DIY: How to Finish A Basement On a Budget

The average cost of finishing a basement is between $10,000 and $35,000 depending how large the basement is. In this post reddit user kidculli shows us how to finish a basement on a budget – and that budget was only $3500. This basement transformation speaks for itself, so without further ado, let’s take a look.

before and after refinished basement on a budget
After

Final pic first… So we have a huge basement that was way underutilized. Dry as a crypt with only half the walls that are subterranean. The overall layout is three equal sections of about 500 sq ft each. We decided to redo one third of it for a movie/ living room. All in all I think the total cost was about $3500 to redo the room and then furnishing it was about $5000. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

before and after refinished basement on a budget
Before

We have two sets of stairs to the basement. One comes from the kitchen and the other directly from the garage. These are the garage stairs.

Kitchen stairs and opening to another third of the basement which we made into a playroom.

Kitchen stairs

Decided to build a wall here and use the space under the stairs as a mini wine cellar.

Stairs from kitchen and walled off portion with door

Another angle.

Mapped out and installed all the electrical on dimmer switches and zones.

Now the fun begins. We deconstructed about 15, 15-20 pallets (they were used to carry vinyl siding). The two type of board we harvested were 3.5” and 5.5” wide and about 15’ long. Some were rough cut, others were smoother witch yielded a great variety.

Here’s the magic stuff. White vinegar and steel wool. It reacted differently with each board and kept them all in a “family” of colors. Rarely did we use a touch of diluted stains with mineral spirits.

This is a dried piece that was new construction yellow. Looks ok but not awesome.

Enter wire brush. This is a rough cut side and turned out nice but not my favorites.

Before brush.

After brush.

Smooth cut side. Just vinegar and steel wool.

Brushed with a touch of sanding.

Stained piece but not used bc it looked too artificial.

I used this board for the head board on the barn door.

finishing a basement on a budget shiplap wall installation

Wall going up.

finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation

Garage stairs walled in.

finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation

Just laid the grid for the drop ceiling but forgot to take pictures of the Rockwool Safe n Sound, sound proofing but that was done before the grid.

finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation
finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation

Couple tiles in…..

finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation

Presto.

finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation
finishing a basement on a budget ceiling installation
finishing a basement on a budget carpet installation

Carpet installed.

finishing a basement on a budget carpet installation
finishing a basement on a budget carpet installation
finishing a basement on a budget dimmable lights

Lighting dimmed.

shiplap wall for budget basement remodel
scrap woof for hanging barn door

Time to build a door. Here are some scrap pieces.

how to build a hanging barn door

1/4” board to nail/glue pieces on.

how to build a hanging barn door

Always paint the back. Did this with junk paint and paints the pallet wall too just in case there’s some gaps.

how to build a hanging barn door

Marked tree door on half both lengthwise and hieghtwise.

how to build a hanging barn door

Let’s go.

how to build a hanging barn door
how to build a hanging barn door
how to build a hanging barn door

The diagonals required a little brain power but turned out nicely.

before and after refinished basement on a budget hanging barn door

Door up, furniture in. Also I tiled the closet but that too about two hours and isn’t anything special.

before and after refinished basement on a budget hanging barn door
before and after refinished basement on a budget

Used my airline points for the surround system ($1000) and the tv was on special for $1k.

before and after refinished basement on a budget

Ran surround sound to the back of the room. Time for thrones……

Summary

The budget debate: Yes I budgeted high. All in all the room cost me around $3500 to build. I felt like I was on a budget because of I were to contract that room out, it could’ve ran me $10-15k. I should have chose a better title or perhaps omitted “budget” all together. Sorry.

Wall color: Sherwin Williams Slate Tile

Why carpet? Three main reasons

  1. It’s cold in the winter here and carpet makes the room warmer.
  2. We have lil kiddos and love to wrestle around.
  3. It was an attempt (along with the soundproofing in the ceiling) to dampen the noise. We didn’t want it to be an echoey chamber.

Also our basement is only underground about 4 feet. It’s also poured solid concrete into the cinderblocks. Lastly, our house is on a hill and all downspouts run away from the house, far.

I agree with most of the negatives on putting carpet into a basement as I’ve seen first hand plenty of disasters. Well keep a humidifier running in the summer and monitor humidity closely.

How tall is the ceiling? 7’3” We used Mono Serra and it only required 3” clearance for installation.

Yes we will put a handrail down the stairs. I saved the old ones and just need to paint them.

The garage stairs don’t disappear. The top goes to the garage. The bottom goes to another section of the basement. Here’s a picture:

Price breakdown:

All in all under $8k for 500sf of finished space.

The sectional is this model. Not from here but here ya go.

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