The 2008 Census found that 5.9 million Americans worked at home. That number is sure to rise with the 2010 tally of where we work, and millions more occasionally telecommute to offices. For tax purposes, most people create a separate room for a home office. If you haven't finished the basement, why not create a basement office?
Obviously the first step is the make sure your basement is dry, free of mold, and has accessible plumbing and wiring to create a comfortable and functional work setting. Even if you design the office yourself, you may need to call in a basement remodeling contractor to ensure that your space is suitable. Moisture-proofing should be an integral part of any basement finishing scheme. This is one area where you don't want to skimp--cheaper sealants and waterproofing agents may not hold up to the heat or humidity in your climate zone.
Not everyone wants to spend their working week underground. On the other hand, if you've worked in a cubicle, a basement office might be a terrific alternative. Make a list of features by necessity, then luxury. Start with a must-have list, then a nice-to-have list. Most people would insist on:
Nice-to-have options include a couch, workout bike or treadmill, and a music system and/or television. Don't forget curtains and shades.
If your basement is near your laundry room, consider putting up a wall to spare yourself the noise and spare your clients your dirty socks. You might also put soundproofing on your list if the rest of the house is busy during the day.
Air and lighting should also be a high priority. Do you want natural ventilation during fair-weather months? Do you have adequate entry and exit passage? Perhaps you want to install a set of steps and a door to head outside to clear your head during spring, summer, and fall. If it's possible to add a few small windows for light, they can make longs days at your desk far more comfortable.
There's really no need to go it alone in performing a start-to-end basement remodeling project. We've already done homework for you, from making a plan to finding the right basement remodeling contractor.
About the author: Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.