Basements are under-utilized spaces. At worst, they are dark, damp, and attract clutter like crazy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even with a tiny budget, your basement can probably become that spare room that you (or your business) needs. Here’s the story of one bright basement home office makeover.
This basement in a Victorian home has plenty of space, including a large main room and a side room with a built-in desk. On paper, it had everything it needed. In reality, the staffers at this small business weren’t digging the “vintage” vibe.
The large main room offered lots of space, but the only ones enjoying it were the cardboard boxes.
The built-in bar and the fireplace seemed like architectural benefits, but in reality, both were just long horizontal surfaces attracting clutter. We considered keeping the bar for a hot minute, but opening up the space was the less-expensive and most user-friendly route to creating a bright basement home office space.
A space plan helps to visualize the changes.
I find that the 3-D plan is usually where people start to get excited. It already looks clean and brighter.
The plan was to keep the structure as is, but add new finishes from the floor all the way up. New carpet, new paneling to cover damaged paneling, new desks and replacement covers for the existing ceiling lighting. Sticking with a simple color scheme instantly brightened the room.
You can’t beat a desk and storage from Ikea for function. By moving the inventory out to the larger room, the staffers had more space to work comfortably. Choosing all the furniture in one beautiful color made this home office pretty and less, well, basement-y.
Never under-estimate the power of new paint and carpet to refresh a space.
For the larger room, we had to be a bit more strategic. It needed to do triple duty as stockroom storage, break room, and storage for the family who lives here. I chose these fun yellow storage shelves for storage and as visual dividers for this large room. Not only were they the same price as boring gray shelves, they are stronger, safer, and they were in stock! Using shelves as room dividers, we carved out the other half of the room for the family’s storage. Check out some more painted, pretty basement shelves in this basement storage room. Just a little color in a basement can make it so much brighter.
This space is addition by subtraction. We removed the bar and opened up access to a bright new kitchen space with a sink, fridge, and small counter for the staff. You can still see the outline on the floor where the bar used to be, but not every makeover has to be high-end to be amazing. Sealing the concrete floor was the right call for this space.
The fireplace isn’t an important part of the design, but we couldn’t have everything brightened up in this space without giving this huge feature a little facelift, too. Painting the brick was the easy way to deal with it.
Now, because it’s right in the middle of the staff’s break area, this hearth can act as extra seating, but it won’t be attracting cardboard boxes.
I can’t tell you how much I love this space. It makes me so happy to do a makeover like this on a shoestring budget, and come out with a bright basement home office space that people actually want to spend time in.
Does this make you want to makeover your basement? Pin for later.
Need more basement ideas? Check out this slightly higher-end basement renovation and the basement storage and bathroom. You might not believe where this one started and how it ended up.