While drywall is a good choice for a base material when covering basement walls, such as block or concrete slabs, it is not the be-all, end-all when it comes to finishing materials. A full range of selections are at your disposal based upon personal preference, such as natural stones like slate and marble, ceramic tiles, wood paneling, whitewash, paint and membranes.
An affordable alternative to natural stones such as flagstone and bluestone, cultured stone is a man-made lookalike material that you can use to finish the walls of your basement. While it is most commonly in fireplace surrounds as well as outdoor finishes, you can also use it in a basement setting to give it a rugged, outdoor look.
Whether you decide to go with a man-made tile such as ceramic or porcelain, or a natural stone tile such as slate or polished marble and granite, you have a number of choices for finishing your basement walls with tile. At the cheaper end of the scale are the ceramics and porcelains, while the polished natural stones provide you with a high-end, refined look and feel that has an accompanying price tag.
Sheet metal is a modern alternative wall covering that comes in a range of colors and types to suit your personal preference. Copper sheeting is a popular type, as is polished aluminum, but you can also find sheet metals with special designs stamped onto the surface, or you can use antique metals such as old tin from barn roofs to create a rustic look for your basement.
Antique lumber is a common type of wood paneling when you are looking for an old-fashioned aesthetic for your basement. Reclaimed from old barns, fences and other buildings, antique lumber can replace modern wood paneling with the same results, although antique lumber is considered more durable because it has already cured and hardened with time.