6 Amazing Basement Improvement Tips

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Last updated: April 10, 2023

Basements have been cold, unwelcoming places used for storage space or to serve as temporary accommodations for visiting family or friends. Thankfully, the idea of using a basement for cluttered storage space is a thing of the past as everyone adopts a minimalist lifestyle. More people are now considering basement improvement ideas as they consider basements as a way to maximize their living space. And yes, it can increase the value of your home and property when you’re ready to sell and move.

Basement Improvement Tips for Modern Decor
Source: Adam Winger

People don’t want precious space to go to waste. Clutter should be donated anyway and not sent to your garage because it doesn’t solve the problem :D. People look at basement’s today in a new normal sort of way. They’re considering new office space during the COVID19 pandemic or a new entertainment and media gathering place for family and friends which could include a bar, flat-screen television, dance floor, or pool table.

Table of Contents

  1. 6 Basement Improvement Tips Done Cheaply
    1. Tip #1: Start with Small Goals
    2. Tip #2: Protect Your Basement from Water Damage
    3. Tip #3: Cost-Saving Tips for Basement Floors and Walls
    4. Tip #4: Furnish your Basement with Upcycled Vintage or Retro Furniture
    5. Tip #5: Steps to Reduce Basement Moisture Risk
    6. Tip #6: Make Sure Your Basement Ceiling is Consider Decor

6 Basement Improvement Tips Done Cheaply

Tip #1: Start with Small Goals

We know budgets can be tight these days but you can always start with very small changes to your basement. No need to start with a major overhaul or renovation. You can incorporate small, fun, and unique features. Think big-screen TV, some furniture or carpet changes, and even a small wet bar to get things moving in the right direction.

When we renovated our parent’s home, we replaced all the drywall but found some unique spaces like the hidden chimney in one corner on the second floor of the semi-detached home. Rather than cover up the chimney, we sandblasted to give it a rustic look with natural brown brick and left it exposed in the corner leading up to the second floor of the home. Look around your basement for similar aesthetic upgrades. You’ll be surprised at how great brick or stone can make your slightly upgraded basement finish move to the next level. Small changes lead to better resale value.

A old-style white sink basin with pipes exposed and old faucet against a painted-white brick concrete wall int he basement
Bad Pipes, Plumbing, and Old Washing Machines Can Create a Water Damage Hazard for Basements

Tip #2: Protect Your Basement from Water Damage

Beware of the faulty sump pump, drain backup, or faulty washing machine hose. Each can cause floor and water damage so the first thing to do is check your insurance for coverage! We had this and the damage was extensive. Literally, everything was damaged by water requiring a full project team to work through the repairs and replacement of damaged drywall, etc. Flooding or breaches will happen.

So what can you do? Here are some simple strategies to minimize the damage. Make sure there are no water or moisture issues as leaks will be your curse. We recommend seeking out waterproofing professionals for any water-related repairs. Always check your basement walls for cracks and weak spots and seal basement window wells, vents, or any exterior openings. We also recommend inspection of sewer lines for any blockages or root intrusion because you can be rest assured, it’s happened before. If you can, you should also try to snake any piping annually to reduce risk.

Tip #3: Cost-Saving Tips for Basement Floors and Walls

In a previous article, we discussed some cheaper approaches to kitchen tiling and the same options exist for basement flooring as it can get rather expensive. LVT or luxury vinyl tile is water-resistant and could offer massive savings compared to traditional tiles. If you want something more building-industrial like, redo the basement floor in concrete (remember the chimney/bricks hack mentioned earlier?) and use fancy, large rugs as an alternative approach.

Drywall? We’ve done the heavy work before and it’s a lot of work, tiring and can be quite involved. Our recommendations are to save yourself the backpain, stress, and mess and let professionals set your drywall you don the dirty pants and shorts, and paint yourself. The painting will help you save money and a fresh coat of paint can do wonders anywhere, including your basement. Remember that light color will always help to offset any lack of natural light.

To find professionals in your neighborhood if you’re in the United States, you can check Houzz.com by entering your zip code. If you are in Annapolis, Baltimore, Columbia, Frederick, Rockville, Upper Malboro, Washington, or Northern Virginia, give Efynch.com a try. In Canada, you have a few more choices Jiffyondemand.com, Homestars.com, or Trustedpros.ca. Don’t forget to check on iOS or Android AppStore as many of these crowd-sourced services are likely to have mobile apps for your smartphone.

Mid-Century Vintage Furniture Pedestal Table, Chairs and Cabinet
Source: Zui Hoang (Unsplash)

Tip #4: Furnish your Basement with Upcycled Vintage or Retro Furniture

I had a friend (R.I.P. Grant) that was big on thrift. But here’s the funny thing. None of this thriftiness bore any resemblance to his home being a dump. He looked slick, cool, chic with amazing couches found at antique and garage sales in and around his neighborhood. He loved late 60’s and 70’s style furniture (love it myself) and took great liberties to spruce up and decorate his basement and living rooms. He was his own self-made interior designer and he loved it. Simplistic and minimalist in so many ways.

So dress up your basement and turn it into a meditation hive, a sports zone, or a flashy party command center for the next social gathering – oops, keeping in mind any pandemics in our wake. It wouldn’t be crazy if your basement looked like a farmhouse barn or ski lodge but well, it’s your place so no one is going to stop you?

Vintage Basement Improvement with many guests, bar and party atmosphere
Source: Alexander Schimmeck (Unsplash)

Tip #5: Steps to Reduce Basement Moisture Risk

Moisture and basements do not mesh well and that musky (skunky) smell is a red zone problem. If the basement is going to be an extra living space for you, your family, or guests, you will need to take steps to avoid the musky smell.

To reduce moisture risk, an easy way to naturally reduce moisture is with a rain barrel. You may also want to consider a dehumidifier to help reduce moisture, reduce condensation, and dryer ventilation. Other ideas include repairing settlement cracks, waterproofing the walls, and extending downspouts to reduce any potential seepage.

Above all, don’t forget an air purifier. This device helps to remove air contaminants from the area to improve indoor air quality. While fewer people smoke today, if there is a smoker in the household unit, this will help eliminate tobacco smoke and help allergy and asthma sufferers.

Oh, and if you want to go the natural route, here are some amazing plants that absorb humidity. Consider English Ivy, Peace Lily, Reed Palm, Tillandsia, and Boston Fern.

Home plants: English Ivy, Peace Lily, Reed Palm, Tillandsia, and Boston Fern.
Source: Mor Shani (Unsplash)

Tip #6: Make Sure Your Basement Ceiling is Consider Decor

Ceilings are an important part of your basement décor. Ceilings are foolishly an afterthought in many cases. You only really have three choices and each has a degree of complexity which is a personal choice by time, experience, or cost if you’re contracting. I’ll list them from hardest to easiest.

CEILING TILESBest choice if you want to access sewer pipes, electric lines, or have easy access to water. But we’ve done this type of work before and it requires a lot of good experience and patience as it’s not an easy installation process requiring precision and everything has to be perfectly square.
SHEETROCKINGCheaper than ceiling tiles, but dealing with changes or repairs later isn’t fun as you have to cut in to do it
PAINTINGA cheaper and easier option that can give a cool, modern, urban industrial look that can be handled by you (most go this route)

How about we dance on the ceiling, right now?

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