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Decorating Your Basement on a Budget

Fun and affordable, this daylight basement combines both factory and funky items to create a perfect place for playing and lounging

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens ®

Exposed pipes, open ceiling rafters, and painted concrete floors add a uniqeness to this basement. With its walls of metal and squares of plywood one might wonder: Is this a basement or a loft? Consider it a basement with a loft feel. Common to a loft, this lower-level space relies on furniture placement to create one area for relaxing and another for surfing the Web.

Decorating Your Basement on a Budget 

Design a new look with these everyday supplies:

  • Paint: It does wonders! It’s the cheapest decorating material and offers the most possibilities. Try paints that create a blackboard, magnetic surface, metal or etched glass. Add a fabric medium to make paint suitable for use on fabric.
  • Plywood: Plywood offers endless options for covering walls and ceilings. A basic sheet that’s 4-x-8 starts at $15. Add an industrial touch with oversize washers and screws.
  • Corrugated-metal panels: Special-order corrugated metal panels overlap and slot together side-to-side to create 36-inch-wide panels. They come in lengths of 8 and 10 feet and 38 inches wide for about $15.

Decorating Your Basement on a Budget 

Top a Curtain

Talk about cheap. At less than $2 a yard, burlap offers great texture and lots of colors. To stamp it with your style, add squares of paint along the hanging edge.


Decorating Your Basement on a Budget

Group with Color

Turn a mismatched grouping of platters and vessels into a collection with a unifying color scheme of purple and green. Add metallic accents using a paint pen.


Decorating Your Basement on a Budget 

Personalize a Pillow

Repetition is good for a room, so add painted squares to a quilted pillow using a metallic paint pen. The silver squares add a playful version of the plywood squares.


Decorating Your Basement on a Budget 

Get the Look

Shop for this look at the home center by trolling for storage gear, metal cans, and utility pulls and hooks. Blackboard paint on two of the wood wall panels creates space for instant messaging. To eliminate ghost words, rub chalk over the entire surface and rub it off before writing notes.


How to Paint a Concrete Floor

Painted floors add affordable style, but make sure you ask for advice on your project at a paint store and carefully follow instructions. Here are the general steps: 

  • Pick your paint. Use a floor paint specially formulated for concrete and suitable for your use. 
  • Test for moisture. Before you start, prepare the surface in a small out-of-the-way place. Apply the paint, allow it to dry, and scrub it to make sure it adheres. 
  • Prepare the entire surface. Every paint manufacturer has specific directions for prepping concrete before painting, so carefully follow the instructions. 
  • Apply paint. Use a roller on an extension rod so you can stand up while you paint. Apply two to three coats, allowing paint to dry between layers. 

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