Living Areas

Tips for Staging a Basement When Selling a Home

finished basement with pool table and sofa

Home Staging Tips for Basements

Your basement represents a lot of livable square footage in your home.  Buyers are looking for spaces they can live and work in and the more space, the better.  Make sure your basement has defined spaces that people can visualize themselves working in, playing in and entertaining in.

Basements are found in between a quarter and a third of all homes in the United States. Because of soil conditions, they are more common in the north of the country and less so in the south.

Cracks, water damage, or mold, for example, might jeopardize a sale. Additionally, setting your unfinished or finished basement can increase the perceived living area in your home, making it appear larger! Apply the same principles of home staging to your basement as you would any other room in your house: clear, clean, brighten, and make small repairs (cracks/leaks). Basements, whether finished or unfinished, provide important extra living space.

Buyers anticipate a dark and dingy basement. Why not surprise them with a spotless, bright, well-organized, and tidy environment? The purchasers will also believe that you are the type of homeowner who takes pride in their home and does not overlook its upkeep. When it comes to arranging a home for sale, basements are sometimes disregarded. Because basements provide extra square footage to a home, it’s critical that they present themselves in the best possible light to potential buyers. Here are a few things you can do to make them ready for the event.

Many homeowners are unsure about how to appropriately stage a basement. Knowing how to market a basement to potential buyers can be difficult, especially if it has issues like low ceilings, a lack of natural light, or an unusual layout!

Our home stage tips are divided into two types of basements: finished and unfinished.¬† You’ll find the right tips to maximize the appeal of each type in the following article.

Finished Basements

Create a Separate Living Space

It’s critical to define the space for potential purchasers in your home’s most ambiguous areas. Basements can be used for a variety of purposes, including home gyms and man caves, but they shouldn’t be used for everything. Define the function(s) of your basement and decorate accordingly.

The arrangement of your basement should be based on how you intend to use it. The more open the room can be, the better, but don’t worry if you have a structural pole in the middle of it. Support columns can serve to delineate separate spaces with separate functions.

Keep these two tips in mind when staging separate basement spaces:

Brighten up

Even the “brightest” basements don’t have the same amount of light as the upper floors. It’s critical to get as much light into a finished basement as possible to avoid it feeling like a dungeon, especially if the ceilings are low.

To open up the room, use bright, fresh paint colors on the walls. Neutral furniture and flooring are also good choices for avoiding a dismal atmosphere. Recessed lighting is a great method to fill a basement with light from above, making the space feel even bigger.¬† Don’t forget to clean the windows, no matter how small.¬† You want to let in as much light as possible.

Keep it clutter-free

Resist the impulse to utilize your basement as a dumping ground. It should be staged in the same way as the rest of your house; buyers will notice if you merely cram every spare piece of furniture into the basement to make a “useful” area.

Include Storage Spaces

Most finished basements have areas that are unfinished or partially finished. If you need storage for packed boxes, stack them neatly in this area or put the boxes on removable shelving that you will take with you to your new home. Most homebuyers will also have need for storage and you are merely pointing out that there is plenty of space in your home for their things, too.

Install a Kitchenette

If your basement is finished, you’ll want to show buyers the many ways to use the space.¬† Especially if your current basement is outfitted with a pool table, ping pong table or movie room, the basement space is perfectly suited for entertaining adults or teens.

Consider adding a small kitchen or snack area to the space if there is room.¬† You don’t need to go all out with plumbing a sink in.¬† Just a small row of lower cabinets with a place for an undercounter refrigerator is enough to suggest that there is room enough for storing snacks and drinks.

Add a Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most expensive home improvement projects. There are two situations where adding a bathroom in the basement will pay you back handsomely for your time, dollars and effort.

The first is if you only have one bathroom on the upper floors.  Many older homes have 3 bedrooms or more and just one full bath.  When there is space in a finished basement for an additional full bath, another bath is a good idea.  It will improve your home value and make your home more functional for larger families.

The second reason to add a full bath in the basement is if you have a bedroom space in the basement.  For guests or family members using that bedroom, a nearby bathroom is a plus and makes the basement bedroom much more appealing functionally and financially.

Add a Bedroom

Adding a basement bedroom should be considered if the basement is finished and is especially large and you want to add more usable space to the basement area.  Another reason to think about adding a basement bedroom is if your home has fewer bedrooms than homes in your neighborhood.

A finished room in your basement that is not currently a defined space can be staged as a bedroom, just as you would stage an upstairs bedroom.  Keep it simple, light and bright and you will impress buyers with the functionality of the basement.

Add a Fireplace

A full masonry fireplace is an expensive and complicated undertaking, especially in older homes.  However, newer gel fireplaces or gas fireplace inserts can be added relatively easily to a finished basement space.

Since all rooms need a focal point, a fireplace is just the ticket to create interest in your basement living space. Channel your inner staging diva¬†and consider adding this feature. If the rest of the basement is featureless, a fireplace will be a good choice to up the “wow” factor in your basement and gives another reason to spend time in the basement.

Unfinished Basements

An unfinished basement can be a scary space to some buyers.  Visions of spiders and dark corners are things that nightmares are made of.

Your unfinished space also exposes any faults in the space such as foundation cracks, wet spots and rusty windows.

You can still stage an unfinished basement by breaking it up into functional areas for different types of storage, for laundry, or for crafts or woodworking.

You’ll want to keep the spaces as open as possible but you can still define them with rugs and movable shelving.¬† Use existing support columns to indicate where different spaces start and end.

Not all basements need to be finished to be functional.¬† Nor do you need an entire basement renovation. As people are spending more and more time at home, spaces to pursue hobbies and crafts are becoming more and more valued by homebuyers.¬† Make your unfinished basement a hobbyist’s dream, and you’re one step closer to selling your home.

Step-by-step Basement Staging Tips and Guide

  1. Starting with decluttering is a good place to start as all home stagers preach. Any goods you haven’t used in years should be discarded, sold, or donated. Outdated faucets, old appliances, toys, luggage pieces, and other objects that we think we could use someday end up in basements.
  2. Consider renting a storage space for items you want to keep but won’t use or need in the next six months, especially if you’re planning to rent storage for the remainder of the house’s unnecessary furniture and items. ¬†Although storage is prevalent in basements, you’ll want to free up as much room as possible to enhance the visible square footage. Remove anything that isn’t absolutely necessary and store it or dispose of it. If you must retain some goods in the basement, consolidate contents into fewer, larger boxes to reduce the number of boxes. Hazards and garbage, such as chemicals and lumber scraps, should also be removed at this time.
  3. Purchase moving boxes and begin packing as soon as possible. Alternatively, buy plastic storage boxes with lids, which you can possibly use for storage in your new home. Stack the boxes or containers neatly, or better yet, invest in metal or plastic shelving to store them on.
  4. The basement should be completely cleaned. When potential buyers look at your space, you want to get rid of the debris. Vacuum the carpeting or sweep and mop the floor. Cobwebs and dead bugs should be removed from corners and along the ceiling. Clean the basement stairwell. Sweep the floor and use a damp cloth to wipe down the furnace, hot water heater, and any other appliances. Try leaving the windows open for a day to get rid of the mustiness. Extra moisture and musty odors can also be removed with a dehumidifier. When potential buyers come to see your home, be careful to remove any unsightly critter or insect traps. If the basement floor is concrete, consider painting it gray to give it a more modern appearance.
  5. To let in as much light as possible, clean the windows and remove any excess plants from outside the windows, and open the curtains.
  6. Wipe down the workout equipment, ping pong table, and any other dusty items.
  7. Install additional illumination in dark spots, even if it’s just a bare bulb and a pullcord.
  8. Paint the concrete flooring. It brightens and cleans up the room’s appearance, and it doesn’t have to be the conventional gray.¬† Consider a light taupe or beige to brighten the area.
  9. A fresh layer of paint on the walls helps to make the space appear clean and valuable, just like the upstairs space.  Foundation walls can be painted.  Just get the right paint for concrete. This is not the place for accent colors on the walls. Neutral and bright are the watchwords.
  10. If your basement doesn’t have walls dividing each room, it’s crucial to create zones, each with its own function. If you have exercise equipment or children’s toys strewn about, for example, designate a space for each so that the basement appears to have an exercise “room” and a children’s “playroom.”
  11. Set up a laundry area in the basement if the washing machine and dryer are there. Make sure this area is spotless, as no buyer wants to do laundry in a filthy environment. Set up an ironing board and iron as well as a folding table. Organize your washing materials on shelves or in a cabinet.
  12. Make sure you’re using the highest-wattage bulbs that the light fixtures will allow. If the basement is still gloomy, add some lamps. If you can’t afford to replace your basement’s ancient wood paneling, consider painting it in a light neutral tone just like the interior designers do on television. It’ll spruce up the entire basement.
  13. Make a few minor adjustments. Cracks, water leaks, and mold should all be checked for and repaired. Make sure the basement stairs and handrail are in good shape.
  14. Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, you can divide it into zones based on the activities that take place there. You could, for example, create a children’s play area, a sitting space, a hobby room, and/or a workshop. Staging your basement can provide the impression of more living space to potential buyers.
  15. Dark, heavy furnishings should be avoided. In a dimly lit environment, the impact might be overwhelming.
  16. Brighten and liven up the basement with accessories in bright colors like yellow, blue, and green.
  17. A vast space in the basement can be transformed into a media room, a teen hangout, or the ever-popular “man-cave.” Many house buyers will notice the possibilities of room in a basement and want to add their own touches, so it doesn’t have to be fancy. To keep the basement feeling light, use light, neutral-colored upholstered furniture.
  18. It is a cost-effective technique to beautify a place by replacing old light fixtures with current contemporary lighting.
  19. For sports equipment, laundry supplies, media equipment, or whatever else you need to have on hand while your house is on the market, use closet organizing systems and built-in organizers.
  20. Use white or soft neutral paint colors to lighten up brick walls.
  21. Low basement ceilings should be painted white. A low ceiling can be visually raised by using light paint colors.
  22. A windowed spare room can be transformed into a bedroom or a home office. Either option will increase the value of your home.
  23. If you require seclusion, put window treatments out to the side of the window to let in as much natural light as possible.
  24. Underneath a conversational arrangement, place a neutral-colored area rug to harmonize the furnishings and make the basement feel cozier.
  25. Create a separate location for the laundry. To keep all the clutter at bay, invest in some laundry arranging systems.

Even a small basement remodeling will increase your home’s square footage and value.

A staged basement will increase the value of your home because it helps buyer envision their own lives in your home.