Design inspiration for the room down under
Basements tend to be big rooms with big potential, but it can be difficult to figure out what to do with the space. And while most of us do love some extra square feet for storage, making over your basement into a living space is a fantastic way to bring more value and livable space to your home—without having to tack on a costly addition.
Changes both big and small can help you maximize the utility of your basement, and as these lifestyle bloggers show us, many of these changes can be made on your own with just a bit of creativity and some hard work. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite “before” and “after” DIY basement makeovers to get the inspiration flowing.
01 of 09
Before: Bare and Basic
Jewel Marlowe of the blog Jeweled Interiors already had a lot going for her in her basement, but it was definitely lacking in some style. Fortunately, an abundance of natural light provided a perfect opportunity to bring in some color, and bring in some color she did!
After: Chic and Colorful
Jewel went big and bold with her basement makeover, introducing tons of deeply-saturated color and mid-century accents to totally update the space. It’s a good reminder that any style can translate into your basement, and that there’s no reason to hold back when it comes to personalizing the space and making it fit with the rest of your home’s aesthetic.
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02 of 09
Before: Storage Room
Lindsay Ponta, who runs the blog Shrimp Salad Circus, used her basement like most of us do: to house all the stuff that has nowhere else to go. Seeing the potential of the space though, she decided to go a different route, bringing in more functionality and a place where her growing family could hang out.
After: Relaxing Haven
With a huge IKEA haul and a ton of DIY know-how, Lindsay managed to completely transform her basement into a place worthy of all-day hangouts. Smart features include covering the utility box on the wall with a mirror to hide the door and reflect more natural light into the space (a great tip for any basement), as well as taking advantage of a tricky wall shape by adding basic wood shelving to an otherwise hard-to-utilize nook.
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03 of 09
Before: Drab and Disorganized
DIY décor inspiration isn’t what people usually visit the blog Hair By Hal for, but we were impressed with hairstylist and founder Hal Bloss’ basement makeover—which all started with this dreary “before” pic.
After: Crafty Corner
Hal turned that previously underutilized corner into a bright and enviably-organized craft space, complete with the gift wrapping station of our dreams. Using bright white paint and furniture allowed him to lighten up the space without needing to etch out more windows, and we like how his craft station does double duty as a general basement workspace.
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04 of 09
Before: Beige on Brown
There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the original basement in the home of Dale Wedge, founder of Blooming DIY-er, but the space felt a little dark and depressing, he says, and it meant no one ever wanted to go hang out there.
After: Farmhouse Fresh
Dale’s updated basement is pure farmhouse comfort, with subway tile and paneling lending a quick update to the fireplace and tasteful details that make this into a room we’d definitely want to settle into for movie night. There’s a lot of DIY in this space, including that stunner of a media cabinet.
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05 of 09
Ana Isaza Carpio of Modern House Vibes originally gave her husband full reign over the basement living area in their home, but muted vibes and an uncomfy couch weren't her cup of tea so she undertook a redo.
Ana updated the couch—and a lot more than that. Many of the items she chose to elevate the space were ones she already had on hand, like that geometric rug and the faux fiddle leaf tree, while others she picked up at cost-friendly retailers like Target and Home Goods. The result? An affordable, stylish space—and one where she actually likes to be.
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06 of 09
Before: Teen Hang-Out
Shannon Acheson of Home Made Lovely was glad to move into a home with an already finished basement, but she felt the space was “a bit ho-hum." And while it was serviceable for video games, she wanted a space that also felt more incorporated with her style and the rest of her home.
After: All-Family Room
Shannon was inspired to go rustic industrial with her new basement, which looks a lot bigger with dark gray paint from BEHR and some eye-catching marquee lights. She did a great job bringing in color to the room while letting her primary color dominate, ending up with a space that’s great for teens but also for adults.
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07 of 09
Before: Blank Space
For Jaclyn Erickson of One Thousand Oaks, there wasn’t much that could be done with the existing basement in her Minnesota home. To get it where she wanted it would take a major DIY remodel, which, fortunately, her husband was up to the task of taking on.
After: Basement Bites
Goodbye blank wall, hello functional kitchen space. Jaclyn went bright and light in the design of her remodeled basement, changing not just the utility of the room but the general feel of it as well. Now her kids have another place to grab snacks on the go, and she gets some much-needed storage that blends seamlessly into the space around it.
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08 of 09
Before: Cluttered Workout Corner
Carrie Spalding, founder of Lovely Etc., wasn’t feeling very inspired to break a sweat in her basement workout room.
After: Custom Home Gym
Can you believe Carrie spent under $100 on this amazing transformation? She chose an industrial vibe to fit in with the rest of her unfinished basement—a smart choice when you’re designing on a budget. From there, the project just required lots of decluttering and some creative decorative touches for an end result that looks like a professional studio while costing less than a monthly membership.
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09 of 09
Before: Storage Dumping Ground
Jess Ann Kirby of the Jess Ann Kirby blog didn’t really like spending time in her basement, which had sticky floors and a “basement smell,” mostly just a fit for storage in her small coastal home.
After: Sit Back and Relax
The first step to making her basement a more functional space: swapping out the previously suspect tile for oak laminate flooring, which provided the room with a more modern aesthetic while giving Jess and her husband a chance to deal with the stains that had built up under their old floor. Other prominent changes included a couch big enough for her three pups, plus a more streamlined appearance that’s less about clutter and more about hanging back.