I just want to share my experience of buying a new home and re-doing the basement from a total 1970's look, to a modern, usable space on a budget.
When I first moved into my townhouse, the basement was partially finished, but it was UGLY.
Step 1: I didn't have the money or resources to take the brown panelling down. So: Paint. Paint for the whole project cost me about 150.00. I taped off a horizontal line about 3 feet from the floor and went around the entire room. I wanted the bottom to be white and the top to be a light brown to give it a wainscotting type look. I also took down the brown shelving on the back wall and later painted it white and used it for my TV stand.
Step 2: Tear out that terrible carpet. I cut it into 3 foot sections and threw it into the condo dumspter. Underneath was a surprise. The glue was so old it has disintegrated into dust. Some was still stuck to the floor so I had to buy an ice pick to scrape it off. 30.00.
Step 3: Lay new carpet. I got Carpet Superstore to come in and measure the space and they installed about 130 sq. ft of carpet. 500.00 for the carpet and 150.00 for installation.
Step 4: Put up the chair rail in the middle of the room and baseboards along the bottom. I had to buy a mitor box and saw for 20.00 and The boards cost me 98.00 total.
Step 5: Stairs. The stairwell we painted with the leftover paint from the white wall. I painted the handrail with the leftover brown paint and carpeted them myself using the leftover carpet. I did have to go back to the store to buy a bit extra for 25.00.
Final Price 973.00 :)