How do we refinish an ugly canning storage closet in our basement?

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We have an unfinshed, poured concrete wall basement that has two canning pantries built in. The pantries are about 4' square, concrete walls, with homemade wooden shelves. There is no ceiling, just the basement rafters, and it's full of cobwebs and concrete dust. We'd like to finish the closets to use for linen storage and other odds and ends. Any thoughts about how to install a ceiling and make the walls nicer? Thanks!
  8 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 15, 2013
    You could install some studs and then either install drywall or plywood (paint it or use stain grade) Then you could install some stand alone shelving or install a "closet" built in type system.

  • Sarah Jackson Sarah Jackson on Sep 17, 2013
    Well, this is probably not the answer you are looking for but the quickest, and easiest solution would be to just install a pre-made "wardrobe" in the spot. Here's a link to some at Ikea: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/bedroom/19053/ Just a thought.

  • Annie Fitt Annie Fitt on Sep 17, 2013
    I'd use plywood on the ceiling - just screw it to existing joists, then paint. I am leery of building walls against underground concrete as they tend to trap moisture - I have found it a recipe for mold/mildew and you certainly don't want that in a linen storage space. What I would do is skim coat the concrete with Quikwall or something similar, and finish it like a plaster wall with chalk paint. Oh, and use a louvered door instead of solid to keep air circulating. Leaving a low-wattage incandescent light burning (kept well away from anything flammable) also helps keep things dry.

  • Arlene Buono Arlene Buono on Sep 17, 2013
    I would, as someone else said, just clean up the spot, and paint on the water resistant paint, then put in a ready made cabinet of your choice, and you can decorate it your own way.

  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Sep 17, 2013
    If you are trying to do it on the cheap, I have seen the rafters and everything spray painted white. Since you already have shelves that is what I would do. Vacuum, scrub and spray paint. You could buy various plastic containers to store things in and could also add vinyl shelf paper to the painted shelves.

  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Sep 17, 2013
    If you are trying to do it on the cheap, I have seen the rafters and everything spray painted white. Since you already have shelves that is what I would do. Vacuum, scrub and spray paint. You could buy various plastic containers to store things in and could also add vinyl shelf paper to the painted shelves.

  • Gloria Duy Gloria Duy on Sep 17, 2013
    If you are trying to do it on the cheap, I have seen the rafters and everything spray painted white. Since you already have shelves that is what I would do. Vacuum, scrub and spray paint. You could buy various plastic containers to store things in and could also add vinyl shelf paper to the painted shelves.

  • Jennifer W Jennifer W on Sep 22, 2013
    Thank you, everyone! I will be doing a combination of suggestions--plywood on the ceiling, louvered doors, and wire rack shelving instead of the old scrap wood shelves. I'm also pulling down the wall between the two closets to make one HUGE closet. Still deciding between doing some studs and wood paneling or just waterproof paint on the walls. It's a bone dry basement, fortunately. I'm excited! :)))