DIY Cheap Basement

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Your basement can be more than a cluttered utility space.
Your basement can be more than a cluttered utility space. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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
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