11 Doable Ways to DIY a Basement Ceiling

Choosing your basement ceiling can be tricky! It can be tempting to go bare-bones with the ceilings so you don’t lose any clearance for this often-low ceiling, but if you do that, you can miss out on a major style opportunity. Because basements are often styled as casual spaces, you have the freedom to experiment with bold or unusual decorating ideas that you might be less ready to try in the other rooms of the house. Here, 11 out-of-the-box basement ceiling ideas to consider in your remodel.

  1. Painted Rafters

    Basement Ceiling Rafters

    Charcoal-colored rafters may seem like an unexpected choice for a basement ceiling, but when you contrast them with pale-gray furnishings and deep-gray floors, the result is a clean and modern look. Plus, the dark basement ceiling rafters do another trick: they effortlessly disguise plumbing and electricity without a speck of drywall.

    Related: 12 Finishing Touches for Your Unfinished Basement

    Zillow Digs home in Brentwood, MO

  2. Natural Wooden Planks

    Wooden Plank Basement Ceiling

    For the ultimate sports cave, finish your basement ceiling with polished wood planks. Illuminated with lighting strips hidden inside support beams (you can purchase a similar lighting kit on Amazon), the warm glow makes a basement feel comfortable and cozy—perfect for watching the Big Game with your friends.

    Related: 11 Breathtaking Ideas for a Wood Ceiling

    Zillow Digs home in Bellevue, WA

  3. Painted Wooden Planks

    Painted Wood Plank Ceiling

    With shiplap planks all the rage, it’s no wonder that this white painted plank basement ceiling feels fresh! Finished in country white—to complete the monochromatic color scheme—this basement ceiling makes the whole space feel bright, but in a casual, warm, and totally on-trend way.

    Related: 17 Times Shiplap Made the Room

    Zillow Digs home in Minneapolis, MN

  4. Painted Pipes and Beams

    Painted Unfinished Basement Ceiling

    A decorating trick of photo studios everywhere: Paint it all white! In this space, the beams on the basement ceiling—and everything inside, including pipes, ductwork and lighting fixtures—get a coat of modern bright-white paint—that complements any kind of decor. This simple decorating trick turns all those utilitarian features in the basement ceiling into cool, sculptural elements.

    Related: 14 White Rooms We Love

    Zillow Digs home in Mountain Brook, AL

  5. Tin Ceiling

    Tin Ceiling Tiles

    Tin tiles are a staple of old-school pubs. This charming decorative element reflects light and sound, making an intimate space feel lively and fun. Placed on the basement ceiling, tin tiles can make the basement feel like an authentic entertaining space, even if it’s a new construction or recent renovation. And once you add in that full bar and pool table, the guests are sure to follow. 

    Related: Why Go Out? 12 Bars You Can Build at Home

    Zillow Digs home in Branchburg, NJ

  6. Corrugated Metal Ceiling

    Corrugated Metal Ceiling

    When your basement ceiling is low, your room can quickly feel cramped. To overcome a basement's design limitations, it’s key to add a decorative element that bounces light and introduces a new texture without adding bulk. In this space, corrugated metal—a fixture of temporary builds, but rarely a home decorating staple—becomes the star in a sea of sharp-lined cuts of wood. The result is to make the basement ceiling a focal point instead of an afterthought, and create an artistic ambiance that doesn't suffer for lack of square footage.

    Related: 10 Shortcuts to a Not-So-Scary Basement

    Princeton Design Collaborative 

  7. Decorative Ceiling Tile

    Decorative Ceiling Tile

    Far beyond the typical dropped tiles seen in many basement ceilings, the molded details of these ceiling tiles gives the below-grade room all the character of its upstairs neighbors (a similar design is available from Home Depot). Paired with a wood-look floor and classic wallpaper, the basement looks like a lived-in room instead of a recent renovation.

    Related: The Do’s and Dont’s of Basement Storage


  8. Contrasting Paint Colors

    Texturized Painted Ceiling

    This exuberant basement ceiling idea includes a mix of colors layered over each other to create a unique basement ceiling, which pulls together all the colors in the room: warm browns, reds, and oranges scattered throughout. The contrasting orange accents emphasize the architecture of the room and give the space a vibrant energy.

    Related: 14 Tips for a Cozy Basement Bedroom

    Zillow Digs home in Shawnee, KS

  9. Traditional Box Ceiling

    Traditional Box Ceiling

    The beams in this basement ceiling have just enough embellishment to make them seem like architectural elements instead of structural solutions. Painted pure white, they work like crown molding to add interest above eye level and make the ceilings seem both higher and like an original part of an older home.

    Related: The 10 Best Colors for a Brighter Basement

    Zillow Digs home in Bethesda, MD

  10. Exposed Wood Beams

    Exposed Wood Beams

    The exposed wood beams on this basement ceiling are a rustic but contemporary architectural feature. Set against white-painted panels and beams, all the natural grain in the lightly stained wood comes forward, giving the space the feel of a modern farmhouse.

    Related: Beautiful Basements: 13 Surprisingly Cool Underground Amenities in Real American Homes

    Zillow Digs home in Shoreline, WA

  11. Simple Drop Ceiling Tiles

    Basement Drop Ceiling

    This solution for basement ceilings is a classic for a reason: The simple drop ceiling tiles (available from Home Depot) create a grid overhead that acts like wallpaper to establish a geometric pattern that moves the eye through the room. And the tiles are easy to work with, too, since you can move them individually to access plumbing pipes or electrical hookups.

    Related: 9 Inspiring Ideas for Basement Flooring

    Zillow Digs home in Glen Ellyn, IL

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