multi-purpose basement on a budget

You may have seen my previous post about changing the flooring of our old basement for a waterproof option. The highlight of this renovation is having a multi-purpose basement on a budget. We were able to DIY everything, from creating a family room space, to a playroom, built-in storage and much more. I’m taking you through each part of this makeover to show you how we did it.


Multi-Purpose Basement on a budget: space planning

Space planning was key for this basement remodel on a budget since we needed to maximize the space and optimize it to use it in different ways. Initially, the basement had two separate rooms, one of which has a kitchenette and a small walk-in storage. However, nothing was really functional nor useful for our lifestyle. We had been using the first room as a playroom, and we had the TV in the living room, which is not something I like to do. I believe that if you have the space, creating a living room for connection only is better that having a TV in there.

So, I started by listing all the things we needed to use the space for:

  • Storage: for craft materials, toys, extra linens, pillows and towels
  • A comfortable space for watching movies
  • A space for playing for the kids
  • A space for crafting, both for the kids and myself
  • A space to accommodate flip flops, boots and so on when we come in from the backyard
  • A space for our cat Mika, litter box, food and storage

Creating an open concept

One thing I knew had to happen was opening up the space by taking down the wall in between the two rooms. So, I opted for an open concept. I also wanted to keep the sink area which was practical for the crafting and easy access to hand washing when we’re outdoors. It also provided the opportunity to let more natural light in.

Another thing I needed to keep in mind was the 2nd fridge we have. This one was old but functional. When we redid the kitchen, we kept the old fridge and we use it for extra storage. it’s so practical for the summer when we need to grab drinks and so on when outdoors. Again, a lot of the thought process in this project revolved also around our exterior which is accessible through the basement. That’s why we opted for waterproof flooring. This way, I’m able to reduce maintenance in the living room when we use this door.

Attributing space to each function

This determined where I’d place each function. I also had to take into account the windows. So, it was a natural to have the family room in the first space and the rest on the other side with most of the storage, sink, cat supplies and more.

The storage had to be along the walls. However, there were a few details we needed to take into account: a sum pump and an opening in the wall next to the sink where there was a water heater. Now, we found out this was not actually permitted not the best way to have a heater in that space, so we decided to close it. But, although we closed the area of the sum put, we kept it easily accessible.

The fridge would also go next to the sink, and we’d remove the walk-tin storage to make it more functional. Now that the divisions and attributions were done, I wanted to have an aesthetic separation between the two spaces since we were keeping a little portion of a wall. That’s why we added a wood beam.

Multi-purpose basement on a budget: the family room

The easiest part is the family room, at least in terms of DIYs. There was however quite a bit on the renovation side. We stripped the wall and had to redo all the joists and subfloor to make it levelled. But, I won’t go into this here, you can read all about the flooring on here.

This part of the basement is where there is least direct lighting from a window, which is placed mostly on the far end of this space. So, it was better for a TV due to the glare, and the only place to put the TV since we have the sink on the other side. We started by putting together two Ikea Kallax to create a floor to ceiling storage. I added a long shelf next to it. That stayed for a while, but I did not love the look. I went with this option for a while since it was budget friendly. But with time, I also realized we needed more storage space.


Therefore, I replaced the Kallax with a beautiful vintage wood armoire and a media unit that I thrifted and painted. Because the basement is also a playroom and craft space, I wasn’t going to put in any expensive furniture. I also repurposed a vintage hutch that is now used as a bookcase and storage. Eventually, I may changing this for built-ins, once we have more time to tackle that. I also replaced the sofa for a more comfortable and versatile option, and added a rug.

budget friendly DIYs in our multi-purpose basement

Now, that’s the interesting part, because we DIYed everything. And this is proof that you can make a space sooo much better with DIYs only. So, let’s get into it!

Painting the old fridge

It is very functional, but the stainless is scratched all over and honestly I did not want a huge stainless mass in my space. I had painted a stainless wine cellar the previous year, so I decided to paint it.

That is super easy. There is actually a paint that is specific for appliances by Rustoleum. It has epoxy and makes the makeover super easy. I scuff sanded the fridge with a 220 grit sandpaper, cleaned it properly and started painting. I had a leftover white paint which I started with, but I ended up painting above it with black. And when that was done and dry, I tried to take it a notch further by painting over that with the color I used for the storage and counters. And so far, it’s as is!!! YAYY!!

I also painted the handles in gold, and I think it works perfect for an old fridge that is in the basement!


Faux marble counters, backsplash and cabinet paint

Now for the counters! We had melamine counters which obviously I wasn’t going to keep. I decided to change them and make a faux marble look as well as make them shorter. So, I painted the wood counters we changed to fit the size we needed. I then used white acrylic paint and water yo create the veining. I took a very thin paintbrush and sponge to smudge the paint as needed to create that effect. And when that was dry, I applied epoxy. I did the same with the backsplash that I decided to take it half way to the ceiling, and added a shelf on top.


The cabinets were all painted the same black color, Onyx by Benjamin Moore, but with a urethane based paint for more durability. changed the knobs for brushed gold modern knobs, and voilà.

DIY paper maché lamp shades

DIYed two lamp shades to get an organic look. I used paper machete to do that.
You can see the video tutorial here.

Additional storage

keeping with the budget friendly multi-purpose basement makeover, I wanted to add more storage in lieu of the walk-in space. So we used wood covered plywood to take the new storage up to the ceiling. We added shelves inside in one of them and the other is left open for vacuum and so on.

Another storage I added was a sideboard just below one of the windows. Also a thrift find that I painted Onyx and Mediterranean Olive both by Benjamin Moore. In all honesty, all this storage helped so mush as we practically don’t have any in the house. We have been gradually adding where we can. I would still take some more but for now, it’s working alright.

Adding more functionality to our multi-purpose basement

As I mentioned, many decisions in our multi-purpose basement on a budget project were driven by encouraging the use of the basement to access the backyard. The pool is close to the entrance and therefore it makes it easy to access with beach towels and so on in here. It’s the same in winter when the kids go out to play, all the winter gear and snow can just be there and easy to clean instead of elsewhere in the house. This functionality truly allowed other exterior doors to be used less and so less dirt and maintenance in the entrance and living room.

That said, a bench was a must to allow the kids to sit and change. But I also wanted to have the cat’s food, litter and so on in the basement, but built-in so that it’s more aesthetically pleasing.

So, using the same plywood, we added a bench and one part of it has the cat’s food bowls built-in. We used the bottom of the cleaning appliances closet to put the cat’s litter box and build it in. Using an Ikea drawer as a base (we had planned the closet size according to the drawer sizes available and litter box size), we built a front with a hole in it the exact size of the litter opening. I painter the little box black too. This way, we can just slide it open, take it out, change it and clean the space. This is also exactly where the sum is. So, we thought it was the perfect place to have the built-in litter there. It hides the sum pump while keeping it very accessible since the drawer can be completely removed.

decorating a multi-purpose basement on a budget

Renovating our basement on a budget to create a multi-purpose space really changed so much for us. There is more light, more space, more storage and it’s prettier! It makes a huge difference and we now love spending time there as well. TV time feels cozier, playing is better and the living room stays cleaner.

To finish everything, I added a few more aesthetic touches to add more warmth. One of them is a beige marble effect wall mural, Marmorelia from Komar products. I put it on the TV wall and it contrasts perfectly with all the black colors. I made an abstract artwork to cover the electrical panel as it is right at the center of one of the exterior walls. Window treatments were also added with Roman shades.

I had to have green accents, so I sprinkled several plants here and there. I added decorative accents, throw pillows, throws and of course, rugs to ground the space.

Voilà, it is simple yet functional. Definitely affordable since it’s a space the kids use a lot to play and craft in. For now, it is working super well for our needs.

multi-purpose basement on a budget

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