How to Prepare a Basement for Living Before Building a House

Building your dream house can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. To save some money many people choose to live in the basement of a friend or relative while their house is being built. Prior to moving in to the basement a few living accommodations and other necessities must be met. This article will give you the knowledge to transition from your current living space to a temporary living space in a basement, without breaking your budget.

Preparing the Space

Locate the toilet, sink and shower. The most essential component of a living space is a bathroom. If no toilet, sink or shower is available, locate the "rough-ins" for a bathroom and install the necessary components.

Identify an area for a kitchen setup. Purchase a portable indoor/outdoor butane range stove. This will serve as your cook top. A small portable table will double as a kitchen counter and a table for eating. A mini-fridge will keep your food cold. If space and money are no issue, install a full-size stove, refrigerator and sink.

Purchase a bed or hide-away couch to be used as a sleeping area.

Setup your basement in a fashion that is functional, yet does not hinder the other residents of the house.

Ensure proper heating and air conditioning ducts are run to your living space. This will provide a comfortable environment and air circulation.

Inspect the walls for moisture or water leaks. Use a concrete sealant to prevent moisture from entering the basement.

Install adequate lighting in all basement rooms. This will be your living quarters for the next few months and a bright atmosphere will give you the sense of happiness and functionality.

Things You Will Need

  • Toilet, sink, shower
  • Portable indoor/outdoor butane range stove
  • Small portable table
  • Mini-fridge
  • Bed or hide-away couch


  • Continue to have patience and know that building a house usually takes between three and six months, sometimes longer. Always remind yourself that you are in a temporary living situation and soon you will be in your dream home.


  • Read all manufacturer directions when using a butane stove.

About the Author

Jon Olson holds a Bachelor of Science in industrial technology education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also has a Master of Science in curriculum and instruction, as well as a master's degree in educational administration. Olson teaches industrial technology at the high school level and is in charge of all industrial technology curriculum for his school district.