Converting an unfinished basement into an in-law suite is a remarkable idea. Doing so will not only provide a presentable space for your in-laws and guests but also greatly improve the value of your home. However, to transform the space into a decent basement in-law suite, you must be aware of the components of an in-law suite as well as know exactly what renovations are required.

Before we talk about converting an unfinished basement into an in-law suite, let’s find out exactly what an in-law suite is and the components it can comprise of.


Also known as a basement mother-in-law suite, an in-law suite is a space located in the basement of a home or a separate portion of the property. It serves as a private space for parents, in-laws and guests that come to visit. Many of these spaces are custom-built and increase the value of your home.

You can add as many features as you want to your in-law suite, but a typical suite design comprises the following components:

o   A living room

o   At least one bedroom

o   A kitchen

o   A bathroom that includes a shower tub, sink, and toilet

o   A dining area

o   Closets for storage

You can even construct a separate entrance for your in-law suite, depending on whether you want to rent it out in the future.

When you are converting your basement into an in-law suite, you must consider certain aspects and factors such as safety, privacy, accessibility, lifestyle, and other necessary utilities that a person might need. Since unfinished basements usually lack certain functions, you should make sure that the remodeling process addresses basic needs.

Here are 7 things you can do to convert your basement into an in-law suite:

Converting Your Basement into an In-Law Suite


If you notice bowing in foundation walls, vertical cracks through the foundation, or sinking foundation corners, your basement is probably subject to serious foundational problems. Call a structural engineer to run an inspection of the basement foundation.The expert will design the necessary upgrades and restore a solid foundation for your planned basement in-law suite.


Basements are common breeding grounds for mold growth and other moisture-related issues. This is primarily because water from storms, rainfall, floods, leaks, etc., ends up in the basements, contaminating the surfaces and resulting in water damage. 

The best way to resolve moisture problems is to prevent it from reaching your basement. There are solutions to stop water from getting through the basement walls. 

The easiest yet most powerful remedy is to ensure that the downspouts and gutters remain functional at all times. They’re designed to direct rainwater away from your home foundation and to make sure that they do that efficiently, you should keep clearing them from time to time.

If the ground surrounding your house foundation is sloping inwards, water will make its way into your home and basement no matter what you do. A great solution is to adjust the ground level around your home so that it slopes away from it, thereby directing water away from your house. A good drainage system also helps prevent water from backing up into your home, so consider that too.

If your area is prone to floods or is characterized by high-ground water levels and running streams, you may need to invest in costly solutions, such as adding French drains or installing perimeter drains around your home, to keep water at bay. 

The most common source of basement moisture is condensation on the inside of the basement walls. Condensation leads to the growth of visible and invisible mold, which has a nasty odor. 

Using dehumidifiers and sump pumps are useful ways to eliminate dampness. Other than that, installing vents and exhaust fans can effectively keep your basement ventilated, preventing the chances of mold growth.


Ideally, your in-law suite should have a separate exterior door for entry and exit to ensure privacy. Some large homes have the door to the basement right in the middle of the house. If your basement door is also in the middle of the house, you will need to find a solution to this. 

If you can arrange a door that leads directly to the outside of the home, well and good, but if that's not possible, you can install a window in the basement that's large enough to crawl through. A window-sill with a height of 32 inches above the floor sounds reasonable.

If none of this is possible, the entry and exit for a basement mother-in-law suite can be through your home, too.

If, however, you plan to rent out space, you will need to follow the requirements for the unit to allow for easy exit in case of emergencies, such as a fire incident.


When converting your basement into an in-law suite, your aim should be to provide a comfortable environment to support people's lifestyles. Consider implementing a universal design for bathrooms that are meant to accommodate people of different age groups. Such a design looks elegant and beautiful and is adaptable for individuals with mobilities issues.

Installing walk-in tubs and a hand shower can further improve the accessibility of the in-suite bathroom for the elderly. Also, consider installing countertops and vanities with rounded corners to reduce the chances of injuries. 


Many people avoid basements because of their scary, dark environment. To avoid this problem, install windows in your basement in-law suite for plenty of natural light. Natural light creates a comfortable and warm environment. 

Now that you know you how to turn your unfinished basement into an in-law suite, act now. Don’t wait too long to get started. Get your online quote from BCR Basements now and start the renovation process today.