Finishing Basement Walls

Add the finishing touches to your basement with these basement wall ideas.

Red Basement Bar With Recessed Lighting in Custom Woodwork

Red Basement Bar With Recessed Lighting in Custom Woodwork

This traditional basement bar area provides the perfect space to gather with friends and enjoy a few drinks. The wood detailing and beautiful barstools give this vibrant red space eye-catching charm.

This traditional basement bar area provides the perfect space to gather with friends and enjoy a few drinks. The wood detailing and beautiful barstools give this vibrant red space eye-catching charm.

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik
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Basement walls might seem like bread is to a sandwich - vital, but fairly basic. But just like a great sandwich requires just the right bread to make it a good one, finishing basement walls properly is necessary to complete the space.

Basement Remodels: Before and After

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Before

Retired decorator Ruth Shacter set out to have her 1960 basement updated as a guest retreat. Since her late husband, Jack, put so much effort into building the modern space, Ruth was excited to breathe new life into it with the same style they loved so much.

After

In order to make it bright and welcoming, Ruth painted the space dove gray, then added high-energy contrast with accents of red. A collection of Asian prints, purchased by the couple while living in Japan in the 1950s, hangs in her remodeled basement living room.

Office Desk On Display

Since Ruth's late husband was attached to his hardy 1950s oak desk, she was adamant about keeping it in the space after the remodel. To give it a modern update, she had it sanded, primed and then sprayed with high-gloss charcoal lacquer. In order to keep the area well-lit, a junction box was added and a custom drum pendant was hung with the bottom 38 inches above the desktop.

Gray, Red and Retro

The guest bedroom features a pair of Regency-style twin beds belonging to the couple. Set against a dove-gray backdrop, the beds topped with Chinese chinoiserie pillows truly pop.

Before

When Julie Bitton and Tom Price bought their three-story townhouse, the basement was one of the first rooms to overhaul. The walls were painted a putty tone, the millwork and trim were painted glossy black, and the floor was covered with beige wall-to-wall carpet that seemed dated and dull.

After

In its new state, Julie and Tom's basement is much lighter and more energetic. They integrated color through the paint and wallpaper choices, selecting a shade of dove gray called First Snowfall from Benjamin Moore for the walls. By using the back of the sofa as a room divider, they created another area for seating for four around a table.

Lounge-Worthy

Upon entering the theater-style viewing room, guests are welcomed by the peninsula-shaped sofa, bright tones of the wall and trim, and energetic pops of orange.

TV Station

Julie and Tom decided to save more money by sticking with Julie's 42-inch flat-panel TV. Julie thought the walls behind the custom built-ins seemed bare, so she chose a geometric wallpaper in dark brown and silver to pick up on the dark tones of the floor.

Before

When Brian Patrick Flynn bought his 1955, three-story ranch, the basement’s bonus room was dark and cramped. The dated carpet and stippled effect ceiling created a disconnect from the home's overall mid-century modern vibe.

After

From the ceiling down to the floor, every detail of the room was changed to create Brian's dream design studio. To keep the rest of the home's silver and dark brown palette present in the space, the designer chose dark wood kitchen cabinetry outfitted as workspace storage.

Cozy Closet Niche

A reach-in closet was transformed into an upholstered sleeping nook that can be used by guests.

Before

In its existing state, the basement was covered in wall-to-wall carpet, had poor lighting and was used as a place for things that seemed to accumulate over time.

After

Josh Landers and Josh Williams embarked on a basement remodel to create a space where they could work from home several days a week while tending to their puppy, Bentley. Changes included using only dog-friendly, durable and easy-to-clean materials, from the vinyl plank flooring and vinyl crocodile wallcovering to steel furniture and custom draperies made from indoor/outdoor fabric.

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

Smart Storage

To keep the den clutter-free, Landers and Williams use a modern 1960s console to house all of Bentley's needs as well as their own office supplies. Atop the console sits a pair of modern lamps that light the corner, and on the wall is an old pet supply storefront sign that was picked up at an antique market.

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

A Porch for the Pooch

One of the biggest issues with the porch in its existing state was the unattractive air-conditioning unit. . To keep the air-conditioning unit hidden from view, the contractor created a hanging partition. The floor of the covered porch was updated with a roll of faux turf.

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

Before

When Michelle Workman first moved into her Lafayette, Calif., home, she was determined to overhaul its dated game room into a sophisticated, serene, Hollywood-inspired design studio.

After

Determined to save costs and stick with a short timeline of three weeks, Michelle decided to keep the built-ins that were previously used as game room storage. By placing her writing desk in front of the wall, she can look out into the backyard while working. "I didn't want to sit at my desk all day and stare at the wall. It was important to be able to look outside from my chair," the designer explains. "Floating the desk in front of the storage wall was the perfect solution."

Inspiration Corner

Michelle gave a corner of her design studio a defined purpose as an area for sourcing ideas and fabrics. When she comes across something inspiring in a magazine, she simply tears a page out, then tacks it up on the screen behind her.

Custom Pieces

To take full advantage of an 8-foot wall to the left of her design studio's entrance, Michelle designed a custom banquette where she can read design books. In keeping with her signature glamorous style, she chose a glossy, glazed linen for the upholstery with super shiny chrome nail head detail.

Before

When Alison Deyette first purchased her 1960 midcentury-modern house in Sherman Oaks, Calif., she found it difficult to imagine the ground-floor storage space could be transformed into a glamorous, storage-packed dressing room closet.

After

In two weeks the ground-floor storage room became a custom dressing room closet and stylist's studio, plus a space for overnight guests.

Work Station

Tucked snugly beside the entry door, Alison’s sewing station can be completely partitioned off during fittings by grape-toned satin draperies.

Two of the most important characteristics of basement walls are insulation and moisture protection. Basement walls may be finished by installing a wooden frame that is lined with fiberglass insulation. This insulation is most useful when it is contained within a vapor barrier, like polyurethane plastic.

An easy way to finish basement walls is to use ready-made wall panels, like the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System. These panels are made from a sturdy glass fiberboard that lock in place, and provide durability and waterproofing.

If you're completely finishing out the room, cover them with basement drywall and then paint or wallpaper.

Behind the Walls

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