How do I design a basement floor plan?

You’re ready to build or finish your basement. You’ve developed ideas of what you want your new basement to look like. Now put those dreams into action. Make proper measurements, sketch a plan, build a list of what you need and most important, budget wisely. You’re one step closer to building the basement of your dreams.


The first step is knowing what room you have to work with. Measure and calculate the floor area and height of the walls. If you plan to have a multipurpose basement, start mathematically separating these areas now. This will help you budget your tools and supplies later.


Identify Your Needs

Know what you already use the basement for. Determine whether you will still use it for those purposes when the basement is finished. For example, if you do laundry, store keepsakes and have the furnace in the basement, you likely will build your basement around these needs. Your wants come next.

Sketch Out Your Plans

Next put your plans on paper. When you measure the basement’s dimensions, sketch them out with pencil. If you’re building a multipurpose basement, sketch or list items you need for each area. For example, if you want an exercise area, list weights and treadmill for that area.

Check for Radon

Take a home radon test before you purchase supplies and start work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises. One in 15 American homes contains elevated levels of radon gas that seeps in via the radioactive breakdown of uranium from soil, rock and water, according to the EPA. Find your local radon office through EPA’s “Where You Live” website feature.

Produce a List and Budget

Before you lift a saw or lay a floor slab, list all the supplies and tools you need for construction. Start with flooring. Know what floors work best for certain areas. If you want laundry room flooring, the Home Depot recommends laminate or tile for easy, wet cleanup. For high traffic areas, use a cheaper, fine-loop carpet. For an office, use a plush, more luxurious carpet. Try the Home Depot’s “Find Your Perfect Floor” website feature for ideas. The Basement Flooring Guide blog recommends that you have a dry basement before you install floors. Dampness breeds mold and mildew.

Your walls may require lumber and drywall, which can be pricey if your basement is large. In December 2009, a 4-by-8-foot sheet of half-inch regular drywall cost about $6 at the Home Depot. Again, know your basement’s dimensions.

Another part of your budget is furniture. Are you planning to entertain? Will you use space for work? Visit furniture stores to compare prices for couches, recliners, chairs, shelves and tables that create your dream spaces.

Electronics can be large part of your budget, too. Know what you want, but know what you can afford. In December 2009, a 40-inch LCD television cost at least $500, according to a Best Buy product gallery.


Basement Flooring Guide

A Citizen’s Guide to Radon

Best Buy


EPA’s “Where You Live: Radon”

Home Depot’s “Find Your Perfect Floor”

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