8 Finishing Touches for Your Unfinished Basement

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By: Heather Boag
Published: April 10, 2015
Last Update: February 24, 2023

Area Rugs

An unfinished basement may look dark and dreary, but it’s also an incredible blank canvas just waiting for a little creativity.  The truth is, you don’t need things like drywall and recessed lighting to create an awesome space.  With a little love and a few simple tricks, you can transform that space into a place that’s perfect for work, play, and storage!

String Lights

Most basements aren’t blessed with very much natural light - or any light for that matter.  With very few outlets, and just a couple of bulbs on the ceiling, an unfinished basement is seriously lacking in the lighting department.  However, some simple string lights offer a wonderful solution.  Not only do they create a fun, informal energy for the space, you can use several strands to brighten up a large area using just one outlet.

String LightsImage: yimg.com


It’s pretty amazing how quickly a coat of paint can transform your basement walls.  Yes, that includes walls of brick, poured concrete, and cinder block!  Choose a light, solid color to help transform that drab, unfinished space into one that’s bright and cheery.

PaintImage: rickswoodshopcreations.com

Foam Floor Mats

Your unfinished basement probably comes with a cold, hard concrete floor.  But that doesn’t mean that you have to keep it that way!  Take some of the chill out - and soften the floor up in the process - with square foam floor mats.  Available in different colours and sizes, these mats fit together like a puzzle.  They’re easy to move around, and stack and store as needed.

Foam Floor MatsImage: greatmats.com

Area Rugs

Area rugs are another simple alternative to the usual concrete floors found in unfinished basements.  Easy to move around as your needs change, an area rug can help to define different functional areas in the space. Carpeting remnants are also a good low-cost option for warming up a cold basement floor on a budget.

Area RugsImage: rotavonni.com


Your basement is a large, open area.  If you’d like to divide the space without putting up walls, curtains offer the perfect solution!  Add a track to the ceiling, or, if that won’t work, try stretching a taut picture wire across the room to use as a curtain rod.  Add hooks to flat sheets for simple curtain DIY.

CurtainsImage: st.houzz.com

Storage Units

An unfinished basement is the perfect place to store everything from off-season decorations and clothing, to tools and sporting goods.  Keep it organized with shelving units, clear tupperware bins, and well-labelled boxes.  You’ll be amazed how much cleaner your unfinished basement can look just by getting stuff off the concrete floor.

Storage UnitsImage: yimg.com


The ceiling in your unfinished basement probably looks pretty industrial.  If that’s not your style, you can easily soften it by hanging swaths of fabric to create a canopy ceiling.  It’s a simple, soothing transformation that’ll instantly transform your space.

FabricImage: yimg.com

Love your space!

Sometimes an unfinished space is actually the perfect area to tackle one of your messier hobbies.  If you know a budding artist, or an avid DIY-er, keeping part of your basement unfinished ensures there’s always a space for those not-so-neat projects.  A concrete floor makes cleanup a breeze - and all of those open studs and rafters make the perfect place to store materials and tools.  You just need to add simple pegboard and shelving.

Love your spaceImage: yimg.com