It seems easy, but home inspectors warn it takes more than inserting a bed to create a legal basement bedroom.
Check local building codes to determine if your basement is a habitable living space. Most locales specify that rooms must offer at least 7.5 feet of headspace and measure a minimum of seven by 10 square feet. Spaces should be dry and free of mold.
Prepare the Area
If needed, frame out the new space using tools that include a circular saw, drill and two by four studs. Contractors state the task is a simple one, even for do-it-yourselves. Use a level throughout the process to ensure walls turn out straight upon completion. Once the framework is in place, decide if certain spaces (laundry, hot water heater) need concealment for aesthetic purposes. Repair any cracked pipes and / or sections of foundation before proceeding.
Add items that make the room more comfortable, including additional ventilation units and electrical outlets. Properly insulated spaces stay cozy when the weather gets chilly and quiets rooms as people move about overhead. Start contemplating door and window placement at this time.
Proceed with caution when it comes to do-it-yourself (DIY) electrical, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work. Check with local building authorities to discuss permit requirements. To maximize occupant safety, have a professional inspector access all completed work.
Additional Safety Specifications
Review updated construction laws to ensure new spaces meet modified safety requirements. Place a working smoke alarm inside the bedroom and another immediately outside the room. Add an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) for additional fire protection.
Plan a minimum of two exits, or egresses, that lead to the outside. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires at least one door and one window. Windows must measure a minimum of 24 by 20 inches and open at least 5.7 square feet. Sills must be no more than 44 inches high. Rescue workers can safely enter domiciles that meet IRC guidelines and remove occupants, if needed.
Do not stress about closet space in basement bedrooms. Safe exits and a comfortable ceiling height are important, but closets happen to be a pleasant extra feature. Realtors stress that prospective buyers expect all bedrooms to have a closet, so install a modest unit to secure your investment.
Take cues from professional interior decorators to turn basements into inviting spaces. Dark and unfinished ceilings open up a room and give the area a unique appearance. Walls painted in warm colors like gold or orange evoke a brighter feel.
There are a few things to remember during the design process. Additional lighting illuminates spaces where natural sunlight is scarce. Appropriate flooring is also important, as certain materials do not work well in basements. Experts recommend sealing existing cement floors and using area rugs as attractive and functional accents.
Choose furnishings and textiles that create a luxurious and comforting environment. Warm, rustic furniture gives the room character, while sumptuous linens convert the room into an inviting hideaway. Select pieces that compliment the wall and floors for a truly harmonizing effect.
Careful planning and creative designs turn basements into functional spaces. A well-designed bedroom offers years of enjoyment as guest quarters or a retreat for frazzled minds. Breaking the task into several components is crucial to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
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