Affordable Ways to Finish Your Basement

An empty basement, waiting to be decorated.

If you have the space, your basement can become anything you want it to be. However, the reality is that not everyone has a lot of extra money to put up new walls and lay down new floors. However, even if you don’t have an unlimited budget, you don’t have to leave your basement unfinished and unused. Instead, use your DIY skills to find affordable ways to finish your unused space.

The Ceiling

Affordable Ways to Finish Your Basement, ceiling

Exposed ducts and pipes make a cellar look unfinished, but ceiling installations can be expensive. Hanging a drywall ceiling can be costly because you’ll need a professional to do this properly and safely. Hanging a drop ceiling is more affordable, but still requires a certain level of skill to ensure proper installation.

The easiest DIY option is to paint the ceiling. A fresh coat of paint will help pipes and ductwork blend in so that they’re less noticeable. Use the same color on the walls so the exposed parts are less noticeable.

The Walls

Affordable Ways to Finish Your Basement, screen, divider

You don't need to be a pro to install drywall; you just need to build a solid frame for each wall using 2x4s.

Start by placing one on the floor that will mark the spot where the wall will stand. Place 2x4s upright along the length of this board. These studs should be placed every 16 inches apart.

Hang drywall panels next, nailing them into place where the edges of the drywall meet the studs. Cover all the seams with drywall tape. Next, use mud to cover all of the nail holes and drywall seams. Once the mudding has dried, the walls can be painted.

Even DIY drywall may be too pricey for your budget. When this is the case, get creative by using room dividers and faux walls to section off your basement. Tall, wooden shutters can be attached together with hinges. Paint them, and they become handsome decorative screens. Or, try a number of other cheap room divider alternatives to achieve the desired look.

Look for items you can repurpose and reclaim at thrift stores and yard sales to find other room dividing solutions.

The Floors

Affordable Ways to Finish Your Basement, laminate floor

There are several ways to make unfinished basement floors look a little homier. Press-on vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install. Use chalk lines to make sure you’re maintaining a straight path as you lay the tile, and the end result should turn out well.

Buying a large area rug, or several, is another option.

For a beautiful basement floor for even less money, try using laminate. Laminate looks like hardwood but costs only a fraction of the price, and it’s easy to install because it snaps right into place. If you work efficiently and hard for a few hours, you may get a sizable part of the basement done in one day.

The Furnishings

Affordable Ways to Finish Your Basement, furnishings, furniture

Getting the ceilings, walls, and floors in order is only the first part of creating a finished cellar. You’ll want to add furnishings to complete your room. To stay within your budget, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, shop online and in thrift stores to find affordable pieces that can be repurposed or used just as they are. Even old furniture will look young again with a fresh coat of paint or a brand-new stain.

Second, buy pieces that can serve multiple functions, such as a sideboard table that has storage baskets underneath.

Lastly, make a mismatched look work for you by using bright colors and mixing various styles together to create a fun, funky design.

Once you've added the furniture, your DIY budget basement will be complete.