Ideas for Finished Basements

Finishing a basement not only adds value to your home, but it also allows for a fun space where you can enjoy family or entertain friends.



By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik
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When you're taking steps to finish a basement, the options are endless for how you might design the space. If you take the time to address your family's immediate needs, then you will create a space that perfectly suits your style.

Basement Media Room Makeover

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Before: Stuffy and Lifeless

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.


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.

Inviting Details

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.

Layers of Color

By opting for a peninsula-shaped sectional, Julie and Tom are able to offer seating for up to six people when watching movies.

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.

Must-Have Concessions

To ensure guests are equipped with the proper movie-viewing snacks, Julie and Tom dedicated the counter spaces above their base cabinets for laying out staple candies and movie options. In decorating the space, the couple made sure to include Julie's Moroccan heritage and love of classic movies as well as Tom's movie memorabilia and collection of DVDs.

Gaming Center

In addition to DVDs and TV on demand, the theater is used for gaming, both old and new. For a trip down memory lane, Tom often hooks up his Super Nintendo from the late 1980s and plays classic games such as Star Wars. To keep the gaming and audio/video components concealed, the couple designated lower cabinetry for storage.

Salvaged Hardware

Although the walls and flooring needed complete overhauls, Julie and Tom decided to keep the space's existing polished nickel hardware. The silver tones of the hardware coordinate beautifully with the overall gray and brown color scheme.

Bright White Light

Determined to make the newly revamped basement both lighter and brighter, Julie and Tom opted for drum pendants covered in ultra-white linen. The attached diffuser softens the output of light, creating a clear, inviting feel throughout the space.

Incognito Speakers

Surround-sound speakers were installed into the drywall ceiling to keep electronic components out of sight and keep more focus on the room's decorative elements.

Pillow Talk

When deciding on decoration, the couple included touches of Moroccan style to reflect Julie and brought in elements of Star Wars to reflect Tom. For custom touches, the couple had pillows made from a Moroccan print as well as from screen-printed Star Wars T-shirts.

Vintage Furniture

In selecting a square, chrome midcentury-modern-style table with a glass top, the couple wanted maximum table surface for popcorn, candy and drinks, and to keep the room feeling open and airy. In general glass-top tables give the illusion of more space.

Cost-Effective Flooring

To pick up on the same black-brown tones in the graphic wallpaper, the couple chose dark wood floating laminate floor. Durable and inexpensive, laminate floating floor can be laid down directly over tile, saving money on preparation and installation costs.

Corralling the Movie Collection

In order to keep Tom's DVD collection organized and concealed, the couple dedicated the interior of the cabinetry to housing various genres grouped together by horse-bust bookends. Julie says, "It's like the Black Stallion is keeping watch over our movies!"

Iconic Characters on Display

To add cinematic flair to the decor, Tom put his Star Wars memorabilia on display, including small Lego characters of Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker.

Photo By: Chris Tsambis

Orange Accents

Julie used orange throughout the viewing room through well-placed accents. A $100 vintage acrylic owl painting she picked up at a vintage store carries the high-energy orange tone onto the dove-gray walls.

Pre-Screening Dining

To add an informal dining area for four, Julie and Tom placed a round, pedestal-base table with four chairs that mixed two different styles. "Before we watch movies, it's nice to eat dinner at the table and save the candy and chocolate for the main event," says Julie. They gave the area a cinematic touch by featuring a black-and-white photo of Frank Sinatra mounted on foam core.

If your basement needs to multi-task then consider dividing it into two spaces. For example, one area may be a media room and the other a kids' play area. Another design would allow for a home gym, while the remainder could contain a bedroom and kitchenette for guests.

Remember that not all finished basements require a complete redesign. Sometimes simple additions, like a sectional couch can help to create a division within the room, allowing you to create a multi-functional space. Fresh paint colors, new lighting fixtures and warm area rugs also help to make a basement space look new without breaking your budget.

Amazing Basement Bars

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