DIY, Home Renovation

A Basement Remodel on a Budget

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Remodeling your basement does not have to break the bank.

When we first bought our starter home we did so with the intention of remodeling the basement to extend our living quarters. Technically, it was already finished. However, the last time it was touched was when the house was built and that was decades before we came to own it. The basement was a rather large space but very dark and I only went down there to do laundry.

I think you can see why in the pictures.


This picture was taken after we tore down the Ecru ceiling tiles and pulled up the alternating dark brown and tan tiles.

So. many. panels!

I really hated this part. It took days to complete but it was the first step in our renovation and we saved a ton of money doing it ourselves.


Once all the demolition was finished and the pieces carted away, we started on the ceiling.

The ceiling was my baby. I say this because I like to save money and learned on Pinterest that you could put in a beadboard ceiling and make it look good for cheap. Of course, my hubby was not convinced until I showed him all the pictures I could find of other DIYers who used paneling for their ceilings. When I gave him the cost comparison, however, he was willing to give it a shot.

Don’t ask me how my husband measured everything out because it was so technical due to the weirdness of our ceiling that I didn’t even bother to understand it. Not to mention all the recessed lighting we had to account for. It was a headache, let me tell you. (Not the paneling, but all the odd cuts we had to do.) But Steve was spot on as usual and made my dream a beautiful reality.


After all the paneling went up, it was time to cut the 1-inch furring strips to trim out the paneling. (Let me add, if this was our forever home, we would have saved for something a bit nicer and rounded the edges. But, we were remodeling to sell, so we did the best with the money we had.)

While Steve worked on the trim, I wired all the lights and put them in.

The ceiling was time-consuming but here it is, finished, aside from paint and vent covers, etc.

Some people caulk the trim before painting but because we nailed them to the existing rafters and the boards were not all perfectly straight, it was pointless to caulk. It was just too much work. Besides, it added to the rustic look and I ended up liking it better without the caulk.


To tell you I spent a lifetime painting this basement (including the laundry room and bathroom) would be a gross understatement. I spent close to 40 hours prepping, taping and painting. At one point, we had carpet coming at 8 am and I finished the last of the paint at 4 am. Then I had to do touch up afterward because the carpet people scratched the paint in many places due to the odd angles of our basement.

I could have cried. But it was finally done and it was beautiful.

Before I go any further, I must tell you about my best friend, Behr Marquee paint. It claims to cover in one coat and it keeps its word. It was the only thing that saved my sanity during my ordeal with painting. I couldn’t even imagine doing two coats.

Plus, one gallon is equal in price to two gallons of the cheap stuff but since you have to do two coats of the cheap stuff, it evens out and is a no-brainer. Two coats or one coat? Marquee, please!

Also, I was informed that you could indeed paint paneling without sanding and priming and since we were doing this on a budget, we painted the paneling. I do not recommend it. Not if you plan to spend any time in your basement.

 We did leave the new homeowners with a full gallon of my beloved Marquee in case they needed to touch anything up after moving in.


In case you were really wondering about that tile we used to have, here it is. This was underneath nasty green carpet that took every ounce of my strength to pull up. We then re-carpeted it with the rest of the basement.

Another “before” picture, this is the landing at the top of the basement stairs.

After the carpet was installed, we bought peel and stick tile that complemented both the downstairs carpet and the kitchen flooring. The difference is like a breath of fresh air!



These are two pictures taken from the listing of our house. Night and day difference. And, we accepted an offer two days after listing our home. We also received several offers above our asking price and had so many showings in those couple of days. It was crazy!

I believe it was the result of prayer, hard work, and an awesome listing photographer. 🙂

Have you gone through a basement remodel? What did you find was the hardest to do?



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