Forget About Boring Basement Ceilings
Figuring out a basement ceiling design can be trickier than doing a ceiling in any other room in a home. While it can be tempting to go bare-bones with the ceiling so you don’t lose access to mechanical and plumbing systems or any height for this often-low ceiling, you may be missing out on a major opportunity to show off your style.
Because basements are often designated as casual tucked-away spaces in a home, there is more freedom to experiment with bold or new decorating ideas that you might be reticent to try in the other rooms of the house. Need a little inspiration? The low ceiling basement ideas, painted basement ceilings, wood ceiling ideas, and basement ceiling tiles that follow may be perfect fits for your remodel.
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1. Painted Rafters
A black basement ceiling may not be for everyone, but when paired with pale-gray furnishings and deep-gray floors, the result is a clean, modern look. This basement ceiling with charcoal-colored rafters also adds a touch of warmth to the concrete block room, and effortlessly disguises the plumbing and electricity.
Zillow Digs home in Brentwood, MO
2. Natural Wooden Planks
For the ultimate underground swanky bar vibe, finish your basement ceiling with polished wood planks. Illuminated with lighting strips hidden inside support beams—MYBEAUTYLIGHT's white LED lights will create a similar effect—the warm glow will make a basement feel comfortable, cozy, and the perfect place to watch the big game.
Zillow Digs home in Bellevue, WA
3. Painted Wooden Planks
With shiplap planks all the rage, it’s no wonder that this white painted plank basement ceiling feels fresh! Finished in country white, this basement ceiling makes the whole space feel bright, but in a casual, warm, and totally on-trend way. And it’s fairly easy to add a visually seamless access panel in this type of ceiling so there’s still a way to get to any mechanical systems above.
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Zillow Digs home in Minneapolis, MN
4. Painted Pipes and Beams
A decorating trick of photo studios everywhere: Paint it all white! In this space, the joists in the basement ceiling—and everything inside, including pipes, ductwork, and lighting fixtures—get a coat of modern bright-white paint. This simple decorating trick to paint everything the same color turns all those utilitarian features in the basement ceiling into unimposing sculptural elements.
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Zillow Digs home in Mountain Brook, AL
5. Tin Ceiling
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 ceiling tiles can transform the space into an authentic entertaining hub, whether it’s in new construction or a recent renovation. Adding in a full bar and billiard table further enhances the pub charm.
Zillow Digs home in Branchburg, NJ
6. Corrugated Metal Ceiling
When your basement ceiling is low, the room can easily feel cramped. To overcome this tight feeling, it’s key to add a decorative element that bounces light and introduces a new texture without adding bulk. In this space, corrugated metal becomes the star in a sea of modular wood. The basement ceiling is now a focal point instead of an afterthought, and creates an artistic ambiance that doesn't suffer for lack of square footage. Install the corrugated metal as full sheets, or try CeilingConnex's corrugated metal ceiling tiles.
7. Decorative Ceiling Tile
Far beyond the typical dropped tiles seen in many basement ceilings, the molded details of these ceiling tiles (a similar design is available from The Home Depot) gives the below-grade room all the character of its upstairs neighbors. Paired with a wood-look floor and classic striped wallpaper, the basement looks like a classically styled lived-in room, not a recent renovation.
8. Contrasting Paint Colors
This exuberant basement ceiling includes a mix of paint colors layered over each other to create a marbled effect—and a unique basement ceiling. The ceiling also pulls together all the colors in the room: warm browns, reds, and oranges that are scattered throughout. The contrasting orange accents emphasize the architecture of the room and give the space a vibrant energy.
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Zillow Digs home in Shawnee, KS
9. Traditional Coffered Ceiling
The beams in this basement’s coffered ceiling have just enough embellishment to make them seem like the architectural elements of a traditional coffered ceiling instead of structural solutions. Painted white, they work with the crown molding to add interest above eye level and make the ceiling seem both higher and like they are an original part of an older home.
Zillow Digs home in Bethesda, MD
10. Exposed Wood Beams
The exposed wood beams on this basement ceiling are a rustic but contemporary architectural feature. Set against white-painted ceiling panels and beams, all the natural grain in the lightly stained wood comes forward, giving the space the feel of a modern farmhouse.
Zillow Digs home in Shoreline, WA
11. Simple Drop Ceiling Tiles
This solution for basement ceilings is a classic for a reason: The simple drop ceiling tiles (available at The Home Depot) create a grid overhead to establish a geometric pattern that moves the eye through the room. After they’re installed, the tiles can easily be removed to access plumbing pipes or electrical hookups.
Zillow Digs home in Glen Ellyn, IL
12. Create Definition with Dark-Painted Trim
Basement interiors can be an opportunity to experiment with color and create the unexpected. One easy way to update an interior is with paint. By painting the trim a bold rich color, the space delineated by the trim becomes more defined. If the ceiling, walls, and flooring are all in a light color scheme, then the rim of dark trim seems to float in space, making the ceiling seem higher. A little extra perceived height can go a long way to creating an inviting and comfortable retreat below grade.
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13. Simple Color Story
While color and texture can go a long way to creating an interesting basement space, sometimes what a homeowner needs is a calm retreat. Instead of infusing the space with memorabilia and bold statements, try creating a minimalist space with a single color story accented with natural wood tones. The effect may be exactly what is needed to de-stress from the hectic tech-heavy modern life in the rooms above grade.
14. Mimic a Blue Summer Sky
Often designers try to maximize light in low-level spaces with mirrors and sheen, but sometimes there’s an easier way to bring the daytime feel inside when finishing a basement. By painting the ceiling a clear blue sky hue, or using ceiling tiles to accomplish the same effect, you can make the room feel like it’s daytime and sunny no matter the season or time of day.
RELATED: How to Paint a Ceiling
15. Get Graphic
When it’s your home, the guidelines and suggestions of even the best interior designers aren’t as important as what feels right to you. Sometimes making an abstract bold statement can bring personal style and flavor into a space, and that can be achieved with a few strategically placed graphics using abstract wallpaper decals or painted lines and shapes. If you are hesitant about making a bold painted statement on a ceiling, it can be helpful to lay out a plan on paper or in a design app before applying it.
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