9 Ideas for Basement Makeovers on a Budget

Does your basement look like it came straight from a horror movie: dark, quiet, and dusty? Or you might have been using it as a storage space, game room, or underground family room and think it’s time to give it a fresh look.

No matter the scenario, taking up a basement makeover project can be daunting, especially if you don’t want to break the bank. 

Well, don’t fret; we’re here to offer you nine cool ideas for basement makeovers on a budget. So, buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Idea 1: Install Shelving Units on the Basement Walls

Man Installing Wooden Units

If your basement floor and ceiling look promising but the walls are bare with a lame solid color, there are countless ways to make them look better. You can, of course, paint them another trendy color, but why not go a step further and make them more functional?

Our advice is to cover the walls in storage units that can both improve your basement’s aesthetics and help you declutter. The coolest thing about this solution is that it’s incredibly affordable yet gives you many options to play with.

For example, you may want to install floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, floating shelves, floating cabinets, plate separators, and the list just goes on!

Leave the units closer to the ground to heavier items, like huge decorative vases, bulkier storage boxes, and the like. The top shelves will do a better job of holding lighter objects, from books and photo frames to artwork pieces.

Idea 2: Create an Accent Wall to Transform the Entire Space

This is another tip that can change the whole appearance of your basement without having you spend a fortune on renovations. By focusing on upgrading only one wall as an accent, you’ll limit your work to one place, enabling you to go as fancy as you want!

But which wall should be your chosen one? Ideally, it should be the wall that you want to emphasize or draw the most attention to. For instance, it can be the one behind your largest sofa, PC setup, bed (if you’re using your basement as a bedroom), etc.

What’s even more interesting is that accent wall ideas are limitless—they go as far as your budget goes. Here are some of the best suggestions for an accent wall:

  • Use upholstery with vivid colors (works better in bedroom settings).
  • Incorporate different styles and designs of wall paneling (fluted, 3D designs, irregular shapes, geometric shapes, etc.).
  • Mix and match various materials like wood, steel, upholstery, paint, and more (ideally a maximum of three).
  • Install catchy light arrangements (perfect for game rooms).
  • Hang attention-grabbing portraits on the wall, especially larger ones that take up a good part of it.
  • Use textured paint to make the wall stand out at a low cost.

Idea 3: Find Creative Ways to Upgrade Your Floor

Is your basement floor unfinished, with the concrete giving off dull and negative vibes? We know that laying hardwood flooring or floor tiles may not be the best way to solve this issue because of their relatively high costs.

Luckily, you can still make your floor look neat using several out-of-the-box approaches until your budget is ready for more expensive options.

The first and least expensive approach is to paint or stain your concrete floor to help your basement space look more lively. You can hire a professional to stain your floor to appear like wood—an aesthetically appealing alternative to pricier wood planks.

The beauty of this solution is that it lets you keep all the benefits of a concrete floor without having to deal with its boring look. This floor type maintains its high durability, fast drying time in case of water leaks, and ease of cleaning.

However, if you’re not a fan of this idea, you can always go for vinyl or laminate flooring.

Idea 4: Give the Basement Staircase a New Look

Some people neglect their basement staircase, unaware that renovating it can breathe life into your underground space!

If your basement itself looks good enough, but the stairs are old or creaky, we urge you to make revamping your staircase a priority in your makeover project. Based on its condition and your budget, you can either remodel a part of it or transform the entire thing.

For instance, you may invest in a decent-quality carpet runner to give the stairs some padding, keep your feet warm in winter, boost your safety, and enhance their appearance.

Another cool idea is to use the empty area under the stairs by installing shelves or storage units. Better, if you’re a bookworm, you can create a nice, cozy reading nook in this space!

Or, if the wooden railing looks boring or worn out, consider taking it down and changing it to something more modern-looking or unusual. Your options include—but aren’t limited to—glass, steel with Art Deco patterns, wood with unconventional designs, etc.

Idea 5: Add Some Home Decor Elements and Accessories

Does your basement area already have decent floors, walls, and furniture, but you want to give the equivalent of a new hairstyle? Well, look no further than decorative elements that fit with the style of your interior space.

Luckily, the market is rich with home decor options in a multitude of styles, including rustic, boho-chic, industrial, wood-cabin-style, ultra-modern, and so on. 

So, you’re bound to find accessories and home decor items that will blend perfectly with the atmosphere of your basement:

  • Wall portraits and abstract paintings that add a much-needed pop of color
  • Other wall decor elements (clocks, metal art pieces, wall sconces, mirrors, etc.)
  • Vases in various colors, shapes, and sizes
  • End tables, ottomans, bean bags, and the like
  • Colorful weave rugs that enhance the appearance of your living space
  • Different-size potted plants that don’t require sunlight to thrive

Idea 6: Change the Lighting of Your Basement

Interior, Cabinet in Modern Empty Room on Livingroom. 3D Renderi, basement makeovers on a budget

Having a single ceiling light in your basement means you’d better invest in a better lighting system that can change the way you feel when you enter it. According to this article by ArchDaily, adequate lighting can improve your mood significantly and vice versa.

So, how do you revamp the lighting in your basement?

Our first recommendation is to use a lighting calculator to determine the number of LED lumens that your space needs. This should keep any concerns about poor lighting at bay.

Then, buy a new set of light fixtures, spacing them evenly throughout your basement so that each corner is properly illuminated. Don’t forget to use other light sources to accentuate different areas, like sconces on walls, lamps on end tables, and floor lamps next to reading chairs.

Also, don’t underestimate the eye-catching effect of LED light strips when you use them in the right locations. Place these strips underneath shelves or storage cabinets to get a recessed lighting effect for a homey ambiance.

Or, you can play with them behind your gaming PC setup.

Depending on the mood you want to set, you can go for warm lighting, RGB lights, or others.

Finally, consider adding fairy lights to give a secluded portion of your basement a magical, whimsical vibe!

Idea 7: Don’t Hesitate to Work with an Exposed Basement Ceiling

YouTube video

At first glance, an unfinished ceiling can be painful to look at. If that’s the case with your ceiling, yet you don’t have enough money to finish it like the rest of your house, you can always deal with an exposed ceiling.

One easy way to give your ceiling a makeover is to paint it in matte black. This approach allows you to tread the waters of the industrial interior design style without spending a hefty sum!

This solution also does a wonderful job of masking the undesirable appearance of pipes, ductwork, and wooden beams.

You’ll find that many coffee shops, stores, and other commercial establishments choose this ceiling solution on purpose. So, why shouldn’t you, too?

Idea 8: Upgrade Your Furniture

The furniture pieces you outfit your basement with can make all the difference, transforming a boring area into something livable. If you’re tired of your old basement furniture, why don’t you whip out some cash to buy new, better-looking units?

Depending on your budget and priorities, you could replace some or all of the furniture. For example, if you’re tight on funds, you may only revamp your living space: 

  • A new sectional sofa or a sofa set made up of a three-person sofa, chairs, and a loveseat
  • A cozy-looking coffee table along with some stylish end tables
  • Comfy puff seats and ottomans
  • A trendy and functional TV unit that doubles as a place for storage

Or, you could upgrade your office area, investing in a new desk, storage cabinet, wall shelving, etc.

Sometimes, all you’ll need for a low-budget makeover is to buy only one or several pieces of furniture that could take your basement aesthetics to another level. 

If there’s a bare wall that you want to improve the looks of, consider putting a furniture piece or a stylish arrangement of units in front of it to make it stand out. Some ideas include:

  • A console table with a pretty flower arrangement, a few mirrors on the wall, and lamps
  • Two ottomans or cozy armchairs with a small table between them and a shaggy rug underneath
  • A unique-looking storage unit filled with quirky decorative items or seasonal decor (fall pumpkin, Christmas decor, etc.)

Your options are simply endless!

Idea 9: Transform Only a Section of Your Basement

Our final idea for a low-budget basement makeover is to choose only one part or section of your basement and renovate it. Whether this area gets a lot of traffic or is too worn-out to ignore, your reasoning for picking the part you want to work on is a personal preference.

The greatest thing about this approach is that it allows you to invest in high-quality materials, decor items, and finishes since your efforts will be focused on a limited space. Then, you could leave the areas that need more costs unfinished until you can afford to work on them, such as:

  • Furnace
  • Walls with plumbing
  • Electric service panel

Some ideas for partial basement renovation include:

Exceptional space design combining laundry room
  • Office space or workspace
  • Bedroom
  • Play area for kids
  • Game area
  • Home gym
  • Laundry space

FAQs: Basement Makeovers on a Budget

What is the average cost for a basement renovation?

According to Home Guide, you may end up spending $30–$50 per square foot for a full basement renovation project. This translates to around $15,000–$75,000 to finish basements that range from 500–1,500 square feet.

As you can see, these costs may be too high for someone on a tight budget. 

Plus, these numbers are averages. They can go significantly higher based on the location of your home, the materials you’re working with, whether or not it’s a DIY project, etc.

How can I mimic the effects of natural light in a basement makeover?

basement with white walls and daylight bulbs that make it look bright

If your basement doesn’t have windows, it’s a good idea to invest in a bunch of daylight bulbs to give you the same ambiance. I literally use this trick everywhere in my house. It’ll make the room look bigger too!

This light option can make your basement feel more cozy and relaxing, which is a must after a long, tiring day at work!

In Conclusion

If you’ve been looking tirelessly for basement makeovers on a budget, we hope this guide gives you a helping hand. After browsing our nine renovation ideas, we’re sure you can come up with a solution that’s uniquely yours!

To summarize, some low-cost makeover options include buying new furniture, upgrading your basement lights, or outfitting the space with attractive accessories. You can also create an accent wall, paint your unfinished basement ceiling, or stain the concrete floor.

Looking for more renovation and home design ideas? Follow us on Pinterest and let us help you design your home!

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