House plans with basements are desirable when you need extra storage or when your dream home includes a "man cave" or getaway space, and they are often designed with sloping sites in mind. One design option is a plan with a so-called day-lit basement -- that is a lower level that's dug into the hill but with one side open to light and view. This lower level can open to a covered outdoor space below an upstairs deck or porch. As a result, these types of designs are sometimes called house plans with walkout basements or walkout basement house plans. To see more basement plans try our advanced floor plan search.

Get 'labor only' bids and buy the materials yourself. This allows you to use a 10% off coupon at Home Depot or Lowe's (available on eBay). You can also use a 5% cash back credit card like Discover when buying materials. (BONUS: Our readers get $50 free when they get a Discover card - sign up here.) And be sure to join ebates first to save an additional 1%. These are all small percentages but when taken off potentially very expensive items they really add up.
If the hundreds of photos and stories submitted to this year's annual Search for America's Best Remodel Contest prove one thing, it's that you love flipping the idea of what a basement can be. With a little work, these once dark, desolate spaces can become bonus rooms for entertaining family and friends or getting some work done. Here, the editors of This Old House pick the best basement remodels.
"We love that the basement now has a cozy feel yet is very on-trend and modern. It has doubled our square footage with very usable space and given us an additional bedroom and full bathroom. We used a beautiful door from the 1800s to line the wall behind the urinal in the bathroom, and we burned the cabinets in the dry bar and the bathroom countertop with a blowtorch to achieve a unique look. We lightly etched the concrete floors and then used a urethane, making a mirror-like finish that reflects light."
Pure design genius animated this basement remodel from lifestyle blogger Landeelu. For one, she decided to paint her doors a dark color, giving them a custom look that stands out from the cooler gray walls. Next, she added pops of interest with unique items, like the aged gold ceiling light fixture from Joss & Main. The fireplace not only adds warmth to the room for guests, but provides a welcome focal point. The result is an adorable space that can now rightfully be called an integrated part of the home.
Since this basement is not entirely underground - it includes a walk-out entrance on one side -- new egress windows bring natural light into the basement. A simple Roman shade in fun fabric softens the space and brings all the colors of the room together. Egress windows provide an emergency exit; most building codes require one in every bedroom and in habitable basements. Adding one will likely increase the value of a home, as it provides safety, natural light, and increased airflow.
Add to this any custom work that you may want to have done to turn the basement into the type of room you have in mind, and the labor could continue to mount. Most people also find that they need a painter ($20-$35 per hour), and in older homes, asbestos 10 testing and removal ($1,500) is also recommended before the work can begin. For these reasons, many homeowners often choose to use a basement finishing system, which often has one set price for materials and labor (around $50,000 per basement) and decorate later as they choose.
If you decide to go with a pony wall, you may be able to handle the project yourself (saving money). However, if you’re going to expand your house and need to install weight-bearing walls, you’re better off leaving it to the pros. Additionally, you or your pro will need to investigate building codes and local requirements to ensure you comply with structural guidelines.
The first step in finishing your basement it keeping it dry. Basements often deal with a lot of moisture vapor and hydrostatic pressure, which allow water into an unprotected basement. Because of this, any finished basement has to be waterproofed first. First, test your basement for moisture vapor so you know how much moisture you’re dealing with. There are homes tests you can do yourself or you can hire a professional to do the test for you.
Consider what you can do yourself. Finishing your basement is a full process and is not easy. But if you’re looking to save money and are quite handy, consider waterproofing the basement yourself. Basement waterproofing with SANI-TRED® uses a proven application process that is perfect for the do-it-yourself community. You can (and should) hire contractors for specialized tasks like plumbing or electrical, but many can do the waterproofing yourself for less.
Finishing a basement can cost between $25–$50 per square foot on average, depending on how the basement is finished, whether any challenges come up or whether there are special circumstances with the project. For this reason, a 1,000-square-foot basement can cost up to $50,000 or more to finish. Virgil Miranda of Virgil Miranda’s Construction, a general contracting company based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says it can be tricky to estimate remodeling jobs based on square footage alone, due to the variance in each job. Larger basements may have a lower cost per square foot than tiny remodel jobs.
Add to this any custom work that you may want to have done to turn the basement into the type of room you have in mind, and the labor could continue to mount. Most people also find that they need a painter ($20-$35 per hour), and in older homes, asbestos 10 testing and removal ($1,500) is also recommended before the work can begin. For these reasons, many homeowners often choose to use a basement finishing system, which often has one set price for materials and labor (around $50,000 per basement) and decorate later as they choose.
Installing a bathroom in a basement costs more than installing a bathroom above ground. Costs can range from $2,500 to $5,000 on average, depending on the number of fixtures and whether the plumbing must be installed from scratch or if it’s roughed in already. Basement plumbing requires special considerations to ensure proper drainage and tie-in with the main sewer line, which may not be deep enough to allow the basement bathroom plumbing to use gravity the way above-ground plumbing does. Virgil Miranda’s Construction subcontracts all plumbing work. Miranda says that sometimes the toilet alone in a basement can cost up to $2,500 because sometimes homeowners need to invest in a toilet that does not use gravity but instead a macerating function to grind waste down to prevent clogging. Miranda estimates that each bathroom fixture in a basement costs $800–$900 on average, so a full, three-piece bath could cost $3,000 for the fixtures alone. Adding a kitchenette or wet bar sink adds more to overall refinishing costs. In addition, some basements require a French drain with one or more sump pumps, which can cost up to $10,000 on average, depending on how much ground the drain covers.
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Adding carpet to your extra bedroom is a great way to separate this space from your basement, and make the room feel like an escape. There’s nothing like getting up and putting your feet on a soft carpet. Another pro of carpet is that it’s cheaper than hardwood flooring, or other popular flooring options. The average cost to install carpeting is $1,628, with homeowners reporting prices between $862 and $1,831.

But the brilliant trick she employed to disguise the too-low ceiling was to paint the walls and ceiling the same color (Farrow & Ball, Elephant's Breath). Painting the ceiling white and the walls a different color would have created a horizontal line. The eye would use this line to establish the height of the ceiling. Instead, walls and ceiling blur together, making the ceiling look higher than it really is.
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