In this post, I’m sharing the best unfinished basement ideas on a budget!
We have moved into our new home and renovation has been going on for 2 weeks now. The basement was the first thing to be completed. The basement was considered unfinished and our goal was to make the room feel like a more comfortable and inviting space for us to use. The plan is to use the basement as our homeschool room with a baby/toddler play area and no longer use it as a storage space.
The unfinished basement before
It is a small basement with concrete walls. There is not a lot of natural light due to the old original basement windows. The basement floor was a dark, painted black concrete floor. The sump pump was totally exposed on one side of the room. The rafters were dirty and all the ductwork was exposed. There is a large fireplace in the middle of the room.
Honestly, it looked like a torture room and I was very skeptical if we would achieve my vision of what I wanted it to look like. The entire room was one dank place.
We were limited to what we could do to the basement since our budget was tight. I scoured for hours on Pinterest for unfinished basement ideas.
Here is what we came up with.
Unfinished Basement Ceiling Ideas
The most inexpensive way to deal with the ceiling was to keep the wooden beams exposed. It would have been a lot more money in labor cost and time to have enclosed it all up. So instead, we painted the ceiling.
After cleaning all the cobwebs and grime from the ceiling, we painted it white to give it a bright, clean look. This is a situation where paint really goes a long way. I absolutely love how it turned out! The wood beams still exposed adds so much character. Just painting the basement ceiling was such an easy way to make it look more appealing for very little money.
We had professional contractors build a bulkhead to box off the stairs and ductwork to give a more polished look.
Basement Lighting Ideas
Because there wasn’t very good lighting down here, we got all new light fixtures. I needed this room to be bright and the complete opposite of the dark and scary vibe it was giving off. The lights we picked out are farmhouse-style pendant lights with a bit of an industrial look. I love the look of the pendant lighting and turned out to be a great way to add the perfect amount of lighting.
Another lighting ideas for unfinished basements are track lighting. String lights are a great option too. You can easily add a track light or string lights between the joists.
Sump Pump Cover Ideas
The contractors boxed off the sump pump. Although it is pretty bulky, it was the best way to cover the sump pump. I’m looking into different ways I can work with this big white box and make it look nicer.
Here are two awesome-looking ways others have concealed their sump pumps.
Best Flooring for Unfinished Basements
First, we went with laminate flooring. Literally, after two days of installing the flooring, the sump pump broke, flooded our basement, and completely ruined the floor! Needless to say, that was a complete nightmare.
We had to replace all the newly installed flooring and decided to go with a more waterproof option. Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is the best option for this space. Fortunately, luxury vinyl plank flooring is really easy to install. We purchased the new flooring at Floor and Decor which was a fraction of the price compared to buying it at a Home Depot or Lowes.
Laminate Flooring vs Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
Luxury vinyl flooring can be immersed in water, dried out, and reused. Typically when laminate flooring is exposed to water, it will swell and soften, therefore unable to be reused. There are some water-resistant and waterproof laminate flooring options. Unfortunately, the laminate flooring we bought was not.
The best part of the basement renovation is the new flooring. This majorly helped it not feel as cold and made the basement feel more warm and comfortable. Just adding the floor gave this area a whole fresh look. A couple of area rugs would be a great idea to add some texture to the space as well.
Here is the final basement reveal…
So this is how we “finished” our basement on a budget. Well, it’s not fully finished but it feels a lot less like an unfinished space. This project was either going to be a total Pinterest nailed it or ultimate fail. Thankfully the basement came out just as I envisioned!! I am so happy with the end results.
There are still a few things in my artistic vision for the basement design plans I would like to do in the future. I would like to add a fresh coat of paint on the wall, fix the stairs, and makeover the fireplace but this was a perfect place to start. It’s no longer scary to go down to the basement and I love it down here. Finally, now that it’s usable space, I can now set up my classroom!
I am so glad to have this basement space done for the most part and I can’t wait to start remodeling the rest of the house. Next, I’ll be sharing with y’all the progress to the kitchen and dining room!
What do you use your basement for? Is it another living room, home theater, man cave, home office, game room, or home gym? Comment below!