Last Updated on January 30, 2024 by lindseymahoney
We started working on our unfinished basement makeover about two months ago and I still cannot get over the transformation!
Last year we decided to put our large basement to good use when the country went into quarantine and the kids needed a space to run wild.
Unfinished Basement Before
Here is what our unfinished basement looked like before the makeover:
We used the basement for storage and a place to use the Peloton, but it was not a space where we enjoyed hanging out.
During quarantine, we created a makeshift playroom for our kids to play and watch TV.
Makeover Plans for the Unfinished Basement
The concept of a basement playroom was quickly proven and Chris and I got started scheming about how we could update the space without spending a ton of money.
Here are the areas I wanted to address:
- Hide mechanicals
- Update lighting (originally all pull-string bulbs)
- Clean dirt and dust
- Paint the basement from the floor to the ceiling
- Create designated areas for activities
- Organized toy storage
We decided to break the basement up into four “zones”:
- The TV (living room) zone
- The utility room/storage zone
- The ping pong/toy zone
- the Workout zone.
By creating these zones and addressing the problem areas bulleted above, our unfinished basement has a completely new look!
Let’s dive into more detail on all of these budget-friendly updates.
How We Updated Our Unfinished Basement
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1 | Created a Utility Room
First, we built two walls to hide the electrical panels, HVAC, and waste pipe.
Luckily they were all located in one centralized area that allowed us to build a room around them.
This had the biggest impact on making the lower level feel more finished. As a bonus, this new room has so much space left over for storage!
All of the basement walls are concrete, so with two studded walls now available, we took advantage and added outlets.
Because knew how each area of the basement would be utilized, we made sure to install outlets to hang TVs in the workout zone and living room zone.
I also included a closet to hide the toys!
2 | Paint the Exposed Basement Ceiling Black
While the electricians were in the basement installing outlets, they also installed and wired can lights on the ceiling.
Changing the lighting situation from pull-chain bulbs to overhead can lights with accessible light switches makes a huge difference!
Because our basement is unfinished, the “guts” of the house are not neatly tucked away in between joists. We decided to paint the ceiling black for a modern, industrial look instead of a drop ceiling or drywall.
It took me two days to paint the entire basement ceiling black! While the act of spraying the paint is rather simple, spending 10-12 hours working on this project was really taxing on my body.
It was definitely worth it and I would do it again, but maybe take more time or add another body to complete the project.
3 | Paint the Concrete Basement Walls
I have a bunch of untinted satin paint in our storage closet and decided to use the straight white color on the walls. A fresh coat of paint achieved the clean look I was going for in this basement.
The basement already looks 100% better with the painted ceiling and walls. Next up, painting the floors!
4 | Paint the Concrete Floors
I decided to use Rust-Oleum’s Epoxyshield Garage Floor Coating because of its durability and clean finish.
If this paint can handle a car and dropping tools, it can handle my wild kiddos!
The most time-consuming (and most important) part of the floor project was prepping the floors for paint.
I spent about a week scrubbing the floors with a cleaning solution and etching material to ensure the paint would adhere properly.
Because I used this product in the basement, I had to vacuum up all of the dirty water, carry it upstairs, and dump it outside.
While vacuuming the floors over and over, I would daydream about how easy it would be to just spray everything out into the driveway if I were painting the garage.
When it was time to paint the floors, it felt like a breeze! The Epoxyshield product only requires one coat of paint and I was finished in a day.
Paint is so powerful! The basement is so clean and ready for furniture and toys.
Unfinished Basement Makeover Before and After
Zone 1 | TV and Living Room Area
Before, our unfinished basement was only used for storage.
Now this area of the basement is the main hangout for our kids to watch TV and play video games.
This couch was our first “big” furniture purchase as a couple and it is still in such great shape after 10 years. We had to tear up our basement stairs to get it down here but it was worth it, ha!
I added a hanging tapestry to the back wall for some added warmth. I was able to add a nail to the ceiling joists to hang the fabric since I could not nail it into the concrete walls.
We added a pocket door into the mechanical room that is large enough to fit a furnace if it ever needs to be replaced.
All of the furniture that we put into this basement, we already owned. The coffee table was a thrifted purchase for our first home and it is light enough for the kids to be able to move it when they want to play Just Dance.
Zone 2 | Work Out Area
We got a Peloton once quarantine began and set it up in the unfinished basement. Here was the original workout area in our basement.
With this basement makeover, I was so excited to create a designated workout area for us.
Here is the new home gym area before the makeover:
And that same corner after:
We hung the TV we already owned on the new wall we built for the utility room and, again, used the items we already owned to finish out the space.
The hanging mirrors came from the old wet bar in the kitchen. When we renovated the kitchen, I decided to save the mirrors with the hopes that we could reuse them eventually.
The kids love the hanging rope! At the top of the rope, there is a bell and two handles for the kids to ring and hold onto if they make it to the top.
Zone 3 | Ping Pong / Toy Area
During quarantine, my in-laws gave us their old ping pong table and it was one more activity we enjoyed while staying at home! Here is what it looked like before we started the makeover:
And that same view after:
Sifting through all of my storage items, I found this old mirror and hanging basket to add as decor to the updated basement.
Previously, we were using an old gift bag to hold all of our ping pong balls, so this basket is a major upgrade.
Our friend built this toy storage cubby about 5 years ago when we were living in Denver. It fits perfectly in this corner of the basement.
My daughter spends a lot of time in this little tent having tea parties with her princesses.
Zone 4 | Utility Room / Storage Room
I will be honest, I still have some work to do in the storage room.
The beauty of a hidden storage room is that it is hidden! Behind that sliding door is a ton of crap that needs to be organized.
I plan on writing up a blog post on the utility room once I get it all organized, but for now, you get to see the door!
*UPDATE: Check how the painted concrete floors and basement makeover are holding up 3 years later!
Thank you so much for checking out our unfinished basement makeover.
This space took a lot of sweat equity to get to this place but it was totally worth it.
If you have any questions about the materials used in the basement, please reach out and I will do my best to answer them.
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