Creating a Basement Apartment

Small Kitchen Renovation Project by Harmony Basement Bradford

To make the most of your home, it’s important to have each square foot working in your favour. This means not leaving space unloved, with little utility and minimal usage. One of the most commonly neglected spaces in any home is the basement – it’s easy to tuck away and forget about. That said, it can also be an incredibly useful space when given the attention it deserves. The right basement renovation will start by opening up an entirely new living space to you and your family, and will eventually present a rental space opportunity should additional income be desired down the road.

In this article, we’re going to explore basement apartment renovation ideas, and discuss how you should approach your next project.

Benefits of Basement Suite

When considering a basement apartment renovation project, there are two key benefits that you’ll want to note. First, a basement apartment will open you up to all sorts of rental opportunities, as nicely finished basements have become increasingly appealing to both younger adults and middle-income families in recent years. This rental opportunity will allow you to generate additional income, giving you the ability to pay off your mortgage quicker, or allocate the money towards other useful purposes. Second, the basement suite will provide a wonderful secondary living space for your family should you not be interested in renting. This will improve the quality of life within your home for years to come.

How Much Value Does a Basement Apartment Add to A House

Because of the fact that a basement apartment layout addition opens up the homeowner to an improved quality of life and a potential for rental income, the value of having one can be quite positive. On average, a finished basement will increase the value of a home by $10,000-20,000, depending on the size and quality of the renovation. It’s best to assume that your basement renovation project will have a return on investment of approximately 75%.

Modern Family Room in Finished Basement by Harmony Basements Brampton

How to Make a Basement Apartment Legal

If you’re hoping to renovate your basement for rental purposes, it’s important to ensure that it passes all legal requirements and does not expose you to any undue harm. In Ontario, a legal basement must meet the Ontario Building Code Requirements for Second Units, the Ontario Fire Code, and various local municipal zoning by-laws. Although this seems like a lot to consider, an experienced basement renovation team will be able to ensure that all requirements are met in a rather efficient manner. Because of this, we encourage you to seek professional support prior to diving into a basement renovation project, ensuring that you don’t waste time and money only to find out that the space you created does not meet the above requirements and therefore cannot be rented out to tenants.

Basement Living Room Modern Design - Basement Remodeling Brampton

Average Cost to Finish a Basement Ontario

The average cost to finish a basement in Ontario will range widely depending on the size of the project, the intended usage, the quality of materials, and more. Although every basement will receive a seemingly standard frame, it’s all of the unique elements and designs – alongside the labour required to bring them to life – that will determine the final project cost.

As a rule of thumb, it’s safe to assume that an average basement remodelling project – that is, with average sizing, material quality, and the like – will cost approximately $19,500, with many homeowners paying between $10,000 and $28,000. If you’re looking to have a full basement apartment renovation done, in which you’ll need to have a full bathroom, kitchen, and all other amenities included, you should expect to pay somewhere between $50,000-75,000 for the project.

What to Consider when Designing a Basement Apartment

When designing your basement apartment renovation project, it’s important to consider the following key items:

  1. Ensure you’re allowed to legally create a basement apartment. Many homeowners love the idea of creating a basement apartment, but it may not always be allowed given your home, municipality, or one of many other variables. It’s important to first verify with your city that local zoning laws will allow for the basement renovation, saving you much time and money should there be issues.
  2. Determine your project costs. It’s important to set a project budget prior to diving into a build, as it will allow you to select a builder who can offer the design and materials you’re looking for within that range. As noted above, you should expect to spend anywhere from $10,000-28,000 for a basement remodel, with that bumping up to $50,000-75,000 for a complete apartment renovation.
  3. Consider your needs. It can be easy to get side-tracked in the design and development process and spend time or money where it wasn’t intended. Take time prior to getting started to consider your project needs, such as what the space will have to provide and how you’d like to go about organizing those priorities. This will allow you to speed up the design and development process, and save you plenty of dollars and headaches along the way.
  4. Find a reliable builder. Take time to explore your design and development supplier options prior to making any commitments. Meet with teams, explore their recent jobs, and speak with references to ensure that you’re enlisting a team capable of bringing your basement dreams to life.


With projects as large and expensive as basement apartment renovations, it’s important that you put your trust capable of completing the work on-time, in-budget, and with a keen focus on the rule and regulations required to ensure that the space remains legal. Although it can be easy to seek basement renovation support based purely on a cost basis, a lack of expert knowledge early on can lead to very painful and costly scenarios down the road. Finding a professional contractor to help you plan, design, and renovate your basement apartment is one of the most important steps in the process. To learn more about our team, project approach, or to obtain a project quote, please contact us today!