Best 9 DIY Basement Makeovers on a Budget +Tips & Tricks

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Are you tired of looking at your unfinished basement? There are so many ways to update your bland basement without blowing your budget! Below, you’ll find my favorite basement makeovers on a budget to inspire your own renovation.

If your basement just isn’t living up to its full potential, it’s time for a refresh. Your basement should do more than just store holiday decor and old sports equipment. Imagine having a designated space for a guest bedroom, home theater, gym, or office!

Masonite Livingston interior barn sliding door, harvest oak vinyl plank flooring, Armstrong ceiling planks
basement makeover with pantry

DIY Basement Makeovers on a Budget

Basements are full of potential, and they’re one of my favorite spaces to update because of this huge impact. It’s like you gain an entirely new wing of your house! Plus, a good basement makeover will help you increase the value of your home to help recoup your investment. It’s a win-win!

FAQs basement makeover ideas

The cheapest way to finish basement walls is to paint the cement. Framing the walls with 2×4’s, insulating and then adding sheetrock is also a fairly inexpensive way to cover basement walls.

Paint is the cheapest way to update a basement inexpensively even if it’s an unfinished basement. You can paint the walls, ceiling and even the floor!

What’s a reasonable budget for a basement makeover?

Like any home project, a basement makeover can drain your budget quickly. Setting a budget is important, but what’s a realistic figure?

According to Angi, the average cost of finishing an unfinished basement is $8,800 – $34,500 (on average $18,400).

Depending on where you live, pricing will be different. In the area where we live, you’ll typically spend $65 to $135 per square foot on your basement remodel project depending on finishes ect. Of course, smaller basements usually cost less, and large basements can add up quickly. Massachusetts, New York and California are three of the highest states for remodeling costs.

One of the most significant expenses is flooring, so if you already have decent carpet or hardwood flooring, you may just need to spring for a fresh coat of paint and some new lighting. Tile floor is also an option but in my opinion, is cold for a basement.

Meanwhile, if you’re starting with studs and a concrete floor, you’ll have a lot more work to do and that quickly adds up.

Ready to see some of my basement makeovers to get a sense of what’s possible? Let’s look behind the scenes at my most recent projects.

Basement Renovation with White Ceiling and Vinyl Floor Planks

If you’re staring at a huge unfinished basement, let this basement remodel be your inspiration. We started with exposed posts, ductwork, and insulation and had a ton of work to do.

harvest oak color Select Flooring vinyl plank flooring, masonite livingston white interior doors, basement columns, Armstrong ceiling planks
basement makeover with plank ceiling

This basement wasn’t doing us much good, so we added a bunch of new features including:

  • Custom closet/storage space
  • New vinyl laminate flooring
  • Custom accent plank wall
  • Changed the basement ceiling (instead of a drop ceiling)
  • Replaced the doors
  • Installed recessed lighting
  • Added Craftsman-style trim and baseboard
  • Built a walk-in pantry and home office

We also had to cover lally columns, build a half wall to separate areas of the basement, revamp the stairs, and more.

My goal was to create distinct areas to make the basement much more useful. It feels like a whole new wing of the house instead of a large storage space.

driftwood planks, white plank wall, modern coastal basement family room, blue walls, seagrass baskets on walls
finished basement living space

Using Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Basement Remodel

In this deep dive into how we installed modern vinyl flooring in our basement makeover, we also break down the whys behind our decision-making process, like:

  • The doors we chose (beautiful sliding barn doors)
  • The bathroom update
  • Our new favorite flooring
  • The sheetrock ceiling with recessed lights
  • The brick around the wall at the bulkhead door 
Basement remodel with gray Rigid Core Vinyl Planking by Select Surfaces
basement remodel with inexpensive vinyl flooring

If you’re looking for basement flooring options for your project, definitely check out these resources.

Best Doors for Basement Remodel

Upgrading your doors can make any space feel fresh and new, especially in a large outdated basement. In this post, you can find the best doors for your basement and bath. You’ll also see how we removed the basement walls to open the space.

split level basement with white 2 panel solid core interior door and wood flooring
solid core prehung doors

The project above was a simple basement makeover removing interior walls from 1960’s and opening up the space to one large room.

Basement Remodel Ideas

Basement Bedroom Makeover

Adding a bedroom in a basement is a great way to expand your living space or even create a private master retreat. Jim’s previous home was a split level and the master bedroom and bathroom was in the finished basement creating a private retreat.

split level house master bedroom with fireplace in finished basement
basement bedroom with coastal decor

Basement Bathroom

The basement bathroom at Jim’s split level was also a nice feature in his basement.

basement bathroom remodel
basement bathroom with corner shower

Basement Laundry Room Makeover

Since many of us use our basements for laundry, it can be so nice to create a cozy, functional space. In this easy basement laundry room makeover, you’ll see how we upgraded this bland laundry room into something way more practical and useful in an inexpensive way.

diy basement laundry room in a closet
basement laundry room in a closet

Finished Basement with In Law Apartment

Although we’ve since sold this house, you can see the big basement we converted to in in-law for grandparents. This basement makeover project included a large chef’s kitchen, a massive living area, and more. You can view the entire basement in the home tour.

basement kitchen with built in refrigerator
basement in-law kitchen

Especially if you want to turn your basement into a rental or have a second living space, this remodel is a great example of what’s possible.

More Basement On A Budget Ideas

Need a little more design inspiration? These creative tips for basement makeovers on a budget will help freshen up any basement space.

Add paint

A fresh coat of paint can really change a space and make it feel lighter or brighter. Plus, it’s relatively low cost even if you have a large area to paint. The basement picture below features Sherwin Williams Lullabye paint color on the walls creating a light coastal look.

harvest oak color Select Flooring vinyl plank flooring, masonite livingston white interior doors, basement columns, Armstrong ceiling planks
painted basement walls – Sherwin Williams lullabye

If you are a looking for simple finished basement ideas, you will be amazed what painting the walls (even if they are cement) and the floor (mix in a sand additive to prevent slipping) for a space.

Update basement stairs

Updating your basement stairs is as easy as painting the stair treads or something a bit more elaborate like we did by cutting out the wall and adding balusters to create a custom look.

basement stairs with iron balusters, harvest oak vinyl plank flooring, blue walls
updated basement stairs with metal balusters

Add an accent wall

This is such a great tip for making an inviting space! You can even install flooring on the wall to really draw in the eye and transform the space. You’ll see this basement wall idea below featuring my white-painted accent wall in our basement remodel that adds texture without too much detail.

white plank wall, grey couch, blue medallion pillow, seagrass wall accent, coastal wall art
finished basement plank accent wall

Change the basement flooring

Although this can add up, you can upgrade your flooring in an affordable way. We love using vinyl plank flooring in our basement makeovers. Carpet tiles are another great option. Cheap basement flooring ideas like paint or stenciling the concrete floors for a tiled look. Speaking of tiles, these peel and stick floor tiles are beautiful!

Simple Finished Basement Ideas

Cheap basement ceiling ideas

Drop ceilings are traditionally inexpensive but glue on tiles (under 1.50 sf!) are an even cheaper way to cover a ceiling.

Invest in area rugs

Rugs can ground your space and tie together design elements that don’t always seem like they fit. Plus, a decent quality large rug usually costs $500-1,000.

Upgrade your lighting fixtures

Outdated track lighting will make your entire basement look old and dingy. Add recessed lighting and/or invest in a few statement light fixtures to highlight prominent spaces in your basement.

Basement remodel with gray Rigid Core Vinyl Planking by Select Surfaces
basement with recessed lighting

Emphasize natural light

Whether you have windows or not, you can give the feeling of natural light by installing daylight bulbs. If you have windows, remove any dark coverings and add sheer curtains or covers for privacy.

Update your furniture

Instead of sending all your old furniture to the basement, consider adding new pieces or updating the ones you already have. Paint that coffee table, swap out the couch, etc.

Add design details

white plank wall, grey couch, blue medallion pillow, seagrass wall accent, coastal wall art, blue walls
basement with coastal decor and wall art

Your basement will look much more inviting if you add soft touches like blankets, candles, baskets, soft rugs, and more.

Define separate spaces

This really can’t be understated. I recommend thinking through the different ways you want to use the basement. It might be worth the money to frame some walls and make separate rooms if you can transform your basement into a practical space. We installed half walls below to add a visual interest and to separate the living space from the gym area.

open concept basement makeover with white ceiling and driftwood floor planks
finished basement with 1/2 wall

How nice would having a large custom laundry area or a valuable spare bedroom be? Do you need a home gym? Separate storage space? A cozy family room? Whether you are looking for small basement ideas on a budget or something larger to encompass a game room, most of these home improvement projects will not only increase your living space but add value to your home.

Especially if you plan on staying in your home for a long time, it’s worth the additional cost to make your basement practical. Finished basement remodels are one of Jim’s favorite projects so if you are local, consider hiring us to design and remodel your space.

Did these basement makeovers on a budget help you figure out your next step forward? Do you have more questions? Ask them in the comments below!

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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