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Low Cost Basement Finishing Ideas

Updated on August 14, 2013

Cleaning Out Your Basement

So you own a home and the upstairs is just not enough living space for you and then you realize that you have a full basement below full of all the stuff you have in storage.

This is exactly what I was up against in the rancher I live in. I needed more living space but didn't want to move to a larger home.

If you are a handy person and can do some remodeling of your home or basement then as you know you will save an enormous amount of money as I did. The only thing you will need is your building materials and a good imagination of just how you like your finished basement to look.

Here is what I did and how I came up with low cost basement finishing ideas for my home.

  • First I had to get rid of all the things I was storing in the basement that I didn't even need.
  • Hired a 20 yard dumpster for all unneeded things.
  • Started sorting and throwing anything I had to think about twice.
  • After cleaning out was complete I started with a pencil, paper and a tape measure.
  • Start to draw how you might like your finished basement to look.
  • Ask yourself if you would like partition walls in your basement.
  • Would you like a bar area for entertaining?
  • Would you like a bathroom in your basement?
  • Once you have answered those questions then now is the time for your material list.

These are most of the things I thought about when I decided to finish my basement for more living space.

Ready For Your Lay Out

After your basement is cleaned out and you can see the floor you are ready to start laying out your partition walls if you choose to have walls or just a plan open area.

If you want to have a storage are and hide your heater and hot water heater than of course a wall needs to be put up. So, using your tape measure and your imagination, look to see exactly how much room you will need for storage and work room around your heating equipment.

I chose to run a wall from one side of the basement to the other with an entrance door. Now what I did was measure the distance of the future wall and start writing your lumber list.

  • I used all 2x3 studs because it was not a bearing wall and no plumbing would be going in the wall.
  • I also went with 2 foot on center for the studs rather that typical 16 inch on center for the studs.
  • You will need a Pneumatic Gun that is designed to shoot nails into your basement concrete floor to put down your bottom plate of your new wall.
  • Lay your top and bottom plates for your new wall on the floor side by side and mark out your studs at either at 16 inch on center or if you prefer 2 foot on center. This way there all your upright studs will be plumb.
  • You can either build your new wall on the floor if you have enough room and if not, you will have to get your bottom plate down and top plate positioned and nailed in your ceiling joist.
  • After that is completed start to nail in each of your 2x3 studs where you indicated on your top and bottom plates.
  • Figure out where you would like your entrance door to be and frame out accordingly.
  • After wall is complete now is the time to figure out how much sheet rock will be needed for your new wall.
  • Measure length by width of your wall.
  • Each sheet of sheet rock is 4x8 and the coverage area is 32 square foot.
  • So if your wall is 20 foot wide by 8 foot high, the area is 160 square feet. You then divide 32 into that and you come up with (5) 4x8 sheets of sheet rock for that wall. I always buy at least 1 extra for any cutting mistake that may arise.

If you are looking for more ideas on woodworking plans visit Teds Woodworking Package with over 1600 woodworking plans for just about every project.

Laying out Your Basement Walls

Framing Over Your Basement Block

I choose to paint the cinder block in my basement to cut down on the material cost that would occur with all the studs, sheet rock, and the extra work of Spackle and taping the joints and many screw heads.

This looked fine with the painted ceiling rafters and the room now has that loft look just as I wanted.


Many people use tile on the concrete floor, but I went with wall to wall carpet which give the room more of a warm feeling, not to say warm on your feet too.

One other way to have a great look to your basement floor is installing a laminate floor.

There is always the option of painting your concrete floor and use a few area rugs to make it a little warmer look. This is another way to save some money and still have a finished look.

One thing that is important, if you think or know you might have a basement that sometimes get damp or possibly wet, then I would strongly suggest just painting your floors or maybe some inexpensive tile.

I was fortunate that were we live there was never any signs of water problems in our neighborhood and with that most of the homes here all have carpeted basements, so just keep the water and dampness in mind when deciding on you finished basement floor.

Installing a Laminate Floor

Installing Your Basement Bath

If you have decided you would like to have a basement bathroom then here is what I purchased and this toilet is remarkable for a basement bathroom.

What I purchased was a toilet made by Saniflo and this toilet is designed for pumping uphill. It is a macerating and gray water pump system. It can pump uphill 16 feet and as far over as 150 feet to your main sewer drain.

You can also add a sink and a shower in your new basement bath that would drain into the Saniflo unit and discharge your waste water. As you use your sink or shower the water drains into the small holding tank in the toilet and when the tank is full the pump automatically turn on and discharges the waste water into the main sewer drain of your house.

Installing Your Saniflo Basement Toilet

Drop Ceiling, Sheet Rock Ceiling or Open Rafters

There are a few different ways you can finish your ceiling.  Some may prefer to sheet rock the whole ceiling or you can use the drop ceiling which is quite simple to install.

I choose to leave my ceiling rafter exposed and painted the entire ceiling in Flat Black paint.  This is what some call the loft look as they have in some New York apartment lofts.  I painted all heating ducts, wires, all plumbing and every inch of wood giving the ceiling an illusion of being higher than it really is.

What's good about the open ceiling is that if by chance you had a water leak in any of the plumbing you have complete access to it, but with the sheet rock or the drop ceiling your new ceiling will have water damage that would have to be repaired.

I had easy access to running all my electric for my ceiling lighting.  I mounted all my recessed lights up in the rafters and all on dimmer switches.  This is a awesome look when all completed and you dim those lights with that black ceiling above.

© 2010 Mark Bruno


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    • SuperiorInteriors profile image


      5 years ago from San Diego, California


    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      SuperiorInteriors - Thanks so much for reading and your comment. I think it is awesome that you are so handy around the house. That certainly makes life easier when you don't have to pay for those jobs that you can do yourself. Thanks for your kind words.


    • SuperiorInteriors profile image


      5 years ago from San Diego, California

      I agree, the pictures really do help provide a visual. There are some great ideas on what to do with your newly constructed basement here!

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Nitinpal23 Thank you for reading and your comment. I put down carpet because there wasn't any flooded basements in 55 years. But, about 3 weeks after carpet was laid we had about 5 inches of rain and every home in the blocks around me including mine got water, My rug was ruined and I was sorry I didn't go with tile.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      When it comes to basement flooring, your first thought may be stone, ceramic or concrete. For sure, these materials are a good option for many basements

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      5 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Randy, Thanks for the read and your comment. I hope your basement turned out the way you wanted it. Now it is time to enjoy it right?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is very informative. Thank you. Waterproofing my basement in the winter in Winnipeg is a bummer. This looks nice. Thank you.

    • the clean life profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Bruno 

      7 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Daniel, I glad you enjoyed this article and the photos. Thanks for commenting and for the link to stretched ceilings

    • profile image

      daniel rymar 

      7 years ago

      these pictures look amazing. It looks like you guys know everything. So i thought i"d ask you about stretched ceilings. There is a company in New York called Plafond Group that specializes in stretched ceilings. Many of the pictures on their website have the same style as these. Those pictures can be viewed at


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