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An unfinished basement, with its concrete floor and exposed joists, may seem dreary and cold. But in reality it is an enormous blank canvas just waiting for your inspired ideas and artistic vision. The fact is, you don't really need niceties like drywall and recessed lighting to create an inviting space. Before you begin, do what you need to do to make sure the space is dry and clean. Fix any water issues and apply waterproofing if necessary. Unfinished concrete flooring will produce fine dust if it’s not sealed, so you may want to consider applying a sealer. It’s an easy DIY project that will go a long way to making your unfinished basement a lot more comfortable and manageable to maintain. When it comes to decorating ideas, the industrial look is in, which lends itself well to dressing up the subterranean infrastructure of a an unfinished basement. So, consider those exposed beams, pipes and wires an asset and play them up. If you need a few more sockets to make the space functional, don’t be afraid to run electrical conduit right on top of a brick wall or over wood joists. Then, focus on warming the space up and injecting personality into it by adding items like rugs, fabrics and curtains. These will also help to divide the space in the absence of actual walls. Employ a few of these creative ideas—all of them low cost and low effort—to transform your unfinished basement into a comfortable retreat everyone will be drawn to. By Jennifer Noonan Expanded View > Unfinished Basement PlayroomBasement InspoModern BasementUnfinished BasementsBasement FinishBasement DesignWhat To Do With An Unfinished BasementTwig BasementPainted Concrete Basement FloorForwardAn unfinished basement, with its concrete floor and exposed joists, may seem dreary and cold. But in reality it is an enormous blank canvas just waiting for your inspired ideas and artistic vision. The fact is, you don't really need niceties like drywall and recessed lighting to create an inviting space. Before you begin, do what you need to do to make sure the space is dry and clean. Fix any water issues and apply waterproofing if necessary. Unfinished concrete flooring will produce fine…See More McIntosh Poris Associates 2. Install cabinetry. The money saved on finishing flooring, walls and ceiling can often be better spent on cabinets in your basement laundry area. This basement is a new build, and the concrete floors are sealed, the stairs are painted a deep gray, and the ceiling is left exposed. There’s a clean white bank of cabinets with a countertop, adding storage and a place to fold. This technically unfinished space is inviting as well as practical. Additional cabinetry can be used for a variety of things, like storing dry goods, linens or out-of-season clothing.Build a BathroomAdding a bathroom to your basement can be a worthwhile venture. In addition to being functional, it adds a lot of value to your home. But basement bathroom additions are costly, especially if you don’t already have the plumbing and drains roughed in. If you’re lucky enough to have this option, finishing it on a budget will be rewarding. 2. Install cabinetry. The money saved on finishing flooring, walls and ceiling can often be better spent on cabinets in your basement laundry area. This basement is a new build, and the concrete floors are sealed, the stairs are painted a deep gray, and the ceiling is left exposed. There’s a clean white bank of cabinets with a countertop, adding storage and a place to fold. This technically unfinished space is inviting as well as practical. Additional cabinetry can be used for a variety of things, like storing dry goods, linens or out-of-season clothing.Build a BathroomAdding a bathroom to your basement can be a worthwhile venture. In addition to being functional, it adds a lot of value to your home. But basement bathroom additions are costly, especially if you don’t already have the plumbing and drains roughed in. If you’re lucky enough to have this option, finishing it on a budget will be rewarding. Susan Yeley Interiors 4. Establish a focal point. Go ahead and furnish your unfinished below-grade space as cozily as you would your upstairs, finished rooms. A great way to do this is to furnish around a focal point. Here, the designer created a focal point for the room by adding a bar and a shelving area with space for a TV, books and games. Graphic rugs and large, soft furniture and lighting bring warmth and life to the space.Note that this basement is, like the other examples, mostly unfinished. The ceilings are open, the concrete block wall is painted, and it appears the concrete floor is as well. Finally, the owner chose white wall paint. This room shows how this simple formula for a basement can form the backdrop for a cozy living space. The finished decorative and soft furnishing elements add the comforts that make the space feel homey. 4. Establish a focal point. Go ahead and furnish your unfinished below-grade space as cozily as you would your upstairs, finished rooms. A great way to do this is to furnish around a focal point. Here, the designer created a focal point for the room by adding a bar and a shelving area with space for a TV, books and games. Graphic rugs and large, soft furniture and lighting bring warmth and life to the space.Note that this basement is, like the other examples, mostly unfinished. The ceilings are open, the concrete block wall is painted, and it appears the concrete floor is as well. Finally, the owner chose white wall paint. This room shows how this simple formula for a basement can form the backdrop for a cozy living space. The finished decorative and soft furnishing elements add the comforts that make the space feel homey. We’re always looking for more space in our homes, it seems, whether for extra storage, an additional living zone or a new spot to decorate. Often, valuable space can be found in the basement, but fully developing this square footage can be expensive. Add up the costs of framing, flooring, drywall, electrical and finishes, and your project may run into the thousands of dollars. Introduce new decor, and you’ve got an even pricier endeavor. But there are ways to enjoy that below-grade space while avoiding the hefty price tag of a full remodel. Partially finishing your basement can offer warmth, style and comfort, as well as that extra space you’re craving. Here is how to get the most out of an unfinished basement without breaking the bank. An unfinished basement, with its concrete floor and exposed joists, may seem dreary and cold. But in reality it is an enormous blank canvas just waiting for your inspired ideas and artistic vision. The fact is, you don't really need niceties like drywall and recessed lighting to create an inviting space. Before you begin, do what you need to do to make sure the space is dry and clean. Fix any water issues and apply waterproofing if necessary. Unfinished concrete flooring will produce fine… 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. The great thing about an unfinished space is you don’t need to be too fussy about getting it messy. So why not transform part of your unfinished basement into an art studio? If paint and glitter get all over the floor, they'll just add charm and inspiration. Related: Get to Work! 15 DIY Workbenches, Craft Counters, and Potting Tables heartsandsharts.com Remember, there's a lot of wiggle room between unfinished and perfectly finished. If you're not ready to make a huge investment in your basement, find a happy medium. With some clever ideas, sweat equity, and patience, you can create a much more comfortable and functional space ― without burying your budget. If the rafter ceiling in your unfinished basement feels too cold and industrial for your taste, soften it by hanging swaths of fabric to create a beautiful canopy ceiling. In this billowy basement, a whimsical pendant light complements the canopy perfectly—but even on its own, the fabric makes a soothing impact. If the rafter ceiling in your unfinished basement feels too cold and industrial for your taste, soften it by hanging swaths of fabric to create a beautiful canopy ceiling. In this billowy basement, a whimsical pendant light complements the canopy perfectly—but even on its own, the fabric makes a soothing impact. Related: Without a Stitch—9 No-Sew Projects to Dress Up Any Room melissaesplin.com Lucy Call This space is actually a converted garage, but it’s not difficult to imagine it as a basement. This space, too, follows our formula for a comfortable basement living space. Left mostly unfinished, the concrete block walls and the floors are painted, and there is a focal point around the TV. Again, soft furniture and a large rug anchor the living area, and low-cost plywood is used to divide zones.