Creating a Basement in-law Apartment

In-Law Apartment

An in-law apartment should include flexible space that can transform from living room to dining area as needed.

Sometimes an in-law apartment is part of the overall plan for the home and family. In other cases, it’s a necessity that comes up unexpectedly.

Regardless of the reason, the basement can be an excellent location for an in-law apartment or suite.

But to achieve this remodeling goal, you need to plan carefully and hire a contractor who specializes in basement finishing and remodeling –not a remodeling contractor who occasionally does basements.

Total Basement Finishing contractors are the best choice for any kind of basement transformation. Unlike other contractors, we work with basements every day! To schedule a free estimate to create an in-law apartment in your basement, call or contact your local TBF dealer online!

How much will it cost to create a basement in-law apartment?

In-Law Kitchen

A compact kitchen can include a surprising amount of cabinet and counter space.

The cost of a basement in-law apartment or in-law suite depends on many factors. If the basement has moisture issues, these will need to be addressed using proven waterproofing and dehumidification procedures. Because any apartment requires some sort of kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, your project will require plumbing, electrical wiring and built-in cabinetry. Also consider the cost of insulation and finished materials for the floor, walls and ceiling.

If these expenses seem daunting, keep in mind that by creating an in-law apartment in your basement, you’ll be significantly increasing the value of your home. According to “cost-vs.-value” surveys, real estate agents regularly rank basement finishing near the top of remodeling projects in terms of improving home value. A basement apartment is one of the most valued improvements because it’s more than just added living space; it can also bring in rental income. Keep in mind that adding living space in your basement costs about half of what you’d pay to build an above-grade addition.

Basement in-law apartment ideas

Transforming an unfinished basement into an apartment or suite definitely qualifies as a major home makeover. If you’re working with a Total Basement Finishing contractor, you can be confident that all code and safety requirements will be met in this new space. You’ll also benefit from expert design consultation that will help you customize your basement apartment to suit the needs of in-laws or other residents. Check out some more basement space planning ideas. Here are a few design ideas for an in-law apartment:


Larger windows are a great addition because of the additional natural light they provide.

Bigger windows

In most areas, the local building code will require any basement bedroom to have a safe, direct means of egress to the outside.

In a walkout basement, egress can be provided by a door.

Otherwise, a standard basement window opening can be enlarged to install a larger egress-compliant window.

Barrier Free Bathroom

An accessible bathroom can be a good idea for an in-law apartment. Photo courtesy of Kohler.

Barrier-free bathroom

Older people and individuals with disabilities often require special features in a bathroom, such as grab bars and curbless shower stalls.

Fortunately, a wide range of bathroom fixtures are available for differently abled folks.

It’s less expensive to incorporate these fixtures during new bathroom construction than to retrofit them at a later date.


Adding a doorway helps to isolate basement noise and provide privacy.

Enclosed interior stairway

Privacy and soundproofing are important when you create a basement apartment.

That’s why you might want to enclose the bottom of the basement’s interior stairway.

This treatment creates an entry vestibule at the base of the stairs –an extra layer of separation between the apartment and the house.

Thermostat Control

The best way to keep humidity levels in check is to rely on a SaniDry® dehumidifier from Basement Systems.

Temperature & humidity control

No matter who is living in your basement apartment, you'll want them to be comfortable. An economical way to provide heat in a basement apartment is to install electric baseboard units that can be controlled by a thermostat. But to hold that heat in and reduce your heating costs, you'll need to insulate your basement's foundation walls with rigid foam insulation.

The best way to keep humidity levels in check is to rely on a SaniDry® dehumidifier from Basement Systems. This ENERGY STAR® dehumidifier is designed to automatically maintain the humidity level you select, while also removing dust and other particulate irritants from basement air.

To transform your basement into a safe, comfortable in-law apartment, trust the professionals at Total Basement Finishing. Schedule a free estimate with your local dealer today!

Our Products
Finishing Ideas
Learning Center
Become a Dealer
Free Estimate