Pros and Cons of Basement Bedrooms

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Basement bedrooms provide privacy, but sound dampening can be bad with kids. Living space increases without new construction. The cold can be a pro or a con. Humidity must be countered. You can build bigger bedrooms but lose storage space. Finished basements increase house value. Light is limited.

Basement Bedrooms ProsBasement Bedrooms Cons
You will have privacy from the ground and upper floorsThere is the risk of humidity issues arising
Your neighbors and any passers-by can’t see inThere is a possible cost of treating humidity issues
It increases your living space without having new constructionEmergency egress points are difficult to achieve
It usually means you can build bigger bedroomsYou will have to make provisions against the cold
The heat won’t interrupt your sleepYou will lose valuable appliance and storage room
A finished basement increases your property valueSound dampening is not ideal for kids
Natural light entering the room can be limited
Basement bathrooms will need to have ducted exhaust fans

Related Article: Pros and Cons of a Basement Master Suite

Basement bathrooms pros and cons

Pros of Basement Bedrooms

Privacy From Ground and Upper Floors

Having a bedroom in your basement provides the room’s occupants with the utmost privacy.

Guests won’t be accidentally walking into your room in an attempt to find the bathroom. Your housemates are also unlikely to drop into your bedroom unannounced as it is not central to the social points of the house, such as the kitchen or living room.

You are also free to play your music or television louder than you would in a bedroom on the ground floor. No more annoyed roommates (or neighbors!) asking you to keep it down or change the station.

Neighbors and Passers-by Can’t See In

With a lack of large windows, or even tinting the small ones, your basement bedroom will be free from the curious eyes of others.

Any people walking past your house won’t immediately look downwards to the basement windows, so you are less likely to have unwanted eyes gazing in while you relax or get dressed.

Another way that basements can protect your privacy is that fences, trees, shrubbery, etc. all act as screens, making it more difficult to see into a basement bedroom, even if the design allows for larger windows.

Increases Living Space Without Having to Construct New

With the average cost of constructing an additional bedroom onto an existing house being nearly $50 000 (amount in 2021), you will definitely save a pretty penny if you convert your existing basement into a bedroom. You also save yourself from the stress that comes along with a construction project; less work means less debris and time spent with construction workers trampling through your home.

Using the space you already have, bringing it to code, and just sprucing it up with some fresh paint and comfy décor is a great way to save money when you want to increase the livable area in your house.

Can Usually Build Bigger Bedrooms

There is nothing worse than being cramped in a tiny bedroom, where it feels like if you turn over, you’ll hit a wall. Most bedrooms in the states are an average size of 130 square feet and can usually only fit the essentials: a bed, dresser, and some side tables.

Basements are usually at least three times the average bedroom’s size, and if you are lucky enough to have a full basement, you are looking at having a bedroom that is equal to the total square footage of your first floor.

Having so much additional space means you can truly turn your bedroom into an oasis. King size your bed, add a lounger and TV, and you’ve got yourself a man cave.

Alternatively, you can install two larger than average rooms, giving plenty of space for maturing teens or solving the problem of which roommate gets the “big room”.

Another benefit to the size of the basement is that there will more than likely be room for another bathroom, which is endlessly helpful and valuable.

Heat Won’t Interrupt Your Sleep

Beat the heat when you make your basement a bedroom. If sufficiently insulated, the basement is usually much cooler than the rest of your house (usually less than 80°F), so there will be little need to have fans or air conditioners installed to keep you cool in the summer.

This cooler air will also help prevent humidity in the basement as the air will be dry.

Finished Basement Equals Higher Value

Unfinished basement versus finished basement

Deciding to convert your unused basement into a bedroom is not only adding more functionality to your house, but is also a wise investment for your future.

If you renovate the basement into livable space, you can expect to see up to a 70% return on your investment when you sell, provided your construction is up to building codes. This is even the case if you use more affordable finishes as opposed to the more luxurious items you would use in the rest of your house!

Additional bedrooms are known to add tens of thousands of dollars in value to a house, so potential buyers will definitely see your house as a viable option that gives them value for their buck.

Cons of Basement Bedrooms

Humidity Issues

If rain, groundwater, or other moisture is able to get into your basement, you are at risk of having increased amounts of humidity develop there.

When humidity levels reach 60%, issues will arise not only for your house, but for your health as well. Moisture can be trapped in the carpets and walls of your basement, and the humidity can present itself in a variety of ways. You could start to notice the presence of an unnatural odor as well as the paint beginning to peel.

Deeper issues may also be there that you cannot see straight away, such as the potential rotting of wooden beams and columns. Humidity can cause mold and mildew to arise, which can cause allergies and respiratory issues to develop in individuals.

Sometimes it’s necessary to use a dehumidifier to keep the basement humidity level below 60%.

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Paying to Minimize Humidity Issues

As you can see, humidity should be avoided at all costs. However, these fixes are not always cheap.

Installing an air conditioner or exhaust fan will definitely help circulate the air, and dry it out, but you have to fork over the money to make it happen.

Humidity is known to be reduced in consistently heated areas. Keeping your heating on at a set temperature all your round will address this, but it won’t come cheap. It is best to make provisions for an increased electricity bill.

If you want to keep an eye on the humidity levels, perhaps budget for regular indoor air quality tests. For around $450 per inspection, you’ll be getting peace of mind, but your wallet will be hurting a bit.

Alternatively, an indoor air quality monitor can be bought for about $80, which will notify you of any potential issues.

Emergency Egress Points Difficult to Achieve

Building codes require all bedrooms to have an emergency exit point. In basements, this may be more difficult to achieve as you only have one door as your entrance and exit, so if that point is blocked you may find yourself trapped.

Therefore, it is in the interest of your safety to look into installing emergency egress windows in your basement. These are windows that need to be able to open completely to allow for people to exit safely and quickly in the case of an emergency.

This won’t come cheap though: it could cost you anywhere from $500 to $5000 dollars depending on if you’re going to DIY it, or call in a professional.

You Will Have to Protect Against the Cold

In summer, a cool basement is welcomed with open arms. In winter the lack of natural light and low temperatures means you may have to pull out the extra blankets.

If the cold gets too unbearable, you may have to look into adding more insulation to your basement by insulating the walls and any windows to prevent any cold air from seeping through.

A cheaper, more doable option is to get a few cozy rugs. Place them around your bed so your feet don’t meet the cold ground as soon as you wake up.

You Lose Valuable Appliance and Storage Room

Basement storage room vs basement bedroom

For many, the basement becomes the ideal place to keep large appliances, like your water heater, and store the boxes of holiday decorations, old toys, and that once-used treadmill.

By converting your basement into a bedroom, you are losing this valuable out-of-sight storage. Nobody wants to sleep facing a washing machine or box of Christmas lights, so you’ll need to make alternative storage provisions!

Sound Dampening Not Ideal With Kids

Playing your music loudly without your housemates complaining is a reality in a basement bedroom thanks to the sound dampening. However, having a sound-proof space is not always the safest thing.

If you use your basement as a kid’s bedroom, you run the risk of not being able to hear them during an emergency. It might be better to rethink where your children’s bedroom should be to be on the safe side.

Natural Light Can Be Limited

Lack of windows might bring privacy, but they also reduce the amount of natural light that floods into your basement bedroom. Natural light is vital for creating a relaxing and welcoming space in a room, so not having it might make your space feel dreary and claustrophobic.

Consider investing in a solar tube, which brings natural light into your house through the use of mirrors. Alternatively, place a lot of lamps around the room to disperse the light and create a soft mood in the bedroom. Painting your walls with a lighter color can also definitely help in brightening up the space as well.

Bathrooms Will Need Ducted Exhaust Fans

If you have a bathroom with a shower or tub in your basement, there has to be a ducted exhaust fan to remove any humidity from the basement and prevent the issues that could arise. You can read about these issues in my article on Reasons Why Having No Ventilation in a Bathroom Is Terrible.

If you have windows around your basement and in your bathrooms, you may just be able to get away without having ducted exhaust fans, provided the windows provide sufficient natural ventilation. Such natural ventilation is just more unlikely in a basement, and you may have to keep the windows open for a long while to ensure enough moisture has been vented out.

If you don’t like the idea of a basement bedroom now that you know all the potential issues, why not investigate a basement garage. You can then rather convert your ground-floor garage into a spare bedroom or two.

Related article: Does a Basement Bathroom Need an Exhaust Fan?


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