Dark and Moody Basement remodel with black painted ceilings.

Painting the basement ceiling black

Why Paint The Basement Ceiling?

Designing our basement remodel presented a unique challenge when it came to the ceiling. Standing at a modest ceiling height of 6 feet 7 inches, the ceiling had a network of plumbing pipes and HVAC ducts to deal with. Lowering the ceiling with a new drop ceiling wasn’t aesthetically pleasing to me, and we were advised against drywalling without leaving access to the water lines. Painting the unfinished basement ceiling black emerged as the most appealing solution.

Pros and Cons of Painting the Ceiling:


This is a 650-square-foot ceiling, and it took several coats of primer and paint. We had been warned that the bare wood and plywood would soak up quite a bit of paint, but OMG!

For best results, you are going to need a paint sprayer.

Trust me on this…you seriously need to spray a ceiling. We would never be done if we had tried to hand brush or paint roll this job. We used this gifted sprayer from Wagner.

Close up of Wagner Spray painter

Tips for Spray Painting Your Ceiling Black

1. Get the Room Ready- Move all your furniture out of the way and cover it with drop cloths or plastic sheeting.

2. Mask Off What You Don’t Want to Paint-Remove switch plate covers, baseboard, or trim you are not painting.

3. Get Yourself Ready- Change into paint clothes and wear a hat to cover your hair. 🙂 Use a respirator and goggles. My husband, at one point, wore a Tyvek suit!

4. Thin the paint if necessary. Don’t be afraid to thin your paint if needed. If the prayer is spitting, try thinning the paint a bit.

5. Spray Primer- It took us four cans of primer.

6. Time for color- paint the first coat in one direction and your second coat opposite, ensuring even coverage.

Paint Cans

Our exposed ceiling had lots of nooks, crannies, and wires to spray. We also had exposed insulation in the rafters that we covered with Thermo Pan, which we cut to fit and then painted (it’s the shiny silver stuff next to the ductwork below). The sprayer gave us a smooth finish, especially on the metal ducts. We used a brush and a small paint roller on any areas that needed more paint.

Prepping a ceiling for paint.

We even painted the foam that wraps the plumbing pipes.

Prepping a ceiling for paint.

Pros to painting our exposed basement ceiling black:

Dark and Moody Vibe


My local Sherwin Williams friends (whom I love!) steered me toward the type of primer and paint that I needed, and we used their Emerald line in a satin finish in the Sherwin Williams color of 2021 Urbane Bronze. I feel that the Emerald Line is one of the best paints on the market, and I have used it in several projects. The Urbane Bronze color suggestion was perfection as I love the dark and moody color, and it feels like it’s picking up some green tones in the basement.

We added light fixtures to draw the eyes up.

Dark and Moody Remodeled basement

I love how the dark ceiling makes the windowless space feel warm and cozy, perfect for a place to hang out and play games.

Painting the ceiling allowed us to maintain the height and helped the room feel intentional.

Basement with game room and dark and moody vibes

Painting the ceiling also allowed us to maintain the height. I love the contrast between the black ceilings and the lighter color walls (SW Alabaster).

What we really love is the industrial look.

Basement Gameroom with Dark and Moody vibes

What a good idea painting the ceiling was!!


And please check in with the very talented Featured Designers and my fellow Guest participants who are killing it this round!!

Until next time,



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  1. Jewel says:

    So Cool Libbie. I wouldn’t have thought to do this, but I see how paint vs drywall would make the ceilings feel taller.

  2. Sarah Boyd says:

    Where did you get the table !?

  3. Mia eyl says:

    Hi! What color is the accent wall color?

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