How to Make an Old Basement Look Good

Turning an old basement into a living room, home office, playroom, or bedroom doesn't have to cost a fortune. These smart ideas for the space will warm it up and make it more attractive to potential buyers down the line.

Decorative cafe lights are a budget-friendly way to brighten an old basement ceiling. String them tightly for a uniform look or loosely for a shabby chic vibe.


If the basement walls are bare, they can make the space feel cold and unfinished. A coat of paint can transform a basement, making it more appealing and comfortable to use. Choose a bright color to help brighten the space and to contrast with darker flooring. Be sure to select a waterproof paint so that the basement will be protected from moisture damage.

Adding some texture to the walls is another way to make them look good. Wood paneling is a budget-friendly option that will give the basement a cabin-like feel. You can also add a unique touch by covering the walls with fabric or wallpaper.

Shelving on the basement walls is a great way to add both function and style. You can create different-sized cubbies to hold items like tools and decorations. Shelves can also be used to display artwork and knick-knacks. Another way to organize the space is by using peg boards. These can be customized to hold a variety of items and are easy to install.

Basements are often damp and must be kept dry to avoid rot, mold, and mildew. The best way to keep the basement dry is by laying down a waterproof sealant on the concrete floors and walls, then painting over with masonry paint. It’s important to prep the concrete surface properly by washing it and applying a primer before applying the finish.

If you’re willing to spend more money on a finish, you can install drywall. It’s easy to install, and you can choose from a variety of colors and textures. It’s important to follow all building codes when installing drywall, and hire a licensed electrician to run wiring in the basement walls.


The ceiling can have a big impact on how your basement looks and feels. It fulfils a variety of functions, including acoustic conditioning and thermal insulation, reducing the scale of rooms, concealing structural elements or irregularities and bringing visual interest. Foundation Repair Lexington Ky can help you add a decorative ceiling and it can have a huge impact on the overall look of your finished basement.

A quick way to freshen your basement's ceiling is to give it a coat of paint. This is an inexpensive way to transform your space and is a great option for those with a tight budget. A simple coat of white paint will brighten your basement, making it look bigger and more open. If you want to add more color, try a dark gray or brown.

If your basement has bare ceilings, consider hanging curtains. Not only will this add a touch of warmth, but it will hide ugly clutter from view. You can even use curtains to create a semi-enclosed "guest bedroom" in your basement. Just be sure to leave plenty of room between the curtains and your HVAC equipment.

Foam floor mats are another low-cost and attractive way to soften your basement's hard concrete floors. They can also help absorb sound and reduce vibrations, which makes them a great choice for those with young children or who entertain frequently in their basement.

If your basement has a lot of unfinished ceiling space, you can create a custom storage solution with DIY recessed shelves or floating shelves. This will keep your space tidy and organized, and it's an excellent way to protect your valuable TV and entertainment equipment from moisture damage. If your basement is already finished, you can add extra storage by using sliding barn doors or a set of stackable wooden cabinets.


The right lighting can illuminate basement rooms and make them feel more inviting. In addition to traditional recessed light fixtures, which work well in basements because they tuck up into the ceiling and don't require much space, you can use track lighting to add dimming capability and spotlight fixtures that draw attention to architectural elements, artwork or other focal points. You can also hang pendant lights, which have a more sculptural look that can add style to the room from overhead.

The lighting you choose should reflect your decorating style as well as the type of activity that will take place in the basement. For instance, if you want to create a home theater, consider hanging a chandelier over the movie screen or installing decorative wall sconces in a row on either side of the projection system. If you're planning to use the basement as a guest bedroom or home office, you may prefer to focus on task lighting with track or pendant fixtures that are easy to move in and out of the way as needed.

Basements are notorious for being dark, so you'll need to maximize natural light in the space by keeping curtains open during the day and raising blinds all the way up (or removing them altogether). You can also install a skylight, regrade your lawn or use moisture-blocking paint to keep your basement dry and more pleasant to spend time in.

Before you do any basement remodeling, consult an experienced professional electrician who can advise you on your options and safely install the new lighting to reduce your risk of safety hazards. He or she can also address issues like carbon monoxide buildup, joist sag, basement leaks and mold before the work starts to prevent problems down the road.


Many people forget about basement windows when thinking of ways to upgrade the space. But the right window will help make your basement more appealing by brightening the room and enhancing its visual appeal. It’s important to perform regular maintenance to keep your basement windows looking good, including cleaning and repainting the window frame. This will help prevent the build up of dirt and grime that can cause stains and discoloration. In addition to making your basement look good, regularly maintaining your basement windows can also save you money on energy costs in the long run by preventing heat from escaping through the window.

New basement windows are a great way to add natural light and ventilation to a dark space. They are available in a variety of styles to suit your needs, including hopper and walkout windows. They can be installed in a new construction home or retrofitted into existing walls. The new basement windows will brighten the space and transform it into a more usable flex space.

Often times, basements are used for hobbies and home gyms or as extra bedrooms. These activities generate fumes and foul smells that will require proper ventilation to remove them from the space. Old basement windows that don’t open well will not be able to circulate air properly and can cause these bad odors to linger in the space. New basement windows, such as hopper or awning windows, can be opened to allow fresh air in the basement and will help remove any bad odors that may be in the space.

Energy efficient basement windows are a great investment for your home. They can save you money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. The Low-E coatings on these new windows help to reduce the transfer of heat and cold which can lower your energy consumption. They also reduce the amount of UV rays that enter the space which can damage furniture, artwork and carpeting.


A new floor can transform your basement into a cozy living space. Choose a durable material that can handle moisture, abrasions and wear-and-tear, while matching the room’s theme.

Carpet can add warmth and softness to a basement, and comes in a variety of colors and styles to suit any taste. Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, olefin and triexta can hold up to humidity and provide comfort underfoot.

Sheet vinyl is an affordable flooring option that is water-resistant. It is available in thousands of patterns and textures, making it easy to find something that fits your space. However, navigating a big roll of vinyl around a basement with walls and corners can be challenging.

Laminate, which is a layered floor covering consisting of wood-fiber core with a photograph of wood, tile or pattern that is clear-coated for protection, is also an alternative to hardwood floors. While it’s easy to clean and has a tough surface, laminate is susceptible to swelling and warping due to water damage.

Wood floors are a beautiful choice for any space, but basements aren’t the best place for solid wood. Engineered wood, which is a layer of real hardwood atop a plywood core, is a great choice for the basement because it’s resistant to moisture and won’t buckle and warp as solid wood does.

A concrete overlay is another attractive flooring option. It can help level the basement floor, repair cracks and make the floor look more refined. This is a budget-friendly option and can be installed over the existing concrete floor. Staining the concrete floor is an option but it’s important to note that once stained, a concrete floor cannot be re-stained.

Turning an old basement into a living room, home office, playroom, or bedroom doesn't have to cost a fortune. These smart ideas for the space will warm it up and make it more attractive to potential buyers down the line. Decorative cafe lights are a budget-friendly way to brighten an old basement ceiling. String them…