Your basement may not be the biggest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t transform it into a space with BIG potential. The truth is you don’t need a lot of square footage to make your small finished basement into a rec room, man cave, gym, bedroom, or craft room. The possibilities for the space are endless, especially if you use these small finished basement ideas and tips to make the space everything you want.
Small basement tips
- When finishing a basement, make sure the basement is waterproofed so drywall and furniture is not damaged. If waterproofing is not possible, consider flooring that can withstand minor flooding.
- Make a list of needs/wants from the space before finishing the basement.
- To make a small basement appear bigger, keep the space as open as possible.
- Use open dividers, such as shelves, to divide the space.
- Include different types of lighting into the space to make the basement feel light (especially when there is not a lot of natural light in the space).
Basement flooring ideas & tips
Choose a floor that handles the moisture of a basement.
Finished basements always have moisture in the air and concrete slab that affects flooring. Moisture continuously seeps through a concrete floor and can damage floors that are prone to water damage. Because basements are below ground, there is also moisture in the air which is why many basements require dehumidifiers. The result is a moist environment; wood floors are especially prone to cupping and warping from the moisture.
Because of the risk of water damage, solid wood flooring is not a good option for basements. The good news is that there are plenty of other floors that can withstand the moisture in a basement: luxury vinyl plank, vinyl sheet, carpet, luxury vinyl tile, and tile. Many of these basement flooring options can also be installed over radiant floor heating in a concrete slab.
Use a unique flooring pattern to make the room seem bigger.
A small basement may not be very large, but that doesn’t mean it can’t feel very large. There are a few ways to do this. Top on the list is choosing one flooring for the whole space, which can make a basement feel cohesive and continuous. Another way to make a basement feel larger is to use a unique flooring that can extend the space or make it feel larger than it is. With some floors, that feel can be taken one step further by installing the floor in a unique pattern.
Tile, for example, can look great when installed in a herringbone pattern. Luxury vinyl plank or engineered hardwood installed diagonally can make a basement look larger and give the floor a one-of-a-kind look.
Wall décor ideas & tips
Be selective about the statement piece.
While a unique flooring can make a small basement feel larger, it can also have the opposite effect. Too many statement pieces can actually make a small finished basement feel more compact and cluttered.
To avoid a cluttered-looking space, a small basement needs balance. The best way to do this is to choose a few select pieces that stand out. This can be a feature wall or unique flooring. Every part of the room should be coordinated together and balanced to make the space look large and cohesive.
Include furniture and storage pieces that can serve a dual purpose.
A small finished basement usually serves many purposes, though there is not enough room for pieces designated for one purpose. Instead, a small basement should be filled with furniture that suits more than one need, such as a storage piece that stores toys, books, and workout items. This can be done with dividers, free-standing pieces, or small closets. Almost area is fair game for these items, including under the stairs or around the utility room.
Add flooring to a wall for a statement piece.
A feature wall is a great way to grab attention and add interest to a space. Installing flooring on a wall does both; ask a flooring pro for the right basement flooring products that are ideal for a feature wall. These walls can look great behind a bar or a big screen, or be the perfect backdrop behind a bench or fireplace.
Basement ceiling ideas & tips
For a trendy look, paint the ceiling.
A painted ceiling is a great way to add drama to a small finished basement. This idea can be done by painting drywall, ceiling tiles, or even the bare ceiling for an industrial look. The right color—dark or light—coordinates and adds interest to the space.
Think lighting, lighting, lighting.
The right lighting can be the difference between a dark basement and a bright and light space. In some basements, lighting can be installed in the ceiling (which is helpful when ceiling height is an issue). In other spaces, freestanding lights are the way to go.
For the opposite effect, think about window treatments that can block the light. These window treatments can be especially helpful in a basement bedroom or media room. There are many window treatment options that can be helpful and fit with other small finished basement ideas.