Drywall Alternatives for Something Different in your Basement

When we envision creating interior walls, drywall typically is the first that springs to your mind. It’s not only one of the most popular building materials and readily available, but also one of the most cost-effective utilized in modern homes.

Have you ever wondered what drywall is exactly? Well, let me tell you! Drywall is like the secret ingredient in building materials. It’s made of gypsum, a soft sulfate mineral, that’s carefully pressed between two paperboards. And here’s the cool part – while the paper backing is combustible, gypsum is not! Drywall’s fire resistance properties are one of the reasons why drywall is a popular building material. You may have heard drywall referred to as sheetrock. Sheetrock is a brand of drywall made by the United States Gypsum Corporation. Sheetrock is used kind of like Scotch tape and Kleenex. Brand names that are so well known that the brand name is used interchangeably with the product name.

Standard drywall also falls short in the wet areas of your home, basements, and other spaces prone to flooding. It easily absorbs moisture, leaving it susceptible to mold and mildew in wet conditions.

Drywall does have its advantages though, it’s what people expect to see in a home. Since drywall is common most homebuyers would expect it and would be very surprised to find a home without drywall everywhere. Drywall is relatively inexpensive, because of its wide use drywall is mass produced and prices are kept low. Drywall is also easy to install with a little know how and maybe just a little bit of skill.

As many advantages as drywall has there are also plenty of disadvantages. Drywall performs poorly in areas that are prone to moisture, basements, and bathrooms. Once drywall has become wet it will swell and deteriorate. This is why finding the right drywall alternative for your home is crucial.

Beyond drywall, what are other options for a home’s interior walls? The drywall alternatives are plenty but not all are great from a home decorating perspective. Sure you could slap some plywood and paint on a wall and make it work but it would be awful to look at and impossible to design around. Let’s take a look at some alternatives that offer a unique look and are easy to decorate around and make look beautiful.

Drywall Alternatives


Looking to follow the shiplap trend? Believe it or not, you actually do not need to use sheetrock as a base for installing shiplap. Would it be helpful maybe? It would make it more weatherproof for sure. If you do decide to go this route I would recommend some sort of weatherproof barrier like a ceiling barrier or some other form of durable plastic sheeting.

Brick as a Drywall Alternative

Brick is one of the more common drywall alternatives. You see brick in basements a lot. But it doesn’t have to be relegated to the basement only. Brick can also be used in living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Brick can also be decorated to look beautiful or you could allow the brick to stand on its own. Brick walls are also versatile, you can paint them whitewash them, or leave them be in their natural state.


A personal favorite of mine. I have used beadboard in a few of the bedrooms in my Florida home and I absolutely loved the versatility and uniqueness which each of my custom designs. Beadboard is super easy to install and would make for a great weekend DIY project.

Concrete as an Alternative to Using Drywall

Concrete walls might be a bit difficult for a remodeling job but if you already have them in your home they make for the perfect drywall alternative. What else can I say about concrete it’s durable, easy to paint, and certainly maintain.

Board and Batten

Board and batten is a classic and timeless design choice that has been used in homes for centuries. But it’s also a great drywall alternative! You can use different materials such as wood, vinyl, or even PVC to create this look. This option gives you the opportunity to be creative with your wall design while also providing a durable and moisture-resistant surface. Plus, it’s relatively easy to install and even easier to maintain.


I think cork walls are highly underrated. Not only is cork a sustainable and eco-friendly material, but it also offers excellent insulation properties. It’s also incredibly versatile as it can be painted, stained, or left in its natural state. Cork walls are perfect for soundproofing and adding warmth to your home. Plus cork is great for decorating, don’t like that picture hanging there anymore move it around without having to worry about filling a hole in the wall.

Fabric Used as an Alternative to Sheetrock

Who says your walls need to be made of hard materials? Fabric walls offer a unique and cozy look to any room. You can use fabric wallcoverings or simply stretch fabric over a frame for an easy and inexpensive option. Fabric also provides great sound absorption properties, making it perfect for music rooms or home theaters. Fabric is probably the cheapest wall covering material available.

Wood Paneling

Ah! The dreaded wood paneling, but it’s not what you are envisioning in your head. Wood paneling has come a long way since the 1980’s. Wood paneling is actually kinda stylish now. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who says this home looks dated (a common refrain about wood paneling), this living room is actually the opposite, very modern. The wood brings in a touch of nature and looks absolutely beautiful when combined with neutral furniture. Wood paneling is 100% worth looking into when considering alternatives to drywall in your home.

Plaster as a Drywall Alternative

Plaster is another traditional wall covering that has been used for centuries. Matter of fact before the invention of drywall plaster was the most common material used to build interior walls. While plaster may not be as common today, plaster walls provide a beautiful and custom look to any home. Plaster can be applied in various textures such as smooth, textured, or even embellished with designs for a custom look. Although it may require the help of a professional, plaster walls are highly desirable and definitely worth considering for your home.


Lastly, we have stone walls as a sheetrock alternative. Similar to brick, stone can be used in various rooms throughout the house and can offer a variety of looks from rustic farmhouse to modern. Stone walls are durable, easy to maintain, and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. You can use natural stone for an authentic feel or opt for manufactured stone for a more budget-friendly option.

Slat Wood Wall

Like the look of shiplap but want something a little different? Look no further than a slat wood wall. This option combines the warmth and texture of wood with a modern edge. Slat wood walls can be stained or painted to match any decor style, making them versatile and easy to decorate with and around. One of the reasons I love the look of slat walls is the contrast between the blackened gaps between the wood slats and the actual wood.

Drywall Alternatives Conclusion

Drywall may be the standard in most homes but it’s not your only option. Whether you’re looking for something durable, and moisture-resistant, or simply want to add a unique and personalized touch to your home, there are drywall alternatives out there for you. So don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new for your basement walls! After all, as the saying goes, “home is where the heart is” and a home that reflects your unique style and personality is truly a special place.

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