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DIY Budget Basement Makeover Ideas (Easy Weekend DIY Projects)

Learn how to do a cheap basement makeover to create a room in your home the whole family will love

Are you looking for an inexpensive way to redo your basement? We were in the same predicament after we decided we needed to use our basement space to become a play area for our children. Luckily our basement was “finished”, but it was completely dated. Here are a few steps and products we used to do a cheap DIY basement makeover on a budget.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.  

Easy Ways to Cheaply Makeover A Basement

1. Redo old and dusty drop ceiling tiles

2. Replace flooring if needed (luckily our carpet was in good enough shape)

3. Paint or get rid of wallpaper

4. Paint or update some of the basement molding, doors or beams. Making a few things white can really enhance a space!

5. Add extra storage space in your basement

5. Add extra living spaces, such as a bedroom

6. Decorate using items you already have and enjoy your space for your family

Basement Ceiling Makeover: How to transform your drop ceiling

Our basement had a drop ceiling and probably the construction grade for all homes built in the 1990s. I researched all sorts of different ways to redo the drop ceiling. Here are a few that I read about:

1) Tear out the drop ceiling and paint all pipes and wood black or the color of your choice. If this painting method sounds appealing, here are a few tips from the bloggers over at One Project Closer.

Pros: Gain extra footage in your ceiling height, no longer have a drop ceiling, looks nice when done

Cons: Have to tear out the current system, best if you spray paint on (therefore require a lot of prep work/cover current materials, extra soundproofing from tiles gone

2) Paint the current basement drop ceiling tiles

Pros: Pretty inexpensive

Cons: Time consuming, still may not look the best

3) Drywall the basement ceiling

Pros: Professional looking

Cons: Expensive to have someone else do, have to demo current ceiling, time-consuming and unable to easily read basement pipes or electrical wires.

4) Use vinyl drop ceiling tiles

Pros: Looks professional, brightens up space, can easily order boxes of 10, easy to install, limited mess

Cons: Still takes time to replace all ceiling tiles but not nearly as much as tearing the whole system out and then doing something else, is not as cheap as painting the existing tiles

What is the best way to redo a drop tile ceiling?

We chose to cover the existing tiles. This drop ceiling product was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! You can just take the old ones out, but we decided to keep the old drop ceiling tile and just add these covers. As you can see in the picture, it really brightens our space. The tiles come in 2′ x 2′ covers so you can easily guess how many boxes of this product you will need. 

The difference between old drop ceiling tiles and new celiume stratford vinyl tiles in basement makeover

The full tiles were very easy to install. I worked in small sections. I would take the one old tile down and add the cover and placed both back into the grid. If one needed to be cut, I used my scissors to carefully cut a cover to match the existing tile.

Celuime Stratford Ceiling Tiles in DIY Basement Makeover

It was amazing that just a nice pair of scissors. You do have to be careful to not cut the tile too small. It will hang down if it doesn’t fit in your current drop ceiling tracks.

I cannot say enough about how much this simple drop ceiling cover product, changed the look of our basement. I know it is hard to spend money on a CEILING…but you will be glad you did. I never realized how much a dated and slightly dingy ceiling can really impact a space.

Read more>>>Our full Ceilume tile review with video

Here are some other drop ceiling tiles to consider

And if you are a price comparer like myself, links to see how much you will pay for the product we used.


Ceilume Stratford Tiles (the ones we used)

Genesis Icon Relief Tiles: Great counterpart to compare to the Ceilume brand

Home Depot

Ceilume Stratford Tiles (the ones we used)

Single Raised Panels: Slightly cheaper, but not as much depth.

Flamingo Panel Grid Panel Ceiling Tile

Decorative Tin Ceiling Tiles: Just in case you want to consider something completely decorative and different!


Genesis Icon Relief Tiles

Armstrong White Ceiling Tiles

I never thought I would LOVE vinyl drop ceiling tiles so much!

If you get any inspiration from my cheap DIY basement makeover, I really hope you try this drop ceiling tile product out. I was able to do it all by myself, without the help of anyone else.

You can also purchase this product by Ceilume to help cover up your drop ceiling grids. One day we might do it. It does look super nice, but right now it is not high on our priority list.

Our space really did transform once we covered our old and dingy tiles! Can you tell how happy a new ceiling made me????

Basement Wall Makeover: How to use a sealer on wallpaper?

Our basement had an ugly 90’s wallpaper throughout the wall space. One of my friends said that it looked like it came out of the TV show, Full House (not Fuller House). I had to update it, but when I tried to take a little off using traditional methods, it just didn’t seem to work. 

Man using wallpaper sealer on top of old wallpaper before painting

Therefore after more research on what to do with wallpaper, we found that this sealer would work just as well. It is the counterpart to the SW brand that we used.

We found our wallpaper sealer at Sherwin Williams. If you go and ask them about what product they recommend, they will guide you to it. Just make sure you work in a well-ventilated area or that you take a lot of breaks when using the product.

Gray paint over wallpaper sealer

You simply roll it out like you would paint after you lightly sand the wallpaper seams. For a basement, I think it was a perfect solution. Way better than trying to take all the wallpaper down and have to patch all the walls. 

Gray walls painted after wallpaper sealer with chair in basement

After it was done, we used a nice neutral, but cool gray.  As you can see in the above picture, you really can’t tell that there is wallpaper under the layer of gray paint.

DIY BASEMENT makeover that will keep you on budget with image of DIY white built-in entertainment and storage
Don’t forget to pin this image for later so you can reference back to all the budget-friendly DIY basement makeover ideas!!!!

How to update wood in the basement without painting all molding and wood surfaces?

In this house, we had OAK molding and doors everywhere! It is very time-consuming and a little messy to paint all the molding when you have the carpet already there. I REALLY did not want to have to paint all the molding for this basement makeover.

How to paint oak molding  

  1. Use a deglossing agent to wipe down boards
  2. Apply a bonding primer with a brush
  3. Use a white enamel paint in 2 coats (at least)

Not only does it take time to carefully do this, but you have to wait for each layer of paint to dry before you can do the next step. Instead of painting everything white, I decided to follow the steps listed above to make my doors and columns white and leave the molding…it is a basement overall!

White bonding primer applied to wooden posts and doors for diy bathroom makeover

For the doors and columns, the only difference was that I used a small foam roller to apply the primer and enamel paint. I did have to trim around the columns so that I can leave the top and bottom of the molding the wood color. I am so HAPPY that I did not try to paint all the molding in the basement. My days of painting molding may be coming to an end after doing every single piece in two houses recently! 

Where else can you use this same painting technique to get rid of dated oak in your home?

We used this same method to paint our fireplace mantel. If you are looking for another cheap DIY update that can really make a space in your home feel more modern, then check it out.

White column with oak molding in DIY basement remodel

DIY Basement Design: How to add extra storage to your basement using stock upper cabinets?

Again, I looked all over Pinterest and Google to find inexpensive ways to add DIY storage to our basement. There are IKEA hacks I considered and different ways to create more storage. We decided that we wanted a more built-in look then just taking a piece of Ikea furniture and redoing it.

Upper Cabinets used for DIY built-in cabinets

How to create cheap DIY built-in cabinets by using stock upper kitchen cabinets as base cabinets.

Before my husband could install the cabinets, he had to create a base using 2’ x 4s, so that the cabinets would be off the ground and the proper height.

Stock upper cabinets purchase options

Diamond Arcadia Stock Cabinets

Hampton Shaker Upper Cabinets

Hampton Assemble White Upper Cabinet

*We also used unprimed stock wood cabinets to add laundry room storage and shelving

Before you order cabinets (they will even ship to you for free from most places), you will need to figure out the size of the cabinets that you want. Our DIY built-in design had one large cabinet that opened from the middle to store a variety of toys and things. We then added smaller single cabinets to the sides to complete our basement storage.

Get your cabinets level!

The biggest challenge with installing any cabinets is to make sure they are level before securing them to the wall. You may have to use shims (or small wooden chips to make sure the first one is level before instilling more). 

Wood being stained for tops of DIY built-in cabinets

We then stained to 2 1’ thick, 8″ wide, and 10 ft. long poplar boards to create the top of our DIY built-in entertainment and toy storage center. Once the cabinets were installed, we used wood glue and a few finishing nails to secure the top to the cabinets.

Add quarter-round to cover any gaps due to our basement wall not being completely square. And let’s face it, no wall is!

DIY built-in storage cabinet in a budget basement makeover

Add hardware (we used) and you have your own DIY built-in storage to help keep your basement organized.

If you are looking for different hardware for fun DIY projects, check out World Market. I always love their fun collection of hardware and have used their products on several different DIY furniture makeovers.

Organize your basement shelving

My husband and I were going to add other shelving on top but then decided we really didn’t need it. It was a great way to add a more built-in look on a budget. I have even made some of my own storage containers out of boxes to add another touch of inexpensive DIY solutions for inside the cabinets. 

DIY Basement Makeover using white cabinets to create DIY built-ins below tv

You can never have too many storage containers or ways to organize in my opinion! Also, labeling the bins seem to help my children put the toys back in the right place.

DIY Basement Idea: Create an extra basement bedroom

Before our budget-friendly basement makeover, we knew we had to figure out what to do with an ugly room right off the main basement area. This basement room used to be an old office will HORRIBLE green golf wallpaper. (I will add a before picture soon).

Therefore, we sealed the wallpaper using the steps above and drop ceiling covers to modernize this basement space. Next, we added any furniture already on hand and lamps that could be repurposed. Using brushed nickel spray paint and adding a new shade really added to this.

DIY Basement Bedroom Idea

Also, my husband’s parents had given us their old record collection. Therefore, we decided to use these amazing record cover frames to add DIY artwork to the wall in the basement.

Related Reading: See what this basement room is now and how my children love this space!

Sectional couch with painted column in a DIY basement makeover on a budget

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

What is your favorite DIY home makeover? I always get a thrill when I am able to transform something for my home on a BUDGET!!!!

Our DIY budget basement makeover really gave us more space to create a kid’s area and adult area that we needed!

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Monday 11th of May 2020

Beautifully done!


Monday 11th of May 2020

Hi! I am so glad you approve of our DIY basement makeover!

Gina Abernathy/

Friday 10th of January 2020

Looks great! My basement is also on my list of things to do. Right now, it is a catch all for everything. :)


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Hi Gina! I know how difficult it is to keep things organized. We just really needed space in our basement for our kids to go! It is nice that we were able to do that pretty cheaply!

Lisa Alioto

Friday 10th of January 2020

Love your ideas - they all seem so doable by the average person. I love that - it gives me hope!


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Hi Lisa! Yes, I would say all of these DIY basement makeover tips are very doable!


Friday 10th of January 2020

I love this, it looks stunning. Thank you for sharing.


Sunday 12th of January 2020

Thanks, Renicia. I am glad that you loved our DIY basement makeover!

Brenda Bunney

Friday 29th of November 2019


We've done several DYI home projects. Always seems to be a combined effort of hiring some pros and us :) I wish I'd know about that wall covering for existing wallpaper several years ago! It's all gone now! Thank heaven's and I feel your pain. Man we needed it! And your ceilings look great. I'd never thought of that! Awesome job.


Sunday 8th of December 2019

Hi Brenda! Some DIY projects are worth asking for help. We for sure have experienced that is all of our home projects. Thanks for the kind words. I really couldn't get over how a drop ceiling makeover changed our basement.

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