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31 Days of Decorating with Junk: A Not so Junky Basement

Our house is over 100 years old.  And our basement was disgusting.  Imagine a wet, musty, yucky graveyard for old appliances.  We used it as a makeshift workshop while working on the rest of the house, so there was sawdust everywhere, including stuck in the decades old cobwebs on the ceiling.  There were large gaps at the top of the cinder block that mice and (yes!) snakes used to enter the house.  And I still had to do my laundry down there!

I searched for over an hour to find a “before” picture of the basement, but I can’t find it.  Maybe it was just too horrible to ever photograph.  This is the best “before” picture I can find, and it’s a LOT better than the real “before.”

yucky basement before

But not anymore.  Our disgusting, yucky basement is now a welcoming family room.  An amazing transformation.

finished basement

Last year, we were thinking about building a home addition.  We needed more space.  But as our plans (and the cost) for the addition grew, we started to wonder if it was smarter to finish the basement.

At first, we weren’t even sure it was possible.  But the cinder block walls were in pretty good condition, and the ceiling was high enough (a rarity in these old houses!)  So we called Midwest Basement Systems to see about the water issues.

A year and a half later, we have a finished basement for a 1/5th of the cost of an addition!
So how’d we get from this

unfinished basement

to this?

fireplace tv tand

First, Midwest Basement Systems put in a “french drain.”  They pounded up concrete along the walls, inserted a drain, installed two sump pumps with backup batteries, and a couple of wall braces where we needed them.  They used spray foam insulation around the top of the cinder block to seal any gaps. They also installed a plastic sheet on the walls – similar to a pool liner – so that if there’s any condensation, it runs down behind the plastic and into the drain.

midwest basement systems french drain
basement french drainbasement wall linerbasement spray foam insulation

In the meantime, we had our contractor (who did our siding and windows) move our washer and dryer to the back room of the basement.

Then came the fun stuff.

Framed up the walls, and hung drywall.

basement framed walls
basement drywall
But notice the ceiling?  No drywall up there.  Instead, hubby used a paint sprayer to first prime, then paint the ceiling.  Primed first…

primed basement ceiling
Then painted… and installed green LED lights.
painted black basement ceiling

Vinyl flooring at the base of the stairs and towards the laundry room, and carpet in the family room.

black painted basement ceiling

Finally, we purchased an electric fireplace/tv stand to warm things up a bit.

fireplace entertainment center

Bart has started moving things down to his “man room” and I’m thrilled because his office will become a play room on the first floor!

finished farmhouse basement 

This post is part of 31 Days of Decorating with Junk: Vintage, Antique and Unique for your Home and Garden.

decorating with junk

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See you tomorrow!

i'm doing it! 
31 Days of Decorating with Junk Posts:

31 Days of Decorating with Junk Introduction
Farmhouse Style Front Porch 
Modern Farmhouse Design 
Repurposed Upright Piano 
Our Exterior Makeover Reveal
Adjustable Game Table Makeover (In a Ballard Designs Whitewashed Style) 
The HomeShed's September Sale & Fall Decor Inspiration 
Proof that I'm a HardCore Junker
My Gallery Wall
HomeShed Sale Preview and Christmas Inspiration
Cute Green Dresser with Chalkboard Labels
My Favorite Paint for Antique Furniture
Kris's Cabin Tour
Essential Tools for Repurposing
Making a Custom Glaze
Fixing a Stripped Out Screw Hole
How to Make Your Home Your Own
Spray or Brush?
Five from the Archives
Owning a Junky Business Part 1
Owning a Junky Business Part 2
1840 House
Simple Vintage Halloween
Five (More) from the Archives
Crib Spring Repurpose
Owning a Junky Business Part 3
Quick Chair-Do
Pallet Wall Art
Not So Junky Basement
Owning a Junky Business Part 4
31 Days Wrap Up

Would you like to comment?

  1. That is AMAZING! I love it! And building down there instead of an addition will preserve your old house's authenticity. I just can't get over how great it looks. I saw it after the french drain and insulation. I'm glad I did. I wouldn't believe the after.

  2. It looks great! I like the way the black ceiling looks. Will we get to see the playroom soon?

    We're currently trying to get our basement more or less finished, too, although I think once we get the foundation fixed we won't be able to put finished walls up. Oh well.

    1. Unfortunately, it's taking a LONG time to get the office moved downstairs, so no playroom yet!

  3. Katie, it looks amazing! I love the color you chose, and doing the two types of flooring was such a great idea to help break up and define the space. Can't wait to see how it and the play room turn out!