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Awesome Unfinished Basement Before and After

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Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by lindseymahoney

We started working on our unfinished basement makeover about two months ago and I still cannot get over the transformation!

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird

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 transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #black ceiling #paintedfloors

We used the basement for storage and a place to use the Peloton, but it was not a space where we enjoyed hanging out.

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #black ceiling #paintedfloors

During quarantine, we created a makeshift playroom for our kids to play and watch TV.

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #black ceiling #paintedfloors
We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #black ceiling #paintedfloors

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”:

  1. The TV (living room) zone
  2. The utility room/storage zone
  3. The ping pong/toy zone
  4. 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

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

First, we built two walls to hide the electrical panels, HVAC, and waste pipe.

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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!

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

I also included a closet to hide the toys!

2 | Paint the Exposed Basement Ceiling Black

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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!

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Beautiful and affordable unfinished basement makeover | Building Bluebird

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

We transformed our unfinished basement into an additional flex living space | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Check out the list of my go-to neutral paint colors and favorite painting tools.

Painted concrete floors and painted exposed ceiling | Building Bluebird
 #blackceiling #paintedfloors

The basement already looks 100% better with the painted ceiling and walls. Next up, painting the floors!

4 | Paint the Concrete Floors

Painted concrete floors and painted exposed ceiling | Building Bluebird
 #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Unfinished basement makeover with painted floors and painted ceiling

I spent about a week scrubbing the floors with a cleaning solution and etching material to ensure the paint would adhere properly.

Unfinished basement makeover with painted floors and painted ceiling

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.

Painted concrete floors and painted exposed ceiling | Building Bluebird
 #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Painted concrete floors and painted exposed ceiling | Building Bluebird
 #blackceiling #paintedfloors

Now this area of the basement is the main hangout for our kids to watch TV and play video games.

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors
Couch

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!

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors
Couch

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.

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Beautiful and affordable unfinished basement makeover | Building Bluebird

This round table didn’t work in our living room and is now the perfect arts and crafts table in our basement. The chairs are from our old kitchen table from our second house.

Painted concrete floors and painted exposed ceiling | Building Bluebird
 #blackceiling #paintedfloors
Rug

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.

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

With this basement makeover, I was so excited to create a designated workout area for us.

Here is the new workout area before the makeover:

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

And that same corner after:

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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.

Budget-friendly unfinished basement reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

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:

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

And that same view after:

Budget-friendly unfinished basement makeover reveal | Building Bluebird
#basementmakeover #blackceiling #paintedfloors

Sifting through all of my storage items, I found this old mirror and hanging basket to add as decor to the updated basement.

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird

Previously, we were using an old gift bag to hold all of our ping pong balls, so this basket is a major upgrade.

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird

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.

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird

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.

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird
Couch | Rug

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.

Awesome unfinished basement before and after reveal | Building Bluebird

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!


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.

More Content You Will Love

Sangeetha Ramanan

Monday 5th of June 2023

Wow! Great job you did there . I was browsing for ideas to change my unfinished basement as living space for kids and found your page . I have a question . How do you paint the basement ceiling ? My basement ceiling has nails all over pointing towards the floor downwards . I think they must have used those nails to secure the floor upstairs . Thank you

lindseymahoney

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

I have a full tutorial for painting a basement ceiling here! https://buildingbluebird.com/how-to-paint-an-exposed-basement-ceiling/

Joni

Monday 3rd of October 2022

Beautiful! We just bought a home that we are completely doing from top to bottom. The house is 80's decor. Eek! Our basement is 1800 sq ft and completely unfinished. We were wondering how the walls and ceiling would look painted and this just convinced us it's well worth it. We are wanting to add a bedroom and half bath in an area but that will be a project for the future. Thank you for the great information!

lindseymahoney

Tuesday 4th of October 2022

I am so excited for you to tackle this project, it is so worth it!

Erin

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

Looks awesome! We are thinking of doing the same and my biggest concern is how cold it is in the basement in the winter (we live in the northeast). I'm worried that without adding insulation to the walls and floor, the temp may make it too unpleasant for the kids to want to be down there.... Do you have any thoughts about this? I guess we could just put a space heater down there?

lindseymahoney

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

We have two vents in the basement and the temperature is just fine. It is a little colder than our main level, but the kids don't seem to mind. I think the option of adding a space heater is the perfect solution.

Heather Kirby

Friday 18th of March 2022

Looks great! Currently working on ours! Do u love the can lights that were installed? The lighting bright enough?

lindseymahoney

Monday 21st of March 2022

Thank you! Yes the can lights provide plenty of light! We added dimmers as well to allow for mood lighting with movies and such.

Rachel

Thursday 24th of February 2022

Love the lighter floors! I’m getting ready to paint mine and am wondering what color you used? Also, where did you get the floor product?

lindseymahoney

Friday 25th of February 2022

Thank you so much! I purchased a product called Rust-Oleum Garage Floor Coating from Home Depot. The kit provides color options and I chose the color called "new concrete". I have a full tutorial of this DIY on the blog as well if you would like to check it out! https://buildingbluebird.com/how-to-paint-concrete-basement-floors-using-epoxyshield/