18 Stunning TikTok DIY Projects To Make Your Basement More Livable

If you have an unused basement, you're losing out on a lot of extra space. We understand that underground rooms don't always feel nice enough to spend time in. They can be cold and dim, so they tend to default to a catch-all space for your extra household supplies and off-season gear. But finished or unfinished, big or small, there's more potential for your basement. There are plenty of easy upgrade projects that can make this space more livable.

With the right know-how, you can create an entertaining room, an extra bedroom, a workout space, a basement storage system, or even move your living room underground. Some of these ideas call for a basement renovation, but that's not always in the budget. There are a few ways to make an unfinished basement more welcoming. Whether you're saving up for a basement renovation or you're just happy with a more affordable DIY upgrade, we've rounded up some DYI ideas to improve your basement's space and make it feel cozier.

Create the illusion of a finished ceiling

You can't create the finished basement of your dreams without dealing with the ceiling. An unfinished ceiling, with pipes and wires on display, gives basements their unwelcoming atmosphere. Like any other basement reno, finishing a ceiling can be pricey. However, with this DIY hack, you can create the illusion of a finished ceiling on a budget, as long as your ceiling has I-joists. This project involves cutting drywall pieces to size so they can fit into the lip between joists. Paint the whole area your color of choice to give it a truly finished look — all without losing space to a drop-down ceiling. The space behind the ceiling is still easily accessible, too, since you can remove the drywall panels.

Use shower curtains to create a separate room

Want to section off a part of your basement but don't want to build a permanent wall? Shower curtains are an affordable solution. Using shower curtains as dividers in your basement can make the space feel less cavernous and conceal some of the uglier areas. You can install them to ceiling joists with nails or eye hooks. Command hooks work well for a damage-free solution, too. Shower curtains are lightweight, so they'll be easy to install and take down to move around with your needs. Try to find curtains that reach the floor (or as close to it as possible), and consider adding curtain weights to the bottom to prevent them from blowing around.

Drop cloths can cover unfinished walls

It's not always possible to finish basement walls, but making them look finished is a great way to improve your basement's appearance. Consider using drop cloths to cover the walls. The finished project doesn't look as good as drywall, but it's an improvement over bare walls. Basement ceilings tend to have an average height of around 8 or 9 feet. Nine-foot-long drop cloths are widely available (Project Source Canvas Drop Cloth for $16.98 from Lowe's). Cut drop clothes to size, fold the cut edge, and glue to fake a finished hem. A heavy-duty staple gun (Amazon Basics Manual Staple Gun for $16.14 from Amazon) makes it easier to attach the drop cloth to wall joists.

Use fabric to cover up unfinished basement ceilings

You can use fabric to cover up unfinished basement ceilings. Before installing the fabric, map out any fixtures you need to make room for, like lights, protruding wires, or pipes. You may need to cut some holes to make space for these items, so choose a fabric that doesn't fray. If you have old incandescent bulbs or heating pipes that get hot, opt for a heat-resistant fabric and cut your holes with extra space around these fixtures so they don't touch the fabric. You can use a heavy-duty staple gun to install and attach the fabric to the ceiling joists.

Use furring boards, nailed into the wood beams

This DIY project is an easy way to make your basement ceiling look more finished on a budget. Take furring boards and nail them to the ceiling joists to create a wood-slat ceiling. Furring strip boards are affordable; for example, this 1-inch by 2-inch by 8-inch strip runs for $1.28 from Lowe's. If it's in the budget, this is a nicer-looking option than fabric. Consider using a nail gun for faster installation. They're also not too pricey but can save you a lot of time: An option like the Ridgid Pneumatic 18-Gauge 2-1/8 inch Brad Nailer costs $89.00 from The Home Depot (that's definitely much cheaper than a full renovation!).

Cover basement columns

Basement support poles: They're necessary, but they sure are unsightly. Cover them up to improve their appearance. An affordable option is a decorative rope. It's flexible enough to wrap around any pole, and hot glue keeps it in place. You can upgrade to a heavier-duty adhesive for a better stick, for example, Gorilla Heavy Duty Construction Adhesive, which costs $9.77 on Amazon. Another attractive alternative is Pole-Wrap, a dedicated product for dressing up support poles. It's a flexible sheet of wood columns perfect for wrapping around poles of all sizes. Shop Pole-Wrap from The Home Depot starting at $58.88.

Use adhesive mirrors to make a basement look more open (and make the perfect gym area)

Reflecting both light and the room itself, mirrors can brighten up a basement and make it feel more spacious. The large surface area of a mirror wall takes full advantage of these benefits. This type of mirror is especially useful in a home workout area to give you a spot to check your form and make it feel even more like a gym. Getting a large enough mirror is expensive, so make your own with mirror panels instead. Small square panels let you create your own layout. Even easier, some are self-adhering, like these self-adhesive acrylic mirror tiles, which cost $9.99 for a four-pack on Amazon.

Take advantage of window film for privacy without losing light

Window film is easy to add to your windows to dress them up. Many products are removable, too, so this project is also suitable for rental homes. Basement windows are visible from the street level, so window film is a great alternative to curtains. Or you can open the curtains during the day without worrying about people peeking in. Window film comes in a few designs, too. This rainbow Haton Window Privacy Film ($8.99 from Amazon) is pretty and whimsical. While the Frosted Glass window film from the same brand has a more minimalist look ($9.99 from Amazon). Stained glass-inspired patterns, like the Artscape Magnolia Window Film, are also available for $17.99 from Amazon.

Foam tile flooring does a great job of covering unfinished floors

Concrete floors are common in basements. Depending on your style, you might like the industrial look of concrete, but it's usually cold and uncomfortable. If you want to cover it, consider installing foam flooring tiles. Plenty of options are on the market, and they're easy to install and more affordable than traditional flooring. Decorative options are available, like the Norsk Reversible Stone Gray/Black Faux Wood Foam Mats for $27.97 from The Home Depot, which imitates the look of wood flooring. Plain mats do the job as well, especially for home gym flooring. Options like the TrafficMaster Gym Flooring Tiles (available for $19.97 from The Home Depot) can come at a lower price per square foot.

Go all-out and make an activity area for kids

Want to make a basement space dedicated to the kids? A rough-and-tumble play area will be something they'll remember for a lifetime. This DIY creates a mini basement football field, but you can take the same idea (sans stencil and line markings) to make a padded play space. Depending on how rough your little ones play, lining foam against the walls is optional. We do recommend the faux grass, though: It really adds to the playful ambiance and makes it the perfect spot for kids on rainy days (and sunny days when they want to stay inside).

Dress up your basement stairway with picture ledges

These DIY picture shelves are a great option if you have some scrap wood or feel like trying an easy woodworking project. The project uses wood sizes commonly found at the hardware store, and you can make your cuts using a handsaw. Wood glue and a nail gun hold the shelves together, and then you can stain or paint them to your liking. Of course, if you like the idea but don't want to build the shelves, you can grab some budget-friendly picture ledges online. IKEA's Målerås picture ledge ($18.99 from IKEA) looks similar to this DIY.

Use a stencil to transform your basement floor

Wall stencils are a fabulous alternative to wallpaper, but did you know you can apply the same concept to floors, too? Using stencils and paint is a great way to get a neat, patterned floor that adds character to a basement. You can buy wall stencils and use them on the floor instead. For a similar honeycomb look, try the Cutting Edge Honeycomb Allover Wall Stencil ($47.95 on Amazon). Various other stencil designs are available, from classic damask and floral patterns to modern geometric shapes. The stencil is just one-half of the equation; you also want to choose a good paint. Since most basements have concrete floors, garage floor paint is a durable option.

Paint a patterned accent wall

Some wooden trim and some LED light strips are all you need to build this impressive accent wall. Perfect for a basement, the design adds some personality, while the LED lighting adds some coziness. It's best to plan your pattern ahead of time. Note that the sections where you want to place the LEDs should lay on top of some of the other slats of wood; this creates a small space for you to tuck the light strips. For a similar built-in look, you can paint your trim the same color as your wall. Or, go for a contrasting color to make the design pop.

Construct a window frame to make basement windows look nicer

Basement windows are so important — they let the light in! But if your windows are unfinished around the edges, it makes the whole area look a bit dingy. A few strategically placed pieces of plywood construct a faux frame that makes this window look more finished like it belongs in a home, not a drafty basement. You can use scrap wood for this project; it doesn't need to look perfect. It's possible to seal any little holes and gaps with wood filler, and then a fresh coat of paint will make your frame look as good as new.

Give upholstered basement furniture a makeover

The basement can become a dumping ground for older furniture. The pieces aren't battered enough to throw away, but you don't really want them in the main living space. You might just be able to give your basement furniture a facelift with fabric dye. This project works for furniture where you can remove the covers (you'll need to place them in a big bucket to dye them). This project can give your furniture a whole new look. Plus, if you dye it a dark color like black, it will also cover up some old stains.

Give old basement shelves a whole new look with two-toned paint

There's also a way to hack wooden furniture — with paint, of course! It's completely reasonable to keep your basement as a storage space rather than a living area, but that doesn't mean you can't make it look a bit nicer. A fresh coat of paint does wonders. Try a two-toned pattern, painting the framing and shelves with two different colors to add visual interest. This project idea applies to other wood basement furniture, too, and you can consider adding paint to a wooden table, chairs, or bookcase for a new look.

Strategic wallpaper placement can make all the difference

Unfinished walls? Not a problem. As long as there's a sizable flat surface, you can install wallpaper to dress up the area. Use it in between the wood framing pieces, cutting it to size and installing it in the gaps. You can use the same wallpaper all around for a cohesive look or a mish-mash of designs for a very eclectic look. Contact paper can work for this project, too, which can be easier to find and install than traditional wallpaper.