Not all basements are created equal. Some are pre-finished and full of natural light, and others need a full remodel to become livable. Either way, when it comes time to remodel (or renovate), the paint color you choose can make or break this space. The right hue can fill your basement with light, make it appear larger, and transform it into a place that your family and friends will love. With a fresh coat of paint and a few well-chosen pieces of décor, your basement will no longer be just a drab laundry room or overflow storage space.
Bright white is a fairly predictable choice, but that’s because it’s one of the most effective ones. White reflects light well, so it can maximize whatever illumination is in the room, natural or otherwise. Even if your walls are already white, consider applying a fresh coat with a slightly glossy finish to really make the room shine.
As you shop for your perfect shade, you’ll begin to notice that white is just as variable as any other color. Some whites have cool blue or grey undertones, while others are warmer with hints of pink and yellow. Hues with cooler undertones like High Reflective White are closer to true white, delivering maximum illumination to your dimly lit space. As you paint, don’t forget to look up. Painting the ceiling a bright white will open the room up and create the illusion of a higher ceiling.
White isn’t for everyone, as many find that this shade looks overly sterile and stark. To add a little fun while keeping it bright, opt for light blue to brighten up a dark basement all while keeping it cozy. Hues like Minor Blue are bright enough to make a statement but soft enough to make for a not-so-distracting background.
If your basement will function as an additional living space, like a TV room or lounge, light blue might not be the pick for you. When you shut off the lights for a scary movie, the brightness of the walls will reflect the screen, creating light spots that detract from the theater vibe. Instead, this color works better for fun spaces like playrooms or guest rooms where you need to inject a little more fun. Decorate with neutral colors to create a more relaxing space, or use pops of bright, complementary colors like red and orange to bring more energy to the room.
White or light blue are fairly safe options, so if you’re on the hunt for a bolder option, consider painting your walls a bright yellow or green. Light shades reflect light well but aren’t quite as exciting as Confident Yellow or Magnolia Green. Keep in mind, however, that both of these colors are slightly darker, so you’ll need plenty of overhead light to keep the room from feeling dark and closed in. These colors are certainly adventurous, so if painting the whole basement a bright color is too intense, just paint a single accent wall in the color of your choice, and accent it with a few fun throw pillows, blankets, and other decorative pieces.
It may seem counterintuitive to paint a dark room a dark color, but deeper shades can bring just the right amount of drama if done correctly. The basement is already dark, so why not embrace it and play around with light and dark to create contrast in the room that’s riskier and more interesting? Instead of flooding the space with light, which can detract from the drama, incorporate light furniture and wall decor to bring subtle touches of brightness to the room. Lighting is still important here, but consider installing dimmers so you can transform the space from a bright playroom to a more moody lounge whenever you please.
If you think your dark and dingy basement is a lost cause, don’t give up hope just yet. With a fresh coat of the right color paint, the entire energy can change. Be sure to choose a color that pulls out all the natural light available, and don’t forget to add fun accents to avoid a boring and monochromatic space. Unused basements amount to wasted living space, so transform yours into a liveable area that gives you and your guests even more space to relax, play, or just spend time together.
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