The Best Basement Family Room Ideas on a Budget

Sunny Side Design
by Sunny Side Design

Clearly it’s been weeks of exhausting work, DIY projects and a few setbacks, but reveal day of our basement family room is finally here!

We are so excited to reveal our modern coastal basement family room ideas.

Whether your style is modern coastal or not, you’ll find lots of ideas for creating a basement family room you’ll love.

Welcome to week 8 of the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge!

Certainly this challenge has pushed us to our limits.

Despite a few setbacks, we rallied and are so thrilled with the results of our basement family room.

We have certainly created a space that my family loves and is already using.

In fact, as we were trying to film and photograph the family room, the kids were constantly asking us when we were going to be finished so they could play.

We’d like to share with you our ideas for creating a basement family room that’s not only functional, but also cozy and inviting.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! You can learn more about us here.

Be sure to subscribe to our FREE newsletter so you don’t miss any of the projects in this basement family room.

Also you’ll want to follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes progress and updates!

Also on the One Room Challenge website, you’ll find lots of ideas for updating any space in your home.

Projects in Our One Room Challenge

You can easily navigate through each week of this ultimate modern coastal family room project below.

The Sponsors

Before we share the reveal of our basement family room we’d like to thank our One Room Challenge sponsors.

They gifted me products to help complete this challenge.

A special thanks to Old Mill Brick for the brick backsplash in the kitchenette and fireplace surround, Amerock for all the cabinet hardware and Lamps Plus for the lighting in the kitchenette, reading nook and pool table.

In this post:

Layout & Design

Of course, we all love a great before and after!

Our unfinished basement certainly had potential for becoming a cozy and inviting family room.

Along with the large space, the room also has 3 large windows.

First, we began with a plan.

We made a list of all the ideas we’d like to have in our basement family room.

And that list was long!

Of course we were not able to include everything on that list, but with our budget in mind, we found ways to include most of those items.

Which meant we’d do most of the projects ourselves, even learning how to built cabinets, make drawers and cabinet doors.

Certainly it’s not perfect, but I feel we were able to achieve a beautiful family room that looks high-end on a budget.

In our design plan for the basement family room, we divided the room into zones.

In our basement we planned for a media zone, reading nook, bar for the kids to eat at, pool table, game table and a wet bar or kitchenette.

Next, we made a vision board with paint colors, furniture, fabric, flooring and lighting.

All of the planning helped us create a cozy and inviting basement family room that we absolutely love!

Basement Lighting

Too often basements are dark and dreary.

With this in mind, we installed plenty of can lights to light the family room.

Another tip to make your space feel light and airy is to install daylight bulbs.

The can lights are also on a dimmer, so we can control the lighting in our family room.

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Ambient lighting

In addition, you’ll want to add ambient lighting.

Ambient lighting sets the mood for your room, in addition adding many options will make your family room cozy and inviting.

For example we installed library lights above the bookshelves and wall sconces in the reading nook.

In addition in the wet bar area we installed lanterns on the brick wall and an island pendant over the pool table.

Along with plenty of lamps and candles.

Create Zones

In a basement family room that has many functions you’ll want to create different zones.

First and foremost our basement family room has a media zone.

Let me tell you, that my husband wanted either a gigantic TV or a projector and screen for this space.

He wanted the full home theater experience!

I on the other hand, wanted a beautiful, cozy and inviting, I didn’t want a huge black box on the wall.

So while the wall above the fireplace is wired for a television, we installed a motorized projection screen and a projector on the ceiling.

This way Dan gets his really BIG screen and I also get a beautiful room.

Along with that big screen, he also wanted that really big sound you get in a theater.

You know that kind of sound you feel in your gut.

So when I saw the size of the speakers, I was shocked.

Clearly I didn’t want to have huge speakers displayed all across the end of my room, hence the built in media cabinet.

Not only do the built ins add architectural detail to the room, which I love, but they also conceal the huge speakers.

And to allow the sound to permeate through the cabinet doors, we installed rattan in them.

Another area we wanted in our basement family room was a kitchenette or wet bar area.

Not only is it the perfect place for movie snacks, but it’s also perfect for setting out the buffet for parties.

And to keep this all on budget, we built the cabinets and made our own marble look epoxy countertop.

Also to add that vintage rustic vibe which I love, we installed this brick backsplash wall.

It not only is practical, but it adds another layer of interest and texture.

Paint & Architectural Details

Clearly paint can transform any space and it’s such an inexpensive update.

Not only did I want my basement family room to feel light and airy, but I also like a little drama.

With that in mind, we pained the walls with Sherwin Williams Pure White and all of the cabinetry and doors with Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.

For me it’s the perfect color combination for my modern coastal look.

Now if you’d like your family room to be dark and moody, a dark wall color would also be amazing.

I believe adding architectural details like built ins and molding truly add that high-end look that I love in custom and older homes.

So, in addition to our built ins we also installed a shiplap ceiling.

Now this was a lot of work, but I love the added detail to the ceiling and you can read all about it here.

Personally, I think all of these details really make a house a home.

One other architectural detail we’ve added is what my daughter calls the “dream house.”

While it’s the only element in the room that’s not finished, it already adds a lot of interest to our basement family room.

We’ve decided to make the “dream house” a One Room Challenge all on it’s own.

So watch for that makeover in an upcoming challenge.

Cozy Basement Family Room Ideas

Pillows and Throws

I think one of the easiest and least expensive ideas for creating a warm and inviting basement family room is with pillows and throw blankets.

They are like the jewelry to a great outfit, or the icing on the cake.

In addition, I think it’s a great way to add your personality into your home.

Add Cozy Rugs

Another way to warm up your basement family room is to layer rugs.

For the flooring we wanted a durable surface with three active kids.

With that it in mind we chose a white oak look waterproof laminate flooring.

And to cozy it up we layered rugs.

First, we added a sisal rug and layered with a washable rug, which is perfect with kids!

Reading Nook

Last but not least, add coziness to your basement family room with an inviting reading nook.

It’s the perfect place to cuddle up with a good book!

In addition we also added plenty of storage for books and drawer storage under the bench seating.

Make Decorating Personal

In my view, your home should reflect you.

When someone walks into your home, they should get a sense of who you are and what you love.

You’ll find throughout my home that I’ve decorated with items that are meaningful to me and my family.

As you may already know, I love a relaxed coastal look in my home.

While I live in a desert, decorating with coastal items reminds me of trips to the beach and makes my home feel relaxed and cozy.

For instance, in the bottles on the shelf I placed sand from difference family vacations, along with treasures we’ve collected over the years.

Also add art that speaks to you.

I believe that art really pulls your room together.

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Make Room for Fun

Clearly a basement family room is meant for fun.

It’s a place for playing games and building relationships.

With this in mind, I really wanted a game table, but there just wasn’t enough space in our room.

But this coffee table doubles as a game table.

We can pull up ottomans around the coffee table and play a spirited game.

Another item my husband wanted in the room was a pool table and I must say the kids are really enjoying it too.

And you’ve got to love that it means less screen time for the kiddos too!

In our home, we have a rule that there is no food on the couch.

So, I wanted a multi functional sofa table that can double as a bar area to sit at and have a snack while watching movies.

And let me tell you Aiden has already claimed his spot!


In my opinion, no room is complete without plants.

They certainly add coziness to any room.

In our basement family room, we’ve incorporated living plants as well as artificial plants throughout the space.

Let me tell you what a big difference the plants make!

The day we added all of the decor and photographed the room, Ellie came downstairs and the first words out of her mouth were “I love all of the plants!”

Clearly, plants really made a big difference in the way our basement family room feels.

Window Coverings

Finally, we feel that no room is complete without window coverings.

I think windows just feel naked without window treatments.

For our basement family room, we chose a faux linen drapery with a blackout lining.

The drapery finishes off the room and we are able to darken the room when we use the projector screen.

Shop This Look

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We hope you found a little inspiration here today.

Do you have a family room you’d like to update?

What changes would you like to make?

So tell me, what is your favorite element in our basement family room?

Any projects you like to try for your home?

We’d love to hear from you!

Please share your thoughts and questions with us.

Also check back each week, we still have a few more DIY projects from our family room we’d love to share with you.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! We love having new readers and friends!

You can learn more about us here.

Let’s stay connected!

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3 of 5 comments
  • Gml16408878 Gml16408878 on Oct 08, 2022

    We have a basement with half of it as a toy room that is enjoyed year round here! It has 8 foot ceilings, but only 3 small windows that are high and offer very little natural light. Your place is amazing..a dream..well done! I love seeing what people do with their space for families and friends! Thank you for sharing and caring!

  • Men48138055 Men48138055 on Oct 09, 2022

    Love the way your basement makeover turned out! Just beautiful!!