Finishing Basement Walls on the Cheap

by Reader Contributors

Finishing Basement Walls on the Cheap photo

You don’t need to hire a pro to liven up your basement walls. Our frugal readers offer up advice for finishing basement walls on the cheap.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
We use part of our basement as a game room. It has heating and air conditioning, so we use it year-round. Last summer, we tiled the floor. This year, we’d like to do something with the walls. Right now they’re plain cement block. We’d like to do something to make them look more finished.

What can we do ourselves that doesn’t require a professional or take a lot of money? Can you ask your readers for affordable ideas?

Make a Huge Bulletin Board on One Wall

Do one wall in cork panels or a roll of cork to create a huge bulletin board. You can pin up seasonal cards, school papers, photos, etc. There are fun pins in all kinds of colors. You put it up with adhesive.

It’s super easy for anyone to do and very affordable.

Create Rustic Charm with Wood Pallet Walls

Try a Google search or Pinterest search for wood pallet walls. They look awesome!
Shawna in MI

The Sky’s the Limit with Fabric

Use liquid starch to attach fabric to walls. You can do an internet search to find out more details.

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Finishing Basement Walls with Paint

Paint. Let the kids make geometric designs with painter’s tape. Buy the small samples and paint the designs.

Make Fake Walls

Make fake walls within a wall. It is easy to put up a wall a few inches from the brick and line those 2x4s with some of the new paneling that looks like bamboo. This gives you a more contemporary look. On the seams, just use the matching tape you can buy, and of course, buy it all when it is on sale.

If I can do it with my husband, anyone can do it.
Denise M. in Iowa

Two Options for Finishing Basement Walls

  1. Your cheap and fast option is to just paint the cement walls any color you want.
  2. The other more expensive and time consuming way is to make a stud frame on the wall to attach sheetrock. You’ll probably have to put a moisture barrier before the sheetrock to prevent mold growth on the sheetrock or buy the expensive paperless sheetrock that prevents mold growth. Don’t forget you’ll have to purchase mud, seam tape, screws for the studs and sheetrock, and paint. And you might have to buy more tools than you already have to complete this option.


Keep It Fun

We finished our basement walls using 4’X8′ sheets of wainscot that we cut in half into 4’X4′, finishing the top edge with a 3″ trim board laid flat for a shelf that we keep games propped up on for interest. We painted the cement blocks a light tan and it looks very nice.

I have also seen corrugated roofing applied at 3′ or 4′ finished off with 3″ trim top and bottom to cover the raw edges for a different look. Have fun with whatever you chose.

Reviewed March 2022

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