Basement finishing has long been a cost effective way to increase your living space. Most of us have used this area of our homes as a catch-all spot for everything under the sun. It does not have to be that way. A remodeled basement is a great investment and can bring comfort to your family. Here are a few tips to consider.
First, inspect all walls and floors for moisture. If anything looks suspicious - address it. It is worth a couple of bucks to protect your new room. Dry is better in the long run.
Next, have a good plan ready. Since most basements are split in two by the staircase it is common to create two rooms; a larger den addition or home theatre room for the family; and a smaller area for a home office or exercise equipment. Use the space under the stairs for a small closet. It's handy for a vacuum or holiday items.
Construction should be done with full 2x4' framing and never 2x3". This gives the walls added strength. allows for thicker insulation and fits the electric outlets more securely. You also end up with a straighter wall.
Use moisture resistant sheetrock 4' up and install wired-in smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector as well. By doing all of the above your project will be stronger, warmer,and safer. Also, add a separate heat zone when possible and consider purchasing a small dehumidifier. These units can be built into the wall and a drain line connected to the sewer system. You'll never have to empty the tray again.
Lastly, do not skimp on the lighting. Recessed hi hats are the way to go. These should be on dimmer switches. They create a nice "mood" effect. Fluorescents are ok for the laundry and closet areas. They cost less and are energy savers. All considered, a finished basement is a good "bang for the buck". Enjoy