Best Paint Colors for a Basement Without Natural Light
Here are the best paint colors for a basement with no natural light.
My sister’s dark, dingy basement was ripe for renovation. With no natural light, the basement was where we dumped broken chairs, Christmas decorations, and toys the kids had grown out of.
With a basic remodel – and major declutter – they now have a great space that’s potentially a craft room, games room, or teen hangout.
The final step is painting, and that’s where my sister really needs my input. What are the best paint colors for a basement with no natural light?
To select the best paint colors for basements without natural light, consider the space’s size, purpose, and lighting. White, cream, greige, light blue, sunny yellow, pink, and green create bright, cheerful spaces, while dark blue, gray, and green are ideal for game rooms and bars.
It would be easy to paint the basement a dull, worthy beige. But my creative juices start flowing when I have a blank wall, and I started collecting my usual plethora of color swatches and mini paint tins.
I realized that deciding what color to paint a dark basement depends on several factors. I’ll share these guidelines with you so that choosing the best paint colors for your light-deprived basement is a fun and easy project.
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Choosing the Best Paint Colors for Your Basement
Choosing the best colors to repaint your basement is crucial in transforming this space from a neglected, wasted storeroom to a functional, attractive addition to your home. I considered three questions when deciding on a paint color for my sister’s dark basement.
How Big Is the Basement Space?
The basement’s size and shape will help guide your paint color choice. If the space is large enough, you might divide it into separate rooms or areas with different colors.
Generally, a smaller space is best painted in a lighter shade to avoid it looking cramped, although warm, dark colors can cocoon and envelop an intimate space.
What is the Basement’s Purpose?
How you plan to use the basement space helps to narrow down the paint color that will be suitable. You wouldn’t paint a toddler’s room and a man cave the same color – designating the basement’s purpose will help with decor decisions.
Also, consider the mood you want to create, whether fun, tranquil, sophisticated, or practical, as colors influence the atmosphere.
What Lighting is Available?
Most basements lack access to natural light, so adding as much lighting as possible prevents the basement from being dark and unappealing.
You must also choose a paint color that works well under artificial light. Lighter colors can feel washed out under intense artificial light, so a warmer, jewel shade can create a cozy feel.
What are the Best Paint Colors for a Windowless Basement Without Natural Light?
Once you have determined how to use your basement, you can start choosing the ideal shade.
Best Colors for Mixed-Use Basements
If your basement will have to multitask, it is ideal to go for a fresh white. Whites always brighten up smaller spaces as it reflects light, making a small space seem bigger. Here are some top choices for white paint colors:
- Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is bright white with a warm undertone to prevent it from being sterile.
- Another true white, without the yellow undertones that turn sickly under artificial light, is Behr’s Polar Bear.
- Marshmallow by Sherwin-Williams has warm undertones.
- Magnolia’s One Horn White is a warm, comforting off-white.
Add interest to an all-white space by introducing some color and textural contrast. For example, add color through playful accessories, fabrics, and furnishings.
Or designate an area in a multi-use space (like a reading nook) by painting the wall a statement color or using a fabulous wallpaper.
Best Colors for Basement Utility or Laundry Room
Using a small basement as a utility or laundry room frees up space in your kitchen. Although a functional space could be a clean white, I find stark white cold. Beige can look flat and lifeless under harsh lighting, so I like to add a relaxed warmth through cream. My current favorite cream paint colors are:
- Farrow and Ball’s Tallow has a delicious peachy undertone that is gorgeous with wood, if you’re adding some shelving.
- Natural Linen by Sherwin-Williams is fresh and clean. Bright blue and red add cheerful color.
Best Colors for Basement Study or Office
Setting up a study or office in the basement is a great idea, whether it’s you catching up on work or one of the kids aiming for college.
You’ll need plenty of light, so consider adding overhead pendants and standing lamps.
To create a calm, quiet atmosphere, choose greige. This unique combination takes the best of gray’s cool and beige’s warm tones. we recommend these choices:
- Sherwin-Williams’ Agreeable Gray is less sterile than classic gray, which can look flat under artificial light.
- Elephant’s Breath by Farrow and Ball takes away the blandness that light tones can suffer from.
If you’re adding cabinets and shelving for books and files, you can introduce some darker painted elements, for instance, darker gray or charcoal, to match with greige.
Best Colors for Kids’ Basement Playroom
Sending the kids to the basement to play is a great way to get them out of your hair while doing chores. In color psychology, yellow is the most energizing and vibrant shade (not that many kids need any additional energy these days!).
Spaces without sunshine lend themselves to being painted a bright yellow, which reflects and warms artificial light. My ideal choices for yellow paint in a dark basement are:
- Morning Sunshine by Benjamin Moore is a fabulous medium yellow that looks like warm sun rays.
- Benjamin Moore’s Lemon Drops is a softer, luminous yellow that drenches a space in light.
- The Spruce’s Best Home Sundream is barely yellow, leaning towards tan, which adds a hint of color for cheerfulness.
- Farrow and Ball’s Babouche is an intense gold shade perfect for any magical kingdom.
Best Colors for Basement Living Room
Having a second living room in the basement means you can go for a relaxed, soothing atmosphere. Shades of blue are welcoming, inviting, and always uplifting.
Softer blues are ideal in a space without natural light. They offer a wide range of palette options for adding interest. Our recommendations for exquisite blues are:
- Sherwin-Williams’ Watery is blue with green undertones, evoking the feeling of a spa-like retreat.
- The aptly named Tranquility by Benjamin Moore is a delicate sky blue that looks beautiful with wooden accents.
- Farrow and Ball have created the mystical Light Blue that can look green, blue, or gray under different shades of light and with different complementary hues.
Best Colors for Basement She-Shed
With men creating the man cave as a private space, women have embraced the she-shed, where female creativity, friendship, and nurturing abound.
If you don’t have room for a garden-based conservatory, a basement is ideal for a retreat for the women of the house.
Typically, she-shed interiors are airy, peaceful spaces filled with inspiration – there are spaces for plants, books, art supplies, and comfortable chairs and couches. To recreate a garden space without any access to nature, paint can be your friend:
- Pastel pinks will look lifeless under artificial light, so choose a richer pink to saturate the space with romantic chic. I adore Highland Rose by Graham and Brown, a stately blush pink with nothing little girly about it.
- To bring in garden-shed elements, use on-trend green, like the Spruce’s Best Home Matcha, a muted yet pretty green.
- For an eco-chic appeal, turn to the gorgeous earthy shades popular in 2023. Clay browns and oranges are warm and relaxing, going well with a Mediterranean aesthetic. Sherwin-Williams’ Redend Point is a lovely red-brown like the walls of a sun-bleached coastal home.
Best Colors for Basement Media or Games Room
Basements were traditionally used for family games or movie rooms – who can forget the iconic shag carpet and crocheted blankets?
My sister wanted to create a family hangout in their basement but went for a different aesthetic (despite her love of vintage looks).
Their basement has no windows, so there’s no natural light. She decided to make this an advantage and embraced the cocoon-like space.
Their games room is intended to be cozy, with the whole family snuggled up over Clue or the latest Netflix binge, so she chose to go for moody shades.
Look out for these magnificent, opulent colors:
- The exotic Ingido Batik by Sherwin-Williams is a glorious, saturated blue bolder than navy.
- Behr’s Perennial Green is a rich forest color that introduces natural shades into your room.
- Brinjal by Farrow and Ball is the most amiable edible purple that would go beautifully with dark red furnishings.
You can choose to go for walls and ceiling in inky blue or compromise with some lighter trim. It is handy to remember that moodier shades will make a room darker and that you’ll need plenty of artificial lighting as a result.
Best Colors for Basement Bar
A basement lends itself to a bar or man cave, which you can make glamorous and sophisticated. A basement bar is another example of where you can explore using darker colors. Paint the walls with high-gloss paint for depth, dimension, and drama.
- Designers are going really dark for bars, with colors verging on charcoal and black. Sherwin-Williams’ Peppercorn is a gorgeous dark gray that is ideal as an anchoring color in a palette. It’s a little dark to be all over the walls, but it makes a perfect accent wall.
- Red is ideal for glamorous basement accent walls, adding a warm and inviting appeal to a space with dark wood and matte walls. Try Benjamin Moore’s earthy Lyon’s Red, which mimics the color of a sandstone quarried in Colorado.
- Under the Stars by Magnolia Home is a rich teal that oozes sophistication. Combine it with black for an understated elegance or a brighter shade to make it pop.
Final Thoughts on the Best Paint Colors for a Basement With No Natural Light
The best color for your windowless basement depends on what you want to use the space for. Choose light, bright colors to create a peaceful, cheerful space for a laundry, study, office, playroom, she shed, or living room. Dark colors are ideal for cozy family game rooms and sophisticated bars.
What are your favorite paint colors for a basement with no natural light? Leave your comment below.