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Thanks for sharing, I've been debating what to do with my basement ceiling for a while now, and have been looking for examples. Thanks.


Thanks for sharing your work. I can't decide if I should go for white or black. I am afraid black would be too dark but I like how yours turned out... Do you have any suggestions?

Julie Lohmeier

It's not actually my basement, but here's what I suggest. If your ceiling is at least 8 feet high, go with the black. It's easier to cover all of the mechanicals (pipes, ducts, etc.) and it's more fashionable. If your ceiling height is lower than 8 feet, then go white, else it may feel to low. Let me know how it works out.

Cathy Bertz

Did you use a primer on exposed furnace ducting or pvc pipes??

Julie Lohmeier

Yes. If you go with a black ceiling, use a dark tinted primer. First, it will help the paint adhere to the surfaces, and second, it will require less black paint.


Do you need oil based or water based primer and final cover paint?

Julie Lohmeier

In my opinion, a water based primer is sufficient for an inside application. You can ask at the paint store, but I typically reserve oil-based paints and primers for exterior use.


Can you describe your walls. Are the walls sheetrocked around the basement through to the highest possible level?


Actually, this is not at my house but one I saw at a home tour. But yes, you have it exactly right. The drywall goes up to the ceiling joists. Discussions have taken place whether you drywall the space between the joists but I don't really think so. Everything above that drywall line gets sprayed black. I'm sure a good drywaller would have tips on how to make that line nice and clean and straight.

Jay Carter

Has anyone done this after the basement is finished? I have acoustical tile drop ceiling that is just under 8 feet. There is approx 2 feet of space in areas where ductwork isn't. Any way to seal off the ceiling with a plastic to protect the finished room? My basement is essentially a media room and billiards room, approx 1500 sq feet.

Jay in Birmingham


I'm looking to paint the 8' basement ceiling black. Problem is, I have some duct work that runs about 2' less in the basement. Should I paint anything that's less than 8' height white?


I hope your ducts that are 2 feet lower are against a wall. If so, paint them the wall color. If they're not, you're talking 6 foot height - easy to bump heads there. Since it's 8 feet and less, you may want to paint the entire ceiling and ducts WHITE. More obvious and will make your room look bigger not smaller as black will.



My husband and I have been thinking of doing this in our basement to replace an old (and ugly!) drop ceiling. Thanks for the pictures!


big debate - becaused the wood on the ceiling looks like it wasn't primed? (Or did the flash make it look more "sheer"?

I had been thinking about this. I told my builder that I want to go at least one course more but they pushed and talked me out of it! (I don't get it I was going to pay.) I am kind of mad since the ceiling are only about 8 ft - while the bsmt is totally unfinished. SO I had thought of using a flat black to make it "disappear" and not get any lower, yet still allow access to the mechanical systems.

House is 15 yrs old - had always been dry until this summer - part of one wall at the front of the house! So not sure how to finish. About 1550 sq ft and 3 windows on one end/side (glass block w/vents) and 1 on the other end.

If you do the black paint, how would you get enough light? I am afraid the whie whould highlight all the pipes, wires and flaws?

Anyone seen this done in those kinds of conditions?


I have some friends that did this in their basement and I really liked it. one of them went with a dark blue color and in comparison I couldn't even tell the difference from black; except in direct light.
As in any basements finished like this, the the lights are normally track or recessed lighting and this seems to keep the flaws of the ceiling pretty well in the shadows.

Is there a way to post photos, so I can share some other examples?

Carol Gilbert

Attic ceiling redo...
My old drop ceiling is out, and bare wood is exposed, along with wiring and a/c duct work. I am ready to have it all sprayed white. Question is, does the 'foil' type wrap on the ducts take paint?
Appreciate your imput

Aperion Speakers

Did you have to clean the ceiling at all? My ceiling is full of spider webs and dust and I don't think the paint would stick to that very well..

Mitutoyo Calipers

I would say yes probably clean the ceiling. If you're not using a sprayer, the rollers and paint brushes get gummed up with that stuff really fast and can create quite a frustrating mess

Henkel Knives

Awesome idea! I've been wondering what I could do with my incredilby ugly basement ceiling for a while, looks like I'm gonna go make a list of the prices for a job like this and see what we can afford.



Thanks for the picture. Do you have any other pics on other colors for the ceiling? Would you paint the paper backed insulation in the ceiling or take it out? What type of paint covers all-like the sheet metal ductwork and pipe? My ceilings are 6'10" and where the 2-2' wide ducts run it's 6'1". 1950 house with low ceilings. It's pretty big area as it's approx. 670 sq. ft. I am leaning away from black as I have low ceilings, but away from white as it would take too much paint and would show everything. I am thinking of a brown. Any comments would be appreciated and any pictures. Thank you.

basement design ideas

This will help me a lot. I am working with my basement and I am having a hard time on its ceiling. I am so lucky to have this blog post. Now I know what to do.


I would like to piant my ceiling but can i paint the insulation to its that pink suff

Frankie P

Just wondering....after painting the ceiling white, did anyone paint the water pipes, gas pipe, duct work and stell columns a different color? Does it look funky or stupid to paint the water pipes red and blue, the gas pipe yellow, the duct work (maybe green). Has anyone done this? Or do you just paint EVERYTHING white?


Quick question. What do you do about sound? I have a low basement ceiling I'd like to paint black instead of drywalling. This will be a tv room so how do I keep the noise from traveling to the room above?


I did this in a very nice home that we built. We "finished" the basement by having the ceiling painted, the windows framed nicely, and the basement walls painted, and the floor carpeted. The basement walls were formed with a brick pattern foundation mold that gave the walls a nice texture.

We had the ceiling sprayed with dryfall paint because it adheres to everything and the residue can be swept up (hence the name dryfall).

To answer a previous question, DO NOT paint duct work and piping a contrasting color. The only time this really works is when those building elements are pre-planned to actually look good. A normal home is going to have a hodgpodge of wires, ductwork and piping. It won't look nice to paint any of those a different color. Painting everything the same color makes it disappear and the other elements of the room, that are much nicer, will stand out better visually.

The dryfall paint is available in black and white. Either would look fine, or you could slightly tint the white if needed.

If you paint your unfinished basement, you will not have any acoustical protection. The sound from a TV or stereo will definitely transmit to the room above.

If you would like to buffer the sound, I would recommend acoustical ceiling (for instance Armstrong).


Thank you for useful content in your post My Home Redux: A Cheaper Way to Finish a Basement Ceiling.

Ok bye..


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I am thinking about having mine spray foamed, then painted. It had an ugly, old drop ceiling. Removing that has really opened up the space.

Dee Cooper

I did this in my basement, and it made all the difference. Basement looks lighter, cleaner, with a more finished look. I used a sprayer and satin white latex paint that was a combination of paint and primer. I used Wal-Mart paint, and it worked fine. I used 10 gallons of paint for a basement just a bit below medium size. It is an older home, so the joists really soaked up the paint. Just be sure to cover everything well, wear a mask, old clothes, and a hat, and do it in sections--being careful to go around and paint out any drips that occur.

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