Whether you have an unfinished basement that you want to turn into livable space, or a finished one that needs a facelift, remodeling that space is a major home improvement project. How much exactly will a basement renovation cost you? On average, you can expect to pay between $27,000 and $80,000, depending in large part on how extensive your renovation is.

If these numbers seem high, there is good news. You can save money by making a few wise choices along the way. Here are 10 of our top tips for saving on the average cost of a basement remodel.

Decide how you will use the basement space

Not every renovation project is the same. Gutting a basement and rebuilding it from the studs up, for example, will cost you quite a bit more than simply repainting your walls and adding a half bath downstairs. If you want to save on your project costs, take the time to clearly define how you plan to use your space and, therefore, exactly which renovations are necessary to achieve your goals.

For example, do you want to use the space as an extra bedroom? Are you setting up a game room downstairs? Do you plan to add another living room, or go all out and create a mini in-law suite complete with kitchen and bathroom? Other ideas might include the following:

  • Home theater
  • Home gym
  • Wet bar
  • Playroom
  • Laundry room
  • Wine cellar
  • And more!

The more specific you can be with your goals, the easier it will be for you and your contractor to narrow down your options to only those that serve your purposes. And the fewer excessive features you add, the lower your costs will be, without compromising on the usability, beauty, and value of your space.

Convert an unfinished basement into a livable space

A basement remodel may actually save you money over adding space to your home. Adding 400 square feet to your home can run you $80—$200 per square feet, or $32,000—$80,000. Before you sink that kind of money into an addition, consider whether simply redoing your basement could give you the livable space you want, at a lower cost.

Converting your unfinished space into the room you desire could cost you less because the structure already exists. Fewer materials, and less work, may be involved in turning it into a bedroom, playroom, or home theater. Saving money AND getting a beautiful, usable space could just be one basement renovation away.

Add windows and skylights to basement remodels

Creating an energy-efficient basement may not save you money in the short term, but it will cut down on your expenses over the many years you plan to spend in your home.

If you are adding windows or skylights to your basement finishing project in Chicago, make sure to invest in ones that save energy and lower your utility bills.

Quality windows help you preserve energy, reduce costs, and keep your air healthier in the following ways:

  • Keeps cool air in during the summer and warm air in during the winter
  • Puts less pressure on the HVAC system
  • Prevents the growth of mold and mildew on the window frames

Ask your contractor about your window options. While many will opt for low-quality products, the best businesses, like Reliable Home Improvement, always use premium materials for a long-lasting and cost-saving look.

Use salvaged materials for your basement remodel

Just because your basement is old, or unfinished, doesn’t mean you can’t reclaim some materials in it to save money on your new space. Using salvaged materials when doing basement remodeling in Chicago can save you money while giving your room a beautiful, unique look.

Your construction company can help you navigate the use of salvaged materials. Usually, the process involves identifying parts of the existing space that can be used in the new space. For example, can you pull up the old hardwood flooring and reuse the best pieces to give your space a rustic look? Can you repurpose old doors? Reclaim brick for a facade?

Adding details to your design while reusing old materials can help you knock down costs for your remodel, while maintaining the beauty of your space. A great design-build company can help you examine your options and put your salvaged materials to beautiful, creative use.

Incorporate a small kitchen or wet bar into the basement space

A small kitchen can transform a basement into its own apartment, ideal for elderly parents, roommates, or even older children. A wet bar can make the space into entertainment central, preventing you from making endless trips up and down the stairs to grab drinks.

These additions to your remodel don’t have to be costly. For example, consider placing these parts of your remodel near existing plumbing to minimize the amount of new plumbing you need to run. By making some intelligent decisions early on, you can have your kitchen or wet bar at a lower cost than average.

Add a bathroom to the basement space

An important element in turning a basement into a livable space is to add a bathroom. While adding a bathroom can be a financial investment, chances are you will regain most of what you put into it by adding to the resale value of your home. The average basement bathroom adds 10% to 20% to your home’s overall resale value.

In addition, you and your contractor may be able to find ways to save money and maintain quality. For example, similar to the kitchen add-on, you may be able to place a bathroom near existing plumbing to cut down on plumbing expenses.

Use furniture to divide the space

If you want to divide your basement into multiple rooms, you do not necessarily have to go to the expense of putting up walls. Instead, consider using furniture to create a natural division between spaces in your basement renovation.

For example, create a seating area by arranging couches and chairs around a television. If the furniture is arranged in a closed position, the pieces give the impression that there is a seating area and another area in the basement. You can then use the rest of the space to set up a game room, bedroom, or other area.

Similarly, you can arrange a kitchen area downstairs by placing a table and chairs near the kitchen or using seating at an island to separate the kitchen area from the rest of the basement. The rest of your space can then be used for seating, a theater, a bedroom space, or other use.

Install built-in storage solutions

If you want to add storage to your basement, you could consider adding built-in storage solutions. This is a great way to make economical use of otherwise unused space while renovating your basement. Consider these ideas for transforming every inch into a beautiful, organized place to keep your things:

  • Add storage into your stairs.
  • Create built-in storage near your laundry area.
  • Add built-in shelves around a television for a full entertainment center.
  • Create built-in shelves for toys, books, or games.
  • Add a big built-in desk with storage for a study.

Add lighting fixtures to the basement space

Basements are often dark. You can brighten up the space, and save yourself some money in the long run, by adding energy-efficient lighting fixtures to your basement remodel.

Similar to energy-efficient windows, high-quality light fixtures can reduce your energy costs. The added benefit? They can add brightness and personality to your new space.

Choose from the many types of lighting available, such as track lighting, ceiling fixtures, focal lighting, and more. Cost-saving fixtures can become as much a part of the space’s personality and design as the layout and finishes, if you do it right.

Use a professional basement remodeling contractor

Perhaps the best way to save money on your costs is to use a professional basement remodeling contractor. This remodeling partner can bring a lot to your project, including saving you money eventually. They can:

  • Negotiate the best prices on materials.
  • Provide design insights and solutions that save money.
  • Source the reliable, quality tradesmen for every step of the project.
  • Complete the project in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Offer a warranty for their work.
  • Take over management of the project to save you valuable time.
  • Ensure that the entire project is up to code and properly permitted.

Are you ready to begin a basement remodel alongside a trustworthy partner? Then contact Reliable Home Improvement today. We offer efficient, trustworthy, and high-quality basement renovation services in Chicago, based on years of experience. We can save you money while ensuring you get the gorgeous, livable finished product you desire.

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