Basement apartment? Hell, yeah! A great feature to have in a home is a basement.

This gives you a lot of extra space that you can turn into something else such as a bonus room, bedroom, in-law quarters, or an apartment.

If you choose an apartment you could rent it out. This can add extra money to your budget and help with your mortgage payments.

With clever design and construction, any challenge that may arise when changing a basement into an apartment can be solved.

Traditional-Basement-by-Maplereno Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Maplereno

Hiring an experienced contractor to help you with the renovation is something that I recommend doing. The value of the property can increase if the renovation is done correctly.

This will make the short-term investment worth it and it can create a new income for you when you rent it.  A real estate agent in your area can help you find out exactly how much you should be investing to get the most return on your money.

A bunch of decorating challenges can arise in basements like low ceilings and little natural light. Also, dampness and flooding can be an issue.

Basements can be treasures that most people do not utilize.

Door or egress window

Seattle-Basement-Remodel-by-Motionspace-Architecture-Design Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Motionspace Architecture + Design

A basement apartment that has a separate entrance is called a walkout basement. This is usually appreciated by the homeowners. A code requirement for any bedroom is to have an exterior door or an egress window so that the occupants can have an escape route in case of a fire.

You may need to make a window opening larger to meet egress specifications if your basement does not have an exterior door.

A contractor who specializes in full-service basement finishing can advise you on the egress specifications requirements. They will also be able to tell the best place to install an egress window or exterior door.

Chelu-apartment-by-DIN-Interiorismo Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: DIN Interiorismo

You can claim a tax deduction for maintenance expenses for the upkeep of your basement apartment window. This is great news about renovating your basement to create a rental basement apartment. That is two financial advantages that you can acquire, tax deduction and extra income.

Keep all your receipts for cleaning, painting, repairing and replacing appliances, et.  Some heating and cooling expenses may be a tax deduction also. To learn your benefits of having a rental basement apartment contact your accountant.

Plumbing and electrical

Seattle-Basement-Remodel-by-Motionspace-Architecture-Design-2 Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Motionspace Architecture + Design

A bathroom and kitchen are needed for a finished basement to act as a separate living area. An electrician will need to install at least two circuits in your house’s electrical panel. There will be one for lights and one for plug-ins to meet the electrical requirements.

A high-performance pump and self-contained toilet make you able to install a basement apartment bathroom without extensive cutting into the basement slab. This is great news for having to add new plumbing.

Basement finishing or remodeling generalist

Garage-Apartment-Pub-by-Masterpiece-Design-Group-2 Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Masterpiece Design Group

You will need to come up with a plan to finish your basement. This is the first step in the renovation process. The next step is to hire a professional to get the work done. Hire somebody who works in basements all the time to get the best results.

There is a variety of work that needs to be done everything from waterproofing and egress windows to plumbing, electrical, and insulation. A basement finishing specialist can handle these jobs for you.

With a professional doing the job you will be able to ensure that the best material and installation techniques will be used. The will create a comfortable and attractive new space. Since it is done by a professional it will stay that way a long time.

Washer & Dryer appliances

Secondary-Working-Spaces-by-Avonlea-Homes Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Avonlea Homes

A good way to make your apartment more marketable is to add a washer and dryer to space. Using stackable models will save you space.


To keep heating and cooling costs down make sure to insulate the basement apartment wall. This will also make sure that the space is comfortable.


Contemporary-Basement-by-Urban-Abode Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Urban Abode

A nice focal point for a basement apartment is to add a gas-fired fireplace. You can make it appealing by adding a beautiful surrounding to it.  You can eliminate the expense of a chimney by using a sealed-combustion model that can vent through an exterior wall.


Use versatility to add value to your basement studio apartment. You can add a sofa/bed to your basement apartment so that you can have a place for visitors to sit and sleep. Also using a drop leaf table is an easy way to turn a living room into a dining room.

Closet & storage

Basement-Wine-Cellar-Closet-by-Closet-Factory-2 Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Closet Factory

Renters appreciate big closets and lots of storage space in a basement studio apartment. Having these spaces will make it easy to keep the basement apartment clean and organized.


Internet access, as well as cable or satellite TV, will be expected by renters. That is why a smart plan of wiring is needed in your basement apartment. This means access to computers and cable TV is important.

You will need to follow electrical code requirements when spacing wall outlets. You will also want to use different circuits for lights and plug-ins.


Basement-renovation-by-Strickland-Mateljan Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Strickland Mateljan

One of the most obvious basement lighting solutions is adding light to get rid of darkness.  You would that this would be a simple task, but it is not. It is impossible to reproduce natural light in a basement studio apartment.

The airy quality of natural light can not be duplicated by artificial light. Artificial light does not make a space seem open and airy.

Trying to add too much light can have the opposite effect. It can make the room seem small. Fluorescent lights are bright but can make everything look ugly and oversaturated, just think of your doctor’s office.

Natural light on the other hand has a unique beauty about it. It is always changing and connecting with its environment.  Putting up a slow-moving strobe light is not something that I am recommending.

That could induce seizures and it’s just creepy. Strategically place artificial lighting throughout a room to act as natural light.

This will create expansive highlights and lowlights which allow for defining certain areas within a living space. This will make the basement apartment feel airy. To achieve this use lighting, lamps, and up-lighting with full-spectrum bulbs.


Edina-Tudor-Estate-by-Katie-Bassett-Interiors Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Katie Bassett Interiors

Color has the same principles that natural light has. Brightness is more crucial than lightness. Painting the walls white is fine to do. To create contrast, add pops of color throughout the room.

Painting a basement apartment with a dark and bright color is not something that I would recommend. You can mix bright colors like burgundy or chocolate brown with lighter colors. Do not make a living space look crowded with busy patterns or colorful wallpaper.

Looking glass

PCP-Residence-Oakville-ON-by-The-Kitchen-Abode-Ltd. Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: The Kitchen Abode Ltd.

One sure way to make space look bigger is by using a mirror. Do not worry you do not have to install mirrored sliding doors to do this effectively. The way to do this is by using simple framed mirrors and place them where they make sense.

You can add depth to a room by using any kind of reflective material. In the center of the rooms, we placed silver lamps and tables to create this effect. In the kitchen, all of the appliances are stainless steel. To create a full area below the stove, the steel continues outside of the appliances.


Ashton-Kutchers-parents-basement-by-Catherine-Renae-Thomas-Design-Co.-2 Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Catherine Renae Thomas Design Co.

It is important to make all rooms clutter-free, however, it is necessary for an area that does not have natural light. By having enough storage, you will be able to keep counter-tops clear of stuff. Using closed storage so there is a sleek disguise.

Let’s look at the use of cabinetry in the first picture. You do not need to place furnishings in every available space. Do not clutter up the walls. Draw the eye to one area with a few fabulous pieces of art. Another trick to making a room look spacious is by placing the furniture in the middle of the room.


BASEMENT-RETREAT-by-Sheila-Rich-Interiors-LLC Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Sheila Rich Interiors, LLC

You can use drapes in several different ways. A crucial look of contrast is by using bright drapes against a light wall. To make space look taller hang floor to ceiling drapes.

By using this vertical space, you will make the room feel less cramped. Another one of the many basement apartment ideas is to create a fake window. To create the illusion of natural light, hang sheer curtains with a light behind them.


Floors can be used as mirrors. To create dynamic flecks of light, use luminous reflective hardwood or faux wood floors.

This will create highlights and lowlights to create the look of natural light. If you choose to use rugs, use them sparingly and in bright colors to bring out the other colors.


Modern-Farmhouse-by-Hummingbird-Hill-Homes-Construction Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Hummingbird Hill Homes & Construction

When you move into a small basement, you will be tempted to paint the walls with bright white paint, do not do this. You probably read many times about how white is the key to brightness, but in this case, it is not true.

You should sample a different shade of white paint in your space from different angles and different lighting sources.

A simple coat of white paint is not the only way to use color as a brightener. A dose of interest can be added to a space with white textured wallpaper.

Burke Decor, sells this embossed paper that is made to look like a tin ceiling. A popular thing and easy to install is the shipboard siding. To lengthen the room, make the shipboard siding runs horizontally. This way the eye runs across it. For the same effect add some wood panels. They are easy to install.

Accent Walls

You don’t have a finished basement yet.

When you think of accent walls mixed and matched teal and purple paint jobs probably come to mind. Looks straight out of ‘90s reno. An accent wall can make a space feel larger when it is done correctly.

Choose a wall that seems to make a room feel crowded, first. In small rooms and rooms with only one door that is the wall across from the door in most cases. For a bedroom make the wall behind the bed the accent wall. Next, you will want to select a naturally deep color, it does not need to be super dark.

Try to stick to richer tones instead of bright tones. Bright tones will monopolize a room by drawing so much attention to themselves. What you want if is for the wall to step back and make the space seem larger.

Hang Big Art

Basement-by-Fredman-Design-Group Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Fredman Design Group

Pick a big piece of breath-taking art to hang in your basement apartment, this will represent your aestheticize. A bunch of little pieces of art will repress the eye. You need to place it distinctly above the sofa or on the wall that you see when you walk in the door.

If you are thinking the art will make your space feel small, just the opposite is true. It will make your space feel larger.

Intimate and Cozy

You need to face a small room directly. A lot of basement bedrooms are extremely tiny and has poor lighting. This where you can paint the walls a temperamental color that will look great in dim light.  Most of the time you will only be sleeping in there.

Trying to fight the size of the room will lead to an artistic mess. Therefore, paint larger rooms white and paint gallery walls in a small space. Printed wallpaper will also look great in a room like this. Try one or more of these basement paint ideas for a looking basement apartment.

Entire Height of a Wall

Basement-Family-Room-by-Leslie-Goodwin-Photography Basement apartment ideas: Décor, paint, lighting, and moreImage source: Leslie Goodwin Photography

I totally support the rule of hanging wall art at eye level. You really need to use everything to the fullest when you are working an area that is underground.

This means hanging art above and below the art that you hung at eye level.  Take shelves all the way to the ceiling when installing them. To reflect around the room and make a room feel airy hang a mirror up high.

Ending thoughts on these basement apartment ideas

People in the city are finding inexpensive ways to live while the economy is slowly moving along. Some have chosen to relocate out of the city, others have chosen to relocate underground.

What was once thought of as dark and unattractive, English basement apartments are now wanted by people with a small budget who wish to stay located in the city. By using these small basement apartment ideas you will create a gorgeous place that any renter will love.

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