17 Unfinished Basement Ideas (with Photos)

Leaving a basement unfinished doesn’t mean that it has to look bad, and there are many ways that you can make the most of the space. Unfinished basements can easily be turned into a playroom, gym, or mancave. Whether you turn the space into an apartment or a home office, let’s take a look at these 17 unfinished basement ideas.

Unfinished Basement Ideas

Homeowners with unfinished basements understand the struggle of figuring out what to do with them. The walls and ceilings often look barren, and it can be hard to picture a great use of the space. What are some of the best things that you can do to spruce up your unfinished basement?

Convert your unfinished basement into a home office, bar, playroom, apartment, dining room, or family room. You can also turn the space into a home theater, art studio, gym, kitchen, or man cave to change things up. Choose complimentary lighting to add to the rustic vibe that many unfinished basements have and turn into a stylized family room.

Each of these ideas suits any budget and can change how you feel about your unfinished basement. Follow along as we explore the best options for your unfinished basement.

What Can You Do With An Unfinished Basement?

You can convert your unfinished basement into everything from a bar or family room to a home office and art studio. Home gyms are also a perfect use of the space in your unfinished basement if you are a fitness freak. Let’s take a look at all of the ways that you can spruce up your unfinished basement and put it to good use.

1. Office

You can convert your unfinished basement to a home office without spending much money. Homeowners seek out as much open-concept space as they can, and it’s with good reason. Home offices are great, but not if they are relegated to a cramped space.

That is not an issue with home offices that you set up in an unfinished basement. You can designate a corner to be an office space or use the entire room as an office. Unfinished basement offices allow you to use as much or as little of the space for an office.

This is a great option because it leaves you room to explore your aesthetic and maximize the space. You can dedicate one section of the unfinished basement to an office and use the rest of the space for whatever you’d like. Homeowners can furnish a makeshift office in an unfinished basement for less than $300.

2. Lighting

Lighting can change a bland, featureless space into one with character and class. Some of the best unfinished basement lighting ideas are simple, affordable, and effective. For example, you can hang string lights up in your unfinished basement and even tether them to the rafters.

You can install or hire a professional to put up LED light bars or track lights for a great price. Unfinished basements can look dull at times, but the addition of fun lighting brightens them up. It can be tricky to install ceiling-mounted lights in unfinished basements, but it’s worth the trouble.

Plan your lighting around what you want to do with the rest of the space. Whether you want the space to be a game room or a home office, you can tailor the lighting to suit your purposes.

3. Man Cave

Many homeowners would do anything that they could to get a coveted man cave of their own. If you have an unfinished basement, you’re sitting on the ultimate man cave opportunity. You can spend between $300 and $700 to fill your man cave with simple and comfortable furniture.

Dedicate the entire space to a man cave or relegate one corner to all of the things you want in one room. Invest in comfortable area rugs, a couch and chairs, and a wall-mounted TV for the ultimate man cave. Choose fun lighting, like outdoor string lights, to give your man cave a sense of character.

Consider the size of your unfinished basement as you design your man cave. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or elaborate, it just has to be comfortable. Think about your ideal man cave the next time you see your unfinished basement and fill it with what will make you the most comfortable.

4. Family Room

You can turn your unfinished basement into a primary or secondary family room. The open space allows you to fit plenty of people comfortably. All that it takes is a rug, a couch, a few chairs, and some thoughtful design choices to create a family room.

Your unfinished basement family room may turn out bigger than your original family room. Consider LED lighting for a bright and positive vibe in your unfinished basement family room. You can choose a vibe and aesthetic that is separate from the rest of your home or one that compliments it.

There is no limit to what you can do with a family room in an unfinished basement. Consider the size of the basement when you choose your furniture, rugs, and television. You can always repurpose it later if you choose, but you can enjoy your unfinished basement family room until then.

5. Gym

Why not use your unfinished basement space for something productive? Turn your unfinished basement into a positive space and convert it into a home gym. Unfinished basements are the perfect opportunity to get that home gym that you’ve thought about for years off of the ground.

Invest in gym equipment, foam mats, and maybe even a good sound system for great workouts. You don’t have to dedicate the entire space to a gym if you don’t want to. Place gym equipment and free weights in one corner of the unfinished basement if you want to utilize the rest of the room.

Working out in an unfinished basement gives you personal space and lets you focus solely on your exercise. Pair your home gym with office space in your unfinished basement for a one-stop productivity booster that you’ll cherish for years.

6. Home Theater

There’s nothing like home entertainment, and the ultimate form of that is the coveted home theater. Your unfinished basement is the ultimate chance to design a home theater best suited for you. Choose comfortable furniture, ambient lighting, a great sound system, and any TV that you’d like.

Consider the size of your unfinished basement when you design your home theater. Pick out your furniture based on how many people you typically accommodate. You can paint the wall joists and rafters a dark color to add to the theater experience and make it immersive.

Add as much seating as you need, and you can always add more down the line. Consider choosing bean bag chairs and floor pillows as you can move them out of the way or add more whenever you want. Home theaters aren’t relegated only to the rich and famous, and your unfinished basement is the perfect opportunity to create your own.

7. Art Studio

Unfinished basements are the perfect opportunity to install an art studio. You don’t have to worry as much about making a mess because of the lack of wallpaper and paint. There are plenty of opportunities to explore lighting that is conducive to creating art of any kind in an unfinished basement.

Choose rustic or modern furniture to create an artistic and creative environment. The exposed parts of the wall in an unfinished basement lend themselves to a unique and inviting space that stimulates creativity. You can hang inspirational art and fill the room with color choices that get your creative juices flowing.

It’s okay to make a mess in an unfinished basement, and that’s why art studios are perfect for them. Hang tarps and lay mats if you want to avoid making too big of a mess in your new art studio.

8. Bar

What is better than a rustic, unique bar right inside of your home? Unfinished basements are barren enough that you can turn them into anything, and that includes bars. You can install a counter and shelves, and purchase bar stools to make it feel like a real tavern.

The rustic vibe that unfinished basements embody is what you can find at many modern bars. There is no limit to what kind of aesthetic you want to employ with your brand new bar. Look at bars that you like or go online to see other home bars for inspiration.

You can convert your unfinished basement into a haven for fun and even add a pool table. Every great bar has a pool table, so why shouldn’t yours? You can always change the aesthetic of your unfinished basement bar as you go along until it’s the perfect getaway within your own home.

9. Storage

Turn your unfinished basement into a storage basement if you want to get the most practical use out of it. It may seem like a waste of such a large space, but the added storage will keep clutter out of the rest of your home. Also, you can always dedicate one part of the unfinished basement to storage and use the rest for something else, like a home office.

Install racks and shelves for everything from tools and equipment to clothes and unused boxes. There is no limit to what kind of storage configuration you can install in your unfinished basement. Unfinished basements can be an eyesore, so using them for storage won’t make it worse.

Your new storage space will help you when it comes time to move if and when you sell the house. It never hurts to have all of your gear, tools, and excess items in one place for when you need them. This is a way to maximize the space in your unfinished basement and make the rest of your house tidier.

10. Laundry Room

Is your upstairs laundry room a waste of space that you’d rather use for something else? If so, you can convert your unfinished basement, or at least part of it, into a laundry room. Unfinished basements also serve as a great space to do extra laundry for large families even if you keep the original laundry room.

As long as you can vent the washing machine and dryer, you can put them in the basement. Make sure that you can hook up the washing machine with the proper water connections. This is a great option if you don’t necessarily use your unfinished basement and want to dedicate it to something practical.

Your unfinished basement laundry room doesn’t have to take up and waste the entire space. That means that you can have your cake and eat it too by using the rest of the space for something else.

11. Kitchen

Turn your unfinished basement into a kitchen if you have windows that will let you ventilate the room. This is one of the more elaborate unfinished basement ideas because it requires a lot of work. You’ll need to have plumbing work done and install fixtures and applications.

The unfinished basement can serve as a primary or secondary kitchen for the household to enjoy. It can be difficult to get large items, such as countertops and refrigerators, down the steps, but it’s worth it. This can also help add value to your home when the time comes for you to sell the house.

Go with the rustic vibe that unfinished basements usually have or change the space to suit your taste. You can add rugs, counters, and furniture that make the room feel more clean and welcoming.

12. Playroom

Homeowners that have children can convert their unfinished basement into a playroom. Let’s face it, children’s playrooms can become messy, and kids can damage the walls and flooring. Kids are kids, and accidents happen, but it’s a crisis when it happens to a finished room.

However, you don’t have to worry about kids damaging the walls or flooring in an unfinished basement. The sky is the limit when it comes to playrooms in unfinished basements, and you can get creative. Luckily, you can repurpose the unfinished basement playroom when the kids get older, and it can even become a man cave.

Place rugs, mats, and bean bags on the ground to make the space as safe as possible. Fill the unfinished basement with the kid’s toys and let them have fun without worrying about creating a mess.

13. Dining Room

Give your dining experience a rustic or modern feel and put a dining room in your unfinished basement. Use candles and dim lighting to create an ambient mood around the dining room table. There are many types of chairs and dining room tables that can add character to an unfinished basement.

It can serve as a secondary dining room, or your primary dining space, and use the room upstairs for something else. Unfinished basement dining rooms are a great way to create a gateway within your home for special or regular dining. You can furnish a dining room in your unfinished basement for less than $500.

14. Artwork

Unfinished basements are a great place to display artwork. The barren walls create a blank canvas that lets your art pieces and decorations steal the show. There are so many lighting opportunities in unfinished basements that you can complement the art with no problem.

Leave the ceiling unfinished and close and seal the walls if you want to paint them. Paint your walls if you want to compliment the art or create a contrast and make it stand out. You can always throw in chairs and side tables to enjoy the space, or the artwork can simply complement whatever else you do with your unfinished basement.

15. Steampunk

It is a popular trend to turn your unfinished basement into a steampunk-themed den. Even if you don’t go the steampunk route, you can play into the grittier aspects of the area. Unfinished basements have exposed rafters and even joists sometimes that create a rustic vibe.

You can take advantage of that and fill the space with rustic weathered wood and leather. Dim lighting and dark wood or leather can make it look like the unfinished aspects of the basement are there for a reason. This aesthetic is especially great for unfinished basements with dark color schemes.

16. Game Room

Unfinished basements are a great chance to add fun to your house. Turn your unfinished basement into a game room whether it’s for children or adults. Ping pong tables, air hockey, and pinball machines are great for all ages and have a perfect home in unfinished basements.

This is great for when you entertain guests or if you have a family. Anyone can enjoy a game room, and that doesn’t have to be the whole purpose of the unfinished basement. You can always dedicate one area of the basement to a game room and take advantage of the rest.

17. Apartment

Turn your unfinished basement into an apartment, or a unique guest room. Put a bed, great lighting, and some furniture down there and it is a great apartment. You can make it feel like a true apartment and add a bathroom or kitchen to the basement as well.

Otherwise, your unfinished basement can serve as an extra bedroom or guest room when you need it. Unfinished basements are usually well-ventilated, and it would be just as comfortable as the rest of the house.

Related Questions

Are unfinished basements included in square footage?

No, unfinished basements are not included as part of your home’s total square footage. Basements are never considered part of your square footage, but they do add value to a home. However, unfinished basements don’t add quite as much value to a home as a finished basement.

Should you finish your basement?

You should finish your basement if you want to get more money out of it when you sell it. You don’t need to finish a basement right away, but it is wise to finish it before selling. Otherwise, there is no reason you can’t enjoy an unfinished basement as is or rush to finish it.

Summing It Up

Turn your unfinished basement into a bar, dining room, family room, office, home theater, or game room. You can convert it into a playroom if you have kids and use the space for something else later. Unfinished basements are the perfect space for art studios or even for displaying artwork with ambient lighting.

Convert your unfinished basement into a laundry room or kitchen if you want to add value to the home. You can fit both rooms in an unfinished basement, and it will add value and convenience to the whole house. Add a bedroom and turn the space into an apartment to add the most value to your home.

Each of these ideas will make space better and add character to your basement.

More Related Guides

Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

Recently Published