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Convert Unused Lower Levels Into Livable Space | Cost Guide

Last Updated: December 27, 2023

Many new homes are built with an unfinished basement. This saves money up front in construction costs and gives a family the opportunity to grow into their home.

A lot of people choose to finish their basement in order to add living space for entertaining guests or as a hangout area.

No matter what the reason, finishing a basement can come with a considerable price tag.

However, it's generally a good investment as a basement remodel fetches 80% to 90% of its investment cost at resale.

How Much Does Basement Remodeling & Finishing Cost? #

The average cost to remodel or finish a basement is $15,000 to $35,000, depending on the size, layout and types of rooms added. Most homeowners spend $23,000 to add basic living spaces like a family room, bedroom and bathroom.

Basement Remodel Cost Factors

  • Size of basement
  • Finishes like flooring & lighting
  • If full bath/wetbar is added
  • Level of customization

Partial Finish Costs

  • Paint, lights & flooring only: $3,000 - $8,000
  • Single open living space: $10,000 - $15,000

Full Remodel Costs

  • 2+ rooms with bathroom: $23,000 - $35,000
  • High-end media/entertaining space: $50,000+

Demo & Framing

  • Gut walls, remove debris: $2,000 - $4,500
  • Build out non-load-bearing walls: $5,000 - $12,000


  • Improve ventilation: $800 - $1,500
  • Install ductwork, vents: $3,500 - $6,000


  • Install bathroom/wetbar sink: $900 - $2,000
  • Rough-in shower/toilet drains: $1,200 - $2,500

Electrical & Lighting

  • Can lights, outlets & wiring: $2,500 - $4,000
  • Home theater pre-wiring: $1,200 - $1,800


  • Laminate floors installed: $1,200 - $3,500
  • Porcelain tile floors: $3,500 - $7,500

Finishes & Paint

  • Drywall, mudding & taping: $2,500 - $7,500
  • Paint all walls & ceilings: $800 - $1,700

Total costs range $15k to $35k+ for most finished basements adding family rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Luxury media rooms or entertainer spaces run $50k+.

Basement Finishing Cost

Real-World Basement Remodeling Costs #

Here are some real-world quotes from homeowners on how much they paid to remodel their basements:

  • "We gutted our basement to the concrete walls and installed 2 bedrooms, 1 full bath, new electrical and plumbing. The total remodel cost was $32,100." - James T., Ohio

  • "I had just one large family room finished very basically - with carpet, drywall, lights and paint. Spent $15,300 total." - Anne B., Texas

  • "We splurged and turned our basement into a luxury entertaining area with a theater, wet bar and wine cellar. Spent $62,900 altogether." - Kevin R., Pennsylvania

  • "I had 2 bedrooms with tall ceilings framed out from scratch, installed laminate floors, added a full bathroom, lighting and painted all the walls. Paid $29,500 total." - Olivia S., Maryland

  • "Did a simple refresh of our outdated basement - installed luxury vinyl plank flooring, added recessed lighting, painting and refreshed bathroom. $9,800 total." - Noah P., Arizona

  • "Had leaks that had to be fixed before finishing, but now have an inviting family room and play area space. Cost $23,600 altogether." - Emma C., Nevada

As you see, a full remodel with multiple finished rooms typically runs $25,000 to $35,000. But costs can vary from $10k for basic refreshes to $60k+ luxury designs.

Do I Need a Permit for a Basement Remodel? #

Yes, in most cases a permit will be required for any significant structural, electrical, or plumbing work done when finishing a basement. Relevant permits include:

  • Building permit - Needed for any framing, structural changes
  • Electrical permit - Required when adding lighting, outlets, wiring
  • Plumbing permit - Needed if installing bathroom, wetbar, laundry

Permit Triggers

Common basement work needing permits:

  • Adding walls and bedrooms
  • Running new drain lines
  • Upgrading electrical panel or circuits

Cost of Permits

  • Building: $800 - $1,500
  • Electrical: $100 - $300
  • Plumbing: $150 - $500

Check with your local building department on permit needs for any basement remodeling.

Work without proper permits can pose safety risks and prevent being able to sell the home.


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