A newly renovated basement, modeled to be an additional living room and home office. The space features an area rug, sofa, and entertainment system in the middle of the room and a desk with an office chair off to the side.

Basement Renovation Ideas for 2024

Remodeling and Renovation Tips

by Shannon Jacobs Posted on May 20, 2024
Say goodbye to creaky, creepy, and leaky — and hello to fashionable, functional, and comfy. A basement renovation can add tons of value to your home, and not just in the monetary sense. Besides creating more living space for your family to enjoy, a remodel can also improve the overall function and look of your house — depending, of course, on the basement renovation ideas you choose. 

But is a basement renovation worth it? And how do you go about doing it? Better yet, how much is it going to cost? We’ll get to all that — but first, the fun stuff: Read on for the latest ideas for basement renovations, from fairly uncomplicated fix-ups to big-idea re-dos, plus some budget DIY remodeling options you may want to consider. And finally, we’ll dig into the nitty-gritty about how to get it done. 

5 (Fairly) Simple Basement Remodel Ideas To Spruce Up Your Space

Looking for some simple ways to upgrade your basement? Here are some relatively straightforward ways to give your space a little refresher (and if you’re looking for a full-scale remodel, see the next section for big ideas!). 

A finished basement featuring walls with a combination of wainscoting and shiplap wood.

Changing up your walls has the potential to make a big impact.
(Source: Pinterest)

1. Get Creative With the Walls.

Changing up your walls has the potential to make a big impact — and it doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking in your basement renovation. Drywall with a coat of paint ($100 to $500, depending on the size of your space) will work just fine, or you can install paneling for a minimal, high-end look ($1,500 to $5,000 for a standard-size basement). Simply use strong adhesive to fix strips of wood to your basement’s concrete walls. Then attach the paneling to those wood strips using wood screws to match the panels. This makes it easy to remove panels later, if you ever need to access the pipes or wires hidden behind them. 

Also fun: Textured walls are one of the easiest projects on any list of budget basement remodel ideas. For a bit bigger investment, shiplap planks (generally $2 to $8 each on average) can create a cozy vibe. Or mix and match! Pair two or three shiplap walls with a painted or textured accent wall — a simple way to create a modern look. (Pro tip: Don’t try to force the modern farmhouse style if it doesn’t fit your space — shiplap has a place in modern design, too.) 

Estimated Cost:

$100 - $5,000 

Close up of a person in sandals installing vinyl plank flooring in the basement.

Luxury vinyl planking is super durable, scratch-proof, and waterproof — great qualities for a basement floor.

2. Fancy Up Your Flooring.

LVP (luxury vinyl planking) is still the “in” thing in 2024 basement trends. It’s super durable, scratch-proof, and waterproof — great qualities for a basement floor — and one of the most immediately noticeable basement renovation ideas of all. You can also opt for finishes in poppy colors or patterns for a retro or whimsical feel. A bright splash of color can be a delight in an unexpected place like a basement — all the more reason to give it a try.

On the other hand, if your concrete basement floors are in decent condition and you don’t mind the look of them, you could simply add an area rug or two for a quick-and-easy basement refurbishment. Try waterproof or outdoor versions for easy cleaning — and again, don’t be shy about colors and patterns. Rubber or foam tiles can work well, too, if you’ll be using your basement for a playroom or home gym. And if you don’t love the raw concrete look, you can apply your own epoxy finish to make that basement floor renovation really shine (get it?).

Estimated Cost:

$2 - $7 per square foot (for LVP)

Q: How do you modernize an old basement?
Fresh flooring and lighting can make a huge difference in bringing an outdated rec-room-type basement into the 21st century or making a dark and dreary storage space into something more inviting. But beyond the basics, here are two ideas for super-modernizing your basement:

  • Upgrade your technology: Make the basement a smart space with motion-sensor lights, integrated speakers, and Wi-Fi to make sure everyone’s connected when they’re downstairs — critical particularly if your remodel involves gaming or a home office.

  • Update your storage solutions: If your basement is essentially a storage room and you’re converting it to livable space, you’ll need to do something with all the plastic tubs and moving boxes. Floor-to-ceiling or built-in bookshelves are a sleek way to stash your stuff — get some fun baskets to tuck everything away, and you’ll save square footage while adding an interesting design element.
  • A finished basement with recessed lighting installed into the exposed basement ceiling.

    Want a more stately finish? Leave some of the beams exposed or add faux wood beams around the lighting.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    3. Light Up Your Life. 

    The right lighting makes or breaks a room, setting the mood and instantly creating a vibe. For a dramatic look that has almost the same effect as full-on remodeling the basement, install recessed lighting in your ceilings or even pendant or statement lighting for bar or kitchenette settings. Want a more stately finish? Leave some of the beams exposed or add faux wood beams around the lighting. You may be surprised at the immediate basement improvement you’ll create with just a few well-placed bulbs and their shadows.

    Estimated Cost:

    $100 - $200 per light (for recessed lighting)
    $5 - $25 per foot (for faux wood beams)

    Close up of a wooden staircase leading down to the basement. There are LED lights installed low on the walls to light the steps.

    Add LED lighting along the sides of your staircase to brighten the steps, even in dimmer settings. 

    4. Take Your Steps in the Right Direction.

    Depending on the state of your basement stairs, they may simply need a fresh coat of paint to give you that “like-new” look. If they’re made of unfinished wood, consider sanding rough spots before painting. And if your staircase is less stable than you’d like, you can try adding some stabilizing elements — if you feel good about your woodworking skills. If not, calling in a professional is always an option.

    Finish your stairs with matching basement flooring or paint in a coordinating or contrasting shade. Then add LED lighting along the sides to brighten the path, even in dimmer settings. Just try to steer clear of carpeted stairs: Basements can be humid — especially in warmer parts of the country — which isn’t great for carpets.

    Estimated Cost:

    $1,000 - $5,000 depending on materials/scope

     Close up of an ornate drop ceiling with a faux tin look.

    Install a suspended ceiling to hide exposed beams, ductwork, and pipes (and to elevate the look of your basement).
    (Source: Pinterest)

    5. Look Up With Statement Ceilings.

    From industrial-chic ductwork to painted beams to pub-style tin, your ceiling has tons of potential to elevate your style in the basement. Exposed beams, common in older homes like rustic beach houses and country estates, are easy to include in a basement renovation. Hang some string lights or use eclectic floor lamps with targeted spotlights for a boho chic vibe. If you don’t like the look of those beams — and you’re (again!) feeling confident — you can drywall your ceilings (not super easy) or create a suspended ceiling (DIY-friendly). Either option will hide exposed beams, ductwork, and pipes. Alternatively, you could install paneling on the ceilings in the same way you did the walls.

    Estimated Cost:

    $2 - $5 per square foot (for suspended ceiling materials)

    Q: What is the cheapest way to remodel a basement?
    The absolute cheapest way to manage basement renovations is the DIY approach: Get out that toolbox, throw on the painter’s pants, and get to work! There are also relatively inexpensive things you can tackle incrementally to space out your expenses — simple basement upgrades like a fresh coat of paint and a few area rugs, which can make a surprising difference when you’re looking at photos of basement remodel ideas before and after upgrading. 

    8 Big Ideas for Basement Renovations

    If what you want is a big change in your basement, here are some larger basement renovation ideas for you to consider.

    A basement that’s been renovated into a home theater with leather recliners and a large screen.

    Transforming the basement into a home theater is a great choice for movie lovers. 
    (Source: Pinterest)

    1. Make a Home Theater for Movie Nights.

    If you’re a movie lover, having a home theater is a great way not only to save money but also to create the magic of premiere nights right in your own space. Your basement already has better insulation than a lot of other rooms, and they tend to run cold, so cozying up with popcorn and dim lighting is best done here.

    You can choose to go all out with sound-proofing, a huge projector screen, and tiered seating with recliners to boot, or you can keep it (relatively) simple and less expensive with a large TV and plenty of blankets to pile on during a double-feature. Either way, skimping on the seating in this design choice isn’t an option. 

    Estimated Cost:

    $2,000 - $20,000

    A basement that’s been transformed into a home gym, complete with mirrored walls, a mounted television, padded flooring, free weights, and exercise  machines.

    Blast your favorite playlist as you work out in your private basement gym — an investment in your health and your home.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    2. Build the Home Gym You’ve Always Wanted.

    Imagine having your own personal fitness oasis — right downstairs. No need to battle traffic or wait for your turn at a crowded, sweaty — not to mention pricey — gym. You’ll have all the equipment clean and pristine and waiting for you, whether that’s as simple as a yoga mat or as complex as cardio and weight machines. And rather than being locked into a membership fee, you can add and remove equipment as you wish, which means cost savings (and greater likelihood you’ll stick with the program!). 

    Estimated Cost:

    $500 - $10,000 (depending on equipment)

    View from above of a home library set up in a basement. The walls are lined with built-in wood shelves that are filled with hundreds of books. There’s a cozy area rug on the floor, as well as a desk, a sofa, and an upholstered chair.

    You can keep the same soft, quiet vibes as a home theater but switch them to a place where you find your escape into other worlds through words. 
    (Source: Pinterest)

    3. Create a Cozy Library.

    If you still want a comfy atmosphere without all the theatrics, a home library for all your books is another great option. You can keep the same soft, quiet vibes as a home theater but switch them to a place where you find your escape into other worlds through words. 

    You also still have the opportunity to splurge on seating — how about an oversized stuffed easy chair with a plush throw to keep you warm? Also important: creative shelving and nice lighting that’s easy on the eyes. As with all of these basement renovation tips, costs will vary depending on the size of the space and the materials you choose. And, in this case, the books you select to include in your library.

    Estimated Cost:

    $1,000 - $10,000

    Q: What costs the most when finishing a basement?
    Wondering what is the most expensive part of finishing a basement? Well, anything that involves altering the structure of your home is going to be pricey — or at least pricier than most expenses you’ll incur in your basement upgrades. Plumbing, electrical work, and reinforcing the foundation are some of the biggies, along with adding egress windows, which are required as an emergency exit if a new bedroom is part of your basement remodel. Of course, there’s a big difference in cost between moderate 400 square-foot basement ideas and building, say, a 1,000 square-foot home cinema. But in general, it’s the structural changes that are most expensive.

    A basement that has been remodeled for use as a craft room. It has built-in shelves and freestanding storage, as well as several crafting tables.

    If your interests include scrapbooking, painting, crafting, knitting, sewing (or all of the above), consider converting your basement into a dedicated space where you can get creative.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    4. Build a Fun and Functional Craft-and-Hobby Space.

    Whether it’s scrapbooking, painting, crafting, knitting, sewing, or all of the above, giving yourself a dedicated space to get creative is great not only for your passions but also for keeping the peace in your home. Why? Because your family doesn’t have to navigate around your latest project or the items that accumulate with it. 

    For a budget-friendly space, you might have just the basics, like a table and chairs, storage bins, and the all-important good lighting (don’t skimp on that!). But more elaborate setups can go all out with specialized work surfaces, built-in shelving or cabinets, and even a sink or sewing machine. If your hobby happens to be pottery, you’re getting into a more expensive realm — a pottery wheel can run from $900 to $2,000 — but think of the money you’ll save on birthday gifts! 

    Estimated Cost:

    $500 - $5,000 (depending on scope/materials)

    Bonus: A basic crafts space is especially great if you’re looking for small basement remodel ideas, as it doesn’t require a lot of square footage — even a cozy corner nook will do!

    One end of a basement has been converted to a home office, with recessed lighting, office furniture, and floating shelves.

    If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote worker, upgrading part of your basement to a home office is a great idea.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    5. Make It Work With a Home Office.

    Plenty of people still work from home, even though back-to-the-office trends have refilled commute routes and high-rises in the past few years. But if you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote worker, a home office as part of a basement upgrade is a great idea: secluded, quiet, and separate from distractions that might disrupt productivity. And you can invest as much or as little as needed, depending on the type of furniture you want, whether you need to run electricity into the space, and if any structural modifications are required.

    Start with assessing your power and lighting — outlets are essential for internet connectivity, of course, and some basements, being underground, might need extra lights. The design options are endless, since you don’t have to conform to the style of the rest of the home. So try out a sleek, modern look if your upstairs is shabby-chic. Contemporary vibe in your living space? Go with a rustic farmhouse feel. The goal is to make it functional, of course, so you can be productive. But you also want your own comfortable space where you’ll want to spend time. 

    Estimated Cost:

    $1,000 - $5,000 (depending on scope)

     A basement that’s been converted into a game room, with various arcade and table games.

    Create a personalized game room in your basement with anything from board games and playing cards to air hockey and ping pong tables.
    (Source: Pinterest)

    Score Big With a Gamer’s Paradise.

    If you want a space to play, the basement is a great place to do it. And you can take a game room in a few different directions. Going old school — or looking for a budget basement remodel idea? Dig out your old board games, decks of cards, and maybe even a pinball machine and pool table to create an arcade vibe. Throw in some bean-bag chairs and card tables — and voila! If there are gamers in the family, you’ll need a video-friendly setup and, of course, a screen. But even a more modern version of the game room doesn’t need to break the bank. Keep an eye on sales and discounts — after-Christmas sales are a gold mine for electronics — and maybe do some thrift-store shopping for gently used goodies. 

    For families with little kids, soft furniture and flooring are a good idea, so you don’t have to worry about head bumps and bruises. And for extra safety, install outlet covers, corner guards, and anchored shelving (or built-ins) to make sure nothing falls. 

    Estimated Cost:

    $500 - $10,000 or more (depending on scope/equipment)

    A finished basement that’s been divided into two separate rooms with a new wall and doorway.

    Dividing your basement into distinctive rooms means you can escape to that cozy library you’ve always wanted — and still have a game room for the kids.

    7. Divide and Conquer Your Space. 

    One of the best things about these basement renovation ideas is that you can mix and match. Want a gaming space and a craft corner? Or maybe your kids are angling for movie nights and you’d rather curl up in a cozy book nook. If you’ve got the space — or even if you don’t — do both! Divider walls like a trendy barn door or strategically placed furniture can help you create separate rooms or divide one large space into multiple sections. It’s one of the most simple basement remodel ideas, but it’s also one of the most effective for creating a fresh, new feel.

    Estimated Cost:

    $200 - $1,500 per barn door (depending on material/scope)

    Q: Is it worth finishing a basement?
    Is finishing a basement worth the money? Absolutely. Besides a great investment in family time, a basement renovation has the potential to add to the dollar value of your house. If you’re planning to move soon, a finished basement can mean the difference between full asking price (or more!) and a lowball offer. And your return on investment will be in the neighborhood of 70 percent — definitely worthwhile.

    Three pairs of sock-clad feet are being warmed by a fire in a brick hearth.

     A cozy fireplace warms up a basement entertainment area — and helps lower energy costs in the colder months. 
    (Source: Pixabay)

    8. Ignite Your Basement Renovation With a Fireplace.

    Call it a man cave or an indoor, upscale she-shed — whatever the name, this dedicated retreat needs a fireplace. And there are so many benefits, from creating an inviting ambiance for a relaxing weekend or night with friends to helping reduce energy costs in the colder months. Design options are interesting, too, with plenty of styles to fit your traditional, maximalist, or mid-century modern taste. You can go with wood burning, electric, or gas, and add elements like stone and tile to match your decor. 

    A few safety matters need to be considered before you move forward with a fireplace as part of your basement renovation: First, adequate ventilation is a must. Make sure you’ve got proper airflow through the space and get some carbon monoxide detectors as an extra precaution. Second, make sure to use fire-resistant materials in the construction of the fireplace and for the surrounding walls, to reduce the risk of fire spreading. For this particular basement renovation idea, a professional is definitely a good idea.

    Estimated Cost:

    $1,000 - $5,000 

    Pro Tip: Your basement remodeling ideas don’t have to just be for family. As an Airbnb host, you can turn your remodeled basement into a source of extra income

     A home inspector and his assistant examine the foundation of a residential home. The inspector is pointing out a crack in the concrete beneath the siding.

    Before you start picking out paint colors, it’s important to assess your home’s foundation situation.

    6 Things To Do Before Beginning Your Basement Remodel

    Now that you’ve got your renovation goals nailed down, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Here’s a look at the prep work you’ll need to do. 

    1. Get Your Home’s Foundation Checked. 

    Assessing its condition can give you a good foundation (pun intended) before starting any major renovations. The foundation is the base your entire home rests on, so any issues have the potential to compromise the structural integrity of the building — not to mention the basement. If you do determine there are limitations to your foundation, you’ll have the opportunity to make the right adjustments to your renovation plan.  

    2. Understand Building Codes and Mitigate Any Violations. 

    You’ll likely need to bring in a pro for this step, but it’s a necessary expense when you’re implementing basement renovation ideas. The last thing you want is to find out after the fact that one of your upgrades is violating local residential building codes and needs to be redone. An inspector will be able to identify potential violations and, more importantly, will know how to fix them.

    Q: What is the first thing to do when finishing a basement?
    This list is a good place to start. But even before you get into the nitty gritty of permitting and such, the very first thing to do is establish your budget. Without a clear idea of what you have to spend, making any pertinent decision will be impossible — from what kind of paint to buy to paying a contractor to rewiring your electrical system. So check your bank account, make a plan — and stick to it.

    3. Determine Your Permitting Requirements. 

    Every city and housing community has different regulations, codes, and laws that govern construction, so do your due diligence and find out what’s relevant to your specific basement renovation. The timing can vary, depending on the requirements and your community. But as with most things having to do with construction, planning and prepping as far in advance as possible is always a good rule of thumb. The last thing you want to deal with is a delay because a permit hasn’t been approved.

    4. Check for Energy Efficiency. 

    Insulate properly — especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time in your new space. Basements are generally fairly well insulated, but if you have an older home, you may need to consider retrofitting. Make sure you’re going to be protected from the elements when you spend time in your new basement digs. You also want to be sure you’re not wasting energy — both for economic and sustainability reasons.

    5. Assess the Ceiling. 

    If you notice sagging or spots on your ceiling, there’s likely something going on behind the scenes. Falling victim to basement water damage or structural weakness is something you don’t want to have to fix after it’s gone too far. And as with all of these steps, enlisting the help of a professional is not a bad idea. 

    6. Plan Your Remodel Step-By-Step. 

    Map out a clear idea of what you plan to change in the space. This is also a great way to estimate the required materials and costs for the project.

    A top-down view of the hands of a father and son marking up a wood plank as part of a basement renovation project. Beneath the plank is a white wood table with tools and rulers scattered across its surface.

    If you’re handy, want to save some money, and have the time to spare, DIYing parts of your renovation is a great way to get the best bang for your buck.

    3 Essential Considerations for Your Basement Renovations

    Before you start renovating your basement, there are three main aspects to consider (all of which will affect the cost of your basement renovation). 

    1. Be Aware of Higher-Cost Materials. 

    In a nutshell, flooring and wall paneling are the priciest elements of a basement renovation — even a relatively inexpensive one. More specifically, to frame basement walls (before drywall and insulation), you’re looking at about $7 to $23 per square foot with a carpenter’s help. Once you tack on drywall, that’s another $2 per square foot (about $3,000 for 1,500 square feet), plus another $2 to $6 per square foot to finish the ceiling off, as well. 

    For floors, the average range is quite varied. You’re looking at between $1,500 and $4,500 in total, depending on the square footage of your space and quality of flooring you want.

    And for your basement remodeling cost overall, the average cost to finish a basement is between $2,800 and $9,200 for a 400 square-foot space, all the way up to between $10,500 and $34,500 for a 1,500 square-foot space.

    The good news? On average, in the U.S., a basement remodel has an ROI of 50 to 80 percent. And in the future, when you sell your home, having a finished basement will up your sales appeal and help you get a better offer.

    Q: How much does it cost to finish a 1,000 sq.-ft. basement?
    According to Architectural Digest, finishing a 1,000 square-foot basement can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $23,000. That’s why you should decide on an overall budget before you start — but also be sure to break costs down into chunks for each part of your basement renovation. Tracking your expenses closely can help keep costs down, even if you are likely to go over, at some point.

    2. DIY for Basement Improvement on a Budget. 

    Sure, hiring a contractor is an easy way to go for basement renovations — or any home remodeling projects, for that matter. But of course it’s also the most expensive. If you’re handy with a hammer and have the time to DIY parts of your basement renovation ideas, you can save thousands of dollars along the way.

    Q: Is a basement remodel a good investment?
    With a return of about 70 percent, depending on your location and the extent of your remodel, a basement renovation can be a great investment when it’s done correctly. It’s also a solid strategy to increase your resale value, and you can even gain another stream of income from it (see: Airbnb). Your overall plans for the space are going to determine your final answer, however, so be sure to consider all the essentials before you decide to make this investment in your home.

    A contractor in a white safety helmet shakes hands with a homeowner in the basement they’re renovating.

    If you’re not handy, no worries — help is always available. Remember, though: It’s important to find a licensed, experienced contractor.

    3. Know That Your Basement Refurbishment Might Require a Contractor.

    If you’re not comfortable with DIYing your basement renovations (and understandably so!), make sure anyone you hire is a licensed professional. Sure, you can search online for “basement remodeling companies'' or “basement remodeling contractors,” but don’t just go with the first one you find. 

    Our guide for how to hire a home remodeling contractor has tips to help you find a trustworthy and competent professional, as well as a handy list of questions to ask before settling on a contractor for your basement renovation. 

    Pro Tip: At some point during your basement renovations, you’re going to need to clear everything out of the area — existing furniture, anything you’re storing in the basement, the whole nine yards. This is where PODS comes in. Have a PODS portable storage container delivered right to your driveway and use it as a “temporary” basement to house anything that you need kept out of the way (but close at hand). You can also use it as a work station to house tools and equipment during your basement remodel. Keep it as long as you need, and when you’re done, PODS will pick it up!

    Basements are no longer the dingy, musty storage spaces of years past. They’ve become an asset to homes everywhere. And your basement renovation has the potential to make a profound impact on the way you and your family live, work, and play. What are you waiting for?

    Shannon Jacobs is a Tampa-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. She has lived in Atlanta, the Berkshires, and Nashville, but always returns to the warmth of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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