12 Unfinished Basement Ideas for Your Home
Most people only go into their unfinished basements when it's time to adjust the heat or look at an appliance. But that subterranean space is valuable and can be utilized if you open your mind and get creative. Here 12 unfinished basement ideas
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
If you enjoy building furniture, you can use your unfinished basement as a woodworking shop. Since it’s probably a blank canvas (no valuable furniture, unfinished floor), you can feel free to cut wood and make a really big mess while working on your next project! Hang pegboard where you can store your tools. Also, be sure to set aside an area where you can sit down to take a break or look up plans. Even if you’re not finishing it, waterproofing your basement should be on your to-do list before turning it into a wood shop.
If you’re a photographer or blogger, an unfinished basement can serve as a place to take perfectly staged photos. And you can add backdrops, reflectors, dropcloths and manage lighting. Paint walls a flat, neutral color (some experts say medium gray is best). For this to work, your basement ceiling needs to be at least nine or 10 feet because ceiling height will affect the quality of your photos. And, of course, use natural light whenever possible.
Pantry for Non-Perishables and Supplies
Use your unfinished basement as additional pantry space for your dry goods, non-perishable items and household supplies. But, you just need to do some preparations first. Do a complete basement cleanout. And treat the entire basement for mice, insects, etc. so that you can feel confident storing food there. Manage moisture in the area by using hanging moisture absorbers. Also, be sure to secure your spices in airtight jars. Finally, add some basement shelving for storing your items, and be sure to use sealed moisture-tight totes.
A. J. Gallant/Shutterstock
An unfinished basement is a great place to do your workouts. And after your basement is cleared and cleaned, you’ll want to think about some kind of basement flooring for your space. An epoxy coating will make the floor more attractive and comfortable. Place a large workout mat in the most unobstructed corner and add your favorite equipment. If you like kickboxing, you might be able to hang a heavy bag from a sturdy beam in the ceiling.
By simply adding laminate flooring and wall mirrors to your unfinished basement, you can turn it into a dance or performance arts studio of sorts. And use it as a practice area for tap dancing, ballet and other dance routines. The basement is usually the largest open space in the house, so you’ll have plenty of room to move around.
If you’re tired of waiting for the bathroom, you can easily add a basement bathroom to solve that. All you really need is a toilet and a pedestal sink, and many unfinished basements are already set up with roughed-in bathroom plumbing. You can refer to these basement bathroom ideas to upgrade your space. Next, install drywall and a door for privacy and never wait in line for the bathroom again.
Home Office or Craft Room
With a little elbow grease and some time, you can turn a portion of your unfinished basement into a well-lit personal office. This project will require you to install drywall, flooring, lighting, and electrical fixtures in one area of your basement. And since most unfinished basements are cold and dark, adding sufficient light and warmth to your personal office is important. It should be a place in which you look forward to spending time, even if you’re working.
Relaxing Den or Fun Game Room
An unfinished basement can be transformed into a den with a few modifications. A den is a place where you can get away to enjoy your favorite activity, relax or play games. And depending on the condition of your basement, all you may need to turn it into a den is to add a large area rug, sofa or recliner, and an outlet for a TV. To make it into a game room for your kids (or yourself), you could add a ping pong table or pool table, along with a gaming system.
Personal Wine Cellar
A wine cellar has to be cool and dark, which makes an unfinished basement an ideal choice. You still have to manage the temperature to always remain around 55 degrees F. So you may have to install a cooling unit. The humidity must be at about 70 percent. Related to that, you definitely can’t have a damp basement for this, so you’ll have to take steps to dry it out and prevent moisture.
Also, it’s important to install a gauge if you plan to use your basement as a wine cellar. Stack your favorite wine bottles on a series of wine shelves or racks to start your collection.
With a couple days of work, you can make your unfinished basement comfortable enough to sleep in without having to fully frame and finish it. First address any moisture concerns by waterproofing the walls and caulking basement windows. And place a dehumidifier in the area where the bed will be positioned. Next, clear the basement of cobwebs and sweep it clean.
Some localities require you to install egress windows, if you plan to use the basement as a bedroom, for proper ventilation and a safe escape route.
A large unfinished basement can be used for parties! Since the affair will be for one night only, stage your basement so that it looks completely different for just a few hours. After the basement is thoroughly cleaned and cleared of dust, install a ceiling track room divider with a floor-sweeping heavy curtain to keep any appliances out of view. You might use the same tracks and curtains to cover stone or unpainted walls. With the right lighting effects and of course great music, you could turn your basement into the hottest club on the block.
If you’re a big fan of Halloween, what better place for a haunted room than your unfinished basement? It’s already probably a little creepy down there, so add some special features and decor to make it perfect for a mini haunted tour. Keep it dimly lit (maybe just a few pumpkins with tea lights) and make sure there are plenty of scary sound effects that will give your visitors chills.