All too often the basement gets a raw deal when it comes to home design, barely passing as an afterthought in terms of comfort and style.
From exquisite lighting to comfortably chic furniture, the basement is the perfect domestic canvas upon which to extend your personal polish and hospitality. Your basement columns, in particular, are likely due for a significant overhaul, and with such a wide variety of options to choose from, that’s hardly an act of drudgery.
From classic Grecian compositions to more sleekly modern renditions, as well as expertly designed units that double as shelving spaces, you’ll never look at a column the same way again after checking out these Top 50 Best Basement Pole Ideas.
Truth be told, the basements of many homes, especially older ones, can be downright foreboding. Transforming a drab living space into a place of welcome and reprieve may not be for the faint of heart, but is certainly worthy of the superior connoisseur. By adding that finishing touch to your basement, you can ensure years of optimal use and enjoyment, proving that a little structural reinforcement never looked so good.
1. Traditional Basement Pole Ideas
Because basement poles are responsible for supporting thousands of pounds of weight from the floors above, they can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. They often take the place of a bearing wall. Therefore, we must usually find a way to make existing basement posts look attractive with our chosen decor. Fortunately, many simple traditional column ideas work well with just about any interior basement design plan. One of the simplest ways to cover basement poles is to buy pre-made covers designed for this purpose.
Designed to look like solid columns, these covers can be cut to fit around any size pole. They come in bare wood finishes that you can paint yourself, or pre-finished with various trims, textures, and colors. They’re even available in faux wood. A basic black column visually balances any other black areas in the room, such as a fireplace opening or TV screen. You can choose full square columns, rounded columns, or half-columns that extend from the floor to chair rail height.
With a bigger budget, a contractor can incorporate your existing columns into posts at the end of a half wall and connect the spaces with arches. These help to make the overall basement design look more like a traditional room instead of an afterthought. If your poles have a smooth metal finish, you can paint them a glossy or matte color that coordinates with the rest of your basement hideaway. Then, simply add trim molding to the top and the bottom to neatly finish the look.
2. Modern Basement Pole Ideas
A modern house needs basement pole covers that reflect the clean, uncluttered appearance of the rest of the house. Simplicity rules in modern, minimalist spaces and must be reflected in the colors, shapes, and materials used in every living space. Materials that make good basement pole covers in a modern home include wood, metal, and stone.
While sleek, smooth finishes are a hallmark of modern design, you can also use reclaimed wood planks in a shiplap pattern to turn basement poles into modern focal points. Larger reclaimed planks may be installed around a support post to transform them into solid structures that appear to have been there since the house was built.
If you have tile floors in your basement, look for faux stacked stone veneers in the same color family. If you prefer the real deal, hire a stonemason to build stone enclosures around your basement posts.
To save money, only install natural stone on the bottom half of the post and cover the top portion with inexpensive wood planks. For a more industrial—and less expensive—way to add texture to your room, cover the lower portion of each column with corrugated metal panels instead of stone.
A simple white column with a wider base also gives the illusion of heavy-duty support while providing the clean lines you want in modern interiors. Have an electrician install hidden lights in a recessed area to turn your columns into lovely ambient light fixtures. Use a simple baseboard trim at the bottom and top of the column to finish it cleanly.
3. Ornate Basement Pole Ideas
French country, Victorian, shabby chic, and transitional basement designs can carry the weight of ornate pole designs. Embellishments and intricate details demand inclusion and can appear in virtually every nook and corner. Your finished basement should be no exception.
An ornate basement pole may be one that’s embellished on all four sides with wainscoting and finished at both ends with several stacked layers of detailed molding. Keep ornate columns the same color as your walls or wainscoting, or consider painting them a contrasting color if it doesn’t overwhelm your total design scheme. It’s hard to go wrong with white or black basement columns because these classic colors serve to make architectural details more noticeable.
If ornate décor is your thing, you don’t have to settle for the columns available at your local home improvement center. Visit reclaimed building material stores and you might uncover a treasure trove of antique porch columns that feel like they were designed just for your basement. Look for curves and ridges, intricate carvings or posts that look like giant chess pieces. Let your eye be drawn to shapes and silhouettes that no other basement will have.
Hire a home remodeling contractor to cut and reassemble the pieces at your home. Finishing them with a distressed paint effect will enhance the beautifully reclaimed vibe.
4. Rustic Basement Pole Ideas
Your rustic cabin or lodge-style house is the perfect place for the most rustic basement pole covers. Because natural flaws are part of the appeal of rustic design, you may feel more comfortable doing these projects yourself than if perfect lines and seams were necessary. Rough-hewn timbers make excellent pole covers, and you can attach matching wood beams between them for design continuity. Extra basement remodeling points if you source reclaimed barn wood.
Also, keep in mind that you can purchase faux wood beams that mimic real wood very closely.
One of the more delightful options for rustic basement poles is to cover them with an actual tree trunk—or a prefabricated column cover that looks like a real tree. Extend the theme through a playroom by hiring a mural artist to paint branches, leaves, and sky on the ceiling and walls. You can even hang a swing from the ceiling and make it look as though it’s attached to a tree branch.
For a finished basement with a nautical or beach theme, rope makes a nice basement post cover that is easy to DIY. Purchase approximately 100 feet of sisal rope for each post you want to wrap. A rope that is ½ inch in diameter is good for smaller posts, while wider rope provides a chunkier look that you might prefer. Although the following video shows how to wrap chair legs with rope, the process is essentially the same for covering a pole-shaped object of any size.
5. Stone and Masonry Basement Pole Ideas
The timeless look of natural stone never grows old and is a look that’s at home in virtually any type of dwelling. Fabricated stone panels look so realistic now, most people cannot detect the real deal from these inexpensive DIY options. Even so, if your budget allows, hiring a mason to craft brick or stone column supports is definitely worth the investment.
If full stone supports appear too heavy for your aesthetic senses, use stone or stone veneer only on the upper or lower half of your posts and cover the rest of each structure with wood. However, if you love stonework or exposed brick, make the most of it by building a bar between your masonry columns. Connect the tops of your columns with a masonry archway and continue the surface on the wall behind the bar.
If you already have a stone fireplace surround, it looks great to replicate the same stonework on your finished basement columns. Keep in mind that while most stone and brick applications add a rustic flair to home décor, you can also keep true to minimalist, Scandinavian, or contemporary design by using smooth granite or marble panels. Glass block, limestone, and concrete blocks are other materials that add the beauty of masonry to the basement columns in your modern home.
6. Shelving Basement Pole Ideas
Turning your finished basement living space support poles into shelving units is an ingenious idea, especially if you don’t like the look of freestanding columns. While this treatment can be a bit trickier than installing a simple column cover, it’s possible to DIY these structures if you have some experience with drywall and basic carpentry skills.
The type of shelves you design are limited only by your needs and your imagination. Make a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf between your posts, or give your living space a more open appearance by leaving the top half open on both sides. Use the open area to display a favorite tall plant or sculpture.
If your support columns are near a kitchen or dining area, you can build wine bottle cubbies instead of regular shelves. The area between columns could be turned into a hutch-like structure to display favorite vases and other glassware. Small cabinets with doors that close can be built around or between columns and used to store extra dishes or seasonal items.
7. Seating Basement Pole Ideas
Depending on the shape and size of your basement, seating may be at a premium. In tight spaces, consider building a bench around the base of your support poles. Your bench can be rectangular or rounded, with a hard wooden seat or a padded one. If you choose to pad your bench, apply padded panels an additional foot or two up the column to provide a soft backrest on all sides.
These built-in seating solutions are great for basement game rooms, playrooms, dining areas, and even bedrooms. If you have a support post near an exterior basement entrance, putting a column bench there can help you designate a “mudroom” zone for removing shoes and hanging up coats in your finished basement. Don’t forget that the base of the bench is a great place for hidden storage.
8. Drywall Basement Pole Ideas
Drywall remains perhaps the most popular material for encasing a basement support pole during basement renovations. Its clean finish can be painted to match the other walls, providing a continuity that helps the columns fade into the background instead of becoming focal points. Always finish drywall column covers with the same baseboard and/or crown molding that appears in the rest of the living space.
If you’re building a new home or finally getting around to finishing an unfinished basement, you can actually hide your columns entirely. Lay out the floor plan in your finished basement so that the columns disappear inside the basement walls or get tucked within other drywalled areas.
Watch the following video to see a home improvement expert explain how to design a basement floor plan that will fully hide existing support columns.
9. Basement Pole Table and Bar Top Ideas
Turning your basement poles into tables or bar tops is another way to make use of wasted space in a basement living room or man cave. Whether designed as an end table between two sofas or chairs, or a long wet bar stretched between two distant poles, columns provide solid anchors for these useful zones.
In a playroom, construct an octagonal bar-height table around a support column and add a ring of colorful barstools. This area will become a favorite place for your kids to enjoy snacks, draw or do homework. A desk area can also be built between columns if you need an additional work area for yourself or your children.
Basement Poles Ideas FAQ
I recently bought an older home with an unfinished basement. I noticed that the basement support post appears heavily rusted. How do I know if it’s safe to cover it or if it should be replaced?
Your best—and safest—bet is to call an experienced contractor or building inspector and follow their advice. If you poke a screwdriver into the rusted area and it goes straight through, that’s a sign that column replacement is necessary.
In addition, the presence of rust suggests that your unfinished basement has a moisture problem that should be addressed. Don’t invest your time or money covering the columns until you’ve dealt with the structural issues.
What’s the difference between a lally column, a mono post, and a jack post?
All three are names for the types of weight-bearing steel columns found in a load bearing wall. They’re used to hold up the floor joists of the level above. Each of these column types is steel-walled and round.
- A lally column is generally used for permanent structural support and is filled with concrete.
- A mono post is also designed to be a permanent building column, but it is adjustable in length.
- Jack posts are also adjustable in length but are designed for temporary support purposes. They hold less weight than lally columns or mono posts.