An unfinished basement is an ideal place to put in a laundry room, storage, or even a gym. It can be turned into a living area, but you’ll need to work hard on making it feel comfortable. The unfinished basement ideas I’ll go over below will help you make the space feel and look good.
Making the Space Feel Comfortable and Look Good
Walls and Ceiling Ideas: To create a more uniformed look in an unfinished basement, see if you can paint all of the unfinished surfaces – such as the walls and the ceiling (including the pipes and wires – make sure they are all safe to paint over), just like in picture (1). This will have the biggest impact in transforming an unfinished basement, and is a cheap option. Wooden rafters can be stained to give a darker and more stylized look.
Painting the ceilings might be a better choice for an unfinished basement, instead of panelling it, because it keeps the space more spacious and open. For a tutorial on how to paint the ceiling, head on over to One Project Closer.
When it comes to the paint colors for the walls or the ceiling, light colors help make a space feel bright, open and spacious. Dark colors with make a space feel smaller, but cozy if you also use a lot of fabric in the space and have good lighting.
Another idea for the walls is to fit a curtain rail, and use modern hookless curtains to soften and hide the unfinished walls – as seen in picture (2).
The Floors: Even the floors, if you have concete ones, can be painted over to create a more finished look. Put down some area rugs to soften the floor, or foam tiles if you want the kids to use the space as a playroom area (Fun Basement Playroom Ideas: From Softening the Floor to Swings).
In picture (3) you can see a square pattern on the basement floor. The original concrete floors were stained first, then painted over with the pattern. The whole project can be seen here. Also check out the before and after of the exposed wall, and how they were able to cover it up with a simple board with holes cut out at the top for the pipes.
Lighting up The Space: To make an unfinished basement a fully functional living space you are going to want to put in a good amount of ceiling lights (4), the more the better. Have a look at picture (5). You’ve got the stained concrete floors, painted walls and ceiling, an area rug to soften the floors, and even a decorated finished basement pole. But none of these decorating ideas would look or feel good without those ceiling lights.
Another way to add lighting in a basement is to open up the windows. If you hang curtains, make sure the curtain rod is wide enough so that the curtains don’t cover any part of the window when they are drawn open during the day.
Poles: For ideas on how to deal with basement poles, have a look at my post here: Design Ideas for Basement Pole Covers: From Functional to Decorative.
The Air Quality: If your basement gets quite moist and humid, then I would look to get a dehumidifier.
Simple Uses for an Unfinished Basement: Storage and Laundry
Most of the ideas above were about making the unfinished basement a more comfortable and good looking space. But a basement can always be used for more functional purposes that don’t require it to look and feel good. Part of the basement can be turned into a storage area or a laundry room.
From putting brackets in between the ceiling rafters and hanging ceiling shelves, to simple free standing shelves, have a look here In The Basement: Storage and Organization Ideas for some basement storage ideas (6).
For simple and practical storage ideas that would also work well in a basement, like creating a pegboard wall, check out my Garage Storage Ideas: Use Your Walls and the Ceiling mood board post.
A Laundry Room
A basement laundry room can be as simple as putting a washer and a dryer down there (with plumbing). Or it can be as elaborate as having a countertop to fold clothes, a sink, dedicated lighting, and some storage space – just like in picture (7). For design ideas have a look at my mood board post here: Design Ideas For That Perfect Basement Laundry Room.
For more ideas on what you could create in your unfinished basement, have a look here: 14 Different Room Ideas For a Basement.
More basement mood board posts: