31+ Unfinished Basement Ideas and Designs

Last Updated on June 4, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

Many of us might not believe but basements add real-estate value to homes by 20%. Having a spare room provides a lot of utilitarian value specifically for storage, entertainment rooms, and even an extra bedroom for that matter.

Having an unfinished basement should not be a problem. In fact, there are a lot of things you can add and a lot of designs that you can consider to transform an empty, unfinished basement into one for the book’s sight. 

If you are wondering what refurbishing ideas and decorative details you could add in upscaling an unfinished basement, we will feature here some designs and ideas that you can explore so read on. 

31 Unfinished basement ideas and designs

best unfinished basement ideas

The important question is, what items could you add to make your unfinished basement cozier, homier, and more than just a storage room? If you are looking for some ideas for your unfinished basement, this list gives you a rundown of what you can consider for your unfinished basement. 

Related: DIY basement ceiling ideas

1. Organized basement

1 unfinished basement ideas

Unfinished basements are typically chaotic and disorganized, but it need not be that way. You can stack up steel shelves to categorize your stuff down there and racks where the leftover paint and chemicals are safely locked up.

This gives you more space to have one corner for other purposes like a billiards or darts corner. 

2. Underground bar

2 unfinished basement ideas

The basement can be a wide unused space and if you have friends who you love coming over, having a mini bar in your basement is a crafty choice. You can give it a finished floor or just raw concrete, have some countertops and lights, bring down the booze and you are good to go. 

3. Basement bathroom

3 unfinished basement ideas

Who would not love a rustic, unfinished basement bathroom right? It looks medieval, raw and it offers a chill aesthetics like no other. Aside from this, you are creating a space where you could have unlimited me-time where music and lights keep you relaxed. 

4. Basement billiards room

4 unfinished basement ideas

The basement is the perfect space for the rowdy boys’ fun like playing darts, computer games, and billiards. Installing a billiards’ set in the basement complements a minibar well. You can also add in other recreational choices like pinball or air hockey.

5. Basement home theater

5 unfinished basement ideas

The basement is not only a safe space but also a room with the best acoustics. As such, a basement home theater is a considerable choice if you have the budget to spare. It does not need to be a full-blown home theater. What is important would be a big-screen TV, and good seating. 

6. Basement bedroom

6 unfinished basement ideas

Teens love solitude and independence. At some point, the basement could be the best rooms for budding adults as they could have their own space, designing it with their preference and to have that privacy that teens love in that phase. Adults could equally enjoy a little privacy too. 

See more basement bedroom ideas

7. Laundry room

7 unfinished basement ideas

Having an official laundry room could save you a lot of hassle in terms of space especially if you want to do your laundry with a lot of peace and quiet. Position the washing machines and dryers in one place and install shelves and put in racks and shelves for the detergent and fabric conditioner. 

8. Underground library

8 unfinished basement ideas

Another ‘peace and quiet’ activity apt for a basement would be a basement library. Bookworms in the household shall definitely love this space that you are creating.

You can do all the arrangements that you want, organize the books in any category that you want. Queuing a chill playlist on the side gives the right café feels. 

9. Basement Coffee Corner

9 unfinished basement ideas

We mentioned the basement bar and the basement billiards as well as the basement library. But another good idea to cook for an unfinished basement would be a coffee corner where you could just enjoy an undisturbed coffee time, solo or not.

All you need are shelves, coffee tables, stools, music, and a coffee maker, and you are done.

10. Basement art studio

10 unfinished basement ideas

Painting and drawing are other skills that need solitude, focus, and utter silence. Transforming your basement into an art studio could be one of the best things that could happen for an unfinished basement.

You can place your canvas at your desired place, place some bean bags where you could sit, and just hang everything along your basement walls. 

11. Basement workshop

11 unfinished basement ideas

For the home handymen out there, a basement workshop is a solid idea to work on. You can organize your tools in a rack, install a large corkboard where you could hang the handier tools. You can also make a customized bench where you could sit down to be mesmerized by your work. 

12. Basement playground

12 unfinished basement ideas

If you need a safe place where you could tuck your kids in by customizing everything as child-friendly, try your basement. You can put in a cushioned floor, camping tents, and a full indoor playset where all the kids and their friends could hang out. 

13. Basement living room

13 unfinished basement ideas

Why keep the fun family time upstairs if you can have another living room where you could just enjoy cozy, warm afternoons with the people you love. It could also be a place where your friends and you could hideout while the adults enjoy the main living room. 

14. Basement music room

14 unfinished basement ideas

A lot of famous artists started their stardom from their homes’ basements. If music is your passion, it is high time to convert your basement into your own music room.

You can make your demos there given its beautiful, natural acoustics and you can just play your instruments for some relaxation. 

15. Basement study room

15 unfinished basement ideas

A basement study room could go well with a basement library. All you need to add would be study tables, a comfortable stool, and some scholarly decorative pieces that you could hang, a comfortable rug to soothe the feet and your study room is good to go. 

16. Basement fireplace

16 unfinished basement ideas

Having a basement fireplace is not a popular choice but honestly, it could work beautifully. You can have a standout second living room with a cozy electric fireplace where you could have a nice downtime alone or with a few, good friends. 

Related: 20+ Types Of Fireplaces and Their Names

17. Underground home office

17 unfinished basement ideas

Some people are just more productive when they are alone without noise that is why an underground home office built in your basement is a good call.

Online work could be done just fine as long as you have a stable internet connection especially now that we are all safer indoors. 

Related: Best basement office ideas

18. Basement casino

18 unfinished basement ideas

If we are indulging in a fun and games room, having a basement casino is the ultimate cherry on top. You can have some wood casino tables and play some cards and poker over some food and drinks. And if you are alone? Some solitaire fun helps too. 

19. Basement gym

19 unfinished basement ideas

If you have gym equipment around but do not know where to put them for good use, try your basement. Focus won’t be a problem while you are in there, you could blast off some music and just work out your way into your basement, literally and figuratively. 

20. Basement meditation and yoga room

20 unfinished basement ideas

Unlike the basement gym, you only need yoga mats and zen music to get your own basement meditation and yoga room. You can have that serene time out there and just cut loose from the world for as long as you want. 

21. Basement sewing room

21 unfinished basement ideas

Another creative activity that perfectly matches an organized basement would be a sewing room. Most countries have started another ring of lockdown and having a new hobby like sewing needs focus and a quiet time. Take that to your basement and just be productive. 

22. Basement game and arcade room

22 unfinished basement ideas

Teens, kids, adults, there is no downtime for arcade, computer, and video games. Gamers would never want someone disturbing them when they are on a mission, killing orcs and enemies on the side. To give them a hub that they will surely love, take that arcade room in the basement.

23. Basement photography studio

23 unfinished basement ideas

The basement has the best angles and the best light balance for it to work as a home photography studio and a darkroom. You can hang different backdrops, add different lightwork, some reflectors, and drop cloths for a full-blown photography studio. 

Related: Basement lighting ideas

24. Basement pantry

24 unfinished basement ideas

If you have a lot of perishables, a steady supply of produce, and herbs and spices that you are growing on your own, the basement is a solid pantry where you could pack them all in. Like with the tools, the detergent, and all, you can put in shelves and racks to organize all of the perishable stuff in the basement. 

25. Basement dance studio

25 unfinished basement ideas

We have covered the music, the meditation, and the gym so who would restrain you from going into a basement dance studio, right? The acoustics are beautiful, the unfinished floors are good to dance on and it is just a wide space where you could free your dance skills out.

26. Wine cellar

26 unfinished basement ideas

The basement pantry can be divided on one side with the perishables and produce and the other side can be made into a beautiful wine cellar where your wine and spirits could age well. The damp, dark, and cool atmosphere of the basement is the perfect nook for a wine cellar.

27. Transition room

27 unfinished basement ideas

If you need a seamless room where there is a fireplace on one side, a living room at the center, an arcade corner on another, and a wine cellar on the next. With the proper arrangement and right pieces, you can build an elegant transition room with an unfinished basement. 

28. Retro look

28 unfinished basement ideas

Be it a pool/billiards room, a living room, or an arcade room, a good touch would be to redecorate your unfinished basement with a retro look. If you are the artsy type eyeing for a vintage look, go for this retro style. 

29. Log cabin transition room

29 unfinished basement ideas

A modern, industrial look is typically the design of transition rooms but a log cabin, rustic look never goes out of style. You have all the natural, unsealed wood look. Give it a set of rustic decorative pieces and you are good to go.

30. Posh receiving room

30 unfinished basement ideas

You can set exterior stairs that directly go to the basement. Having these around could let you work on a posh receiving room where you could entertain people without having to disturb those who are in the main living room or in the house, in general, all you need are stairs outside and this design.

31. Urban style basements

31 unfinished basement ideas

This idea really works on a lot of basement dividers. You can have a lounge on one side, shelves, and books on the other, and a laundry room waiting on the next.

An urban style basement gives you a lot of usable spaces with just one and for those who are struggling with what to do with that large basement space, this is the best way to transform and put everything into a compact one-stop-shop space.

Unfinished basement ideas – FAQs

Unfinished basements could stay as they are but to what extent and to what purpose? To answer these important questions, here are some FAQs that you should know about. 

What is an unfinished basement?

There are two qualifications that categorize a basement as unfinished. The first one is if it has no drywall or when the concrete is just roughly painted. The second qualification is the poles or beams are still exposed. 

Is it illegal to live in an unfinished basement?

Yes. First, federal rules mandate the specific clauses that make a basement a livable space. A livable basement means that it could be opened for rent. The rules specifically mandate that it must have at least 9 square feet of floor space and a 36x36inches dimension.

The ascending ladder should be no more than 44inches in height while the sill height should be at least 44inches above the floor space. 

In the tax rules, a landlord must first obtain local permits for them to be allowed to have someone rent their basement. As such, having someone rent or live in an unfinished basement is considered illegal.  

Why are basements unfinished?

The most probable reason would be the cost that a basement fix will require. After all, basements were never designed to be added living spaces for the home but for additional storage.

Hence, it is not a requirement that basements should be finished. The other underrated reason is that there is a need to access electric wires and plumbing pipes so some homeowners leave the basement unfinished. 

But finished or not, basements are still considered as functional spaces for laundry rooms, recreational rooms, and of course, as we have previously mentioned, in terms of storage. 

How much value does an unfinished basement add to a home?

An unfinished basement hardly adds value to the home unless there is a scarcity of spaces for rent in the area. But if in the long run, you find yourself investing in a finished basement for some reason, you must know that it gives you 70-80% of real estate returns of the total finishing costs that you spent.  


Unfinished basements can stay unfinished if you do not intend for it to be an additional living space as mandated by state rules. However, they need not be just storage rooms. You can turn it into an underground haven, an entertainment area, or just paint the walls but let the beams and plumbing as they are for an industrial spare room, study room, or home office. 

While unfinished basements do not help a lot when it comes to real estate value, it provides an additional spot for some peace and quiet or for some fun that the neighbors would not be disturbed of. So, is it a good deal to have unfinished basements? With these ideas, we think it still is.

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