DIY Cheap Basement

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The basement can be a dark, cluttered utility space where junk accumulates, or it can be a warm and attractive area for household activities. Before you can transform your basement into a comfortable and useful area, start with a cleared and clean space to arrange and decorate. You can save a lot of money remodeling your basement when you do it yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Temporary storage container
  • Large, bright flashlight
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum
  • Duster
  • Floor cleaner, mop and bucket
  • Window cleaner (if necessary)
  • Cement sealer and brushes
  • Cement floor paint and brushes
  • Cement wall paint and brushes
  • 2-inch-by-4-inch framing lumber
  • Hammer and nails
  • Wall insulation
  • Wainscoting and ledge material
  • Inexpensive décor including floor lamps and area rugs
  • Inexpensive shelving units
  • Clear out the entire basement area so you have clear visuals of the space and room to work. Remove all furniture, boxes and accessories and store them in a temporary storage container in the driveway during remodeling.

  • Sweep and vacuum all dirt, dust, cobwebs and debris from floors, corners and vents. Dust walls and ceilings. Mop floors, wash windows and inspect any appliances such as a water heater, furnace and laundry equipment for routine maintenance.

  • Seal cement floors and let dry according to product instructions. Paint cement floors and let dry according to instructions.

  • Seal cement walls and let dry according to product instructions. Paint cement walls and let dry according to instructions.

  • Frame halfway up walls with 2-inch-by-4-inch framing lumber, insert insulation inside framing and attach wainscoting over it. Install ledge material on top of the wainscoting.

  • Create specialty areas such as a reading corner with an area rug, reclining chair, floor lamp and side table.

  • Designate one area for organized storage and set up shelving units. Only bring back items that you’ll use in the next six months to a year and either donate or discard the rest.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a three-panel room divider in front of storage shelving to screen it from view.
  • Use light colors to decorate basements with few or no windows.
  • Include a storage cabinet with the shelving if extra storage space is needed.
  • Set up a hobby area with workbench, supplies and storage shelves for completed projects.
  • Create additional specialty areas such as a kitchenette or bar in your basement.
  • Instead of cement floor paint, find discounted ceramic tile and install on the floors for a more formal look.
  • Use large, colorful artwork to brighten walls and spaces.

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References

  • Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live; Sarah Susanka
  • Black & Decker - The Complete Guide to Finishing Basements; Philip Schmidt
  • Basement Ideas That Work; Peter Jeswald
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finishing Your Basement; Dan Ramsey
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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