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Basement Bucks: What Renovation Really Costs in Canada


Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


Embarking on your basement renovation journey may leave you feeling a bit lost, especially when it comes to costs. This article is here to guide you! Renovation prices can be all over the place, depending on where you are, the work you're doing, and how fancy you want things. Today, we'll break it down for you. Plus, we'll throw in some examples of popular basement requests that as of today, the end of 2023, we often receive and will help you wrap your head around it and develop a realistic budget for bringing your envisioned underground haven to life.


We will be exploring some key factors you need to ask yourself before starting a basement renovation:


Do you need the increased living space?

Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


Expanding your living space into the basement is a game-changer that can turn a forgotten space into your new favorite hangout. Whether you're dreaming of a cozy family room, a slick home office, a fancy gym, or even a mini movie theater, the basement is your canvas. It's like unlocking a whole new level of comfort and functionality. So, if you're tired of that unused space feeling like a missed opportunity, consider giving your basement a makeover. You'll be amazed at how it can transform into the heart of your home, ready for all kinds of activities and good times.


When it comes to setting up a guest room like the one above, you're looking at around $4,000 CAD with some budget-friendly to mid-range brands. Pro tip: splurge a bit more on the big stuff, like a comfy mattress, a spill-resistant rug, and some super-cozy, high-quality bedding – including those extra-fluffy pillows. Awesome choices! Urban Barn and Tonic Living have fantastic and reasonably priced options for these items, and the best part – they're both Canadian brands!


Will you re-sell the house?

Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


Revamping a basement can significantly boost property value due to several key factors. Beyond the obvious increase in usable square footage, a renovated basement adds versatility to a home, catering to various needs like extra bedrooms, home offices, or recreational spaces. This versatility appeals to a broader spectrum of potential buyers, making the property more marketable. A well-executed basement renovation is a strategic investment that not only improves the current quality of living but also increases the property's market value, making it a win-win for homeowners.


Creating a functional and cozy living room, like the one pictured above, will require an investment of around $7,000 CAD, excluding built-ins. Pro tip: If you can swing it, custom cabinetry adds a special touch. However, for more budget-friendly options, IKEA works wonders! All you need is a dash of creativity and a bit extra for assembly.


Is your family growing?

Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


A renovated basement holds the remarkable potential to grow and adapt along with a family's changing needs over time. Initially serving as a vibrant playroom for young children with soft surfaces and ample toy storage, it can seamlessly transition into a trendy hangout for teenagers as interests shift towards media and gaming. As the family matures, the basement can transform into a functional home office or study space, providing a quiet sanctuary for work or study. Adapting further, it can become a welcoming guest suite for expanding families or visiting relatives. For those inclined towards health and hobbies, the basement can evolve into a fitness area or a specialized craft room. As entertainment preferences change, the basement can be turned into a home theater with the right audio-visual setup. In later years, it may serve as an in-law apartment, providing independent living space. The key lies in thoughtful design and planning, ensuring that the basement remains a dynamic space that effortlessly accommodates the evolving lifestyle and needs of the family.


For a timeless and kid-and-pet-friendly setup that can withstand the test of time, go for stain-resistant rugs like Ruggable. Opt for water-resistant flooring like Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) – a cost-effective choice at $2 CAD to $7 CAD per square foot. Enhance functionality and aesthetics with wood wall panels for acoustics. Check out Wood Veneer Hub and Wayfair for top-notch, budget-friendly wood acoustic panels that'll elevate your basement space!


What's your budget?

Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


Figuring out how much cash to splash on your basement redo? Think about stuff like materials, worker bees, permits, and the curveballs that life likes to throw. And yeah, stash some extra funds for those surprise headaches.


In Canada, giving your basement a facelift can be a real mixed bag in terms of cost. It all depends on how big your space is, the quality of the goodies you want, and how fancy you want to get. As of the end of 2023 in Ontario, on the low side, a basic basement reno might be anywhere from 24K to 40K or even more (including contractor and trades work). Just remember to keep it real and consider the following for a solid budget:


Basic Basement Renovation: A basic basement renovation for an unfinished space might include drywall, insulation, flooring, and basic lighting. This can cost anywhere from $40 to $65 per square foot. So, for a 600 SF basement, you might spend between $24,000 and $40,000 approx.


Mid-Range Basement Renovation: This includes additional features like a bathroom (basements usually come with rough-ins ready to use but if you are thinking of relocating plumbing, this can significantly increase costs), upgraded flooring, better lighting such as pot lights, and potentially some custom built-ins. Costs typically range from $75 to $100 per square foot, bringing the total for a 600 SF basement to $45,000 to $60,000 approx.


If you're throwing some tiles in your basement bathroom or wet bar think about what materials you want. Porcelain and ceramic are awesome if you're on a budget, while marble and fancy stones are a bit more expensive. And don't forget the way you want them laid out – the cost for putting in subway tiles is different from herringbone or something custom.


If you're looking for an entry-level bathroom vanity, you've got two options: ready-to-buy or custom-made. To give you an example, a ready-to-buy 36" freestanding vanity will require an investment of around $1,800, while the custom-made one can go for about $2,500. It's pricier, but you can totally customize it!


High-End Basement Renovation: A high-end renovation may involve premium finishes, a kitchen or wet bar, a home theater, and other luxurious additions. Costs can exceed $100 per square foot, so for a 600 SF basement, you might spend between $65,000 and $100.000 approx.


Duplex/Legal In-law Suite: this will depend on the amount of spaces and level of finishes you want but you can consider spending between $100.000 to $150.000 or more.


Just a heads-up, these are ballpark figures in Canadian Dollars in 2023 and the actual cost can swing quite a bit. Here's what might shake things up:

  1. Location: Prices for labor and materials can vary depending on the province and city.

  2. Permits: Some renos might need the green light from the authorities, and the cost for those can be a bit of a wild card.

  3. Fancy Extras: If you're thinking about jazzing things up with custom features like built-in shelving or swanky fixtures, be ready to see the cost meter spike.

  4. Plumbing and Wiring: Tossing in a bathroom or kitchenette? Brace yourself for extra expenses on the plumbing and electrical fronts.

  5. Fixing the Bones: If your basement is crying out for some structural TLC, that could mean digging deeper into your wallet.

Quick FYI, the numbers mentioned earlier only cover the contractor work. Don't forget to set aside some extra cash for furniture and decor. Basement vibes usually mean mixing your old comfy chair with some brand-new swag. To achieve a bathroom vibe like the one pictured above, plan on budgeting around $4,000 for fixtures, accessories, and decor (including a standard curveless shower and excluding the sauna, of course).


Pro Tip: Note that black and brass finishes often come at a higher cost compared to standard chrome and brushed nickel options. Also, popular faucet brands like Moen, Delta, and Kohler tend to be on the higher end. Great alternative options are American Standard and Vizio. Keep your budget in check while adding a touch of luxury!



When gathering quotes together, is very important for the contractors to fully understand the scope of work to give you an accurate cost and timeline, and avoid surprises at the end. To make this process stress-free, when you work with us and have the space designed by professionals, we always include a full 3D video and images that highlight the selected finishes, paint colors, lighting, built-ins, furniture, and decor, giving the contractors a clear map of your expectations.

Basement Renovation by White Dahlia Design


The Takeaway


Sprucing up your basement is like giving your house a secret upgrade. You know, the kind that not everyone sees right away, but when they do, they're like, "Whoa, this place is awesome!". Think cozy movie nights or a chill home office vibe. Not only are you creating more living space (which is a game-changer), but a finished basement makes your home stand out which can make potential buyers go, "Yep, this is the one." You're not just adding a new room; you're beefing up your


property's worth. It's like magic for your home's appraisal.


For a spot-on estimate tailored to your basement dreams, chat it up with local contractors. Get at least 2-3 quotes, and let the pros crunch the numbers based on a solid design plan.


If you're in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and in need of an excellent contractor, we highly recommend Eric from Borman Construction! We've teamed up on numerous renovation projects over the years, and we can't say enough good things about them and their work.



We have a very handy article you can refer to on 4 Things To Consider When Hiring a Contractor For Your Home Renovation. If you're curious about the cost of our interior design service, feel free to get in touch with us. We'll tailor a quote specifically for your project based on your requirements.


Remember, each basement is unique, and the specific steps and considerations may vary based on your individual circumstances. Always prioritize safety and compliance with local building codes throughout the renovation process. Whether it's a swanky entertainment zone, a guest pad, or even a side hustle rental spot, a renovated basement is like a home improvement superhero. So, if you're thinking about it, just go for it – your house will thank you later. For more content on renovations, we suggest reading our article A Blissful Basement: 5 Tips to Make Most of Your Basement Renovation or Our Top 4 Requested Basement Designs. For a great space transformation including before and after images, you can browse through this amazing Special Basement Renovation Reveal.


Cheers to a great space!


White Dahlia Design Team

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