DIY Room Makeovers You Won’t Believe Are Actually Basements

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Do you have a basement? Is it being enjoyed? Does it look blah? (Are you perhaps afraid to go down there?) Whether you own or rent, you’ll find inspiration in the end results of these two basements designed by creative couples (one in a rental home, one in an owned home). Each couple approached design in different ways, but the outcomes are the same: A previously unused basement ends up a beautiful bonus space for the home.

(Image credit: Ana Kamin)

→ A boring rental basement turned Airy Guest Suite & Family Room

The basement level of Suzanne and Peter’s San Francisco house is where their garage is located, but there was also a basement room when they purchased it three years ago.

The couple wanted to not only remodel this basement-level space to be usable, they wanted to keep it small so they could still use their garage for garage-y things like fitting in a “car, washer/dryer, bikes and storage, garbage bins and access to the back yard.”

(Image credit: Ana Kamin)

In Suzanne and Peter’s own words:

“In planning for this suite, we knew we wanted it bigger so it could be a comfortable living space, not just a guest room. We definitely wanted another bathroom. Our daughter wanted a place for sleepovers. Peter envisioned a big screen, beer fridge, and a place for his amp and guitars. We also needed to maintain space in the garage for a car, washer/dryer, bikes, storage, garbage bins and access to the backyard.”

Basement reno lessons to use in your own space:

  • Repurpose tons of elements for the space.
  • Find a new use for EVERYTHING rather than throwing it away
  • Custom build furniture when you can
  • Hide your appliances

See more of this basement, the rest of the beautiful home and find a resource list → An Airy Guest Suite & Family Room Arise Out of a Dank Basement Remodel

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

→ A boring rental basement turned comfy guest suite and hang-out den:

When Blanca and Cody moved into their Seattle rental house, they instantly saw potential in their “crumbly” basement (shown above in the glorious “after” state). They first painted the entire space white to brighten the basement. They switched out an old, run-down sink with a counter and sink they salvaged from a reuse store. They invested in a stacking washer and dryer to leave more space for lounging.

As you can see from the photos of their space in their tour, they didn’t have to invest in a lot of furniture or objects to make the room feel comfortable. They simply chose statement pieces, like an orange-brown corduroy sectional couch and an eye-catching hanging chair.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

In Blanca and Cody’s own words:

“It’s the best place to host friends and it doubles as a comfy overnight guest suite full of amenities!”

Rental basement lessons to use in your own space:

  • Cover everything in clean white paint (Even the floors! If you can, paint over things you’d like to hide, like electrical panels, etc) to make it instantly feel larger and brighter.
  • Pick bold, statement-making furniture pieces; you won’t have to bring in as many accessories to make the space feel “full.”
  • Save space by upgrading outdated (and bulky) appliances

See more of this basement, the rest of the beautiful home and find a resource list → Blanca & Cody’s Oaxaca-Inspired Compact Cottage

→ A dated basement becomes a bonus room for the entire family:

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Not only did the basement look dated in Alison and Jeff’s historic Minneapolis home, it was downright unsafe! Wobbly, loose stairs made getting into the space a dangerous endeavor. So Alison (who is a big fan of learning how to repair things around the house) fixed the stairs (retreading and re-risering them and adding stylish trim to the staircase and newel post). From Alison: “I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt pretty damn good to figure it all out.”

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

After employing a contractor to take the dated basement’s existing walls “down to the studs” and then adding new drywall, Alison jumped in again with the DIY spirit by tackling the finishing (and fun!) details like paint, built-in cabinets, wallpaper, shelving, stairs and upholstery. The result? A bold space that has lots of stylish nooks for many different types of activities — the perfect solution for a family with different personalities and creative needs.

Still feeling too timid to tackle a basement redesign yourself? Take this advice from Alison to heart:

“Don’t be afraid to do it yourself! There is so much to learn, and every project gives you a little more knowledge and confidence to tackle the next.”

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Lessons to take from this basement renovation for your own space:

  • White paint and furniture again seems to be a great choice to lighten up a space that doesn’t get much natural light.
  • Bold design elements like wallpaper, art and DIY light fixtures keep a basement from being boring and turn it into a fun space you actually want to spend time in.

See the resource list for this beautiful basement makeover (plus the rest of this stunning abode) → Alison & Jeff’s Chill Scandinavian Meets Mid-Century Style