Lay out a basement in habitable room
Developing a basement into a habitable room can be a great way toenlarge or create a new room. It is also a solution that has its constraints, subject to several conditions such as ventilation, lighting or heating. Our experts, the architect of Studio d'Archi agency, Nicolas Sallavuard and the interior designer of Design Espaces agency, Marie Casasola, answer in 10 points to the various questions that you ask yourself about thelayout of a basement in habitable room.
Lay out a basement in living room is possible, but it requires a little thought, preparation and a dedicated budget. Subject to several constraints and the respect of some rules, the installation of a basement in habitable room requires works and the intervention of experts able to guide you.
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Foremost, inquire at the town hall to know the local health regulations to know if your basement can become habitable. According to the town halls, the rules are more or less strict. On the other hand, if you live in a building you will need authorization from your condominium syndicate to undertake even modest work. Finally, depending on the surface of your basement, you will have to respect certain formalities. If the surface of the souplex is less than 5 m2no administrative formalities are required. But if the surface is included between 5 m2 and 20 m2You must make a declaration of work with the town hall without necessarily needing to obtain a building permit. If the surface of the basement is greater than 20 m2 or modifies the supporting structures or the facade of the building, it will be necessary to file a building permit.
Our experts Nicolas Sallavuard and Marie Casasola give you some tips for arrange your basement.
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A basement before the renovation work.
The basement after renovation.
Tip # 1: Treat the humidity in your basement
This is the first and the real black spot of basements because humidity gains the walls which are like sponges in which the water rises by capillarity. Or, to be comfortable a basement needs to be sanitized. If it is a house and you have a little room to maneuver, you can treat moisture by draining the soil around the house or call on a company that injects into the wall thickness a resin that blocks moisture. If it is a souplex in town, so subject to the rules of co-ownership, you must proceed otherwise. The goal is thenisolate the soil with plates and walls with glued doubling panels.
Finally, to be comfortable, the basement must be ventilated with ventilation (VMC) or a flow of air, hot or cold, whose ducts must often be installed in a false ceiling (if you have a minimum height). But it must be known, moisture is a problem that can not be solved completely. You will need regular create drafts dry and healthy combined with heating, using electric heaters for example.
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Tip # 2: bring natural light back into the basement
As its name suggests, the basement is below the dwelling and is often poorly lit, with small openings, or no openings at all. The idea is to bring back a maximum of natural light. If the basement is partially buried, recover the light from tall windows, or make gaps in the floors. If the basement is completely buried you can still try to open the space by creating an English court (one digs at the foot of frontage outside) or by digging a part of the floor to install a glazed surface .
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Tip # 3: Observe a regulatory height for your souplex
The problem of basements is their often reduced height. The official limit for basements is 1m80 in height. But beware, some town hall regulations require a higher height for the space to be considered habitable. There are then several solutions for increase the ceiling height of your souplex. If the floor is clay, you can eventually disburse the basement floor of the building from below in order to lower the ground level. However, this is a costly and complicated solution to implement, especially in the context of a condominium because an authorization is necessary.
Tip # 4: Provide access to the basement
Often, the initial staircase of a basement is steep and narrow. If you want to make your basement habitable, the stairs must be more comfortable to allow easy and more frequent use. It will be necessary to enlarge the cage, possibly to choose a new staircase and to think well its location and its modalities (integrated storage, platform, etc ...) to then be able to furnish the room correctly.
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Tip # 5: adapt the choice of room to different types of basements
It is certain that not all rooms can be converted into any basement. It is the ceiling height that will determine the ideal room. At less than 2 m high, the place will serve rather as storage. In a basement less than 2.10 m high, choose rooms where you do not drag on, such as a games room, a movie theater or an extra bedroom. If you have a minimum of 2.40 m high, you can consider creating a living room, a master bedroom or an office. In these latter cases, the great advantage of a souplex is that it is a completely isolated space so very little noisy.
If you dream of installing a bathroom or kitchen, which require water supplies, it can be complicated. If the evacuation is too far from the basement, you will need to install a pump, which will generate many additional work and constraints, especially in condominiums.
The stairs leading to the basement
A basement converted into a bedroom.
Tip # 6: Choose your basement coverings
Often damp, basement walls and floors can not be kept as they are. It is often necessary to dress them, that is to say to work a second skin. On walls already insulated with polystyrene sheets, you can increase the protective layers with a paint which can also be insulating and on which you can possibly put a wallpaper.
On the ground, previously insulated thermally with plates, we will opt for a covering covering parquet or carpet with a certain thickness to create an extra layer.
Tip # 7: Warm up and brighten the scene with the decor
To counterbalance the lack of brightness of a basement, accessorize the furniture places in light and pastel colors mixed with warm woods. Invest in objects and textiles as well natural fibers, straws, rattans, or linen sheets to illuminate the decor and make it more welcoming.
Tip # 8: artificially illuminate the basement
One of the limits of the souplex is the brightness. However, an escape of natural light and zenith does not exempt to illuminate the room with artificial light additions. In any case, it will be necessary to compensate with luminaires, LED rails and indirect lighting for give the impression of a daylight. Fluorescent tubes or spotlights can be integrated into a false ceiling (if the height allows it), without forgetting indirect lights, such as bedside lamps, wall sconces or floor lamps.
Tip # 9: redraw the spaces in your souplex
Thanks to the color, the spaces are transformed. On the walls, adopt a base of paint in light tones, unbleached or whites tinged with pink or orange for make roomy volumes but warm (the real white hardens and diffuses a cold and bluish atmosphere). Then, thanks to bright color games, redraw volumes and bring depth.
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Tip # 10: Visually enlarge the space in the basement
Even in a basement, one can reinforce the feeling of well-being by accentuating the impression of space with different tips. You are, for example, not forced to partition the room. The bed can be installed on a platform (which also serves as storage) and separated visually thanks to the differences in levels. You can also artificially enlarge the room thanks to some wall mirrors.
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