Renovating your basement can be a ton of fun: you can take an unfinished space and turn it into something useful—maybe your teenager needs his or her own space and a bigger bedroom, maybe you’re taking this home gym thing seriously, maybe you’re creating an art studio for that inner artist that hasn’t had her own space for fifteen years. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you might want to consider before you dive into the renovations. 

Be Prepared For Surprises

There’s no way to avoid surprises. Even if your home is entirely brand new, there might be a strange nest of endangered animals living in the wall. You might have wacky piping that doesn’t let you do what you’d been thinking of doing without three extra steps. You might discover water damage that has to be dealt with now that you’ve seen it. There could be mold or mildew or lead piping, or some other dangerous problem lurking beneath the floorboards. There might be stunning original wooden floors beneath the linoleum installed in the 80s that changes your entire flooring plans. Accepting at the forefront that surprises are bound to crop up (and cost you more money and make the renovations take longer) can help protect you from getting disheartened as the work begins. A good rule of thumb is to assume that the work is going to take 30% longer than the initial estimate and cost 30% more than the quote you’re given. Include this in your budget and timeline.

Understand Your Reasons

If you’re renovating the basement for you or someone in your household (or a new member of the household coming soon), that’s one thing. If you’re doing the work to improve the value of your home, you might want to think about things from a bit of a different perspective. There are far more improvements that don’t add to the value of a home than you might realize at first. If you find yourself in doubt, speak to a real estate agent about the changes that would best improve the value of your home.

Think About Getting Things Down There Early On

No matter what you’re planning on using the space for, you’re going to need to get things down into the basement. You might want a sofa, or gym equipment, or massive television, or pool table down there. This means you might need to keep in mind the doorway and staircase choices you’re making. Speak to a contractor about any concerns you might have (especially if you want something unusually large brought down). There will be an optimal point throughout the renovations to move items down.

Give Yourself A Grace Period For Ideas

Some ideas generate quickly; others take time to fully mature. Give yourself a nice chunk of time for ideas to germinate. Pay attention to your needs throughout the day and collect images from magazines, save inspiration articles from the internet, make a Pinterest board and let the ideas develop. This will also help you avoid falling into the trends that you don’t actually love; you’re just drawn to because they feel fresh. You can find more ideas for basement renovations in Toronto from Capable Group. Take the time to look at all the data the internet has to offer. You’ll be able to find something that gets you excited about the project.

Read About Color Psychology

Not enough people participate in this stage of renovations, and it’s starting to show. It turns out that the colors we surround ourselves with have a massive impact on our mental and emotional states. Take a moment to read about the different psychological impacts that colors can have on you and your mood before choosing to paint your entire basement a color that promotes feelings of despair. This little trick can be the difference between a cozy family room in the basement where everyone gathers after a long day to cuddle on the couch and a room that everyone gravitates away from for some unspeakable reason.

Take Time To Find The Right Help

The majority of us aren’t diving into home renovation projects completely alone. It’s a good idea to bring in the team or individual you are seeking help from early on in the process. An experienced professional can give you a good idea of how long something will take and whether there are more cost-effective alternatives that produce the same results available. Take your time to speak to a few candidates and pay attention to any business that has specific experience with what you’re hoping to have done. Ideally, they’ll also be close enough by that you’re not going to be paying for hours of driving.

Be Prepared For The Mess And Noise

Of course, renovations involve actually renovating the basement. This means that there might be dust, mess, smells, clunking, clanging, buzzing, sawing, and work boot prints through the house. You know yourself and your household; prepare accordingly. If you or your partner work from home, you might want to look into coffee shops or libraries or ask a friend to borrow their living room for a few hours. The kids might need some quiet time at the grandparents to do homework. The pets might have to go to your sister’s house, so they don’t ingest construction materials. You might need to plan one-on-one activities with the kids in the afternoon if they’re used to having more privacy or alone time and aren’t handling the renovations well packed into the teeny upstairs living room altogether.

Think About Maintenance

Again, you know yourself and your family. Maybe you love that white carpet in the pictures, but are you going to love it when there are melted crayons smooshed into it and paw prints on it? What about that cream-colored sofa? Be honest with yourself about how hard your household is on materials and make selections accordingly. The goal here is to have things be easier on you, not harder, from here on out.

The above tips should help you get ready for basement renovations. Of course, if there’s more than one adult in your household, be sure to include them in the decision-making process. Nothing breeds bitterness faster than living in a style you despise—make sure your partner is on board with the choices you’re making.