Before and After: Drab-to-Dapper Basement Makeover

Sprawling subterranean spaces often go unused. Increase the square footage of your home by upgrading your basement. Use these inspiring tips and affordable upgrades to launch your own basement transformation.

By Leslie Marshall


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Basement Before
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Before: Forgotten Square Footage

    With 700 square feet of space going unused and unnoticed, the homeowners decided to put it to use by remodeling their blah basement into a bright living space complete with a bar, laundry room, bedroom, office, and family room.

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After: Boost Your Basement

    Running out of space in your home? Look down under. These homeowners found fresh square footage in their home by remodeling their basement into a budget-friendly, space-savvy hangout. An orange, green, and blue color scheme adds a bright look to the basement, while the combination of custom storage solutions with big-box finds creates a space that serves many needs.

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Make a Plan

    Basement floor plans can often be a puzzle of spaces controlled by the structural supports and beams put in place. Transform these architectural restrictions into an advantage by forming distinct areas for work and play.

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Ceiling Sense

    Leaving the ceiling exposed is a budget-savvy design decision. Instead of installing a drywall ceiling, the basement embraces its industrial style thanks to coats of blue-gray paint.

    Budget Tip: If you do choose a drywall ceiling, make sure to do your research. This costly venture can often make electrical and plumbing fixtures inaccessible when repairs are necessary.

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Room for Two

    To create a bedroom, twin bunk beds are positioned between two steel support posts. Colorful curtain panels suspended from pipes create a partition and add personality to the cozy space. Circular area rugs add spots of color to the floor.

    Editor's Tip: Area rugs are a less expensive alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting. They bring an element of fun to the floor by allowing for quick changes for a new season or a different color scheme.

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Light Show

    Since this basement is not entirely underground - it includes a walk-out entrance on one side -- new egress windows bring natural light into the basement. A simple Roman shade in fun fabric softens the space and brings all the colors of the room together. Egress windows provide an emergency exit; most building codes require one in every bedroom and in habitable basements. Adding one will likely increase the value of a home, as it provides safety, natural light, and increased airflow.

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It's on the House

    With plumbing already running to the laundry room, the same stretch of wall was chosen for the location of the bar. A partial wall separates the two spaces. If you have money left in your budget, splurge on a beverage refrigerator to keep chilled drinks on hand for company.

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Keep It Clean

    To consolidate space, chose a stackable washer and dryer duo. If appliances begin to eat up your budget, balance them with bargain buys. Here, the utility sink is a budget buy from IKEA.

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Storage Solutions

    Storage is key in a multipurpose space. There are several storage units throughout this basement. An IKEA cubby bookcase is a perfect fit for the office niche. Orange baskets corral small items and add spots of color to the basement's storage solutions. Stock cabinetry did not fit in the bar or media spaces, so the homeowners opted for costly, custom cabinets. Experiment with different types of storage units in your home to utilize every possible space.

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Off the Walls

    After cutting costs by painting the ceiling and floors themselves, the homeowners treated their walls to drywall. The walls added a finished look to the living room area of the basement. A television, plush sofa, and chairs turned this area into the family hangout.

    The labor and materials expense to frame the walls were more than expected, but it gave them the finished look they desired. Also, it allowed them to put in insulation, which helps save money by decreasing their utility bill.

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Enhance With Extras

    Spruce up the space by adding color, pattern, and soft accents such as pillows and artwork. Enhance color and light with lamps and fabric-covered pendant lights. Decorative touches turn a basement from a dreary cave to a guest-ready room.

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Hang Out to Dry

    Basements are notorious for developing moisture problems, especially during warm, humid weather. Invest in a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels in check. Make sure your flooring and ceiling choices are able to withstand the environment of the basement.

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