Is it Legal to Have a Kitchen in the Basement?

Are you looking forth to having a house with a kitchen in the Basement? Well, with the current trends, it is essential to know whether it is legal to have a kitchen in the Basement.

As a matter of fact, not all apartments are legal in New York, among many other states. Some of the illegal apartments may either be commercial or even residential houses that do not meet the required standards by the government.

Basements have many uses with some of uses, including having a workout room, laundry room, a family room, or even a home theater. However, whenever you decide to add your kitchen to the Basement, you must realize that this is a different case with setting up a kitchen on the ground floor.

Having a kitchen in the Basement is normally considered for the summer kitchens. These types of kitchens are common in some countries, but it could be illegal in having a kitchen in the Basement.

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Let’s have a discussion on this matter to ensure that you are fully informed before making a decision on whether to add a kitchen to your Basement or not. Furthermore, this will give you the legality aspect of having a kitchen in the Basement, whether it is legal or not.

What is a Basement?

A basement is a floor in the building which is below the ground floor. It is almost equal to a complete floor through which you can decide to put several house apartments in the same such as an entertainment area, dining area, kitchen, among many.

A basement is different from a Cellar though they may seem to be the same. A Cellar is usually a room below the ground floor, but often it has a smaller space compared to a basement. Cellars are used for purposes of storage and mainly in storing wine and coal due to the cooler temperatures and lack of direct sunlight.

Can I Put a Kitchen in my Basement?

A basement in your house can be a great idea in increasing the floor space in your building. In most cases, basements are underused, and this could be a great opportunity to have your kitchen in the Basement.

In most cases, basements have small spaces that do not provide enough capacity to hold a full kitchen. As a result of this, most people add in a kitchenette which seems to be a smaller kitchen in the Basement.

A kitchenette, rather than being a full kitchen, includes the essentials in a kitchen such as a stove, fridge, counter space, a sink. Nevertheless, when it comes to your own residential house, having a full kitchen will be considerable hence saving you much space on your ground floor.

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You can put up a kitchen in the Basement, though with much care and consideration. This is to ensure that you source in safety and efficiency during the use of the kitchen.

When setting up the kitchen in the Basement; therefore, you will need to put several factors into consideration to ensure you set it up in the right way. This is as discussed on how you need to build a kitchen in the Basement.

How do You Build a Kitchen in the Basement?

When it comes to building a kitchen in the Basement; safety and efficiency matter most. You need to ensure that your kitchen is fully safe for use while in the Basement, together with having to ease with the use of the kitchen by the whole family.

Below are some of the factors to consider when setting up a kitchen in the Basement;


Basements, in most cases, are height challenged. Therefore, before building a kitchen in the Basement, you need to know whether you have sufficient height sure to provide efficiency on any person who uses this kitchen.

Crawl spaces made with low ceilings in the basements are fully not recommended for the kitchen. Therefore you will need to provide enough space to ensure the safety and efficiency of the kitchen in the Basement.

If you want to add your kitchen in the Basement from your already built home, you as well need to consider this. If the space is very small, you can consider doing some renovation projects. However, the renovation should be done by a trusted contractor to ensure the building is fully safe without posing a risk to your family.


One of the major challenges in basements is water leaks. Water leaking poses many risks to your home and has been one of the reasons basements are under strict measures. Before adding a kitchen to the Basement, ensure that there are no water leaks.

Check for your concrete walls and floor to ensure no crack, and if there is any moisture visible, you should repair it before setting up a kitchen in the Basement. Moreover, you can consider adding internal weeping tiles or waterproof coatings for protecting your kitchen from flooding.

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Moisture could raise health concerns such as mildew and mold on the areas you are cooking in.


To enhance efficient space planning for your kitchen in the Basement, you need to have the necessary building permits with a contractor who can do it efficiently. The design of the kitchen in the Basement should ensure that it complies with the necessary safety codes on its design.


Consider installing an electric hood fan in the basement kitchen. This will ensure quick and efficient elimination of the cooking smells.

As kitchens in a basement have a challenge in ventilation, this will be a great move in ensuring that you have this solution. You can choose either the vent-less or the vented units in which either will work perfectly.

Electrical Wiring

To ensure that your kitchen in the Basement is fully safe, electrical wiring should be done properly. The kitchen in the Basement will require enough lighting as there is no much natural light.

Ensure you ask your contractor to include GFCI plugs and outlets with enough amperage, which will handle your lighting together with other heavy-duty appliances such as the refrigerator. To remain safe, the plugs and outlets should be from a separate circuit to avoid overloading on the rest of the house.


As your kitchen will be in the Basement, there is a high likelihood that it will be in the colder areas, which will require much heating during the winter.

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You need to maintain comfortable temperatures to ensure that your appliances run properly together with convenience on anyone using the kitchen, whether during the summer or during the winter.


As there is no window in a kitchen in the Basement for natural light, lighting selection will not be inevitable. You can opt to go for the recessed cans, which will ensure proper distribution of lighting in the whole kitchen.

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Space the lights close to each other to eliminate any dark spaces and shadows. In addition to this, your cabinets will require enough lighting; hence you will have to add in the under-cabinet lighting, which will illuminate the cabinets, giving you the best solution.


Above everything, you cannot forget the floor you choose to have in a kitchen in the Basement. For basements, laminates work the best as they are both moisture and scratch-resistant.

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Furthermore, they come with a number of designs and patterns which look like those of hardwood or ceramic tile. Installation is done over the concrete floor hence making it easy for repairs as well. This type of floor will ensure that you make your basement kitchen comfortable and warm all the time.

Fire Safety

Fires from a basement are one of the most dangerous. Though you don’t expect to have a kitchen fire, it is important to be cautious of the same. Provide a basement exit that is on easy access by anyone in the basement kitchen.

For more safety precautions, get a fire extinguisher at an optimal location in the kitchen basement. Additionally, you can as well add some smoke detectors for giving you an alert in case there is any suspicious thing detected.

How much Does it cost to put a kitchen in the Basement?

If you have a basement in your home, it could be high time in adding a kitchen in the Basement. This will generally cost you an estimated range of $8,000 to $80,000 in putting a kitchen in the Basement.

The price range all depends on what you choose to include in your kitchen in the Basement. This includes the materials you use in putting up the kitchen in the Basement, the size of the kitchen, appliances you input, among many other factors.

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Much of the spending on putting up a kitchen in the Basement will be on the labor as you will need to hire a professional contractor who will ensure that the safety and efficiency of the kitchen in the Basement are maintained.

Budget Categories in Adding a Kitchen in the Basement

Budget-Saver Set-up

Are you the person who has high budget constraints? Well, this will be the best option for you to pick up. In this category, you are likely to spend an estimated cost of $8,000 to $30,000.

Budget Kitchen Appliances

This kitchen in the Basement will include the general kitchen appliances, which are essential for any kitchen. This will include replacement of appliances and light fixtures, cupboards installation as well as the kitchen appliances

Standard Kitchen Set-Up

This will involve setting up your kitchen but in a more improved manner compared to the budget-saver setup. This is the case to most homeowners as it will leave with a kitchen in the Basement looking elegant and stylish.

To be precise, it cost my friend a total of $42,000 in setting up the kitchen in his Basement at an optimized period of time. It will involve some more improved setups such as the installation of extra light fixtures and a new floor purposefully for the kitchen.

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This category of kitchen set up in the Basement will cost you an estimated range of $30,000 to $50,000

Premium Kitchen Set-Up

This involves setting up a master kitchen in your Basement. It includes everything that can be included in a basement kitchen. If the costing is not an issue, I then recommend that you go for this option as you will have all that you need for a kitchen in the Basement.

It includes everything ranging from the entire layout, which includes the relocation of walls to the installation of floor heating for the perfect heating of the kitchen in all seasons.

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This level of kitchen set up in a basement will cost you an average cost of $50,000 to $80,000. More work together with high premium appliances will be used in this type of kitchen in the Basement.

How Long Does Kitchen Installation Take?

Despite the budget you have, you are entitled to having a kitchen in the Basement as long as you are willing. Setting up a kitchen in the Basement can take you as little as just two weeks up to 9 weeks, dependent on the type of work needed in the kitchen.

The budget-saver kitchen installation will take you the shortest time during your installation, while that of the premium installation will take you the longest period. This is with respect to the work done on each through which the premium kitchen installation requires much work as it will involve working on every aspect of the kitchen.

How Can I Save on Kitchen building and Renovation?

Whenever you need to save some bucks when setting your kitchen in the Basement, you will never want to substitute quality for the budget. As a result of this, you need to ensure that you have an optimized way in which you ensure that you set up the kitchen at the best quality yet at the lowest cost possible in setting up such a kitchen.

Below are some of the ways in which you can save on kitchen setup and renovation;

Do It Yourself (DIY)

One of the most implicating factors comes from the labor you pay the installers who do the work for you. Opt-in doing the easier projects in setting up the kitchen in the Basement by yourself.

Some of the easy projects may include demolition required for setting up the kitchen, which will not require any specialized expertise. Just avoid electric and plumbing tasks that require much expertise.


Another expense that might be costly for your kitchen is getting the best floor for your kitchen in the Basement. To ensure that you save on what you spend in the kitchen, you can prefer reusing the solid flooring you have.

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Just sand it and then refinish it rather than replacing the whole floor, which would need you to pay much than you could expect. This might save you up to 80% of the total cost you could spend on the floor only.

Saving On Cabinetry

One of the most expensive projects you wi kitchen for your Basement is the kitchen cabinets. Nevertheless, you can save your costs by getting stocked cabinets rather than customized ones.

Best Cabinetry Prices for Basement Kitchen

In addition to this, you can prefer having open shelving for some cabinets to reduce the costs. Lastly, install the cabinets by yourself as it is easy without much hassle.


Though it might seem to be a basic thing, planning matters to a very big extent. You will need to do things in the right way, as well as in the right order. With the right order on the things done, you will avoid extra costs and time wastage, which could require you to do some rectifications later.

Ensure you install what you need in the kitchen in the right order commencing from the floor installation, cabinets installation, countertop, backsplash, and then painting and molding as the final stages in your installation.

What Makes an Apartment Illegal?

There are several things that make apartments not to be legal. One of the main reasons that make an apartment illegal is not meeting the minimum standards required by any government as defined by the laws of housing.

An apartment could be risky both in your physical as well as your health safety. The law will ensure that it provides specifications indicating the minimum sizes such as that of a bedroom together with covering other apartment issues such as gas, water, heat as well as sanitation issues to ensure you remain safe fully.

In general, an apartment will be illegal as long as it is used beyond what the law allows such a building to be used. An example is that one cannot rent commercially zoned units as residential spaces such as cellars.

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Basements also have some regulations that make some to be illegal if they do not meet the necessary precautions required by the rule of law. There are some general things you should ensure you focus on when it comes to the legality of an apartment. This is so as some areas have more regal requirements compared to others.

Some of the suspicious apartments you should re-look to ensure that they are legal include the following apartments;

  • Located in a basement
  • With no cooking area, bathroom or plumbing
  • With no windows
  • With kitchen and bathroom separated, such as a bathroom and toilet being in different rooms.
  • Without any secondary exit

What is Required for a Legal Basement?

Basements will be lawful if they only meet the minimum requirements in sanitation, lighting, air ventilation as well as exits. This is properly defined by the Department of Building by providing all the ways in which buildings are to be used.

What is Required for a Legal Bedroom?

A bedroom in an apartment is another one of the most regulated areas apart from a basement and a kitchen. Below are some of the regulations that lead to any bedroom being legal;

  • A bedroom cannot serve as a throughway to another room
  • Required to have at least one window that opens for natural air and ventilation
  • The ceiling height must be at least 8 feet, while if it is in a basement, it should be at least 7 feet.
  • A bedroom’s dimension should not be less than 8 feet on any dimension, with the square feet being required to be more or equal to 80 sq. Ft.

Final Words

Basements have been a great solution to cost-saving, among many other benefits. They will increase your entertainment area on the ground floor as you will minimize most of your basic activities to the basements.

Having a kitchen in the Basement is not easy, considering that a kitchen is one of the essential areas in any home. Furthermore, it is one of the riskiest areas as it is prone to the risk of fire.

Nevertheless, with the proper guidance, you will have the best experience in deciding to have a kitchen in the Basement. As long as you meet the minimum requirements that make an apartment legal, you will be sure to have a kitchen in the Basement, which is legal.

Go forth and set up your kitchen in the Basement today and save on the costing as guided in the above.

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