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Painting Your Basement: 7 Tips to Make it Your Favorite Room

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Painting your basement can make a big difference on how the space looks and feels. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do when trying to spruce up a room, and your basement is no different. Unfortunately, bringing a basement to life can be a little more challenging than the other rooms in your home. 

Many basements are only used as storage spaces, but wouldn't it be nice to use your space as a home office, a basement gym, or a room your entire family enjoys? Following these 7 painting tips can help make your basement a bright and friendly place. 

Painting a Basement Ceiling

Strategically Use Light Colored Paint

This isn't as challenging as it sounds. Find places that receive plenty of natural or artificial light and paint these areas with lighter colors. The basic idea here is to emphasis the areas that are already receiving light and keeping the lighter paint colors out of the darker areas of your basement.

Use Rich Colors

Using rich colors will help give your basement an "open" feel. Many homeowners try to accomplish this with light colors, such as white or yellow, but actually using a richly saturated dark-blue can be more effective than a poorly saturated yellow.

Look for colors that don't require much light to bring out their color. Surprisingly, these colors don't need to be bright!

Add Additional Lighting

Light gives the illusion that a room is larger (and cleaner) than the actual space. This can be done by simply adding a floor or table lamp. Track lighting or lamps hanging from your ceiling can also be an easy and inexpensive way to add additional lighting.

Installing recessed lighting can be a bit of a hassle and more expensive, but it adds a nice modern look and feel to a room. 

 A simple way to maximize the light in your basement space is thru the use of mirrors. Mirrors will "bounce" the light around the room and give the illusion a larger area. 

Minimize the Number of Colors

Using too many colors can overpower your room. Interior designers recommend using the 60-30-10 rule to keep your room from having too many colors.

  • 60% of the room should be the dominant color.
  • 30% should be the secondary color.
  • 10% should be used for accents.

Choose Glossy Finish

Glossy finishes are more suited to resist stains and moisture, and since basements have a tendency to be damp, the glossy finish is an excellent choice. 

Before you apply the paint, make sure the area is smooth and clean. Glossier finished paints tend to show imperfections much more than other paint finishes.

Select Complementary Colors

The color combinations you select will determine the undertone of your room.

  • Analogous Colors (positioned next to each other on a color wheel) will create a bold contrast. In large spaces it might be just the look you're trying for, but in a small and busy space it'll add tension.
  • Complementary Colors (positioned across from each other on a color wheel) when managed correctly, will create a vibrant feel to your basement. 

Use Concrete Paint on Concrete Walls

Using concrete paint is not as easy as regular wall paint, and it generally requires more paint to cover the surface. When painting concrete it can take over a week to finish the job! But once done, your concrete walls will be protected with the proper finish.  

Basement Lighting Challenges

Since many basements are built with concrete walls, they don't have a lot of incoming light from surrounding windows. This can often give a basement the look and feel of being a neglected space.

Here are a few other lighting challenges that are commonly seen in basements:

  • Windows - There are often less windows in a basement, and those that are there are generally very small. In some cases, there aren't any windows at all to allow light to enter the space.
  • Landscaping - Frequently bushes and other landscaping blocks the windows to the basement.
  • Decks - Structures such as decks extend out from the house and blocks the natural light. 
  • Electrical Lighting - Often basements look dark simply because they do not have enough electrical lighting in place. A room that is well lit will seem not only larger, but also cleaner.
  • Low Ceilings - Many basements are built with ceilings that are 8 feet or lower, making the space look dark and cramped.

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