Is that unfinished basement holding you back from buying the new home you’ve been dreaming of? Don’t let it!
Much like an underground gold mine, a home’s unfinished basement is just waiting to be tapped and put to the perfect use. Discover the hidden value in buying a home with an unfinished basement.
Often, unfinished basements are seen as a major obstacle for many homebuyers. They see it as another project, something that will take thousands of dollars to finish before they can even enjoy or use the space, or even worse – wasted space that they’ll never make use of. Its time to rethink the unfinished basement! There is serious potential value – and space – just waiting to be put to use! Consider an unfinished basement as a blank canvas, perfect for you to use, adapt and finish based on your specific needs and circumstances. Don’t believe us? Grab a cup of coffee and read on to discover the potential uses for an unfinished basement along with some light DIY finishing ideas that you may not have thought of before.
And if you’re not a DIYer or maybe you’re certain you need a full basement finish, after reading you’ll notice that at the end of the article, we’ve included a link to contractors and home remodeling companies that can help you fully finish the basement the way you want. The benefit of finishing the basement with the help of a contractor, after purchasing and closing on a home is that for the most part, you get to choose where the walls go, what gets finished, and what doesn’t, and more to really make your basement your own, not predetermined by someone else’s plan or vision.
Now let’s dig in!
We’ve broken our list of potential ideas for an unfinished basement into three different categories: Completely Unfinished, Light DIY Finishing, and Full Finishing so that no matter your current square footage needs or future plans, we’ve got you covered. Some of these ideas can overlap, so that if you want, love, or need more than one, you can make room for it! That’s the beauty of blank canvases like unfinished basements, you choose how it’s used, adapted, and adjusted over time and as you need!
Ideas For Your Completely Unfinished Basement
That’s right, from the day you move in, your unfished basement offers automatic instant value.
Pretty obvious and the most common use, but still valuable nonetheless, unfinished basements make a great place to store things – and lots of them! Empty your storage unit and have room to spare. Better yet, install some inexpensive shelving and you can take your storage vertical and easily find what you’re looking for when you need it. If you’re a canner, showcase all your beautifully canned veggies and mixes – like a cellar, but prettier! You can always go super cute and functional with some baskets and bins and a label maker to make a storage haven.
ROOM TO RUN
Bring your outdoor activities in! Completely unfinished basements make a great space for bringing some of the typical outdoor activities inside. Consider this, on bad weather days, you’ve got a place to let your kids run off some energy and enjoy the things they normally do outside! Chalk on the floor – no biggie! Bubbles – yes, please! Scooters and tricycles zooming around – go! Personal roller rink – yep! Red rover, red rover send the unfinished basement right over! Even just a little light finishing will make it a playroom space your kids will brag about to their buddies! Add some foam mats or soft cushy rugs, build a fort or tent, and leave it up with no pressure to take it down, hang some climbing ropes or even build an indoor obstacle course! The list goes on, and on!
Light DIY Finishing Can Go A Long Way
Depending upon how you choose to use the space, by adding just a few items, your unfinished basement can be transformed into an ultra-functional workspace, art studio, home gym, entertaining space, and more!
Really, without any finishing at all, your unfinished basement can be a home gym. Put your treadmill or weight set down there, add a yoga mat and TV if you like to use workout videos and you’re set. You’ve got a great place to sweat without having to worry about cleaning up or soaking and stinking up carpet! If you want a “prettier” place to exercise, paint the concrete floor or add some foam mats, install some shelves to hold your equipment, hang a motivational poster and bam – you’ve got a home gym your neighbors will want to buy a membership to!
And if you’re into martial arts, boxing, dance, yoga or Pilates, an unfinished basement can make the perfect studio for these activities! Leave it barebones or easily dress it up with mirrors, some paint, foam flooring, and the sport-specific necessities (a punching bag for boxing, a bar for Pilates, etc.) – either way, you’ve got a large space that you can move in without having to worry about knocking anything over or bumping elbows with another.
SPACE TO CREATE
If you are a crafter, seamstress, photographer, painter, woodworker – whatever your hobby or passion is, an unfinished basement holds the potential to be the perfect workshop or art studio. With little to no finishing, you can set up shop and get to work! Spruce up the space for a cozier, more inviting feeling or leave it as is and create away! Consider this, many basements have windows that open so you’ve got easy ventilation, you won’t hurt the concrete with paint or clay or whatever your medium may be, and you’ve got room for all your supplies plus space left to create! Make a mess without the stress! If paint goes flying, there’s no need to rush and wipe it off. Fabric scraps and wood chips all over the floor, no problem! That’s the beauty in a basement workshop – no one has to see it unless you want them to! If you’re a photographer, you can make an easy-to-adapt photo studio with adjustable lighting and room for multiple sitting options. You could even set up a darkroom to develop your own film and prints.
If you see your passion in the list below, get inventive and think about the seemingly endless possibilities an unfinished basement has to offer your creative needs:
- Singing or Playing an Instrument
- Painting or Illustrating
- Sewing & Quilting
- Mixed Media
- Chalk Art
- Indoor Nursery or Gardening
- Beer Making
- Textile Art
- Performing Art
- Graphic Design or Computer Art
- Tattoo Art
PERSONAL PUTTING GREEN
If you’re a golfer, then an unfinished basement could be the ticket to improving your game! That’s right, there’s room to install as simple or complex of an indoor putting green as you want or even a virtual driving range! You can practice your swing all year and in the privacy of your own home! Go fancy and deck out the space, add a bar, a couple of TVs and make a full-out golf haven or go simple with easy-to-install astroturf and a couple of homemade cups, either way, you’ve got the perfect escape right in your own home!
UNWIND WITH YOU-TIME
Whatever you enjoy doing to relax and unwind, an unfinished basement may be the ticket to creating your personal escape space or retreat. There’s room to adjust and set up the space nearly any way you need! With a little creativity and ingenuity, and as much finishing as you want, you can have your very own sanctuary space! Here are just a few ideas of things you can create in your unfinished basement with a little light finishing:
- Wine Cellar
- Personal Library
- Home Theater or Entertainment Room
- Meditation Room
- Game Room (Video Games, Board Games, Table-Top Games, Pool Table, etc.)
- Man Cave
- Playroom (An escape for the kiddos!)
- See the “Space To Create” ideas above if your relaxation is in creating!
INDIE-INDUSTRIAL-STYLE ENTERTAINING SPACE
Have you been dying for the perfect space to entertain? With a little work – and we mean just a little – you’ll have a super chic, industrial-styled entertaining space sure to make your guests envious! Paint or stain the concrete floor, add a pop of color to the concrete walls with paint, fabric, stained wood planks – pretty much any material other than drywall, add some creative storage and find the perfect bar-styled furniture, a TV or two, a centerpiece game table and comfortable-chic furniture and you’ve got a one-of-a-kind space perfect for entertaining that’s easy-to-clean and perfect for accommodating multiple guests! Don’t believe us, check out what others have done to create oh-so-cool entertaining spaces in their unfinished basements.
WORK AWAY FROM WORK – OR SCHOOL
Do you work remotely or for yourself? Needing an office space but the main floor is full – or will be full and you’re holding out for the home with perfect office space? Don’t! If there’s an unfinished basement you’ve got the room to make the office of your dreams! With a very small amount of finishing, you’ll have an office area so perfect you’ll never want to go back upstairs! Even better, you’ll be able to work in peace away from the noise of the main floor. And if you work from home while caring for little ones then an unfinished basement truly is the perfect solution! Create a combination office and playroom – your kids can play while you work away!
If you homeschool your littles, then an unfinished basement can become the perfect school space with very minimal finishing! Add some bright colors with fabric, paint, and foam to the floors and walls, install some shelves and seating, and add some desks or tables and chairs and you’ve got a great place to educate! Even better, you can adapt this space over the years to best fit your children’s education needs over time. Did we mention it’s easy to keep clean? Hello fun – and messy art projects and erupting science experiments!
SPACE FOR GUESTS
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to create a guest room in an unfinished basement. Of course, you can go all out with a full-on finish and create a room that would make the Hilton jealous or keep it simple – with a few effortless and soft touches you can creative dividers, add a splash of color plus a great area rug and some cute decor, you’ll have an ultra-comfy, shabby-chic space any guest is sure to have sweet dreams in!
Perhaps you’re looking to make a little extra money off that basement space? Maybe you’ve got a friend or family member that needs a place to stay but can’t afford to live on their own. Whatever the case me be, with a little creativity and resourcefulness you can turn your unfinished basement into an apartment! You didn’t hear it from us, though! Take a gander at the examples below and then create your own little money maker!
Because there is so much potential just lurking in that unfinished basement, you’ve probably realized that you can convert it into a “combination space” or “flexible space” with many of these ideas in different areas or sections of the basement to truly meet whatever your needs in a home may be. Whether it’s a combo game room, art studio, home gym, or perhaps it becomes a space to run and play with an area creatively closed off for guests. Whatever the need, with a little light finishing, you can convert an unfinished basement into one, or multiple of these ideas, and even adapt it later as your needs in a home grow and change!
More Expensive, But Worth the Investment Full Finishing
Not up for DIY? We hope you’ll give it a try! Surprisingly, after you do some light finishing you may find it easier than you thought to lightly finish out the basement completely, or even just a few spaces in the basement. If you’re not up for DIY or you know that you want a finished basement in any capacity, you’ll need to consider hiring a contractor and make sure you’ve done ample planning to ensure that the way you want to finish the basement will not only work for the needs of your family but will add value when it comes time to resell your home. If you want a full-on finished basement or even just part of a space in the basement that requires electrical, plumbing, permanent flooring, or drywall, we highly recommend hiring a professional contractor to perform the basement finish for you.
Light finishing isn’t as serious of a matter as most of what you do can be easily undone, taken down, moved, or covered up by the next homeowner or even yourself if needed. But a full-on finish is much more permanent and requires specific codes and zoning to be met. Once framing and drywall go up, you are kind of stuck with it, unless you plan on doing some major remodeling. The good news is, once a basement is finished, it will add value to your home as it will be adding square feet and most likely additional bedrooms and bathrooms. Again, we highly recommend careful planning prior to finishing your basement, as it is more permanent and will affect your home significantly.
For example, let’s say you know you want the world’s largest man cave in your basement, so you spend the time, money, and effort to finish the basement out as the biggest man cave you’ve ever seen and you love it and enjoy it for years to come. But, as your kids older and you find you need more bedrooms, and you really wished you had the space in the basement to add them, but you can’t because you have the world’s largest man cave, so now your only option is to either do some major remodeling or purchase a new home with more bedrooms. If you had done some light finishing to create your ultra-mancave from the start, you could easily adjust the basement space and/or pay a contractor to finish the basement out with additional bedrooms now. Not only adding value, because of the additional finished square footage but adding more bedrooms thereby upping your resale price if, or when you choose to sell the home. Hence the need for serious planning and saving before you decide how you want to finish your basement.
If you want to fully, or even partially finish the basement there are a couple of options.
- Get a quote from a contractor to finish all or part of the basement.
- If you’re handy, determine what it would take to finish the basement (materials, time, etc.) and contact your local building and permitting department to see what’s required. Often, even if you’re skilled and capable of construction work, without a licensed contractor signing off on the work, it won’t pass code or permitting, thereby devaluing your home, rather than increasing it.
Even if you are a home repair aficionado, hiring a professional is still the best way to go for anything to be considered permanent and to add monetary value to the home. Visit the Wichita Area Building Association Remodelers Council here to see a list of licensed, vetted contractors you can contact for a quote regarding a basement finish. Find a contractor here.
Whether you own a home with an unfinished basement or are looking to buy a home with an unfinished basement, we hope that you’re seeing unfinished basements in a whole new way – as a blank canvas – ready and waiting for your clever creativity to convert the space into whatever you need in a home, and maybe even more than you ever thought possible! And if you are home hunting but have been holding out for that perfect basement – don’t! Now you know you can create your perfect basement! Check out our available homes as we have many with unfinished basements – ready for you to make your own!
Check out these other helpful articles and resources for more unfinished basement ideas.
Our Pinterest board of Unfinished Basement Ideas for links to more resources and ideas!
Local Contractors to Help Finish Your Basement: WABA Remodelers Council
Please note, these are ideas and suggestions for how to use and convert the space in an unfinished basement. Miller Family Homes holds no responsibility or liability for accidents, problems, or issues that may occur from these suggestions. We do not promote or recommend that any dangerous, harmful, or unlawful activities be performed in unfinished basements or in an attempt to finish or lightly finish a basement. Basic safety guidelines and building practices should always be adhered to. Speak with a licensed contractor to ensure safe building practices are followed and the correct and necessary permits are filed. Choosing to follow recommendations or suggestions stated in this article is done so at the reader’s discretion and personal liability.