How to Change the Basement Apartment Size Without Remodeling

Change the Basement Apartment Size Without Basement Remodeling

Hey, this is Caleb from Dansie Design Build in Riverton, Utah. I want to show you three ways to change a basement apartment size without remodeling it.

Basement Conversion Example 1

The first project that I wanted to show you is how we can make the square footage of a basement convertible.

We created a series of doors near the stairs that you can switch out the doorknobs and the deadbolts, depending on how you want the basement configured. You can see the stairway that comes down into the basement from the upstairs. As you do that, you turn this corner, and then you can go through one of the two doors. 

Also, this is the entryway. You come down the walkout entry and then into the apartment here. So that’s how it works out.

How to Convert the Space with Doors

This area is always set up to be the rental area. So, by creating a series of different deadbolt patterns, you can change how that lines up. 

I’ll highlight this door. If this one always stays locked, the owners can choose how much rentable space there is. If they lock this door, they will always have this whole area and have access to the utility room and all the storage, the other bedroom, bathroom, living room, and the other utility room.

If the owners ever wanted to change this basement apartment layout, they could set it up where this door stays unlocked. Then the rentable part would include the utility rooms, the additional living room, the bedroom, closet, bathroom, cold storage, and other storage rooms. And then, they would need to put the other lock on this door so they could rent out both sides of the basement. 

This basement with rooms would go from a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom with much more storage and an additional living room.

Basement Conversion Example 2

Now, we’ll jump over to the second example. 

This is another basement finish we turned into a hybrid convertible square footage for different needs over time. It has a basement walkout entry area where you’re coming from the outside. The stairs are not visible in this plan view, but this is where you come in. Depending on how you leave these doors locked, the owners got a lot of options on this one. 

Lock the Door on Top of the Stairs

The first is to lock the door at the top of the stairs and have that be the division between the two areas. This rentable two-bedroom, one-bath apartment would include cold storage and a mechanical room. 

Lock Both Doors

If you wanted to convert it further, you could also put the lock on both doors. Then the rental area would still be a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment. 

In this configuration, the owners still have a rentable two-bedroom, one-bath, but they will maintain all their storage space and access to the mechanical rooms, which is pretty nice. 

Lock the Door from the Basement Walkout Entry

The last option with this particular basement is if the owners wanted to create a one-bedroom apartment for rent down there or have it available for any family or anybody to live in the basement separately, they could change the basement apartment entrance and put the lock on this door here so that the rentable area would then be from the walkout entry door, including the laundry, kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and then excluding these areas.

The owners would have all the storage area, mechanical, cold storage, the stair area, and this other bedroom. So if they ever wanted another bedroom excluded from the rental space, that configuration is possible with this basement.

Basement Conversion Example 3

I want to show you one more example. 

This is the existing plan for this basement finish. You’re looking at the walls representing the existing load-bearing walls already in the basement. So when we got the basement apartment designs done, we got the kitchen, living room, bedroom, the two bedrooms, and all the other stuff built in to show where everything’s going. 

In this situation, it’s not designed to have an apartment currently. That idea is for phase two to put a walk-out in this basement later. So we considered placing the door for the walkout here in this area to partition this off. 

How Will That Work?

The stairs start upstairs, and then you make your way down the stairs over top of the washer and dryer. If you put in a wall here and then have a door swinging one way or the other, you could give the upstairs people access to the mechanical room and the storage room and then exclude that in the rentable area. The inclusions would be the kitchen, the living room, the washer and dryer, part of the hallway to get to the bathroom, this bedroom and the storage room, the second bedroom, and then back to the living room. 

Another way is to unlock this door or not build this wall at all if you don’t want a convertible property. But in this situation, we’d leave the door unlocked in there and then put the deadbolt on the top of the stairs on this door. This area could be rentable, and the people downstairs could access the storage and mechanical rooms.

Wrapping Up

Those are some ideas to turn your basement into a living space. This way, you won’t have to do a lot of construction, remodeling, or crazy amounts of work to get more or less square footage for the rentable area. 

So if you’re looking to get some help finishing your basement, knowing how to convert a basement into an apartment, looking to create or design a basement apartment, or getting some plans drawn for a project (i.e., basement walkout entries, additions, remodels, and basement finishes), we can help you with that. You can head over to our website to request a project consultation.

Thank you, and have a great day.


Have you wondered what it costs to finish a basement in Salt Lake and Utah Counties?  Our basement finishing cost guide will give you everything you need to know.

  • Pricing for 1000 and 1500 square foot basement finishes
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, or open square footage
  • Pricing for Basic, Average, and Luxury Level Finishes
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • Real project costs for basements we have finished
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement




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Download our FREE basement finishing cost guide. Inside we go over everything you’ll want to know.

  • Pricing calculation for any sized basement
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, a laundry room, or open square footage
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement