Is your basement uninviting, but you just don’t have the time or resources for a remodel? Here are some great ideas for unfinished basements.
You walk by the basement door and cringe. You know that at the bottom of the basement steps is an entire unfinished room. There’s plenty of space to do something, but you just haven’t gotten around to doing anything. Maybe you started the project and have a partially suspended ceiling or a finished basement floor.
The good news is that you don’t have to put a lot of work into finishing your basement to turn it into a usable space. These ideas will help you get inspired to turn your basement into a place you actually want to be. Embrace the raw beauty of your unfinished basement room and use these ideas as inspiration.
1. Unfinished Basement Bar Ideas
Why head out to your local bar when you could have your own in the basement? Create a man cave for your family and friends to gather in. All you need to create your own bar space is a tall counter and some seating.
Start by deciding where in your unfinished basement you can place the bar. Along a wall is the easiest. Create a galley-style bar area by placing a cabinet for bottle storage behind you, while your guests sit at the bartop in front of you.
For seating, you need to have bar stools. Choose comfortable stools that people can sit in for long periods. Then your last step is to plan for entertainment.
A well placed TV is perfect for watching the game. Consider darts, a pool table, foosball, or even a gaming system. For the extra handy, you could even turn your basic concrete floor into a mini putting green for a fun challenge after a few drinks.
2. Unfinished Basement Bedroom Ideas
Turning your unfinished basement into a bedroom is a perfect way to create a functional space and add value to your home. When you go to sell your home, you can add the finished basement to the bedroom count. If you don’t need the bedroom, you could use it as a guest spot.
You don’t have to do a lot to finish the bedroom basement space. You could leave the ceiling and concrete walls exposed. Create a comfortable space with furniture and decor. Place a large rug to reduce echo and add warmth.
There should also be some basement lighting. A floor lamp or string lights hung from the beams will work. Then position the bed and nightstands next to it. After that, the final step is to dress the walls with art and decor.
If the idea of an unfinished bedroom sounds unattractive, you could always invest more time and money and finish the room first. You’ll need to add a vapor barrier, flooring, drywall, and a ceiling.
3. Unfinished Basement Billiards Room Ideas
Turning your basement into a billiards or game room is one of the most popular unfinished basement ideas. The beauty of it is that your billiards table will look right at home in the unfinished room.
Embrace the unfinished basement ceiling and hang drop lighting. This will keep the basement on the darker side and create task lighting over your pool table. The space will feel more intimate than if you have a drywall ceiling and bright lights illuminating the entire space.
Focus your basement finishing efforts on bringing out the beauty of the building materials. This could mean cleaning the brick, painting and sealing concrete, or polishing wood. Embrace these materials to give your man cave a masculine but finished basement design.
4. Unfinished Basement Cinema Room Ideas
Let’s face it, going to the movies is expensive, especially if you want to take the whole family. Then once you’re in the theater, you have to contend with everyone else there. Skip the frustration and turn your unfinished basement into a personal movie theater. All you need is to mount a TV or projector screen on one of your unfinished basement walls.
You could give the space a family room feel with large couches centered around a rug and coffee table. Or, commit to the movie theater feel and buy large recliners with built-in cup holders. Some sofas have extra-large seats to make them perfect for laying out and lounging.
If you don’t want to turn the entire room into a cinema, you can divide the space by hanging heavyweight curtains. This will create a physical barrier for light and sound.
5. Unfinished Basement Creative Ideas
There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a project, cleaning everything up, and packing it away. Then when you’re ready to work on it again, you have to spend time setting everything up again. You end up wasting so much time just setting up and cleaning. Why not stop the nonsense and turn your basement into the ideal hobby and creative space. Your unfinished basement can hide away behind the door at the top of the basement stairs.
To create your space, you don’t have to worry about finishing the basement ceiling or hiding the concrete walls. All you need is to focus on adding pieces that will make the space easier to work in. You could hang a pegboard to organize your tools. You can also place a bookshelf or other cabinet and drawer unit. This will give you a way to organize your crafting or hobby supplies.
The last thing you’ll need is a workspace. A simple table can do the trick. Or, build a custom table into the usable space.
6. Unfinished Basement Home Gym Ideas
You don’t need to do any basement remodeling to turn your basement into a home gym. You can leave the unfinished basement ceiling and raw concrete floor alone. Some things that you may want to add to finish the room are a large wall mirror and rubber mats. These two things will make working out easier and more comfortable.
Setting up your actual gym should be about how you like to work out. Focus on buying equipment that you already like to use. Then plan out how you’ll arrange the equipment in the space. Remember, you need enough space around each piece of equipment for it to move freely. You also need to be able to navigate around them.
Once you’ve figured out where the equipment is going and where you’ll perform different exercises, you’ll want to add lighting. If you already have a drop ceiling, you’ll need to mount lights in the existing panels. If you have an unfinished ceiling, then you could install track lighting or individual spotlights.
7. Unfinished Basement Low Budget Ideas
You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a beautifully finished basement. Get creative with how you decorate to make the finished look feel purposeful and not haphazard. Instead of throwing random furniture down there, look for vintage or antique pieces. Then accent the space with fancier pieces to create your version of vintage chic.
Look for alternative ways to finish the walls, ceiling, and floor. You could paint the concrete floor and lay a rug down.
One of the most popular unfinished basement wall ideas is to hang curtains. They’re more affordable than finishing the walls with drywall, and you can create a custom look with the curtains.
Another smart design choice is to go for a minimalist or industrial look. Both of these interior design approaches embrace minimal furniture and simplified decor. Look for pieces that have minimal details in favor of sleek lines. The use of metal is also encouraged.
8. Unfinished Basement Studio/Office Ideas
Having an office in the basement is smart. It gives you a quiet, designated space for getting work done. You can close the door and create an area where you can conduct meetings, study, perform research, and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
To create an ideal office space, you’ll need enough room for a desk and chair. You’ll also need electricity to power your electronics. You should also have plenty of light to help you focus and see what you’re doing. Sitting in the dark while looking at a computer screen will cause eye strain.
Look for ways you can outfit your office with the tools you need to do your job. This could mean hanging large screens or TVs. Or it could mean installing bookshelves for some basement storage.
Finally, while you designed this space for work, it should also be comfortable. Make the space your own by hanging pictures on the walls, placing a plant in the corner, and putting a rug on the floor. If you like to listen to music while you work, you could mount speakers and create a surround system.
9. Wine Cellar
Wine collectors love basements because they’re ideal for storing wine. They get limited sunlight and have naturally-regulated, cool temperatures. You could dedicate your entire basement to wine, or simply have a small area for enjoying your collection.
A simple and affordable solution is to install a wine fridge. They come in a wide range of sizes, from holding just a few bottles to several hundred. You can even build a custom walk-in fridge for a unique solution.
An alternative to a fridge is using racks. Several companies produce wine rack kits. You measure your available space, decide how many bottles you want it to hold, and then buy the pieces to create your kit. The installation is simple, and the finished product looks professional.
You also need to create a place to enjoy your wine. This could be a long table and chairs where you host tasting parties. The table will give you plenty of space for small plates so you can showcase pairings. For a more casual approach, arrange couches and chairs with a centralized coffee table.
10. Unfinished Basement Exposed Ceiling Wood
One of the biggest dilemmas you’ll face is what to do with the ceiling. When contractors build a home, the basement ceiling gets left unfinished with the floor joists left exposed. They aren’t pretty because they’re supposed to hide behind drywall.
The easiest option is to embrace the rustic look of the wood. Treat them as you would exposed ceiling joists. Give the room a rustic and romantic feel by hanging several strands of string lights from the ceiling. These lights will create a warm glow throughout the space.
Another option is to paint the ceiling. Black will create a void effect and help to hide wires and pipes. However, black can look heavy and make the space feel too cave-like. If you have a low basement ceiling, you’ll want to consider white instead. The lighter color won’t hide the building materials as well, but it’ll reflect the light and help the space to feel brighter and bigger.
After you paint, you can hang your lights from the exposed joists. Pendant lights are great for task lighting and add to the decor. Spot and track lights tuck up into the beams and provide light in several directions to illuminate the room.
If you want to hide the floor joists and finish your basement ceiling, you can do so by mounting a drop ceiling, pegboard, or drywall. These will give you a smooth, flat surface to the ceiling. It’ll also lower the look and change the feel of the space.
Unfinished Basement FAQs
I have basement mold; can I still use these ideas?
Yes, but you need to take some additional steps first. Always address a mold problem immediately. Ignoring mold will allow it to continue to grow and spread throughout your home. Have the mold professionally treated to have it removed. Then treat the moisture problem that caused and encouraged the mold to grow. This will prevent it from coming back.
What about a basement bathroom?
Including a bathroom in your basement ideas is possible but more complicated. You’ll need to get permits, as several codes regulate how and where you can build a bathroom. You’ll also need to hire a plumber and electrician to run lines for power and water. You’ll need to build additional basement walls to enclose your new bathroom space.
My basement is my laundry room. Am I stuck with just that?
No, you’re not. Depending on your basement’s size, you can do more than just leaving it unfinished with a washer and dryer. Plan a basement remodel where you enclose the laundry space to create a separate room. Then you can finish the rest of the space for the basement idea that appeals to you most.