The smell of a damp basement is unpleasant, musty, and dank. Preventing it is far better than curing it. Good ventilation in your basement is vitally important, no matter how large or small the space is.
If you have a brick foundation, insert air bricks into your basement. It is a simple procedure if they are not already fitted. Air bricks have small holes which allow fresh air to circulate throughout the basement and keep it from becoming damp. If your home is timber structured, you can still use ventilation bricks, but check your local DIY store for advice on what to get.
Running a course of damp proofing around the floor and lower foundations of your basement will prevent dampness from creeping through the walls. Flood protection is also advised to stop the water from staying inside once it accumulates. Damp coursing can be painted-on using a special dampness preventing paint.
Keeping a regular temperature in your basement will dry dampness that accumulates. When an atmosphere is naturally cold, it will attract dampness. If you keep your basement heated to at least 60°F throughout the year, you have a better chance of stopping the spread of dampness throughout your basement.