The Best Basement Decorating Ideas


Ready to level up your lower level? With the right modifications and a little inspiration, you can transform your basement into a cozy oasis, an entertaining hot spot, or a multi-purpose room for the whole family to enjoy. For inspiration, consider your home’s architectural style, geographic location, and preferred aesthetic. Also, think about what the rest of your home looks like and how you can create a cohesive transition from the basement to the remainder of your house.

To help you get started, we asked interior designers to share their best basement decorating ideas. From playing with colors and patterns to choosing elevated art and décor, your basement will soon become one of the favorite areas in your home.

Add Art

Heidi Harris

Consider hanging some of your favorite artworks for maximum impact so your basement can double as a private gallery. In the above Nebraska home, designer Belinda Pabian struck a healthy balance between subtle and statement with some pared-back pieces, which added a subtle touch of color to the otherwise neutral lower level.

Go Big With a Bar

Anna Spaller

If you’ve always wanted a home bar but don’t have room for one upstairs, consider adding one to your basement. “The basement is an overlooked area from a design perspective in the home, but it can be a functional and beautifully designed space,” says Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper. When it came to decorating her dream basement, Rees incorporated a speakeasy-worthy bar for adults. With a moody blue peninsula, foot railings below, and a wallpaper-clad nook to show off her finest bottles, this basement decorating idea is certainly worth toasting to.

Use Statement Wallpaper

Sarah Elliott

Sometimes, a little pop of color is all you need to make your basement shine. Need proof? Just take a look at this space from Chango & Co. “We wanted to create some interest in a basement that lacked light and was a simple white box,” says Susana Simonpietri, the firm’s lead creative.​​ “We added a wallpaper with tie-dye green bands to provide a handmade quality to the space, then layered a mix of leathers, wood, chunky wool knots, and linen to provide depth and texture.”

Not only does the wallpaper add a warm touch to this home’s lower-most level, but Simonpietri says that the mix of weaves helps with the acoustics. Form, meet function.

Choose Light Paint Colors

ExperienceInteriors / GETTY IMAGES

Because basements are underground, natural lighting might be scarce. Fortunately, you can fake the look of a brighter basement with a fresh coat of paint.

“If there aren’t any windows in the basement, opt for light paint colors and tile,” says Andi Morse of Morse Design. “Keeping it light in a space without windows will help the room feel warm and inviting. Making it too dark could result in a dungeon-like feel.”

Install Built-Ins

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

If your basement leads to an outdoor space, make sure you have a place for guests to kick off their shoes. Priscilla Frost designed this area with sage green built-ins, hooks, and a convenient spot to stow umbrellas. For the finishing details, Emily Henderson amped up this spot’s functional elements with woven baskets, a runner, and a sign that reads, “please remove shoes.”

Create a Kids’ Corner

Janis Nicolay

What about the little ones in your life? Give them a space to thrive by carving out a play area in your basement. Vancouver-based design firm Winter Daisy created the ultimate kids’ zone with a slide, table, and storage baskets filled to the brim with toys. For a sentimental touch, three height charts flank the walls.

Add More Seating

Toni Deis Creative

If entertaining is the main objective for your basement, make sure you add plenty of seating—just as New Jersey-based firm Mimi & Hill did here. “Finishing a basement is a fantastic way to add valuable square footage to your home,” co-founders Hillary Kaplan and Miriam Silver Verga say. “Recently, we finished a basement, adding zones for relaxing and watching TV, a full bathroom, and a full wet bar.”

Give Maximalism a Try

Stephanie Watkins

Since your basement is located on its own floor, it’s a great place to experiment with scale, color, and texture without interfering with the rest of your home’s design. (Translation? It’s a maximalist’s dream.) If you’re looking for a place to start, take a cue from this vibrant setup from Casa Watkins. With a printed rug, lemon-yellow walls, and an eye-catching mural, this space is certainly smile-inducing.

Make a Reading Nook

Aimee Mazzenga

Do you love to cuddle up with a good book? Transform the area under your basement stairs into a cozy reading nook, like Minnesota-based designer Bria Hammel did here. The built-in shelves and bench accentuated the curve of the stairs for a floor-to-ceiling effect.

Add a Pop of Color

James Merrell

Your basement is the perfect area to experiment with color. Consider creating an accent wall in a bold shade for depth and contrast, which is what Meredith Huck, owner and principal designer of House of Huck did in this space. The deep blue hue complements brighter shades, like white and beige, for the perfect contrast.

Set Up a Concession Stand

Marco Ricca

Of course, no home theater setup is complete without a concession stand—but this one takes your average movie night snacks to the next level. Designer Michelle Gerson perfected the look with a color-coded snack stash, which pops against the white storage unit.


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