When you first start the process of designing the interior of a new home, you probably look forward to choosing the color scheme for the living room, your bedroom, and other key areas. For many people, the basement is an afterthought.
That’s unfortunate, as basements — both finished and unfinished — present exciting opportunities for professional and amateur designers alike. If you wish, you can treat the basement as an extension of the rest of the home, keeping your decor more or less the same. But because the basement is a separate floor, you can also design it as if it’s a space all its own. Essentially, when it comes to interior design, the basement is a place to really let your creativity shine.
Basement Color Ideas
If you aren’t quite sure where to begin, consider picking out a basement color scheme first. Every great color scheme starts with one color, so here are a few to consider.
Immediately, the basement in the picture above catches your attention. But why? If you look closely, you can see that the fiery red-orange glow in the room comes (at least in part) from mood lighting. This kind of colorful illumination adds a sense of mystery and magic to any room. You can find mood lighting in pretty much any color, but as you can see, red-orange lighting creates an especially warm, cozy feel.
2. Medium Gray
The basement interior above is a great example of how to layer different neutrals in a single space. The most prominent color here is the medium gray you see on the walls. That shade sits approximately in the middle of a color gradient: the room includes shades of white, pale gray, darker gray, and black.
There’s nothing wrong with designing a room and keeping the color scheme within this gradient. But as you can see, you also can incorporate other neutrals — the shades of brown in the interior above go nicely with the collection of different grays.
3. Cool White
Some people love cool white. Other people hate it. But as long as you make an effort to tie the color in with the rest of your decor, there’s nothing wrong with including it as part of your basement color scheme. Basements have a reputation for being dark and dingy, so cool white interiors might help to counter it!
4. Powder Blue
Depending on how you use it, powder blue can look sweet and childlike or upscale and elegant. If you pair it with shades of warm white or cream (as shown in the example basement), you can create a soft, vintage-inspired look.
Much like cool white, powder blue can help to liven up an otherwise dull, dark basement. It looks especially nice with naturally finished wooden furniture.
Some people want their walls to serve as a quiet, gentle backdrop. Others would rather them be bold standouts. If you’re the latter type of person, you might want to consider a bright red basement wall or two.
However, if you go this route, make sure you don’t overdo it. A basement (or any room, for that matter) with all red walls can easily make you feel on edge or overwhelmed. Red is known to be one of the most stressful colors, and being in an all-red room can make people more anxious than normal.
The example basement shown above illustrates a great way to achieve a balance between red walls and the rest of the room. Note that the two red walls are separated from one another with a good bit of white. The red drumset goes along with the walls, but it doesn’t make the room overwhelmingly red.
If you aren’t quite sure how to achieve the right balance of red with the rest of the room, try using the 60-30-10 rule as your guide. This means that you should choose a neutral (like white) to use for about 60% of the room. From there, you can use red for 30% and choose an accent color for the remaining 10%.
6. Pastel Yellow
Lots of people love yellow for its sunny charm. But many homeowners and interior designers alike are wary of using too much of it. Yellow can be intense and overwhelming, especially if you use large amounts of very saturated shades.
Pastel yellow is gentler and more palatable for most people, and it’s also a great choice for walls if you want something with a little more presence than warm white.
The basement shown in the picture gives you an idea of how you can integrate pale yellow with several neutral shades. However, this type of aesthetic can be too warm-leaning for some people. If need be, you could substitute cool colors for some of the neutrals — like using an emerald green couch instead of a beige one.
7. Wood Tones
The basement above might make you feel like you’ve taken a time machine back to the 1970s! Whether you’re planning to outfit your own basement with a retro couch or take your design style in an entirely new direction, you might find that wood tones (like the light wood tones seen on the wood-paneled walls above) are just right.
Wood tones give even the plainest basement a touch of nature. You can lean into that effect by layering in various shades of green, but the beauty of natural wood tones is that they’ll go with just about any color scheme!
8. Sage Green
Speaking of nature-inspired, sage green is a great shade for anyone looking to remind themselves of the outdoors. It excels as a wall color, but you can also use it as a furniture color or an accent.
If you’re partial to Scandinavian color schemes, you can very easily layer sage green with other neutrals. Even a quick look at the room above shows you that it blends nicely with beige, white, dark wood tones, light wood tones, and shades of gray.
9. Cool Beige
Beige and gray are the two giants in the world of neutrals (at least when it comes to designing interiors). And if you can’t pick one of the two, you can always go with greige — an approximately even mixture of both.
However, if you’re interested in making your basement primarily beige, you might consider a cool-leaning, calming shade like the one shown above. Cool beige walls go beautifully with the modern, grayish wood finishes commonly found on wood flooring and furniture. And as you can see above, they also go well with teal or deep blue accents. These accents are also often dark enough to keep the color scheme grounded.
Not all basements have brick walls. But if yours does, it’s worth taking advantage of the endless design potential! Brick walls (and especially worn brick walls) work beautifully in industrial-inspired spaces. However, as you see above, brick basements can also create upscale, intricate interiors that look almost castle-like.
11. Pale Gray
In some homes, a light, almost washed-out aesthetic seems just right. Interior designers sometimes achieve this type of look with ultra-modern, cool-white designs. But for many, this look is too stark and cold.
The above look is a little less monochromatic, but it has a similar appeal. Pale gray walls pair nicely with white wall trim and washed-out, almost-gray wood floors.
When furnishing a space like this, you have a couple of very different options. You can keep the monochromatic look with white or light gray furniture, or you can make sure the look stays perfectly grounded with deep brown or charcoal gray furniture.
Lots of people mix up maroon and burgundy. However, there’s an important difference between the two — both are deep reddish shades, but maroon is a dark red with primarily brownish undertones. Burgundy is a dark red with primarily purplish undertones. Both colors can create a look of luxury, and they tend to be a little less overwhelming for home visitors than shades of traditionally bright red.
The basement above is a great example of how maroon can be used in a luxurious interior. This particular basement has been transformed into a home theater, and the golden yellow walls give it a warm, welcoming look. Elements of maroon on the ceiling, rug, and curtain give it a rich, almost autumnal feel.
13. Slate Blue
If you want to create a basement with bold, striking walls, very dark neutrals are your best friends. The above basement uses very dark, slate-blue paint that’s almost black. Pairing this color with a dark wooden floor and a (mostly) dark-brown couch might seem surprising, as this mixture may seem excessively heavy, moody, and even suffocating.
However, this color scheme manages to achieve balance by including a fairly significant amount of very cool white. Because this color is distributed fairly broadly throughout the room (on the ceiling, trim, stairs, arms of the couch), it makes it so the walls don’t look overly dark.
If you like very dark slate blue but don’t want a room that looks quite as dramatic as this one, you can always opt to incorporate this dark color in smaller amounts. Accent walls, rugs, furniture, and other touches can still sometimes be enough to keep your basement grounded.
Some people might lump tan in with beige. However, tan generally includes more brown undertones. Beige usually includes undertones that are more gray. Tan is a great alternative to beige if you want a neutral that has a bit more presence (and is a little less common, at least when it comes to interiors).
As you can see above, tan works well with shades of warm white or cream. When you use these two together, it can be helpful to include an accent color as well. The example image uses a faded, brick-like red. However, if this color combination seems a bit too warm, you might prefer navy or another cool color that has some depth to it.
15. Hot Pink
Hot pink is a fairly uncommon interior color. It’s distinctive and loud, and it’s certainly not everyone’s taste! That said, it’s great for anyone who wants their basement to have an ultra-distinctive aesthetic.
If you do choose hot pink, it’s important to balance it out with cool shades. For instance, if you designed a basement with hot pink furniture and lemon-yellow walls, the “pop” between the colors would be a memorable one, but it also might hurt your eyes (and the eyes of your guests). The example basement creates contrast without looking overly harsh. Pink and green are complementary shades, but the pale mint green of the walls doesn’t compete with the saturated pink of the furniture.
16. Tangerine Orange
Like hot pink, tangerine orange is a color that isn’t always to everyone’s liking. Orange is a happy, optimistic color, but too much of it seems harsh and overwhelming.
If you like orange and want to cautiously incorporate it, you might start with small accents throughout a room. If you want to use a little more, consider a larger “accent splash.” This might look like a single accent wall, an area rug, or even a significant portion of the floor tiling as shown above. Keep things in balance by filling the rest of the basement with cool colors or cool-leaning neutrals.
17. Chocolate Brown
Brownish walls are hardly unique in the design world. However, walls with the rich chocolate coloration shown above are exceedingly uncommon! Often, people who choose saturated, statement-making colors for their walls go with non-neutrals like emerald green, navy blue, or burgundy.
That said, the highly unusual, chocolate-colored walls shown above offer you an interesting opportunity for designing the rest of the room. If you like layered neutral color schemes, you could incorporate a range of other neutrals like the photo above. This shade of brown looks especially stunning with shades of blue or green, so you might consider extra-cool versions of these colors like forest green or navy blue.
18. Bright Blue
When someone mentions they’ve painted a room light blue, you probably picture soft, powdery, barely-there shades. But if you’re looking for an outside-the-box design for your basement, you might consider a blue shade that’s both light and bright. The shade of the winding staircase above is a great example.
Some people might choose to incorporate bursts of a color like this throughout the room. However, the temple basement offers an alternative: take an all-neutral room and add a single, large focal point of bright blue or another bright color. It’s an intense and uncommon look, perfect for creating unconventional spaces!
Cream is a classic color for interiors of all types. It’s an ideal choice if you like warm white but want to create a room that’s even warmer. And although it tends to look especially nice in vintage-style design schemes, cream can be successfully used in any style of decor.
This is a color that you often see used for walls. If you want to use less of it, it’s also a great choice for wall trim. Cream trim is a great alternative to white, especially if you have cool-colored walls and want to warm up the overall color scheme.
“Greige” is just what it sounds like — a color that’s a mix between beige and gray. It’s a versatile wall color that can work well with a range of different styles of decor.
As you can see in the basement above, you can use greige to create an almost monochromatic color scheme. Many modern wood and engineered wood floors come in a color that is close to being greige itself. Pairing greige basement walls with a floor like this can give you a unified look. If you prefer more contrast, try light greige walls with very dark brown floors.
21. Sunny Yellow
Some basements (like the one pictured above) have limited natural light because they are partially underground. And if a room doesn’t have a whole lot of natural light, it can quickly start to seem too dull and dark.
You can counter that effect by including a healthy dose of sunny yellow in your basement. That being said, choosing the right color (and the right amount of that color) is of incredible importance. The shade above is an example of a good choice — it sits somewhere between lemon yellow and rich golden yellow. Because it’s not overly bright, it’s a shade you can use on the walls without overwhelming yourself or your guests.
22. Medium Green
Green’s springlike energy is one way to freshen up a dull basement. If you’re looking for a quick way to change up your basement colors, you can simply add in a few green couches, a green area rug, or both. But if you want something more dramatic, green walls can be truly transformative.
The example basement shown above is an especially unique one — the vintage-style pattern and texture of the wall make it different from other basements you’ve probably seen. It can be fun to do something different like this, but more traditional green walls will work just fine, too!
23. Midnight Blue
The basement hallway above looks incredibly stark. And while it could still be improved by a few eye-catching wall hangings, the midnight blue carpeting does a lot to ground it and add contrast.
Some people might hesitate to use very dark colors for basements, as basements themselves can often be dark. However, if you incorporate plenty of light, bright shades as well, colors like midnight blue can add some dynamism without overwhelming the space.
24. Terra Cotta
The picture above doesn’t look like the kind of basement you see every day. That’s because the photo itself was taken in the basement of a castle!
Even if your home is far from being castle-like, you can still take some inspiration from this castle’s unconventional color scheme. Terra cotta is an especially fitting color to choose if you like your spaces to look both nature-inspired and sophisticated.
Actual terra cotta tiles are one way to bring this color into your home. So is painting your walls in a similar color. Or if you’re going for a more monochromatic look, you can do both.
Turquoise is a shade with truly special energy — it’s cool but vibrant, and it works equally well as a main shade and an accent color. When used as an accent, turquoise can create striking, high-contrast color schemes with a surprising variety of colors.
The above basement offers you a great example. While baby blue is the main color in the space, the smattering of turquoise accents helps to pull everything together. You can see that this energetic color creates an eye-catching contrast with the green in the art pieces above the couch, with the beige of the couch itself, and with the black of the TV on the TV stand.
26. Espresso Brown
Espresso brown isn’t exactly a rare color in the world of interior design. It’s commonly found in leather furniture and even wood floors. However, if you want to really make a statement, you might consider using espresso brown in your basement just like the example picture does: as a wall color.
That being said, a basement with all espresso-brown walls is sure to seem too dark. But if you use it for an accent wall — or even better, for an accent arch as you see above — it can add an air of modern sophistication to any basement.
27. Pea Green
Pea green is a fun, vintage-inspired color with timeless appeal. It might be a bit too much as a wall color, but if you want to create a standout basement, a few funky pea-green couches like the one shown above might be just right.
But what colors do you pair with something as unusual as pea green? Like the basement above, you might consider designing a space with various shades of green — the mint-green walls, leafy-green foliage on the wall art, and greenish stripes on the rug all come together to create a layered, intriguing design.
Because green is a color so deeply connected to nature, it makes sense that a basement color scheme made up of pea green and other greens would do well alongside earthy neutrals. Natural-finished wood floors and accent furniture are a great way to complete this look.
28. Cocoa Brown
When you think of incorporating brown into a design scheme, you probably don’t immediately think of using it as a wall color. Cocoa brown is a soft, powdery shade that can add a sense of warmth to your basement. As you can see above, it can work nicely as a wall color if you layer it in with other shades of brown.
However, brown walls — even pale brown walls — aren’t for everyone. If you want to incorporate cocoa brown another way, consider using furniture with this color. Cocoa brown couches are pretty easy to find, and they go nicely with many other colors.
29. Ash Blue
Just as greige is a color that sits between beige and gray, ash blue sits between pale gray and powder blue. It’s one of those colors that is incredibly close to being a neutral, so it’s a great choice for walls.
With a wall color this light, it’s a good idea to include at least one darker color to keep the color scheme grounded. The example basement above does a good job of this. Between the ash blue walls, cool white trim, and light beige carpeting, the space starts to look almost too light. The deep brown desk and coordinating chair help to keep it grounded.
30. Seafoam Green
Seafoam green is a color with a pleasantly retro vibe. It hit its peak popularity in the 1950s, but its timeless appeal endures today. Seafoam green is soft yet cheerful, and it sits somewhere between mint green and turquoise. If you’re concerned about your basement seeming dark and dingy, this is a great color to choose!
31. Olive Green
Last on the list is olive green, a color that people seem to either love or hate. Olive might not sound like a great choice of wall color, but as you can see above, a dilute version can work quite well. In order to keep the color scheme as balanced as possible, it’s a good idea to pair olive green with white, light wood tones, and other relatively pale colors.
What Color Is Best for Your Basement?
As you likely already know, there’s no singular answer to this question. And when you have all kinds of fantastic color options at your disposal, it can be hard to narrow down your choices.
When you view the process of choosing a basement color as an exciting challenge (and not a stressful decision), you’ll have the opportunity to really develop your eye for design. Take your time — you can gather samples of paint colors, consult your friends and family, and look through the work of different designers for inspiration. With some time and thought, you’ll be able to choose a basement color that’s perfect for you!