Finishing My Home Office in the Basement for Under $200

I purchased my home in 1996. The house is a one ½-story Cape Cod with a full basement. At the time I purchased my home the basement was semi-finished. The concrete floor had vinyl tile squares and the ceiling had older style acoustic tiles. The concrete walls were not finished. After a few years, I added a vapor barrier and hung drywall to finish the walls. The old ceiling was removed and a commercial grade carpet replaced the vinyl flooring.

The basement was divided into three sections. On one side, there was a workshop and a laundry room. The main section was wide open and measured 30 feet in long by about 13 feet wide. I primarily used the open area as an office. Unfortunately, keeping that large a space warm in the winter was not easy. In the spring of 2011, I decided to build a room that I could use as an office.

The space I sectioned off for the office was 10 feet long by 13 feet wide. With an open beam ceiling and concrete floor, anchoring a dividing wall was not difficult. This portion of the project required 12 2 x 4’s each 8 feet in length, 6 sheets of 3/8″ drywall and one pre-hung door. I choose to use a pre-hung door to make the project easier. I used 3/8″ drywall for a lighter installation weight.

The top of the wall frame was screwed into the existing beam ceiling. The bottom of the frame was anchored with a few concrete screws. The studs were set at 16″ on center. While it is not a load-bearing wall, I did want it to have strength. The cost of the drywall and lumber was approximately $80. The pre-hung door was $56. It took less than four hours to build the frame and install the drywall.

I finished the ceiling of the office area by using less than five sheets of 3/8″ drywall. I was able to use the existing wood furring strips that were still in place from the old ceiling tile. This was the most difficult portion of the project. Even 3/8″ drywall is heavy to hang overhead. I did not have a jack to use. My solution to the problem involved cutting the drywall into 4 x 4 sections to make it easier to navigate. The ceiling, without hardware or paint cost approximately $35.

Not including the cost of paint, my new office cost less than $200 to complete. I did tap off an existing HVAC duct to bring heat into the room. The area stays cool enough in the summer but heat is needed in the winter. I still have a large open space area in the basement but now have a private and comfortable home office.

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