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How to Make an Unfinished Basement Look Finished

Looking for unfinished basement ideas? You are at the right place.

With concrete floors, exposed joists, and dim lighting, basements can be creepy. That’s why many people’s basements are no-go areas or drop zones for unwanted items. However, you can turn a dreary basement into an inviting space the family uses daily. This article will discuss unfinished basement ideas that can help you do this.

Top tips to make an unfinished basement look finished include: decluttering and cleaning the space, hiding mechanicals, painting ceilings and walls, laying down foam tiles/ mats, adding string lights, etc.

These ideas have helped many homeowners breathe life into their basements, turning them from creepy places everyone dreads entering into warm, charming spaces the family wants to spend time in.

How to give a nice look to your unfinished basement

You can give your unfinished basement an exciting makeover using simple tips like decluttering, cleaning the floors and walls, laying down foam mats, hiding mechanicals, and more.

Declutter the basement

Decluttering a basement frees up the space for you to make further modifications. So, before starting your unfinished basement renovation project, clear out the space of unnecessary storage items.

The basement is usually a drop zone for things that have no place in the main home. As such, the basement easily becomes cluttered with all random stuff.

Clutter makes the space look smaller. Doing anything amid the clutter will be difficult, even impossible. Decluttering opens up the space for you, which is why it should be the first step in any basement makeover project.

Separate the items into still-needed and no-longer-needed. Clear out the unneeded items and neatly arrange the needed items in a designated location. This can be one corner of the basement. Investing in shelving units may be necessary if you’re keeping many items.

Clean the floors and walls

People often overlook the basements when cleaning their homes. But working amid all the dust and cobwebs can be frustrating, so the basement needs a good cleaning after decluttering.

Remove dust and cobwebs from walls and ceiling joists. Then sweep the floors to remove the large dirt and debris. You can also get a shop vac and vacuum the floor, including the walls and windows.

Follow vacuuming with wet cleaning. Clean the concrete floors with soap and water using a mop.

Hide the mechanicals and electricals

Exposed pipes and electrical panels can be unsightly. If you want to give your basement a better look, hide exposed mechanical and electrical elements.

One of the best ways to hide electrical panels and mechanicals is to cover them using a utility room. If these elements are on one side of the basement, simply build a wall to cordon them off.

You can then use the utility room to store items you want to keep. You can also use wooden panels to cover individual mechanical elements.

Paint the basement walls

A crisp coat of bright paint enlivens any basement's concrete or cinder block walls. That’s why every basement makeover project should include painting.

When painting your unfinished basement walls, a light color is recommended. A light color (like white) brightens the space, making it feel warmer. It’s also advisable to use masonry waterproofing paint to seal off moisture.

Paint your ceiling or create a canopy

An unfinished basement ceiling can look too industrial, defacing any makeover work in the space. So, an unfinished basement makeover includes softening the ceiling by painting it or using fabrics to create a canopy.

Layers of paint give the unfinished ceiling of your basement a uniform and finished look. When painting your unfinished basement ceiling, opt for a dark color to hide blemishes and give attention to the other parts of the space.

To soften your unfinished basement ceiling using a canopy, simply cover the ceiling using swaths of fabrics. You may use bright colors to create a beautiful and warm canopy ceiling.

Lay down some foam mats

The concrete floors of unfinished basements can be too hard and cold for the space to be inviting. An excellent idea is to soften the concrete floors with foam mats.

Many people advise painting the concrete floor to make it look finished. However, while a layer of paint freshens up the floor, it doesn’t make it less hard or cold.

Thus, adding a warm cushion for your feet over the cold and hard concrete is better than simply painting the floor. Softening the concrete floors of basements also makes the space safer for kids to play in. This makes adding foam floor mats one of our favorite unfinished basement ideas.

The foam floor mats come in different colors and designs. Many have interlocking designs and join together like a puzzle. So they are easy to install as well as remove and store when you need to.

Some of the most popular foam floor mats/ tiles have wood grain designs. These options soften your basement concrete floor while giving it a warm wooden floor look.

Hang some string lights

One reason many people dread their unfinished basements is that it is dimly illuminated. One way to make an unfinished basement look finished is to brighten it with string lights.

Basements usually have very few electrical outlets and naked-mounted bulb fixtures on the ceilings. This makes string lights one of the best ways to illuminate unfinished basements. Even if you have just one electrical outlet, you can illuminate a large area with string lights.

String light also adds a playful ambiance to an unfinished basement for a warm and finished look.

Build an open shelving wall

An open shelving wall helps you hide an unsightly portion of your basement while giving you stylish storage space.

If you have an unsightly wall or area in your basement, an easy way to cover it is to build an open floor-to-ceiling storage shelf in front of it.

The open shelving wall hides the unsightly portion and gives you plenty of storage space. You can use the shelving wall as bookshelves, organizers, or display units to show off vases, collectibles, awards/ trophies, etc.

An open shelving wall makes all your items visible and allows quickly taking or replacing an item.

Use curtains to cover unsightly walls

You can also use curtains to hide unsightly walls or add warmth to concrete walls.

If building a utility room or using wooden frames to cover unsightly walls is too much for you, a simpler way is to use curtains. You can use fabrics to create visual walls wherever you need them.

Curtains spanning walls add warmth to the space, turning the basement into a cozy haven.

Curtains also work well as room dividers. Attach ceiling mount brackets to floor joists to hang curtains (preferably floor-to-ceiling curtains) to create partitions in the usable space of the basement.

What to do with unfinished basement

After completing your unfinished basement remodel, you can put the “finished” basement to different uses. These include turning it into an additional living room, bar, game room, home office, laundry room, etc.

Create an industrial bar

After sprucing up your unfinished basement with the tips above, you can convert it into a bar space with a tall counter and some seating. It would be an exciting place for friends to gather and spend time together.

First, decide which part of the open space you will place the bar. It’s best to place the bar along a wall.

To complete the industrial bar look, place a cabinet for bottle storage behind you and bar stools allowing guests to sit at the bartop in front of you.

To make the bar space more inviting, consider mounting a television on a wall for some entertainment.

Build your own game room

One way to make your unfinished basement a good family room where everyone likes to gather is to spruce it up and turn it into a game room.

A billiard room is one of the most popular unfinished basement game room ideas. Get a pool table, drop lighting, and some seating, and you’ll have your own game room in your basement.

Place the pool table in a good place, and hang drop lighting directly above it. The lighting will create task lighting over the pool/ billiard table while keeping the rest of the basement on the darker side.

Since the pool table will not take up the entire space of your basement, you can include a mini-game area. Arrange comfortable seating around an area rug where you can enjoy some fun challenges or board games.

Create an art studio

With your basement able to give you sufficient work surface, you can turn it into an art studio to unleash your creative spirit.

Are you an artistic creator looking to remodel an unfinished basement on a budget? Consider turning it into an art studio.

Turning your basement into an art studio requires only basic things like deep cleaning and priming the walls. Then you can bring in your work tables. You can set up a shelving rack on one side of the studio to hold all your essentials. You can also use a combination of open and closed shelves.

Turn it into a home office

With enough room for a chair, a desk, and an electricity source to power electronics, you can turn a basement into a quiet home office where you can escape to work.

When considering a quiet place to make a home office, suitable candidates are rooms with enough space for a chair, desk, and shelf. You’ll also need an electrical outlet to power computers and other electronics required for work. Thankfully, a basement offers all these.

Once you close the door to a basement, you’ll get a quiet place to perform research, concentrate on tasks, study, or conduct meetings.

After sprucing up the basement, fit the space with plenty of lights and bring in a work desk and a chair. You’ll also need shelves to keep books and other items.

Consider adding a fan or heater (depending on the season) to make the basement home office more comfortable as you work.

Design a wine cellar

Basements are ideal for storing wines because they have limited sunlight and naturally-regulated cool temperatures.

If you’re a wine collector, designing a wine cellar is another superb but affordable unfinished basement idea.

With some small remodeling, the uninviting rusty look of an unfinished basement can become an appealing rustiness for a basement wine cellar.

Build appropriate shelving for your wine bottles and accessories. You’ll need a wine fridge to keep specific wines at the right temperature. You’ll also need some bar furniture if you want your cellar to be more than a place that holds wines.

Create a home gym

With basements having enough space, they are the perfect places to make a home gym.

A gym home is one of the most affordable unfinished basement ideas because you can leave the unfinished ceiling and concrete floors as they are.

However, you may choose to add a large wall mirror and rubber mats. You’ll also need lighting. If you have a drop ceiling, mount suitable lights in the existing panels. But if your ceiling is unfinished, fluorescent or pendant lights will do.

How you set up the basement gym depends on how you like to work out and the equipment you have. Just leave enough space around each piece of equipment for easy movement.

How to make an unfinished basement cozy

Some ways to make your unfinished basement cozy to give you a good feeling of warmth, comfort, and relaxation include introducing foam floor mats, area rugs, curtains, sofas, etc.

Lay down foam floor mats

Floor foam tiles/ tiles provide a soft and warm cushion between our feet and a basement’s hard and cold concrete floor.

Throw in area rugs

An affordable solution to covering the entire basement floor with cushions is introducing area rugs covering only a small part. The area rugs define a functional space where the whole family will gather for fun activities. You can use one large rug or several smaller ones.

Hang curtains

Compared to concrete or cinder block walls, fabrics give a more cozy appeal. Thus, covering the basement walls with curtains make the space feel warm and inviting.

For a more cozy feel, consider using curtains as room dividers to partition out a smaller room from the larger basement space. The soft curtain walls around the area, plus some elements for relaxation, can make for a cozy haven.

Add a sofa

There are few better cozy feelings than snuggling into a warm, soft sofa. So, one of the best ways to make an unfinished basement cozy is to introduce a sofa. Consider an oversized sofa that is nap-friendly and good for entertaining several people.

Prop up the pillows

Pillows are the foundation of a cozy living room, and you can make them give your basement space the same warmth and comfort.

Toss a few pillows on your sofa. Having pillows to hug in your comfy basement space or prop up your feet can be relaxing. Oversized floor pillows can also serve as extra seating when the family gathers for fun games.

How to decorate an unfinished basement

Decorating an unfinished basement can give it a finished look, turning it from a place you dread to enter into a space you’ll want to spend time in.

How you decorate an unfinished basement depends on what use you want to put it to after the makeover project. However, some good unfinished basement decoration ideas include painting ceilings and walls, lighting it up, hanging wall art, adding accent tables, etc.

Paint ceilings and walls

Painting the exposed beams and wood planks of a basement ceiling is an easy way to revitalize an unfinished basement and reduce its industrial, unfinished look.

And just a coat of paint on the walls instantly transforms an unfinished room, it refreshes the walls of your unfinished basement (whatever they are made of). What colors to use is entirely up to you.

Light it up

Bright lighting can banish the creepiness of a basement and make the space come alive. You can use spotlights, track lighting, neon lights, o any other type of light. Just make the space shine for a warm glow and cozy feel.

Hang wall art

Painting your basement wall makes it an enormous blank canvas where you can show your artistic vision. Adding art to the blank slate of the wall gives it a finished lived-in feeling, making the space more inviting.

Art can add color and vibrancy to your basement wall, add texture, and deliver your personality.

Hang wallpapers

Hanging wallpapers is a great way to infuse personality into your unfinished basement walls. Moreover, wallpapers are perfect for hiding wall imperfections.

Wallpapers are available in different styles/ designs, making them excellent for adding drama to spaces. Wallpapers with light colors or floral motifs can also give a touch of luminosity, making your basement seem brighter.

Add accent tables

Accent tables complement home decor and can play similar roles in your basement. Accent tables are both functional and decorative.

While you can place them in a corner as storage or a decorative piece, you can also put them next to a chair or couch to keep the essentials you need to relax (whether it’s your phone or glass of wine).

Bring in furniture

You’ll need seating for whatever use you put the basement to after the makeover. Thus, furniture is a recurring theme in unfinished basement ideas.

What furniture you should bring in depends on your use of the space. For example, you’ll need a desk and chair for a home office, barstools for a bar, etc.

Keep it casual and simple

While you can strive to make sophisticated living rooms in the main house, it’s best to keep basement decorations simple and casual. Thus, avoid furniture and decor that feels too fancy. The goal is to create a space that is both functional and relaxing.

Takeaway - Turn a dreary basement into an inviting space with these unfinished basement ideas

If you dread entering your basement, you are not alone. Thankfully, that creepy basement can become a warm and inviting space where you and the family can gather for various activities.

Following the tips above will help you give your basement a complete makeover.

Considering a basement makeover project? Westward Renovation will give you all the professional help you need.

Whether you want your basement to serve as an alternative dwelling, additional living space, auxiliary kitchen, man cave, or playroom, we can make it happen.

We’ll help you understand and navigate your local jurisdiction codes. Then with little imagination, we’ll turn your basement into a functional and beautiful space that’ll blow your mind away and increase your home’s value.

Contact Westward Renovations today and see how we can help you!



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