The 10 Best Paint Colors for a Brighter Basement

When decorating a basement, is it better to choose light or deep colors? All of the above! Here are some of our favorite colors for basement walls that will keep your lower level from looking drab.
Beautiful basement entertaining room with LED lighting in tray ceiling


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Finished basements can serve all sorts of purposes, whether you’re in need of an extra den or a playroom or you want to create additional space for a home office or craft room. Regardless of the room type, the paint color you choose will lay the foundation of your design, making a big impact on your overall aesthetic.

When shopping for new paint for your basement walls, the two main factors to consider are the paint’s color and finish. Semi-gloss and glossy finishes tend to work best for basements since they’re moisture-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. They also do a great job of reflecting light, which can make your basement appear lighter and brighter. As far as color, the best color depends on your unique style sensibility. These hues can provide all the inspiration you need to land on the perfect hue for your basement refresh.

1. Bright White

Room with Bright White Ceiling

Crisp clean white is a natural choice to brighten light-deprived spaces like basements. Its bright energy makes it ideal for home offices. According to Ashley Banbury, Color Marketing Manager for Dutch Boy Paints, the hue is a great way to make your space look larger: “Using bright whites that reflect the light in the space is a great option for making basement spaces feel larger. When used on the ceiling it makes the room feel taller—a perfect solution for those smaller basements.”

You can maximize the hue’s expansive feel by incorporating white furnishings and accessories or break it up with playful pops of color. Either way, Dutch Boy Paints White (003W) is a great way to achieve this look.

RELATED: 14 White Rooms We Love

2. Light Blue

Basement with light blue paint

“Light blue is a perfect soft tone that can make basement rooms feel welcoming and inviting,” says Banbury. Dunn Edwards Silver Creek (DE6275) is a pleasing, pale shade of gray-blue that calms the senses and lifts the spirits. It’s a great fit for a welcoming living space or cozy basement bedroom. Soft neutrals, like beige, gray, and cream, tend to pair particularly well with this hue.

RELATED: 12 Finishing Touches for Your Unfinished Basement

3. Red

Basement Movie Room Painted with Red Walls

Painting the walls a fiery red, like PPG’s Blaze (PPG13-16), will instantly infuse energy into this sometimes humdrum space. Red is a great choice for basement playrooms, game rooms, and other spaces that benefit from a burst of energy.

4. Purple

Basement with purple paint
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Alexandria, VA

Because purple is often associated with creativity, it’s a stellar option for a basement office or work space. The particular shade you choose can alter the mood of the room. Deep plums look sophisticated and elegant, while lavender, like PPG’s Ash Grove (PPG1172-4, is both soothing and playful.

RELATED: 15 Basement Ceiling Ideas to Inspire Your Space

5. Gray

Finished Basement Painted Gray
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Washington, DC

Gray paint, like Sherwin-Williams’ Evening Shadow (SW7662), can bring sophistication to any basement den, living room, or home office. Pair gray walls with neutral furniture for a classic look or embrace modernity by adding bold details in colors like orange, deep blue, or lime green.

6. Cream

Basement with cream walls

“Cream colors embody comfort and create inviting spaces where you can relax and unwind,” says Banbury. The color works in functional spaces like home offices or laundry rooms as well as in entertainment spaces, such as TV or rec rooms. Mahogany or honey-toned woods pair well with cream, as do denim blues and tomato reds. Linen Ruffle (PPG1075-1) by PPG is a nice option for a light but warm cream basement.

RELATED: 14 Tips for a Cozy Basement Bedroom

7. Navy Blue

Basement painted navy blue
Photo: Zillow Digs home in Lake Oswego, OR

‘Since basements typically lack sunlight, darker shades have the ability to create a moody environment that feels unique and personal,” says Banbury.

If you’re yearning for a bold look, opt for a classic shade of navy blue, like PPG’s Annapolis Blue (PPG1164-7) which enhances the space without looking claustrophobic. Then brighten things up with an abundance of light neutral design details.

8. Green

Basement with Green Walls

You’ll find countless shades of green paint, from lime to emerald, at the home store. Each tone can function well in a basement, as either an all-around background or bold accent. Darker shades add drama and coziness, while light shades create a fun energy. Opt for an attention-grabbing lime hue in a child’s playroom, restful sage for a guest room, like PPG’s Pine Whisper (PPG1134-4), or emerald as an accent color.

RELATED: 12 Finished Basement Ideas for Creating the Ultimate Bonus Space

9. Yellow

Minimalist modern kitchen with healthy breakfast, living room and wooden staircase, contemporary white and yellow interior design

Vivid and energetic, yellow paint, like PPG’s Firelight (PPG1211-5), instantly warms any dark basement. The cheerful hue can be challenging to incorporate into a design scheme because sunlight intensifies the brightness, but the limited natural light in basements allows homeowners to pick a strong gold or lemon shade without worry.

10. Brown

Modern brown interior design living room with flower

Rich brown, like PPG’s Chestnut (PPG15-23), can add equal parts drama and warmth to a basement design, so it’s a particularly nice fit for an inviting movie room or gaming area. You can brighten up the brown light accents or double down on its enveloping ambience by layering natural woods and woven textures.

Buy PPG paint at The Home Depot

Buy HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams paint at Lowe’s

Buy Benjamin Moore paint at Ace Hardware