What Color to Paint Basement Ceiling

Here we share our what color to paint basement ceiling guide including important considerations, tips on walls, how to make this space larger, paint shades for exposed ceilings, and preferred hues.
Spacious basement with wooden floors and white wall and ceiling The basement is the most ignored and forgotten room in a home. Neglecting your basement is a waste of space and opportunity to do something useful about it. Why not turn it into something useful and make it your little project?

Make your basement look like a part of your home by primping it up. Let’s start with what color to paint the basement ceiling. 

What Color To Paint Basement Ceiling?

Basement kitchen wood floor center island white walls ceiling Choosing what color to paint the basement ceiling will require different considerations. What are your plans for the space? What color do you plan to use on the walls of your basement? 

Does your basement need a bit of help to look bigger? Do you plan to paint the basement ceiling the same color as the walls? And these are only a few questions you need to answer before starting your project. 

Let’s start deciding on matching the color of the basement ceiling and walls. Is it a good idea to do so or would it be better to match colors instead?

Do You Paint The Basement Ceiling The Same Color As Walls?

Living room in basement with indoor plant window and ceiling lights Like everything else in this project, deciding to use the same color for the basement ceiling and walls is a matter of choice.There is no rule that says the ceiling of a basements needs to be the same color as thee walls.

There are pros and cons when choosing the same or different colors for the ceilings and walls of your basement. You need to find your happy medium and what can satisfy your vision of the project. Read more about our guide on basement wall colors here.

Matching Ceiling and Walls

Renovated modern stylish basement living room with wood tile flooring When your basement’s ceiling and walls have the same color, the general feel and ambiance of the room will be cozier. It is best for the following type of basements:

  • Basement with lower ceilings
  • Basement with flat ceilings

Do you paint the basement ceiling the same color as the walls? The answer is yes if you either want to tie a room together and create a cozier vibe. 

Choose a darker color if you want the room to feel more intimate. Choose a lighter color if you want the room to open up and have depth. 

Not Matching Ceiling and Walls

Basement bedroom with light green walls television and ceiling lights If you choose not to match the ceilings and walls of your basement, you may do so. Choosing a lighter or darker color for the ceiling has its implications. You need to know what they do to a room before deciding on this.  

The Ceiling Has A Darker Color Than The Walls

Basement home office design with built in desk living room sectional accent wall You can choose a darker color for your basement ceiling if you want:

  • Slight contrast between your basement’s ceiling walls
  • A white-walled room with a high-contrast look
  • Decorative and popping details that can accent the crown molding
  • A more intimate and cozier basement
  • A basement with a striking contrast

Dark colors in white walls can look dramatic and if you are going for that, you can try it out. If you don’t like the striking contrast, make sure to choose a hue only two or three shades darker for a sophisticated look. Read more about our guide on paint colors that go with dark wood floors here.

The Ceiling Has A Lighter Color Than The Walls

Basement blue wall white ceiling chair lamp stairs You can choose a lighter color for your basement ceiling if you want:

  • To make a room feel larger 
  • To open up a room with lower ceilings
  • A room with a low-contrast look
  • Subtle and simple tone changes and clean lines

These are only a few of the choices you can make for your basement. Decide on the general feel you want your basement to have and work on the colors to your advantage.   

What Color Makes A Basement Look Bigger?

Spacious basement with wooden floor sofa chairs and ceiling lights For a small room and basement, there are techniques you can apply to make it appear larger. One way to do so is through the use of appropriate colors. What color makes a basement look bigger?

A low ceiling and cramped space can be discouraging to spruce up. You can do something about it though and make the space expand. And this is by selecting bright colors.

Bright and light colors reflect light that allows the room to appear bigger than its size. Choose light colors like white and cream, and light yellow, blue, and gray. 

Apply the entire color scheme to your basement and not just the ceiling or the walls. Here are some tips you can do and choose from:

  • Light-colored and water-resistant flooring
  • Baseboards and molding with several shades brighter than the walls
  • Light-colored decor and carpet
  • Try a glass table or transparent furniture

If you are using your basement as a living area we have an article on the best paint colors for living rooms here.

What Type Of Paint Can Be Used For An Exposed Basement Ceiling?

Basement with exposed ceiling and drywall Now that you have a general idea of your basement’s vibe, you can start your project soon. Your exposed ceiling though can be a problem if you don’t have a plan for that yet. What type of paint can be used for an exposed basement ceiling? 

One thing you can do is to leave the ceiling exposed, free from drop ceilings and drywall. Painting it directly can be a good idea, especially if your basement is already small. 

Use latex paint for the exposed wood basement ceiling. You may also want to try a mix of primer and paint with matte or satin finishes for easy cleaning. 

Best Paint Color for Basements

Spacious basement room interior in pastel blue tones and beige carpet floor Do you now have the general feel of what your basement should be? Have you figured out what to do with your exposed basement ceiling? Great! 

Now, let’s figure out the best paint color for basements. There is a variety to choose from and your choice would depend on the vibe you want your basement to have. 

Here are some choices you can consider:


White is a generic choice for a basement with small space since it lightens the room and makes it appear bigger. 

Make sure to avoid going full-on white that can make the vibe feel cold instead. Here are several whites to choose from:

Magnolia one horn white

Magnolia One Horn White

Extra-white by Sherwin-Williams Extra-white by Sherwin-Williams

Chantilly Lace OC-65 Chantilly Lace OC-65


If you want to turn your basement into a kid’s playroom, yellow might be a good choice. Here are some yellows to check out:

Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sunshine (2018-50) Benjamin Moore’s Morning Sunshine (2018-50)

Benjamin Moore Banana Yellow (2022-40) Benjamin Moore Banana Yellow (2022-40)


Gray can be soothing and relaxing. It can also be a timeless and classic look for a room. Some of the colors you can use for your basement are:

Sherwin-Williams Mindful Gray (SW 7016) Sherwin-Williams Mindful Gray (SW 7016)

Farrow & Ball Purbeck Stone 275 Farrow & Ball Purbeck Stone 275


You can go for a sky blue to brighten up your basement or a navy blue for a more classic look. Whatever vibe of blue you like, there is something you can use. Here are some choices to try out:

Sherwin-Williams Manitou Blue (SW 6501) Sherwin-Williams Manitou Blue (SW 6501)

Sherwin-Williams Inkwell SW 6992 Sherwin-Williams Inkwell SW 6992

Benjamin Moore Light Blue 2066-70 Benjamin Moore Light Blue 2066-70

Pantone PMS 5395-CP Pantone PMS 5395-CP


Green is another choice you can also fall back to. A green undertone is relaxing and the earthy feel gives off a more mature personality. Here are great green hues you can consider:

Sherwin-Williams Watery (SW 6478) Sherwin-Williams Watery (SW 6478)

Behr’s Moss Mist (S380-1) Behr’s Moss Mist (S380-1)

These are only a few of the colors you can consider for your basement. If you are still wondering what color to paint basement ceiling, these are also great choices. Make sure to assess the natural and artificial light you’ll be using, as well as what you want your basement to be. 

When considering paint colors for your basement, whether it is your ceiling or walls, there’s no right answer. Make sure to coordinate your colors though to complement each other. 

Use the colors to your advantage to and to meet the goal of your project – whether it is a playroom or a man cave. See more related content at our article about the different man cave colors on this page.

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