Basement Redo on the Cheap Part 1

In February, my family and I moved into this adorable little house in the city on half an acre. The house is tiny, but it’s energy efficient, and very affordable, so it’s perfect for us right now. Plus, like I mentioned, it’s on half an acre, which is pretty cool. We were able to get some chickens for the first time (my 10 yr old son has been asking for them since he was 4), and we also got two dogs who love having the space to run around.

One of the selling points on the house was the basement. While not actually finished, it is a dry basement with carpet squares on the floor for comfort. It’s totally a livable, usable space. We pictured it being the music room/craft room/homeschool room/art room/office/rec room. (All those dashes should give you an idea of small the upstairs is.) The only problem with it is that the concrete walls are not only uninviting and ugly as sin, but also quite cold. Literally.

While charming, the mismatched tri-tone paint just didn’t do it for us.

We’re renting, and we’re not allowed to paint anything in the house, so we had to come up with another solution. I had the idea to hang fabric on the walls. I’d been wanting to do that for years, ever since I saw it on Trading Spaces, but there were a couple of problems. 1. We didn’t want to put any holes in the cement walls or ceiling. 2. The basement does sometimes leak, and we didn’t want any water to be trapped between the fabric and the wall, potentially creating mildew.

Another before view. The drum set belongs to my son Max. He’s quite the drummer.

Being the problem-solving duo that we are, my husband and I put our heads together and came up with a solution. There are these giant staple-like things hanging from the ceiling beams that I believe are for hanging pipes. So, we got some 1×2 strips of wood, and hung them from the staple things  (that’s the technical term) using zip ties.

Hanging the beams

Attaching the beams together

I searched Craigslist daily for about a month or so until I found an ultimate deal. There was a local warehouse trying to get rid of some red and blue Fleur de Lis upholstery fabric for $1.25/yd. We got 2 bolts, 1 in red, and one in blue.

Hanging the fabric

The fabric is attached to the wood with nuts and screws. It sits a few inches away from the wall so as not to trap in any moisture.

An “after” shot

This was a great, inexpensive way to add a little warmth to the basement, and make it feel more welcoming, without doing anything permanent. There is not a single hole in the wall anywhere from this project! Now, you’ll notice that I only really showed one corner of the basement. That’s because the rest is still covered in boxes, hence the “Part 1” in the title. My baby is due in 5 weeks, and finishing the basement set up is at the top of the “to do” list for before he gets here, so expect the “Part 2” very soon.


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