Before you begin
Source: Paul Chmielowiec Credits: Style at Home
If you have a problem with moderate to severe dampness or leaking, deal with it before even considering turning your basement into a living space.
Consider installing ventilation
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Another common problem, even with fully waterproofed basements, is mould, mildew and mild dampness. Consider installing or beefing up ventilation, ideally with ductwork or ceiling fans. A dehumidifier (portable or built-in) will make the air more comfortable in the basement as well.
Consider replacing paneling
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Dated paneling in good condition can be painted, and if it’s textured, the surface can look quite attractive with a fresh coat of paint. For a little more money, consider replacing the paneling with horizontal pine boards, for a seaside cottage look.