DIY Network

Tips on Basement Rec Room Makeovers

Hosts Amy Devers and Karl Champley offer tips on how you can easily turn an ordinary basement into a fun family hangout.

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First, do a power purge. Before making any changes to the basement, throw out or give away any unwanted items. It's much easier to plan and execute the makeover with the clutter gone.

Designate different zones for different activities -- especially for large, sprawling basements. Consider including separate areas for crafts, exercise and TV watching.

Painting walls is a safe, fun way for kids to take part in a room's makeover. Paint different areas with different colors. Perk up a dark basement with light, stimulating colors, using different colors for different activity areas. To ease the transition between colors, use painter's tape to mask off strips of wall and create a few wide stripes. For thin stripes, mask off areas 6 inches to 1 foot wide; wider stripes can measure 2 to 3 feet.


  • Try varying the widths of the stripes to add even more interest to the room.

  • Use separate trays for different colors of paint. Clean all rollers and brushes thoroughly to prevent mixing the colors.

  • To avoid a jumbled visual mess, choose only two or three colors for the wall treatments.

Use carpet squares to define areas. Clear out the room and sweep the concrete basement floor so the carpet squares will stick properly. Snap a chalk line and, starting at one edge of the room, peel off the protective tape and apply the tiles to the floor. Cut tiles as needed using a utility blade and framing square. Once all of the tiles are down, use a nail gun to install baseboard molding where the tiles meet the wall.

Upgrade the lighting. Special light boxes with photo inserts -- installed by a professional -- mimic the effect of a skylight in the basement. A can light over the craft area and pendant lights over the freshly painted bar help define spaces and create the correct mood for different activities.