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7 best basement office ideas so you don’t feel like you’re working in a dungeon

Working from home is now much more commonplace than it used to be, which is one of the reasons people now need office space at home. Even if you don’t work from home, you may have kids that need a desk for arts and crafts or office space for homework. Whatever the reason, having an office space in your home is pretty necessary, and if you have a basement, it just may be the perfect spot for a home office. A basement home office can offer the sometimes necessary separation from the rest of the family’s activities. If you’re thinking about the basement being dark and dingy and, therefore, decreasing the chances anyone will actually go down there to work, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We’ve even found some great unfinished basement office ideas for those of you starting from scratch.

Modern home office.
New Africa / Shutterstock

Get rid of clutter

One of the first vital steps to creating a basement office is to define a specific area as office space. This will allow you to remove any boxes, clothes, and clutter, making it less like a storage area. If you’re able, use bookshelves or a place already walled off to have a specific space that doesn’t feel cluttered. You can also invest in storage solutions that hide messes. Wall-mounted units will give you a place to put all of your stuff and create a separation of space. Even a simple room divider can do the trick if you’re on a budget.

Home office area.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use proper lighting

If your basement is dark or doesn’t have any windows or natural sources of light, proper lighting will play a significant role in changing the dungeon vibe. Add task lighting once you have a defined office space that is free of clutter. Wall sconces, a desk lamp, overhead fixtures, floor lamps, etc., will help brighten the situation. Obviously, you don’t want it to be intensely bright down there, but you’ll be able to find a balance of functionality and practicality with different bulbs and light sources. You could also invest in a lamp that emulates natural light — they’re good for plants and your mood. And believe it or not, proper lighting can increase your productivity so this is a step you surely don’t want to skip.

Desk in home.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use colors that make you want to work

Painting the office space a welcoming color is an excellent way to transform a room, whether you’re sprucing up an existing office or setting up a new one. Ideally, you want the color to be cheerful and make you want to spend time there. Having a comfortable space will increase your productivity solely based on the fact you will spend more time there. There is also science that says colors can affect mood, so why wouldn’t you want to choose a color that gives you the energy to power through the work that needs to be done. If you don’t want to paint a bright color (or it won’t work with the rest of the décor in the basement), just a fresh coat of white paint can brighten up a basement, especially if you’re working with an unfinished space.

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Home office with desk and plant.

Add some house plants

Houseplants can work wonders for the energy in the room. Plants naturally purify the air, which is definitely a plus if you think your basement smells like a basement. It has also been suggested, and some would argue, proven, that plants can increase productivity. According to, plants improve the overall emotional state, reduce negative moods, improve task performance, and more. Even if you’re stuck with minimal natural light, you’ll be able to find a plant or two to keep in your basement office since many house plants require little natural light to thrive.

Tidy desk in home office.

Install a dehumidifier

One of the main reasons some basements feel like a dungeon is because they smell like dungeons. Naturally, basements are damp. They are underground, and the moisture in the ground can give your basement a damp smell. A dehumidifier will decrease the humidity in the air and thus reduce the basement smell. This will make your basement office a lot more comfortable overall.

Sleek home office with modern executive chair behind black desk.

Invest in proper office equipment

The more your basement office feels like an actual office, the more likely you will use it for office stuff. Get a real desk; whether it be an old desk that you find at a garage sale or secondhand shop, a new desk that you order and assemble yourself, or a table that folds away when not in use, a desk is essential. Once you have the desk, invest in a comfortable desk chair. If you’re going to be spending hours in your office, you want to be comfortable. From there, the rest depends on what you’re using the office for, but everyone loves shopping for new office supplies, so stock up on some new pens and sticky notes as a reward for an office remodel well done.

Home office area.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Make it your own

Filling your workspace with feel-good accents and thoughtful decor is crucial to nurturing productivity and will make the basement office feel less like a dungeon. Surrounding yourself with your favorite art, decorative objects, photos of family, or inspiring quotes will make your time in the basement office more enjoyable. Candles also help set a mood and assist with any lingering basement smells!

Regardless of your basement type, you can turn some of it into an office space that will make you want to go to work. Just because it’s a basement doesn’t mean that it has to feel like you’ve been banished to the dungeon to work for the rest of eternity. With fresh paint, good lighting, decluttering, and personal touches, you’ll be well on turning that dark basement into a welcoming workspace.

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Kelly Kaliszewski
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
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