Basement Apartment Ideas

Basement Apartment Ideas

Construction Techniques and Renovation Inspirations

There are numerous possibilities for utilizing the basement space of a private home. On one hand, it can be equipped for personal use. On the other, there’s the opportunity to create a fully-functional basement apartment, which can then be rented out for monthly additional income.

However, planning a basement apartment is a rather complex task that is best handled with a professional designer. You can design the entire space as an open-concept studio, but many also opt to divide the basement into separate rooms.

Legal Basement Apartment in Ontario

Right from the planning phase of basement dwellings, it’s essential to understand the legal aspects. A basement apartment must comply with the Ontario Building Code Requirements for Second Units, The Ontario Fire Code, and local municipal zoning by-laws. Only then can it be considered legal for renting out.

It’s a good idea, though not mandatory, to consider a separate entrance when designing a basement apartment if feasible. However, it’s almost impossible to go without a bathroom and a kitchen space. All these details and more should be discussed during a consultation with specialists from Finished Basement.


The interior designers at Finished Basement will meticulously plan out every detail of the basement apartment. Our experienced professionals will bring those plans to life, ensuring high-quality work. Thanks to an efficient approach, a basement renovation typically takes no more than 2–3 weeks.

Essential Spaces for Basement Apartments

When designing a basement apartment, it’s vital not only to consider the legal implications but also the attractiveness of the space for potential tenants. The appeal of the space will, in large part, dictate the final monthly rental fee you can charge.

Both compact studio apartments and spacious basement apartments with a large living room, thoughtfully designed bathroom, comfortable bedroom, and various other zones are in high demand. However, there are specific spaces that are essential for any living accommodation.

Basement Living Space

Basement Apartment Ideas

Naturally, the most important feature of a basement apartment is, of course, the living space. If we’re talking about a compact studio, this could take up almost the entire room. Such spaces often utilize a fold-out sofa that easily converts into a full-sized bed.

In larger basement apartments, there’s room for a full-fledged family room with a generously-sized sofa, a dining table often used as a workspace, and an accent wall with a large TV or projector. The living room can also accommodate recreational features, such as a small pool table, table tennis, or a foosball table.


Finished Basement can save you up to 2 or even 3 days of your time. Just 45 minutes spent in the company's 3,000 sq ft showroom can help determine all the specifics of your upcoming basement renovation, including materials, style, as well as the appearance and functionality of the basement apartment.

Designing Basement Apartments Insights

Open Shelves

When it comes to crafting a basement apartment intended for renting, it's a wise choice to design the space to be as user-friendly for the tenants as possible, while also ensuring it's practical and cost-effective for the owner. Therefore, it's logical to avoid overly complicated design elements.

Open shelving is often used in basement apartments. Not only does it look great, but it also lacks moving parts that can be easily damaged. Furthermore, simple and durable furniture pieces can be conveniently purchased from IKEA and other retailers, offering both aesthetic appeal and affordability.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Open Closet

Most of the time, basement spaces are quite limited in size. Consequently, when creating an apartment for rental purposes, excessive furniture is avoided. For instance, instead of having a separate wardrobe or cabinets for clothes storage, a simple, accessible, and reliable open closet option is often chosen.

An open closet can be installed either in the main room, especially if the apartment has a studio layout, or in a separate bedroom. Importantly, this kind of setup is generally well-received by tenants. For modern young families considering renting a basement apartment, such an arrangement is usually sufficient.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Hardwood Floors

When designing a basement apartment, it's essential to make the space as practical and durable as possible. This includes choosing the right materials for renovations. For instance, quality hardwood floors typically last at least ten years and continue to look great even after housing multiple tenants.

On the other hand, floor tiles are rarely used in the main space of basement apartments. While they might be even more durable than hardwood floors, they are colder underfoot, making them less suitable for basement settings, and they are also more expensive both in terms of material and installation costs.

Basement Apartment Ideas

White Walls

Given that basement sizes are often restricted, a light color palette is usually chosen for the walls of the apartment. White or gray walls are optimal for reflecting natural light, which filters in through small windows, as well as the illumination from overhead and wall-mounted light fixtures, thereby visually expanding the space.

White walls give the space an airy feel. With this same intention, hanging art pieces are also frequently used in compact basements, making the room feel more "breathable." Moreover, it's straightforward to repaint white or other light-colored walls between different tenants, adding to the practicality of this design choice.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Basement Bathroom

Basement Apartment Ideas

When planning a basement apartment, the bathroom is a crucial component, and its placement and functionality must be carefully thought out in advance. A simple powder room won’t suffice for a full living space, so it’s essential to consider various 3-piece basement bathroom designs.

To make the basement bathroom aesthetically appealing, designers often creatively play with lighting in this space. Beyond recessed lighting, wall sconces and other supplemental light fixtures are frequently used to add warmth and coziness to the bathroom.

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Entrust your basement renovation to a team of professionals who value their reputation and consistently rank at the top of verified ratings. They will help you with the layout and material selection, offering optimal solutions for a basement apartment.

Basement Kitchen

Basement Apartment Ideas

Another essential feature to account for when planning a basement apartment intended for rent is the kitchen. Tenants living in the space should have the facility to prepare meals. Therefore, the kitchen area should ideally feature a stovetop, oven, and an exhaust fan.

For incorporating a kitchen in a compact space within a basement apartment, our specialists have designed a modern modular system. It consists of standard-sized upper and bottom cabinets that can be arranged in any combination to suit the client’s needs and the available space.

Basement Bedroom

Basement Apartment Ideas

Depending on the size of your home’s basement, it’s possible to design not just a studio but also a 1-bedroom apartment. This can increase the monthly rental fee. The key is to make the bedroom as attractive as possible, for instance, by supplementing recessed lighting with additional table and floor light sources.

Basement bedrooms are typically planned around the most conveniently located window. In addition to providing natural light, this also allows for regular ventilation, crucial for healthy sleep. While heated floors are usually not installed in bedrooms for various reasons, a workstation can be added if there isn’t a separate office space.


Finished Basement guarantees that all work performed adheres to the Ontario Building Code (OBC). This reflects the company’s commitment to quality and industry standards. We ensure that basement renovations will meet legal and safety requirements.

If any installation defects are identified in the basement apartment during the 5-year warranty period, we commit to rectifying them. Any defective work will be redone without any additional charges. This warranty underscores our unwavering dedication to addressing our clients’ needs.

Additional Spaces for Basement Apartment

Extra Bedroom or Nursery

If the floor space allows, it wouldn't hurt to include one or two additional bedrooms in the basement apartment. On one hand, this would allow you to rent the space to a larger number of occupants. On the other, it could attract families with young children who could use the extra space as a nursery room.

It would be ideal if the additional bedroom could incorporate a source of natural light. However, such a room can often be designed without it. In this case, it's essential to address the lack of windows in the room's design and ensure there are additional lighting sources to compensate.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Home Office

Even in a small space within a basement apartment, setting up a home office zone can be beneficial. This will make the apartment more appealing to potential tenants. This area can be part of a studio or separate living space. It's also common to place it within a bedroom to keep it isolated from the potential noise of the main living area.

For the simplest home office set-up, all you need is a comfortable desk where one can engage in professional tasks. This addition is also advantageous for basement apartments rented out to students coming from various regions of Canada and other countries.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Storage Space & Laundry

When planning a basement apartment, it's common to allocate a small separate room as storage space for tenants' belongings. This space is often equipped with shelving units to store suitcases, boxes, and other items, as well as wall mounts for things like bicycles.

Furthermore, it's frequent to find a full-fledged laundry area within the storage room, complete with a washer and dryer. Moving these appliances here can free up space in the bathroom, making it more convenient and minimalistic. However, considerations would need to be made for water connections and drainage, which might affect the cost.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Gym & Entertainment Area

If there's leftover space in the basement, it can also house gym equipment, making the apartment more appealing to potential tenants. Today, there are compact multi-functional strength and cardio machines that don't occupy too much space.

You can also set up an entertainment area featuring table soccer, darts, or other elements that help residents enjoy their leisure time. This feature can be especially attractive to students and other young renters who would undoubtedly appreciate such amenities when considering renting a particular apartment.

Basement Apartment Ideas

Related Ideas for Modern Finished Basement

Open Concept Basement Ideas

Open Concept Basement Ideas

Thanks to the open concept layout, a residential basement becomes highly multifunctional. It can serve as an entertainment center for all family members, often including areas for watching both new and classic movies and series, a home gym, and even a contemporary bar.

Basement Home Gym Ideas

Basement Home Gym Ideas

You can allocate a dedicated room in the basement for a home gym or incorporate it into an open concept layout. To ensure a comprehensive workout regimen, it’s crucial to equip the space with versatile fitness equipment, both cardio machines and strength training apparatus.

Basement Home Theater Ideas

Basement Home Theater Ideas

Home theaters are frequently part of an open concept basement, but some homeowners prefer a dedicated room for movie-watching. The decision hinges on the available space and the owner’s preferences. A home theater can encompass a variety of engaging features that need careful planning.

Basement Rooms Ideas

Basement Rooms Ideas

When planning a renovation for your basement, it’s vital to consider not only the overall design but also the individual rooms that will be utilized. Often, homeowners include a guest bedroom and an additional bathroom. However, the number and functionality of the rooms are only limited by the owner’s imagination and possibilities.

Basement Bar Ideas

Basement Bar Ideas

On one hand, a basement bar can be the ideal place to gather your family, friends, and colleagues. On the other hand, with the help of modern modular sections for upper and lower cabinets that we’ve designed, you can create a compact kitchenette suitable for full-scale cooking.

Basement Stairs Ideas

Basement Stairs Ideas

Designing the stairs in a basement is an integral part of its planning. It’s crucial to work on its structure, choose materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional for long-term use. Additionally, you can utilize the space beneath the stairs in various innovative ways.