How To Plan For Renovations: My Basement Remodel

Inspiration board

As you probably saw in my February Flash Back, we are (Lord willing) starting basement renovations very soon! It seems like all I’ve been doing is planning and planning, but that is such an important part of the process! There’s a few key pieces in the planning that I’d like to share with you today. Some are more exciting than others, but all are equally important!

Basic Floor Plan

First thing is first: the very basic basic floor plan. This part can start with very basic lines, even scribbles on a piece of paper. Figure out where you want things to go and how you’re going to get them there. Be careful if you’re removing any walls—make sure that they aren’t load bearing first! I’d hate to see you go to all this work on an impossible design. Things that you will need to start thinking about are lighting placement, heating and cooling, windows, and plumbing.

Basement Remodel Sketch

Permits & Codes

Once you have a general idea of what you’ll be working with, give your local Building Code Official a call or email. Let him know all the details of your renovation and ask him what kind of codes, permits, and inspections are related. This can vary by state, county, town, borough—whatever you live in—so be sure to get in touch with the right guy!

Revise, Revise, Revise

AND we are back to the drawing board! Depending on what you learned from the Building Code Official, you may have to re-design. Now is a good time to get exact measurements into your floor plan and really work out the fine details. Where doors will be going, how you’re going to squish a closet in there, all that kind of good stuff! If this is getting way too complicated for you, be sure to check out my Interior Design Services. I can help you out if you live next door or a million miles away—I always customize packages for my clients. If you’re interested, just contact me!

Refined Basement Design Revised Laundry Room

Once your floor plan is worked out, you can start planning some of the fun stuff! Work out an inspiration board (always my first step when starting a new design), see what kind of finishes you’re going to want in the space and how you can incorporate it into the floor plan. This was a huge step for us. We are going for an industrial look and have to cover up some awful support posts in the basement with textured concrete. Our lives would have been far more difficult had we not figured this out before putting any physical walls up. Use a program like Sketchup or hand draw it!


Once you know what you’re going to need to build and fill the space, work out a budget. I cannot emphasize how important this step is! Always have extra money set aside because there is ALWAYS something extra that you’re not expecting. And if I’m wrong, then you have some fun money for decorating or to squirrel away for your next project…no harm there. I have some great tools for budgeting on my Budgeting Tips & Tools page. Check it out and be sure to download your Numbers or Excel budget spreadsheet template.

Remodeling Budget Calculator

Getting Started

Now it’s time to get things started! Start applying for permits and submitting those floor plans. You can’t do anything until those are approved. While you wait, get cleaning out the space, so that you don’t have any obstructions during construction and so your stuff doesn’t get damaged- because it will! It’s seeming to take an eternity to get our basement cleaned out, but we are almost there! Set a deadline and stick to it!

Basement Remodel

Make sure to be in touch with any remodeling professionals that you may be hiring. They often have long waiting periods until they are ready to take on another job. Be sure to work out scheduling and payment with them & account for it in your remodeling budget!

Here We Go!

Oh goodness, now it’s really time to take the plunge! I’ll be keeping you updated on the progress of our basement remodel as we go! Keep checking back here for posts, tutorials, and the after pictures! I can’t wait to get started, how about you!? What are your plans for your home this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Enjoy reading this post? To make sure you don’t miss a thing, follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram and sign up for an email subscription to my blog.


    Leave a Reply