The secret to expanding the living area in this home lies below ground. A basement remodel added much-needed space. See how these savvy homeowners transformed their basement, and get tips for completing your own basement remodeling project.

Basements often conjure images of damp, dark, cold caverns. But remodeling a basement can add valuable living space to your home.

With a vision of introducing the style of the upper floors to the lower level, this unfinished basement was remodeled so it didn't feel like an afterthought or disconnected from the rest of the home. Beaded board and window trim add traditional detailing that's consistent with the home's aesthetic. Columns built around unsightly steel support posts help the structural necessity blend in beautifully.

Design Practical Living Spaces

The walk-out basement's entry also received an upper-level treatment during the remodeling process. A cushioned bench built onto the back of a bookcase creates a full-fledged entryway inside the basement's exterior door. A woven rug captures dirt before it's tracked through the space, and compartments beneath the bench corral outdoor gear and games.

A ceiling surfaced with drywall, rather than a dropped treatment, imbues the space with aboveground ambience. At the end of the remodeling project, the budget was depleted, but the homeowners still needed a floor treatment. Tiling the floor as planned would have significantly increased the price of the remodel. Instead, the homeowners painted the concrete floor and, for safety, put an antislip additive in the paint. Indoor-outdoor rugs help define the zones in the basement.

Take Advantage of Nooks

An awkward under-the-stairs nook proved to be the perfect location for a wet bar and snack station. Thrifty material choices and planning outfitted the space on a dime. The backsplash was cobbled together from square and rectangular tiles left over from a bathroom installation, and the granite countertop was a remnant. Recessed shelves add storage space to the wet bar.

Basement Remodeling Tips

Natural Light

Windows -- even small ones -- add livable charm to a basement room. Natural light warms below-grade spaces and makes them more pleasant to live in. For style, add window treatments to frame -- not block -- the openings.

Innovative Art

Concrete walls make hanging art difficult. Think beyond the hammer and nails when accessorizing. Lean a large art piece or mirror against the wall, or prop interesting items on ledges, tabletops, and shelves. If you want to hang artwork, experiment with adhesive hooks and hangers, but be sure they're sturdy enough to support the pieces.

Built-In Dividers

Basements are often large, undefined areas. Create functional spaces by building dividers, which can serve double duty with storage on both sides. Even back-to-back bookshelves or a cabinet with a finished back can act as a space divider.


Adding architectural details gives a basement a finished, livable appeal. Create a ledge for displaying artwork and accessories and accent it with wainscoting to add a bit of texture to the walls.

Supporting Roles

Load-bearing poles can be a source of annoyance -- but don't let them deter you from finishing your basement. Instead, embrace them as part of the design by dressing each one in the style of the room.

Area Rugs

Basement-friendly flooring is not warm and fuzzy. Dress up a laminate, tile, or concrete flooring and add comfort underfoot with large rugs that further define spaces throughout the basement.

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