Our Exposed & Painted Basement Ceiling: Why We Love It!

All the details on our painted basement ceiling, why we decided to leave it exposed, and why we love it!

We started finishing our basement last October, and I’m so thrilled that we completed it this week!  We did a lot of the work ourselves, and so it’s taken us awhile to get it done, but now that it is, we absolutely love it.  There’s a play room, game room, exercise room, movie theater, and bathroom–plus a large storage room and workshop that remain unfinished.

One of the things we decided on was a painted basement ceiling, instead of finishing it with drywall, or adding a drop ceiling.  We love love the way it turned out, and I thought I’d share all the reasons we did it with you!

Painted Basement Ceiling White


Painted Basement Ceiling White

WHY we decided ON an Exposed, painted basement ceiling

  • Budget

We did framing and electrical ourselves, but we hired out the drywall. Our quote for the ceiling alone was thousands of dollars. Neither a finished drywall ceiling nor a drop ceiling were in our overall budget for the basement.  The cost of painting it instead was much, much smaller.

  • Ceiling Height

Honestly, this was just as important of a reasons as the budget, perhaps even a little more. The ceilings in our basement are 8 feet, but the metal vents and beams hang down at least a foot. If we finished the ceiling, it would be way too low, and with a husband that’s 6 ft. 4 in., it just wasn’t a possibility.  Now that it’s painted, we get the full 8 feet, plus it seems like it’s even more, because of the open beams to the first floor.

  • Aesthetic

Granted, this did not play a major role (or even a minor one) in our decision to have a painted basement ceiling, but if it was going to look terrible, it would have been hard.  I love love the way it looks–so industrial, and it really matches the whole vibe of the basement.  I’m so happy with the whole look, and the painted ceiling plays a big part in it.

Painted Basement Ceiling White
Painted Basement Ceiling White


I decided on white for our painted basement ceiling because there’s only one window down there, and I wanted it to be as light and open as possible. Many people go for black, which gives it a different vibe, but open, light, and bright were my goal. It’s not a true white, because it would show everything, so it’s tinted slightly gray, but still looks white when you look at it.

We did paint the movie theater ceiling black, and the walls are a dark gray, which is what you need in that type of space.

Painted Basement Ceiling White

We saved a ton of money, the ceilings are higher, and it looks awesome–can’t beat that!

Painted Basement Ceiling White

I chose pendant light fixtures that would hang down, making sure the light was even distributed, rather than up higher in between the beams. We put in quite a few (10) lights, and all of that also helps keep the whole space really light and bright, which I love.

Painted Basement Ceiling White

Affiliate links of products we use and love are included for your convenience. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Someone asked me for a picture of that the junction boxes look like for the lighting, and I thought I’d post it here, in case anyone else was curious and looking for that same information.

painted exposed basement ceiling


If you’re hiring out the painting of your basement, you can choose to include this in the quote, or do it yourself. If you do it yourself, you will need a larger paint sprayer to get the job done more quickly and easily. Even investing in a paint sprayer will save you money hiring it out, and you will be able to use it again and again, for so many projects. After the basement project we built a barn, and used this same type of sprayer to paint it with three coats in just one day! You could also use this to paint your entire basement, if you planned to do it all yourself.



  • Walls:  Simply White, Benjamin Moore
  • Trim/Shelving/Doors: White, semi-gloss trim paint
  • Ceiling:  White ceiling paint with a bit of gray
  • Theater ceiling: Black


  • 3.5 inch MDF, around the top and bottom

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