Painting Our Exposed Basement Ceiling

5 Materials
5 Days

We recently renovated our basement into a game/living area. The ceilings were pretty low with the duct work and HVAC so we didn't want to drywall the ceiling making it even lower. We decided to simply paint them out which would give an open, industrial feel.

This is where we began. Sort of a dumping ground for all of our excess furniture and such.

Our ceiling was basically plywood, beams, pipes and duct work. The ceiling is about 625 square feet and we knew we were going to have to use a sprayer to get the job done right. We started by talking to our local Sherwin-Williams dealer about what supplies we would need.

We prepped the area by using plastic sheeting to cover anything that might be exposed to over spray. We didn't have to worry about the floors because we were going to finish them. We then used Sherwin-Williams Premium wall and wood primer and sprayed 2 solid coats (it soaked up about 3.5 gallons).

The priming took most of the afternoon and we let it dry between coats. The next day we started on the actual painting.

We choose SW Urbane Bronze for the ceiling. It's a beautiful dark grey. A couple of tips when using the sprayer. Keep it clean! It slowed considerably when it was dirty. Use a consistent side to side motion to get a smooth finish (especially on the metal parts).

Even with 2 coats of primer the wood still soaked up a lot of paint. We went through another 4 gallons of paint for the ceiling.

We waited two hours between each coat so this step took us a couple of days.

We even painted the wrapped pipes. The end result was this was a LOT of painting but it turned out even better than we thought!

We went from a basement that was basically a dumping ground to a very comfortable space to entertain in!

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Totally Doable Makeover Ideas You Can Finish In One Day
Make Your Home a Winter Wonderland With These Stunning Ideas
Do You Want to Update Your Antique Furniture?
32 Space-Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
32 Space Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
3 Cute Step-by-Step Ideas For Unique Planters
18 Stunning Backsplash Ideas You Do Not Want To Miss!
Libbie B

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Mira
    on Jan 10, 2021

    Ur ceiling u left without insulation ,my basement is walk out with doors , and above that is the kitchen, it would be freezing? Upstairs

    so u have a solution?!?

    • Libbie B
      Libbie B
      on Jan 27, 2021

      It's pretty cold in Northern MI and seems to be fine. But I totally understand it's not for everyone! :)

  • Mary
    on Jan 10, 2021

    I've seen basement ceilings painted dark but never in a step by step form. Thanks for your tips. One question; you painted right over all the electrical wiring? We have so many wires in our ceiling - the hydro box is in the room where I want the ceiling done.

  • Zebbie Hardy
    Zebbie Hardy
    on Feb 1, 2021

    Very nice. Ours is like this as well and I was debating on using long material and staple/drape across but it would be so much material. This is a better alternative. Did you keep they paneling and paint it or did you take it off? If you stated in the instruction, I apologies I must have missed it. Thanks!

    • Libbie B
      Libbie B
      on Feb 1, 2021

      I missed mentioning that we did take the paneling off. I had considered painting over it....but the picture may not clearly show that the builders had used so many different types of materials that it was never going to feel cohesive. We had paneling, drywall, some plywood, and outdoor siding on the walls to deal with. So we removed it and had it drywalled.

Join the conversation

4 of 26 comments
  • Joan
    on Jan 10, 2021

    Libbie -

    I've been thinking about doing this to my basement ceiling for years. I agree; nice to see a step by step.

    ...and why not "paint it so dark??" It makes the ceiling look high and the room look larger.

    Great job--It looks faulous!!!

    • Libbie B
      Libbie B
      on Jan 10, 2021

      Thank you, Joan! It is a cozy space that we are spending way more time in these days.

  • Mary McDonald
    Mary McDonald
    on Jan 27, 2021

    First, I like the black as it classies up the room and the lights bouncing off the shine is cool. I detest our drop ceilings and this is definitely an option.

    • Libbie B
      Libbie B
      on Jan 27, 2021

      We really like the black. It feels cozy and warmed up the space!

Your comment...