Basement Re-modeling Ideas on a Budget

If you are only using your basement for storage, you may be losing useful living space. The additional square footage from a remodel means an increased home value too. Finishing your basement to create an extra room can raise the value of your home and provide a place for renters, relatives, and guests. Finishing a basement on a budget does require some careful planning to make the space safe and pleasant to use.  

Evaluate your space

Measure your space. You need to know what the dimensions of the basement are. This is especially important for the height of the space. A lot of local regulations on turning a basement into a liveable room require the basement to be a certain height. Checking local regulations is your second step. I suggest you do some planning on a piece of paper. Draw the shape of the basement outside walls and add length and height to the whole space. Make a tentative list of what you want in the space and divide basement into living spaces showing dimensions. I suggest an open floor plan unless you have a huge basement. Of course adding something like a bedroom or bathroom will require walls. Decide on first area to be finished.

Turning a basement into a finished living space ranks among the top 10 remodeling projects, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).  GEICO has a informative post, 8 Tips to Finish or Remodel a Basement on a Budget. Below is a list of actions that they recommend:

  1. Start With One Area Of The Basement. …
  2. Confirm There Aren’t Any Moisture Issues In The Basement. ..
  3. Basement Flooring On A Budget. ..
  4. Painting The Basement Yourself. …
  5. Find Unique Items To Decorate The Basement At Bargain Stores. ..
  6. Choosing Your Ceiling On A Budget….
  7. Clean Musty Basement Air …..
  8. Use Professionals to Meet Code …..
Photo Geico

Add Moisture Protection

Living in the basement will require vapor barriers to stop moisture from spreading beyond the concrete walls. Evaluate any moisture barrier present in the basement. If the basement is damp, consider basement moisture solutions as part of your renovation plans

Photo Michigan Basements

Inspect Plumbing and Wiring

You will likely need to add wiring and maybe plumbing to your basement, especially if you want a bathroom down there. Check on your existing systems to see what expansion and upgrades would need to be done. You will need a permit for work like this. 

Photo Houzz

Add Insulation for Warmth and Sound

You will need to insulate the ground and walls of the basement to protect against both noise and the cold. Use insulated panels, batting, or other common materials. This will likely be one of the main wall renovation choices, so research all the options. For a modern flair, have white shiplap walls to make it cozy.

Photo Elle Decor

Basement Flooring

Since basement flooring can get expensive, many experts suggest luxury vinyl tile, or LVT. It’s water resistant and results in huge savings compared to traditional tile installation. For a more industrial look, refinish with concrete and use large area or throw rugs.

Photo Kitchen & Bath Shop

Paint The Basement Yourself

If you’re installing new walls, a pro will do it better and in less time than you can. Hire someone to put up the walls and finish the drywall or shiplap. Do the painting yourself to save money. Choose a light color, to help offset any lack of natural light. 


Choose The Ceiling on a Budget

You have three ceiling options here: sheetrock, ceiling tiles or exposed. painting. Ceiling tiles can be extremely useful in the basement since they make it easy to access water or sewer pipes and electric lines. But ceiling tiles are somewhat troublesome to install and they need to be done right and perfectly square. Sheetrocking is cheaper but cutting into the sheetrock later for any repairs is a pain. The simplest way to finish your ceiling is to leave it exposed for a rehabbed-industrial look—and you can do it yourself. If you want a cleaner exposed finish, paint it!

Clean Air or Decrease Moisture

Despite your best efforts to prevent moisture, musty smells can still develop. For good air quality, an air purifier can help. Shop around for the right fit. My basement in my Michigan home didn’t have a smell but it had a chill from moisture in the air. I bought a dehumidifier and had the tubing drain into a floor drain. Problem solved.

Research More Ideas

The internet has hundreds of posts on finishing a basement. Some talk about the planning process. Others might give a look at a personal project with photos. Here are several that look interesting to me.

Country Living: 20 DIY Finished Basement Ideas

The Spruce: 9 Finished Basement Design Ideas

BHG: 10 Basements For The Whole Family


I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

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