Inexpensive basement finishing ideas

Inexpensive basement finishing ideas


Since you’re reading this, it should mean that you have an unfinished basement and you need ideas on how to finish that. You’re not alone since many homeowners leave their basements unfinished and finish the basement later on when they have time and money.

One of the obvious reasons to finish your basement is that concrete basement finishing can raise the price of the home more cheaply than most other renovation strategies. It’s space that already exists and just needs the finishing touch.

There are many alternatives for using that space yourself as well while you live at your home. You can transform your basement into an entertainment center, a home office, or even a bedroom. Everything is possible as long as you have a healthy space there.

Lets go through from planning the project to the finishing it.

Initial designs

First, before you begin, you need to determine how you want to use the basement. Just remember that the more you want, the more expensive it’s going to be if things haven’t been taken into consideration when building the space.

Bathroom and shower are here as some people like to add them later on. They are not inexpensive and will cost more the more you need outside labor. If you’re on a budget and can’t do any of the preparing stuff yourself, I’d advise you to forget them for now.


If you’d like to add a bathroom to the basement you will need to plan out the flooring options such as tile. More important, you need a sewer for it if none exists and should consult a specialist for it. All the spaces that have water should also have a proper water drainage system installed to avoid accidents.


Drainage should be installed in the house sewer system as well because if there is a floor drain already, it might not be connected to it. You also need good waterproofing done so the water won’t cause any problem in the structures.

Entertainment center

Entertainment rooms are always wanted as we need rooms where to come together as a family or rooms where the kids can play without making too much noise for the rest of us.

Now, this is inexpensive as all you need to do is prepare the ceiling, walls, and floors to your required condition. Mostly that takes grinding of concrete and plastering, which both don’t cost much. After that, you finish with the paint and coating or floor you like.

If you want a home entertainment center, you might want to add the carpet on top of the floor to make it more comfortable. There are also concrete coatings like epoxy that might be good as it’s easy to clean and resistant to all sorts of stains.

Home gym

A home gym is also another good inexpensive choice, depending on the workout gear you would get. For casual working out it shouldn’t be too expensive and the preparing of the surroundings isn’t.

A home gym can also be built in the basement and it’s a good option really as concrete insulates the sound that comes from weights and other equipment. Just need a coating for the floor that can handle all the sweat that comes from working out. Epoxy and other coatings are good here as well as it is strong coating and can handle stress from the equipment.

Give it a little time before you commit to the project

Now if you have an idea already, you should wait a little while before renovating the basement to make sure that you do not change your mind halfway through the process.

Make sure to plan any major construction projects that you will perform in your basement so that you can submit the construction plans to the local building inspector’s office.

Include the features, such as a fireplace, each room’s purpose, the wall dimensions and the sizes of the windows and doors.

Sealing basement walls before finishing is important for the best outcome

Prevent leakage

Before finishing your basement, you must determine if the basement leaks. Basements develop moisture either from condensation or from leaky walls.

You can identify which causes the moisture by placing a sheet of plastic on the wall. Then, check the plastic later to see if the side of the plastic facing the wall has moisture or the side facing away from the wall.

If the moisture is on the side facing the wall, you have a basement leak. If its on the side facing away, you have condensation problems.

You can fight leaky basements by rerouting downspouts, adding water-resistant paints, using perimeter drains and installing a sump pump.

Before doing an expensive renovation to your basement, I’d fix whatever problem there is outside causing moisture in it. If there are only small cracks, but no moisture, I’d check a crack fixing guide from here and get them fixed.

Another good reference for how to fix the concrete would be this water tank leak fixing guide. Now the basement isn’t a water tank, but some of the ideas can be used even here.

Remember that if you do have moisture in your basement, ask a specialist to see it. It can be a potential health risk and if there are cracks and such, it might be a structural problem. Small cracks can be caused by concrete shrinking as it cures during construction.

Finishing concrete

Concrete material is very porous, meaning that the concrete can easily absorb stains. By sealing the concrete floors, you can easily clean up any spills without lasting stains.


Sealers not only make the concrete look shinier but also increase the concrete longevity. You can also change the appearance of your basement floor with various dyes and stamps, but things like stamps will need concrete overlay to work.

You can make your concrete look like a variety of other types of material, such as slate or bricks, by using concrete stamping. Contractors can alter the appearance of the concrete through paints, etchings, polishes, acid stains, engraving and epoxy floor paints.

Homeowners can choose between different colors when finishing the basement. While concrete basements are often a dull gray by default, homeowners can often dye their concrete other colors to give the basement more personality.

If you want to save money and DIY, different coatings are easy to apply. For epoxy coating, here is a guide, but there are other options like polyurethane floors and oil paints, etc. All the preparation work should be done in the same fashion thought. Repairing cracks and removing dirt.


This is under flooring as it’s always an option for those who like it or are accustomed to it. I personally enjoy well-done concrete flooring, carpet is honestly comfortable.

Before adding the carpet, you must make sure that you have an adequate vapor barrier. Lay a sheet over the concrete and then lay plywood over the sheet. Carpet padding goes over the plywood and the carpet goes over the carpet padding.


When it comes to your walls, basements might have been left on the forming surface after the pour. If you intend to plaster it, it should be ground with a concrete grinding machine that has a vacuum attachment on it. That way the plaster will adhere to it after its cleaned off all the dust.

After you plaster the walls, you need to paint them with a paint of your choice. Usually people use the same kind of paint they use indoors so pick up your color and get the paint roller rolling.


If you have a slab ceiling, that should be ground too if you intend to plaster it. Now you can go and plaster on top of it without doing any preparation work, but I tell you, it might come sooner rather than later.

You have different choices when it comes to texture. Trowel surface is cheapest to achieve as you don’t need any special tools. If you want more texture you need to consider what and what tools it needs to be done. Most tools can be rented, you just need to know how to use and clean them.

Working order

The proper working order if you ask me is first the ceiling, then the walls and last comes the floor. The reason is, plaster and other things like that always fall down. So if you do your floor first and move on to walls, you will leave a mess on your floor or spent some time adding protection to it.

I like to work smart, not hard.


The most inexpensive basement finishing ideas are the ones where you can work with what you already have. If you have everything on a concrete surface, rough them for the plastering and paint for a fine finish. The materials won’t cost much and the rest is up to the flooring.

If you have to work on the surface condition, here is article about concrete overlay cost to know a bit more about it.

Now floors come with different price tags and you should consider what you want. Coatings come from cheap to expensive and the same goes for things like laminates and vinyl floorings. It’s not much different from regular painting.