15 Basement Ideas On A Budget & Design Tips (With Pictures)
How many of us are sitting on top of square footage gold, literally? For many homeowners, the dim and dusty space below their feet goes widely unused. An unfinished basement, or a semi-finished one, is often used for laundry and a general catch-all for your leftover junk. As we spend more and more time at home, this space can open up endless possibilities…if you are willing to roll up your sleeves!
Finishing a basement can quickly become expensive, however. Installing sheetrock, laying down a floor, and installing a drop ceiling can quickly drain many family’s savings. There are other ways to make the most of the extra space, though.
If you are ready to turn your bottom floor into a place you want to spend all your time (on the cheap) keep on reading!
Below, we have 15 affordable ways to give your basement a facelift. Starting with some basic projects, we will also share some ideas for different space functions. Plus, we added plenty of design tips, as well!
1. Declutter, Clean, and Organize
Though it’s no one’s favorite, the first thing you have to do to utilize your basement more effectively is clean, declutter, and organize. Start by throwing everything out that you have not used in more than a year. Once you have more space, it’s time to clean and organize. Giving the space a good scrubbing plus getting rid of junk, can do wonders for a basement. Once you are down to the important items, it will be easy to organize them on shelves, in crates, and along the walls.
2. Add Lighting
One of the biggest problems with a basement is the gloomy lighting. Thankfully, there are a lot of inexpensive ways you can go about brightening the place up. Depending on your style, you can add flare and personality with some simple fixtures. For example, a popular option is to add industrial-type ceiling lamps that look great if you have exposed beams or rafters. Old chandeliers found at outlet stores or on sites like Facebook Marketplace also work great creating a rustic-glam aesthetic. Another option is a floor lamp. They are typically inexpensive, but they can highlight specific areas of the space.
It is amazing the difference a coat of paint can make in your basement. While sheetrocking the walls is an expensive renovation, painting can make just as big of an impact at a fraction of the cost. Try going with a light color to open up and brighten the area. Also, don’t stop at just the walls. Doing a slightly darker shade on the floor and ceiling will complete the space giving it a more finished look.
4. Transform the Basement Floor
One of the biggest issues with basements is the accumulation of moisture. Some homeowners battle flooding, but the majority do have some kind of water issues. While we did mention painting the floor, we would suggest going for something more water-resistant if your budget allows. Some of the popular choices include epoxy and floating floors. Both are great at keeping moisture at bay and keeping it from destroying your stuff. While epoxy will give you a glossy finish, floating floors are usually done with carpet squares that can add an element of warmth (literally and figuratively) to the space.
5. Furnishing Your Basement
Once you have a nice, clean, organized, and painted basement, it’s time to decide (if you have not already) what you are going to do with the space. While we will get into more specifics shortly, right now we wanted to talk about the actual furniture. Buying all new stuff can blow your budget quickly. Instead, go with the extra furniture you already have. Start slowly with the items you own, then add pieces as you go. A great place to find inexpensive and unique furniture is at yard sales, thrift stores, discount stores. Don’t forget Facebook Marketplace, too.
One of the most overlooked parts of a basement renovation is the stairs. When all is said and done, not giving the steps some love can bring down the entire look. Adding a coat of paint is a great place to start. It will brighten up the entrance, plus make them easier to climb. You can also add some rug treads to add a feeling of warmth. If you have unfinished stairs, add risers to give them a more finished look. Doing so can also help insulate the area.
- Related Read: 20 Basement Pole Cover Ideas & Design Tips
7. Creating Different Spaces
If you have a large square footage below deck, sectioning off areas can make the area more efficient. This is also a good idea if you want to hide the unsightly appliances such as your furnace, washer and dryer, and water heaters. Thankfully, you can easily accomplish this without having to add actual walls. One of the most common ways is to hang curtains or sheets. Using room dividers or sliding barn doors will give your basement a farmhouse look. You can also combine storage and room divisions by using egg crates to build a wall. Bookcases, old entertainment centers, and other shelving units work just as well to create the areas you need.
8. Heating the Space
In the majority of homes, the heating system is designed to heat the upper levels leaving the basement to be one of the colder areas. It can get downright frigid if you live in a colder climate. If that is the case, heating the space becomes necessary if you plan to spend any amount of time down there. Many people go for a space heater, but as hot air rises, they are not very effective. Radiant wall heaters, on the other hand, can warm the space by targeting the objects in the room versus the air. While they are a bit more expensive than a portable heater, they are far more efficient and cheaper to run.
9. Creating More Light
While adding lamps and light fixtures to a dark basement is important, nothing compares to natural light. Unfortunately, most basements are saddled with tiny ground-level windows and bulkheads that don’t allow for the sun. If you are lucky enough to have an exterior basement door, replacing it with a glass-paneled one is a great cure. You can also swap out your solid interior door for a glass or french option. Both of these items can easily be found at garage and yard sales.
10. Family Room
A family room is not only one of the most popular refinished basement projects, but also one of the most functional. This is a great option for farmhouse chic, industrial modern, and boho styles as the natural aesthetic of your basement will go well with these design concepts. Of course, you can do any type of decor that tickles your fancy, plus add elements that work best for you.
11. Home Office
Another popular option is the home office. With more and more of us working from home, a dedicated space for work can be beneficial. With many color and design options, you can create a functional and attractive basement office. Adding a desk, love seat, and some shelves are a great start. Put a throw rug down, plus add a small side table with a coffee maker. There are no ends to the possibilities.
Just as a lot of people are now working from home, a lot of kids are also taking part in remote learning. A great and affordable basement refinish is a playroom/school for the kids. The fun part about this option is you can really let your imagination go. What’s more, you can get the kids involved, too. A small table and chairs with a chalkboard and shelves would be a great start. You can also add mats for play, a playhouse that fits under the stairs, and even a tv. If you want to take it to the next level, consider adding some swings that are suspended from the rafters. Again, just be sure that your home is structurally sound before hanging anything from the ceiling.
13. Recreational Room/Home Gym
Keeping fit and active is not always easy. Dedicating your basement to games, fitness, and recreation is a great way to use the space. There are endless possibilities in this category, but it can depend on your budget. Pool tables, gym equipment, and arcade games can be pricey, but looking for gently used items can save you a bundle. Adding mirrors to the wall and installing mats on the floor is great for a home gym. Dartboards, a bar island with stools, and some video games are other options. Whatever your hobby or interest, you can dedicate a space right below your feet.
14. Meditation Space
Usually, meditation and basement are not two words you hear together. With the right decor, however, you can create a relaxing and peaceful spot right below your feet. As another bonus, mediation spaces can be very affordable to create. Although designing the perfect spot is a very individual process, starting with some good lighting, light colors, and plants (real or fake) will get you going in the right direction. From there, you can add and design as you see fit.
15. Spare Bedroom
If you have limited space in your home, it can be difficult to find sufficient accommodations for overnight guests. If you entertain often, creating a spare bedroom in the basement is a great solution. Over time, many people also expand the space to an open concept mini-apartment complete with a sitting area, kitchenette, and full bath. The important thing is to go slow, however, as the cost can get out of hand quickly. Start by creating a warm and inviting sleeping space for your guest. There are many used bed frames you can find online that are unique and inexpensive. Combine it with a set of drawers, a comfortable chair, and a tv to complete the area.
Coming up with a game plan for refinishing your basement is an exciting time. One of the biggest mistakes we see people make, however, is rushing the final result. You can create a beautiful and functional space on a budget, but allow yourself the time to find the perfect pieces you need. For starters, though, a good cleaning, fresh coat of paint, and some good lighting choices can make a world of difference!
We hope that you have found some inspiration from the ideas above, and you are well on your way to utilizing the extra space that has gone to waste in your home.
- See Also: 10 Basement Door Ideas & Design Tips
- See Also: 50 Basement Gym Ideas and Design Tips
- See Also: 20 Basement Pole Cover Ideas & Design Tips
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1 1. Declutter, Clean, and Organize
- 2 2. Add Lighting
- 3 3. Paint
- 4 4. Transform the Basement Floor
- 5 5. Furnishing Your Basement
- 6 6. Stairs
- 7 7. Creating Different Spaces
- 8 8. Heating the Space
- 9 9. Creating More Light
- 10 10. Family Room
- 11 11. Home Office
- 12 12. Playroom
- 13 13. Recreational Room/Home Gym
- 14 14. Meditation Space
- 15 15. Spare Bedroom
- 16 Conclusion