DIY Basement Makeover: A Fun & Affordable Kids Space

Budget DIY Basement Makeover: A Fun & Affordable Kids Space

Looking to start a budget-friendly basement makeover and need ideas? Check out how we completed our budget DIY basement makeover, going from an uninspired and underutilized master bedroom to a fun and cozy space for our kids.

Our basement, the lower level of our split-level home, used to be the master bedroom because the original one was so small- our home was built in the 70s, so small primary rooms were common. About a year after we moved in, we decided to transform it into a bedroom and playroom for our kids. 

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Here’s how we Completed our DIY Basement Makeover:

The lower level of our split-level is the same square feet as the upper level, which has three bedrooms, a bathroom and a few closets. So, this area is quite large.

The main living space of the basement.

There’s also a bathroom, a walk in closet, another large closet, a small area that leads to the crawl space, and a good-sized nook that leads to a backyard patio.

The nook in the basement.

This picture really shows how large the room is- this is a king bed!

As you can see, there’s plenty of room for a couple bedrooms, at least.

New Windows

There are several windows in the basement which let in a lot of natural light. We removed the blinds and replaced the windows (along with most of the other windows in our house), which instantly made a big difference. Not only do they look at lot better, but they are way more efficient than those 1970s single-panel windows.

Furniture In, Furniture Out

The next step to our basement renovation was, naturally, moving all our furniture out, and the kids’ furniture in. We left one of the beds upstairs in our guest bedroom, and bought a bunk bed to save on space.

Create Separate Spaces

We wanted to create separate rooms for our kids, but in an affordable way. Building new walls wasn’t an option- budget-wise, but also because we don’t know what we will want to use the basement in the long haul. Will we want to turn it back into a bonus room? Create a home office or a home gym in one of the areas of the basement? Its entirely possible, so, instead we chose to go with a temporary option- curtains! 

What I love about using curtain dividers is that they easily move out of the way, giving the kids most of the big basement to use as a play area. 

The nook in the basement makes a perfect little space for a small bedroom, and works well with a tension rod. For the other area we curtained off, we used this curtain rod that attaches to the ceiling.

I eventually swapped this brown curtain out for navy blue room divider curtains, to match with the new paint color.

Fresh Coat of Paint

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give a basement space an instant facelift! The basement walls are made of an interesting material- not drywall, but I’m not exactly sure what it is. It has an odd paneling that looked dated with the drab light color.

I decided to paint most of the room in a dark color to give it a cozy feel. I went with Naval from Sherwin Williams. Then, to further delineate bedroom versus common living space, I painted the basement stairs and “hallway” white. The end result made a huge difference! It created an inviting space with personality.

You can still see the paneling, but only if you’re up close.

Heating and Cooling

Since our HVAC system (which is new!) couldn’t keep up with all the levels of our home, we installed a min-split to heat and cool the room. Daniel added the unit to a central wall, and drilled through the brick to install the outside unit right on the other side of the exterior wall. He then blocked off the vents leading to the entire basement, which in turn made the HVAC system more efficient in reaching the rest of the house. 

This was one of the least easy DIY projects we tackled during our basement remodel, but it has been the perfect solution to keep the whole family comfortable, no matter what floor we’re on!

The mini-split has a built in air purifier, which is such a great way to help with the natural musty smells that come with basements AND kids rooms. 

Storage Solutions

The basement has a lot of storage space, with a walk-in closet and another small storage room. However, our old house doesn’t have a lot of other storage, and we converted the garage into living space, so we are always on the lookout for inexpensive ways to add more storage.

Daniel added a door leading into the crawlspace entry way, and put removable shelves in the new closet. There is another entrance to the crawls space, so we don’t necessarily need to get in here more often, but we can if we need to.

Decorate and Accessorize

Then we added some fun things to make the space feel like a fun play area for the kids- a slide for the basement steps, colorful and comfortable area rugs, a comfy swing, and a cozy reading nook. 

What’s the point of having stairs in your room if you don’t have a slide??

The new storage area door, and stair slide.

We did not have the budget to replace the old carpet for our DIY basement makeover, but thankfully most of the carpet isn’t bad. There is a section of the basement floors that has had some moisture issues, and some day we will replace that. For the time being, we use large rugs and are just thankful its a comfortable floor for the kids. 

Our kids love the large area where they can spread out toys, wrestle, build with LEGO and just hang out. 

Finished DIY Basement Makeover

This was an inexpensive way to create kids’ bedrooms and a fun play area, all in our basement. I’m a huge fan of large basements because all the square footage they add to a house. I love the options we have and its fun to figure out the best ways to utilize this area. For now, this is what we have and it will work well, until our kids get a little older and insist on having their own bedrooms with actual walls!

Wall colors: SW Naval and SW Extra White

The “hallway” that is created when the curtains are closed.

Our next step is to remodel the basement bathroom. It currently has a drop ceiling that is literally crumbling (thanks to a water issue), and needs a little love to make it more comfortable and cute. That will be a big project to take on, but I can’t wait to share it when its completed!

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