How to finish a basement on a budget?

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I really want to do utilize my unfinished basement.
It has cement floors and block walls.
No egress windows.
I did relocate the washer and dryer to our mud room.
I would love to make it a family/ playroom. I'm raising my granddaughter and now caring for my in laws in our 1400 sq ft. home.
It is my goal to have an active area for my granddaughter to have friends and a place that is just hers . She's given up so much since my elderly in laws moved in.1



q unfinished basement with out funds
  5 answers
  • Emily Emily on Jul 10, 2018
    You are a very good grandma! We have a similar type basement. High windows but they still let in air and light, fieldstone walls and cement floor. We don't need ours for a child but it still serves wonderfully for us and yours will too. I don't know if the middle is mechanicals but somehow that should be screened off, not in a way that might scare children though. If the basement floor is always dry it could be painted a bright color and maybe even with a hopscotch pattern painted on it. She could have a play kitchen and some chairs and table(s) and you can hang bulletin boards on the walls (we do this) Maybe you could have a group effort to help you with this project. Good luck to all of you!

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Jul 10, 2018

    It would be lovely if you could paint the ceiling. And hang some string lights. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Any leftover paint in your basement?

    You can hide the storage/work space. Four eye hooks screwed into ceiling beams. Get some bright inexpensive shower curtains (solid colors) and hang them using wire between the eye hooks. They’ll brighten the place but the storage will be easily accessible.

    Rustoleum, and everyone else, makes great colored Chalkboard paint for very reasonable prices. Paint a section of the wall with a fun color for her art studio. Let her hang her artwork, using Painters Tape to “frame” and attach to the wall.

    Go to all your local carpet stores and ask if they have carpet samples they will give you. Also, pretty soon everyone is going to have sales on outdoor rugs. They’re generally colorful and fun. Keep your eye out for Clearance area rugs or the carpeting that’s sold on a roll at HD and Lowe’s.

    Yardsale shop for clean comfy chairs and big pillows.

    If you have a stray bench or table, give her a couple of plants to care for. There seems to be enough light.


    Involve your grandughter. That, especially, will make it her space.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jul 10, 2018
    Without egress window's, you can't make it into a living area due to fire and safety codes. Perhaps you could change out a couple of windows, gradually, when you have the funds. You could put up some moveable "walls" that you can move to allow your grand daughter space, and still wall off areas like around a furnace, etc. You could paint the floors and walls into perhaps a few different room like areas for different activities. Is the basement set up with outlets and places for lighting? Your in-laws, perhaps could help you with some funds to do a little work on the basement. I am sure they aren't penniless. Hubby and I live with our middle child. We are paying about half of the household expenses, we pay all car insurance, cell phones, most of the food (he buys his work lunches snacks and soda's), we do most of the repairs and house or yard projects out of our pocket, and bought all new appliances for the house. If we can do this on Social Security, perhaps they can chip in a little bit for the added expense they brought on your shoulders. Talk to your hubby and see if perhaps he would speak with them about this. I am not trying to speak ill of the in-laws, but they should be helping you out, too. If we can do it for our son, they can do it for you, it is only right.

  • Lisa S. Lisa S. on Jul 10, 2018
    I had a friend with a very limited budget. She fixed an area in her similar basement for teen sons to hang out, . She just placed a large area rug, with old sofas, old coffee table TV - that could hook to their game system. They had their friends over and had a ball - even though it was a real basement. They had their area.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jul 11, 2018

    Referring to Nancy's comment: You can make, in other words, decorate or designate, your basement into any living area that you want. However, if there ever were a fire, and someone who is down there could not get out of the windows, then your fire insurance policy coverage could be nulled.

    The other aspect that matters is if you have any area closed off with walls and doors and are designating it a bedroom and it does not have legal sized access windows, you can not legally call it a bedroom when listing the house for sale. Nor can you legally rent it out as 'living space' or 'bedroom'.