Painting by the Penny

Our Budget Friendly DIY Basement Makeover

I like to call this makeover our 2020 lockdown project. Back in 2020 when everything was pretty much shut down. We thought it’d be a great time to start a project and create an extra space for all of us to enjoy. 

We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it and luckily for us the basement was already in pretty good shape. Here’s how we gave our basement a budget friendly DIY makeover.

This is what the basement looked like before. Its messy I know! I failed to take pictures when everything was organized and this was during the cleanup and purging of items. I was just using the space to store miscellaneous items and paints and stains for my furniture projects.

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Before starting our DIY basement makeover

To make sure we could actually tackle most of this project safely ourselves and that there were no damages we inspected the basement really well.

We made sure there was no rotting around the window frames, floors and walls.

We also made sure there were no signs of flooding. We’ve been living in this house for 3 years and haven’t had any issues (knock on wood) but we went around and made sure there weren’t any wet spots on the floor that we might have missed.

Removed oil tank 

We had previously converted our heating from oil to gas so we needed to get rid of our oil tank first. The tank was boxed in behind some walls so we removed the wall around the oil tank.

After we removed the wall, we hired a company to come and safely remove the tank.

Added a wall

Now that the oil tank was gone, we reconfigured the wall to make a little extra living space and create more closet storage (theres a closet to the left of the oil tank).

This was our first attempt at building a frame for a wall. We received great tips from a friend and watched a couple of informative Youtube videos.

We purchased 2X4 wood boards, insulation and one sheet of bead board. To build a frame you have your wall plates which are the horizontal boards that run along the top and bottom of your wall. You also have your wall studs which are the boards that run vertically between the top and bottom plates.

Before we began we marked the floor where the wall was going to go, then cut the boards to size. We had to cut different measurements for the exterior wall as we had to build the frame around the window.

Because we were laying the bottom wall plate on concrete we made sure that the wood was pressure treated. Any wood that’s laid directly on concrete needs to be pressure treated to be protected against any moisture and avoid rot.

We used a level to make sure the wood was straight and got the correct wood screws to attach everything together. The wall studs (vertical wood boards) were spaced 16 inches apart. They’re usually spaced 16 or 24 inches apart.

Insulation was added between the studs to the exterior wall only.

We salvaged some of the bead board wall and baseboards that was around the oil tank and reused it for the new wall. This saved us from purchasing more materials.

Once we were able to put the wall up, baseboards and paint, it looked so good! I can’t believe we were able to make this wall ourselves. I’m so proud of it!

Painted the walls

Once the wall was up, to save cost, we easily painted the walls ourselves. We painted the walls and closet doors Alabaster and the back door Black Magic by Sherwin Williams.

Our son wanted to paint the entire space green but we settled on doing an accent wall instead. I went with Rock Garden also by Sherwin Williams.  

Its a beautiful green!

We also painted and added new stair treads to the stairs leading to the basement.

This was the before…

And this is the after…

Its amazing how paint can make such a big difference.

Sprayed the exposed ceiling 

Spraying the exposed ceiling is something that should have been done before we painted the walls, but the initial plan was to add more ceiling tiles.

Half of the basement ceiling had ceiling tiles and we were planning on adding more tiles but I wanted the space to feel more open. The ceiling was in pretty good condition so we removed the ceiling tiles and organized some of the wires before spraying. This was easier and cheaper than purchasing and putting up tiles.

To protect the accent wall, lights and closet doors that were painted a semi-gloss finish we used Scotch Blue adhesive masking film and sprayed the ceiling using a spray gun.

The ceiling was sprayed the same color and finish as the walls, Sherwin Williams Alabaster in a satin finish. It took about three coats and two days of work but it was worth it!


Added flooring 

Our basement is usually pretty cold during the winter so I knew I wanted to get carpet. I wanted it to feel cozy and didn’t want the floor to feel so cold. I love a nice tile or wood flooring but we did not want to spend so much money on flooring either. Carpet was the best option for our budget friendly DIY basement makeover.

When we went shopping for a carpet we saw these carpet tiles called Floorigami from Shaw. At first I was skeptical but when the salesperson explained how we can easily install these ourselves and how they can be removed and cleaned or quickly replaced if ever stained, I was sold. 

This was so easy to install! The back of each rectangle has an adhesive strip that sticks pretty well. We did use some glue under the smaller pieces we cut to go around our brick post since it didn’t have much of the adhesive strip under it.

Penny could not wait to lay on the cozy carpet. She loves it!

We measured our space and it was 311 square feet. We ended up purchasing 12 boxes which covered 324 square feet for under $700. This left us with an extra box that I have stored just in case I need to replace some. You can purchase enough to make an area rug or enough for an entire room.

After two years it has held up so well! We spend lots of time in this space and our dog Penny runs around on the carpet and I have yet to replace any of it.


Upgraded hardware 

Lastly, to give this basement a nice DIY makeover we updated the hardware on the newly painted doors.

Changing hardware can make a big difference. It is one of my Tips For Remodeling A Kitchen On A Budget too! I purchased these small knobs at Lowes and upgraded the hinges to give the doors a more modern look. 

Added furniture and decor 

Now that the tough part was complete it was time for the fun part, adding furniture and decor. 

We did a few more DIYs (easier ones this time), like this coat hanger we made from left over wood.

And this chalk board we already had. We just added some left over wood around it.

We purchased a comfy couch and decorated the space to make it feel cozy. One of my favorite items we added is this concrete lamp. I converted an old thrifted lamp into a concrete lamp (inspired by Pottery Barn).

Lamps are one of my Top 10 Thrift Store Home Decor Finds. Their inexpensive and can be painted or sprayed to achieve any look you like. For more inspiration, I put together 5 Thrifted Lamp Makeover Ideas you can do yourself to save money on home decor.

I love the nice ambiance when we just turn the lamp on at night.

Our son spends most of his time here playing with his Legos. We have it all organized in a cabinet and cubbies.

It means so much to me that we were able to DIY this basement makeover and create an extra living space in our home. Its a great space to play board games, watch movies and create wonderful memories.

Did you tackle any projects in 2020? This project was a nice distraction for me. It was a scary time (and it still is) and being busy and creative helps me.

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