dressing up an unfinished basement

Old 03-29-05, 02:33 PM
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dressing up an unfinished basement

hey all,

anybody got any good ideas or quick tips on how to dress up an unfinished basement? i'm not looking to finish the basement for at least a couple of years (until i get sufficient funds), but I'd like to make it useable and as bright and pleasant to the eye as possible (not a dreary dark dungeon that is now). trying to keep it inexpensive too.

so far i'm using some cheap curtains to dress up the walls, some colorful foam mats so kids can play on them, some inexpensive (golf-green) carpeting, etc.

lighting ideas would also be appreciated. those flourescent light fixtures normally used in garages seem to be ok but they don't seem to brighten up the basement as much as i'd like.

thanks in advance.
Old 03-29-05, 05:05 PM
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If your basement is nice and dry, nothing brightens it up like some white paint. Paint the walls white and the floor a light gray (make sure to use floor paint). If you can sheet rock the ceiling and paint it, that will also help a lot.
Old 03-30-05, 10:24 AM
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thanks for the tip. but i was trying to avoid painting because this a new home and i wanted to make sure i could see any cracks that may come up over the next year or so (while i'm still under warranty).

but maybe using alot of white fabrics could work too.
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I would like to mention a couple of safety issues. If this is a new home, I assume that it has egress windows and a smoke detector. You will also want to do a radon test, unless one was done when you closed on your home. Also you will want to get some light fixtures with covers instead of the default pull chain light bulbs. It would be too easy for a thrown ball to break one.

If any of your children have asthma or allergies you will want to seal the concrete floor. Brand new concrete can put off a lot of powdery dust the first few years. My sister just bought a new home and her daughter had a lot of problems playing down in the basement until they sealed the floor. You would still be able to see any cracks that appear. The foam mat idea is a good one too. You can also get some cute hopscotch mats and city scene mats for playing with toy cars.

I would also consider the issue of keeping the children out of the utility area. I would screen off the furnace, sump pump, etc. My sister had a contractor wall off just the utility area for around $600 after she found some balls that had landed in the sump pump pit. They didn't add any electrical or finish the ceiling off. If you are handy you could do it yourself for much less.

We are in the process of finishing our basement for use as a kid's play area. Personally, I won't let the kids play down there until it is finished because of safety concerns, but I am very conservative about these issues. You have to judge for yourself about your situation. I just wanted to bring up some issues to consider. Good luck with your project!
Old 03-30-05, 11:09 AM
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For now use a cheap white paint on all the joist and subfloor. paint the whole ceiling down there it sure will help .

Old 04-19-05, 06:34 PM
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I'm looking at a similar situation. I've already painted the walls and that helped, but I'd like to do more. One idea I had was to build a bunch of frames out of 1x2, stretch a piece of fabric with an interesting pattern over the frames, then hang them on the wall.

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