example, if you are using the basement as storage, and only need a bathroom you can use while working in it, a half bath is enough. More than that may feel excessive and out of place.

For a mother-in-law suite or basement rental apartment, you need to plan for a full bathroom, most likely with a tub included. A children’s playroom may pair well with lower toilet and sink heights, more playful features, and the use of easy to clean materials.

Working with What Already Exists

If your home already has a basement bathroom, a remodel may be the perfect time to not only upgrade it, but expand it. Check with a contractor or structural engineer to be certain that none of the walls you would like to remove are structurally important or loadbearing before you begin any renovations. Examine the space and how you can make it better. Make a detailed list of your pet peeves, and share it with a designer or a friend who has an eye for good home design. Create an idea book. If you’re lucky, your basement bathroom will only require new tiles, flooring, and a little love.