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15 Basement Decorating Ideas & Design Tips (With Pictures)

Basement Home Theater_Ambient Ideas_shutterstock

For years, the basement was a kind of catch-all for old furniture, clothes, toys, and whatever you had that you didn’t want in the “good part” of your home. Over the last few decades, however, people started to realize their basements could add an extra living area and have started turning them into something more than just storage space.

If you want to convert your basement into a place to entertain and relax, the information below is for you! Keep reading for basement decorating ideas and design tips to create the basement of your dreams!

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The 15 Basement Decorating Ideas & Design Tips

1. Use Wooden Flooring to Add Warmth

Basement design idea - Use wooden flooring
Basement design idea – Use wooden flooring

Let’s be honest; most basements aren’t warm and cozy, especially since many have concrete floors. You could throw down a rug or put in wall-to-wall carpeting, but wood flooring is ideal for warmth in your basement. While real wood is a good choice, engineered wood is just fine for the basement and will likely save you hundreds of dollars. Interior design experts recommend a lighter color to make your basement feel larger and brighter.


2. Add Textures to Give Your Basement More Personality

Add textures for more personality
Add textures for more personality

When finishing their basement, most people go for traditional sheetrock walls and ceilings that are then painted. While that’s okay, to add personality and pizzazz to your basement, keep some of the room’s original textures. A brick wall, for example, can look stunning if finished correctly and adorned with decorations.

When exposed, the timbers from the 1st floor can do the same. You can cover the plumbing and HVAC hoses and electrical wires or choose an area without any. Some homeowners cover their walls with used wooden planks, which can add a farmhouse design to your basement.


3. Keep Stairwells Open to Add More Light

Open stairwells add more light
Open stairwells add more light

The problem with most stairwells leading to a basement is that there are walls around them, and walls block extra light from upstairs. Since most basements can use all the extra light they can get, you can remove the wall separating the stairs from the room and put in a glass, wood, or other type of banister instead. Not only will you get more light downstairs, but your new basement hangout will also feel much bigger and airier!


4. Add an Extra Bathroom

Add extra bathroom with tub
Add extra bathroom with tub

One of the biggest drawbacks Americans cite when asked about their home is that they don’t have enough bathrooms. If you’re already redesigning your basement, why not consider adding a bathroom? Adding a bathroom is an excellent idea for several reasons, not the least of which is increasing the value of your home. An extra bathroom can also come in handy when entertaining, having guests staying the night, or inviting the in-laws to stay for a few weeks.


5. Use Wallpaper to Bring the Basement to Life

Wall paper brings basement to life
Wall paper brings basement to life

Sure, it’s easy to paint the basement walls, but if you want a space with that “wow” factor, using colorful wallpaper is the way to go! There are thousands of wallpaper designs you can choose from. Wallpaper can take a simple, white basement and instantly transform it with an interesting design. Plus, using textured wallpaper can help reduce the reverb many basement spaces deal with, making it even more comfortable and serene.


6. Don’t Be Shy About Trying Something New

Basement design ideas casa watkins
Basement design ideas casa watkins

One of the best things about a basement is that since it’s completely apart and away from the main floor, you can try something new, different, refreshing, and wild!  You can go a little overboard with colors, try an eclectic mix of textures, and use different styles of furniture. Whatever you desire, you can use our basement as the place you make your design dreams come to life! Remember, since it doesn’t have to match the style of the rest of your home, your basement is a dream palette! Go a little wild and get creative!


7. Use Wooden Slats on Your Basement Stairwell

basement stairs annie wise
basement stairs annie wise

We mentioned earlier that you should keep your stairwells open for more light. With this design tip, we’re adding eye-catching and attractive wooden slats to the stairs. Not only do wooden slats look fabulous, but they also create a separation between the stairs and the basement while still letting in plenty of light! Slats also make the stairs safer when walking up and down, making them a nice design touch with an extra safety feature.


8. Paint a Projector Screen on the Wall

Painted projector screen on the wall Rinaldi Basement
Painted projector screen on the wall Rinaldi Basement

Some homeowners turn their basements into home theatres, but when it comes time to get a screen, they are surprised by how expensive they are. To save money and have a fun DIY project with your significant other, why not paint a projector screen on the wall instead? Screen paint can be found at any big-box home improvement store. When you’re done, you can leave the borders plain or add a touch of class with an elegant frame around your new screen. It will look fantastic and cost you hundreds of dollars less!


9. Use Mirrors to Make Your Basement Appear Much Larger

Indoor Gym with mirrors
Indoor Gym with mirrors

If you want to make your basement appear larger, mirrors work like a charm! By reflecting the space back on itself, mirrors instantly make your basement appear to be much larger than it actually is.


10. Paint the Exposed Pipes

Exposed pipes painted for accent
Exposed pipes painted for accent

There’s nothing worse than looking around your basement and loving what you see… and then looking up at the old, rusted, ugly pipes running along the ceiling joists. Home decorating and design guru Bob Vila offers a great suggestion for making those ugly pipes disappear; paint them to match the rest of the walls and ceiling! Not only will painting the pipes make them look more appealing, but it also brings the entire space together more cohesively. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive.


11. Use Curtains to Hide Ugly Walls, HVAC Systems and More

Curtains hide ugly walls and fixtures
Curtains hide ugly walls and fixtures

If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend the money to build out walls, put in doors, and so forth, hanging a curtain is the perfect solution. First, you can hang a curtain quickly with basic tools and minimum DIY skills. Second, you won’t get sawdust and spackle dust all over the place like you do when you erect walls with 2x4s and sheetrock. Hanging heavy fabric curtains will also muffle sounds and make the space feel cozier. Lastly, you can choose any shade of fabric you like for your curtain to add a splash of color to your basement.


12. Hang a Rug on the Wall

Hang a rug on the wall
Hang a rug on the wall

Hanging a rug on the wall will add a touch of class and dress up a plain wall in mere minutes. Persian rugs are a great choice if you can afford them, but less expensive braided rugs also look spectacular on a wall. Rugs add textures and colors and are so easy to put up that you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before!


13. Create a Floating Art Wall

Creating a floating art wall
Creating a floating art wall

If you have a large basement and want to section off space but don’t want a permanent wall, a floating wall is perfect. Even better, you can use one or both sides of the wall to hang art, collectibles, prints, pictures, and more. You can turn the wall into an art gallery for your kid’s artworks, display your collection of Star Trek collectible plates, or hang a large mirror to make your new basement space feel bigger.


14. Turn Old Doors into a Room Divider

Old door as room divider
Old door as room divider

This requires moderate DIY skills but is a fantastic weekend project. It involves taking three old doors and turning them into a movable, foldable room divider (aka privacy screen). What’s great about this design is you can use any colors you like to either match or contrast the rest of the basement. You can also put casters on the bottom if you’d like to create a rolling divider wall. The best part is that you’re re-purposing old doors you would normally throw away!


15. Leave Beams Exposed, But Paint between Them

Luxurious basement design ideas Farzaneh K
Luxurious basement design ideas Farzaneh K

If there are no ugly pipes or tubes (and even if there are), leaving the wooden joists exposed can give your basement a cool vibe and will cost less than installing a ceiling with sheetrock. One thing you should do is paint the joists or put on a coat or two of stain to bring out their natural grain. Also, paint the floor between the joists in a color that matches or contrasts the rest of the basement.

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Final Thoughts

Designing and decorating your basement can be a fantastic way to let your creativity run wild and create extra space in your home. The only boundaries are the walls, your imagination, and, of course, your budget. That said, many of the ideas we’ve presented can be accomplished without much cash. Whatever you choose, we hope we’ve inspired you to turn your basement into another area of your home you can use to relax and entertain your guests.


Featured Image Credit: Ambient Ideas, Shutterstock

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