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Great Ways to Refinish a Basement

Updated on March 18, 2012
The ultimate basement studio for a teenager or college student
The ultimate basement studio for a teenager or college student | Source

Here are ten great ways to refinish a basement. Some top basement refinishing ideas include creating a home theater, an office and a rental studio.

Create a Teen Bedroom

Need room for a newborn? Move your teen's bedroom to the basement -- carefully. If you do it right, you'll emerge heroic!

Emphasize the benefit of privacy and let your teen help redecorate the basement. Create spaces for sleep, study and lounging or hanging out with friends.

To instantly decorate the basement wall, you can apply a huge stick-on mural. Amazon sells hundreds of wall murals measuring about 12 feet long. Your teen might like an ocean mural, a city scape, a bamboo forest mural or a Star Wars scene. The murals sell for about $40-$135 and save you time on painting.

Safety tips: It's a good idea to have basement windows. They provide a second exit and can make the space feel less dungeony. You might be able to remove soil from around your foundation and have new windows cut into the basement walls. You should also keep a fire extinguisher in the new basement studio.

Bean bag game "Cornhole"
Bean bag game "Cornhole"

Make a Game Room

You can get free or cheap ping pong tables, pool tables, beer signs and such at yard sales, thrift stores and through Craigslist. Alternatively, you can spend a bundle on brand-new game room equipment.

Want to start small? For an instant basement game room, get a good-looking dart set or "cornhole" beanbag toss game. You could also set up a TV or computer with Wii or another gaming system.

Working out on a Sole treadmill
Working out on a Sole treadmill

Make a Home Gym

Look good and feel great with a home gym! To get inexpensive fitness equipment, see your local classified ads or visit a sports resale shop. Play It Again Sports, a franchise in the US and Canada, lets people buy and sell gently used fitness equipment.

For brand-new fitness equipment, definitely shop around! Prices on treadmills and elliptical equipment frequently change; there are New Year's promotions, Labor Day sales, etc. You can usually get the best prices at Costco or online through Amazon.

Tip: When shopping for a treadmill or elliptical trainer, don't be drawn in by extra-cheap machines. A unit that costs less than $800 tends to break down within a few months.

What are the best treadmill brands?

  • Schwinn makes some decent budget treadmills,
  • Sole treadmills and Smooth treadmills are high-quality but relatively inexpensive.
  • Some luxury brands include Landice and Precor.

A low-budget basement guest room
A low-budget basement guest room

Create a Guest Suite

It feels good to be able to accommodate out-of-town visitors overnight. If needed, improve your basement's air quality with a dehumidifier or air purifier. Then you're ready to decorate!

You'll probably want to start decorating with a fresh coat of paint. Choose a low-fume paint, especially since you'll be applying it in a poorly ventilated area. Use light colors to add brightness, but use something more stylish than pure white. Gender-neutral colors are best for making every guest feel comfortable.

To keep things simple, you can finish a room quickly by then adding a few floor lamps and an area rug. Then add a bed, dresser and bedside table.

You can also add special touches such as luxury toiletries, a guide to your hometown and a dish of wrapped candies.

A basement office
A basement office

Set up a Library or Study

Just about any household can benefit from having a library or office. Students perform best when they have an area that’s devoted to study -- an area that's stocked with work materials and devoid of distractions. Plus, every adult needs a special room of his or her own in order to be most productive.

For especially cheap basement refinishing, you can get mismatched bookshelves from yard sales and paint them all black. If you use the right lighting, they might look pretty good!

Basement playroom
Basement playroom

Give Your Kids a Playroom

Having a basement playroom can help keep kids safe and keep upstairs noise levels under control. It can also help confine kids’ clutter to one level of your home.

For younger kids, refinishing your basement in primary colors is a great way to start decorating. Older kids will appreciate choosing their own colors. For art, post your children's creations. You might even let them paint an ongoing mural on one wall with their friends. It's a nice rainy day activity and you can always paint over it!

Depending on your kids, it might be a good idea to wrap basement posts in a Nerf-like foam.

Home theater with HDTV
Home theater with HDTV

Build a Home Theater

As the darkest room in your house, your basement is the ideal spot to create a private theater. Plug in an old TV or check out the latest HDTVs on Amazon.

If you're more retro, maybe browse eBay for old-school projectors and movie screens. A white sheet or white wall could even do as a projection surface. You could also hook up a long-forgotten Atari system or encourage more physical activity by adding a Wii.

Give in to Golf

Many a northern golf lover dreams of golfing year-round. You can golf indoors at home by buying a putting machine with an attached green. If you have big bucks, you can invest in several chipping mats to cover your basement floor. You’ll be the envy of your buddies as you practice your putt all winter long.

Build a Home Bar

Home bars are used again and again at holiday time and for social gatherings year-round. The odds are good that your basement is also an ideal environment for storing wine. See Samantha Nestor's book Living With Wine for gorgeous home bar decorating ideas.

Rent out your basement studio
Rent out your basement studio

Rent Out Your Basement

Consider converting your basement into a self-sufficient unit for renters. This can be a great way to help fund college or pay your mortgage and avoid foreclosure.

To create an appealing studio, you’ll want to provide as much privacy as possible; renters look for studios with private bathrooms and kitchenettes. Private entrances are especially appreciated but not necessary, of course. You should also offer shared laundry facilities if possible.

To be competitive with other owners, don’t skimp on small features like drawer pulls. flooring and lighting. Prospective tenants will appreciate that you’re not a “slumlord” and will be more likely to stick around. Plus, the nice touches will command a higher rent and pay for themselves quickly.


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    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 5 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      :-) Fancying a pint?

    • profile image

      buildyourhouses 5 years ago from UK

      interesting post, espe. make your home as a bar one..

    • SantaCruz profile image

      SantaCruz 6 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Thank you kindly! Best wishes in your basement decorating adventures.

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 6 years ago from Maine

      I have a basement which is only partly finished, I'm praying that we can have the rest of it finished by the end of this year. You have some great ideas I'll have to keep in mind. Thank you!

    • Keith Matyi profile image

      Keith Matyi 6 years ago from Denton, TX

      Good informational Hub! THanks!