So you’ve decided to turn your dank and dark basement into a room that the entire family can enjoy. You’ve planned out the flooring and basement ceiling, gone out and bought some great furniture and entertainment equipment, and now your budget is getting a bit tight. Trouble is, you still have to finish the walls to complete your masterpiece. So what kind of options are available to you? While having some great tiled walls, and a huge shower on the budget is a great thing, there are lots of ways to finish basement walls cheap. Here are a few of the more ingenious choices.
But before you start any project, it’s important to make sure that your walls are ready for finishing. That means making sure that the framing for the drywall or plasterboard is strong and level, making sure the electricity for the lighting is up to code, and you know where all your fixtures are going to go. Once you have all that mapped out, you should be more than ready to try out some of these great ideas.
Treat One Wall as a Bulletin Board
If you have children, chances are you’re walls are going to be drawn on, kicked, hit, or just plain abused. So it might be a good idea to turn one of the walls in your new basement abode into something that can take any abuse your family can dish out. A wall made of cork panels or rolled cork can be a great way for your kids to post their artwork, to offer a place to put your office notes, or even try out new wall coverings before you make a decision. The cork board can be found at any craft or hardware store, and it’s easy to put up with some adhesive. Having one wall that is different from the others in both look and use is a great way to not only add a bit of flair to your room, but some usefulness as well.
Go for a Rustic Look
If you want a more woodsy or rustic look in your new basement
bedroom, a great cheap option for finishing the walls is to use wood pallets to create some great walls that have that backwoods kind of feel. Simply start by breaking down the wood pallets into their individual boards and sanding them so that there aren’t any splinters or loose pieces of wood. Next, paint the wall a darker color; that way if the boards have any imperfections or holes, and they will, these will be hidden by the darker color. Now simply take your wooden boards and use a strong adhesive and a few finishing nails to fix them in place. You’ll get the look of a wooden cabin at a fraction of the cost!
If you prefer a more sophisticated look for your log-cabin inspired basement in your New Jersey raised ranch home, one option is to stain the wood pallet pieces prior to adhering them to the wall. Add a coat or two of polyurethane and you’ll have some great walls that will last a lifetime.
Go for a Softer Feel
Believe it or not, fabric can be a great way to finish a basement wall, especially if the wall itself is plasterboard. Once you make sure there are no moisture issues, the next step is to choose some fabric. It’s best to lean towards fabric that has a wider cut overall since you most likely have a larger area to cover. Then it’s a fairly simple process of smoothing the fabric against the wall and using a staple gun and some adhesive glue to make sure it stays put. Using fabric to finish your ceiling can also be a great and affordable alternative. While it certainly can be done as a solo project, it’s usually a lot easier with a helper.
As for the type of fabric that you’d want to use, there are a few options. A heavier fabric, or one that is designed to resist staining is probably the best way to go. The thicker fabric can offer some insulation and soundproofing for the room, but will most likely require stronger fasteners and adhesives. And while a lighter fabric such as a lightweight cotton or even silk can give a light and airy look to the room, they don’t offer much beyond a splash or two of color.
A Panel or Two Can Make all the Difference
One of the easiest methods for finishing a wall in your basement is through the use of paneling. Panels, generally speaking come in three basic types when it comes to wall coverings: wood, laminate, or PVC/plastic. Each one has their advantages and disadvantages, but all can be found for a reasonable price for most renovation projects.
Wood paneling is by far the most luxurious looking, but it also requires a bit of maintenance and upkeep. The wood panels will need to be sealed from moisture, and if you choose to paint or stain them you might have to do a little touch up from time to time.
Both laminate and PVC paneling can offer the look of wood or any other desired wall surface at a very reasonable price. The other nice thing about these types of panels is that they are often interlocking, which make installation quite easy. Of course, there are some disadvantages to laminate or PVC wall panels. The first is that with the tongue and groove system, if one panel becomes damaged, it’s not that easy to simply slip it out and replace it as you can with the traditional wood panels. The entire wall will need to be removed, the damage panel replaced, and the entire thing re-attached. Second disadvantage of using laminate or PVC panels is that they can get quite brittle, especially if your basement isn’t insulated from the harsh Mid-Atlantic winters.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to make sure the walls of your basement look great at a price that won’t hurt your wallet. No matter which method you choose in completing your basement renovation project, it pays to think outside the traditional methods and try something new and unique.