The 8 Best Paint Colors For A Basement With No Natural Light

Michael Oconnor
by Michael Oconnor

A basement with no natural light is a challenge for any interior designer. It can be difficult to find a color that will make the basement feel welcoming while also opening it up. Luckily, there are many options that can help you strike a balance between the two.

If you would like your finished basement to feel as large as possible, use a bright white or light gray. If you would still like a cozy feel, red is an open color that still feels inviting. Sky blue or light purple can also help bring the colors of the outdoors to the inside.

There are many things you can do to help a windowless basement feel more open. In this article, we have covered some of the most effective paint colors you can use. We have also covered some techniques to help any space look bigger and airier.

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Safety Considerations

Before you begin painting your windowless basement, there are a few safety considerations you should make. Painting without ventilation can be very dangerous if you do not take proper precautions. If you are not sure that you can follow these precautions, it may be best not to do it.

The first safety step you should take is to get a paint that is low in VOC. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds and they are dangerous to inhale. If you get a paint that has very few of them, it can be used in a basement with no natural light.

You should also always wear a respirator when painting somewhere unventilated. Take frequent breaks and pay attention to how you are feeling. If you start to feel dizzy or tired, take a break and try to let the basement air out through the door.

8 Best Paint Colors for a Basement With No Natural Light

Many people dream of having a finished basement in their house. This extra space can be used for things like playrooms, art spaces, and home offices. However, sometimes a basement with no windows can feel claustrophobic or depressing.

If you have a basement with no natural light, it can be difficult to make it feel airy, light, and welcoming. Even if the basement is finished, it can still have the underground feel of an unfinished cellar. Luckily, there are colors you can use to paint your basement that will give the illusion of having more space in the area.

1. Bright White

If you are looking to make your windowless basement look as big as possible, bright white is your best option. Bright white will automatically give your basement a much more open and cheerful feel. It will also help the basement look cleaner.

One of the nice things about bright white is that it provides you a blank canvas on which to add accents. Things like artwork and tapestries can work wonders to make a windowless basement feel more welcoming.

2. Cream

Cream can offer a very relaxed tone for your basement walls, as it is perfect balance between a warm beige and pure white shade. This hue works well for functional spaces, like entertainment rooms, offices, or laundry rooms. For best results, pair cream walls with honey- or mahogany-toned woods and choose denim blues and bright reds as accent colors.

3. Red

Although it may not seem like it right off the bat, red is actually an incredibly welcoming color. Lighter reds have a tendency to give an illusion of light that your eye responds to. Red is the most pleasing color to the human eye and can work wonders in a room.

It is important that you do not choose a red that is too dark, though. Dark reds tend to bring the walls in. This illusion will work against you in a basement with no natural light where you are trying to push the walls out.

4. Gray

Gray is a wonderful neutral color that can open up possibilities for you than other colors can’t. Gray is a good choice since there are so many shades and so many colors on the spectrum. Choose a light gray that will allow you to accent walls while still opening them up.

Gray can also work well with a basement with no natural light since it looks so modern. Since you are not receiving any light or elements from the outside, gray can help give the basement an industrial, contemporary aesthetic.

5. Sky Blue

Sky blue is an excellent color for bringing a touch of the outdoors into your basement with no natural light. Light sky blue is a pleasing color that has been proven to have calming properties. It also will help give your basement the illusion of openness and space.

If you are going to use sky blue for your windowless basement, it is important that any furniture you put in there is a muted tone. Muted tones work well with the bright, soft feel of sky blue. Gray and white work perfectly for furniture in rooms painted this color.

6. Light Purple

One of the more unique colors that will work with your windowless basement is light purple. Light purple tends to give the same illusion that a light gray or sky blue will give. It is soft and pleasing to the eye as well as bright and spacious.

Purple is a color that is often associated with creativity. Because of this, it will be perfect for a basement that is used as a home office or art space. Setting yourself up for creativity by making your space feel creative is a great leg up for any artist.

One thing to look out for when painting a basement with no natural light in purple is to make sure it’s not too dark. If the purple bleeds over onto the darker side of the tone spectrum, it will make the room feel smaller instead of larger. Always pick a soft, bright purple that is closer to lavender.

7. Green

There are nearly endless shades of grade paint to choose from at home improvement centers –from a soft, seafoam green to a deep emerald. Each tone can work well for a basement, whether you choose green as a bold accent color or to cover the entire space.

Darker shades will increase drama and coziness, while lighter shades will enhance the energy. Choose emerald as an accent color, opt for an eye-catching lime to liven up a child’s playroom, or go with a calm sage color to brighten up the entire space.

8. Navy Blue

With the goal of brightening up a basement, dark colors can be tricky. If done poorly, you can actually make the space feel heavier. Consider making a bold statement with a classic shade of navy blue, but then pairing it with only light-colored furnishings. This will help balance out your basement and enhance the space, without making it look and feel claustrophobic.

Other Ways to Lighten a Dark Basement

A fresh coat of paint isn’t the only way to enhance a space that doesn’t get any natural light. Consider these other techniques for brightening up your dark basement:

Glass Doors

Glass doors separating areas of the basement are a great way to make the space look bigger. If you have enough room, adding the glass element will enhance the negative space that is already there. This has the added benefit of separating the space into separate areas.


One of the best ways to make any room look bigger is to add mirrors. Mirrors have a way of tricking the eye into thinking there is more beyond the wall. Mirrors that are strategically placed can work wonders in opening up a windowless basement.

Soft Lighting

If you are dealing with an enclosed space, it is best to stay away from harsh lighting. Many basements are equipped with fluorescent lighting that can accent the smallness of the room. Use soft, white light to help make the small space feel more inviting.


Plants are one of the best ways to make a windowless basement feel larger naturally. Plants are also good for a basement with no natural light because they help in the production of oxygen. A lack of oxygen is one of the things that will make a basement feel very unwelcoming.

Shiny Flooring

If you have a basement with no natural light, it is best to avoid carpeting. Carpeting will make a room feel claustrophobic, especially if it already doesn’t have ventilation. Instead, use shiny flooring like tile or hardwood to give more of an illusion of depth.

Avoid Over-Cluttering

Clutter in a basement can make the space appear even darker than it is, especially if you don’t have any natural light to begin with. If you struggle with floor storage space in your basement, consider using your wall space for storage instead.

By freeing up the space on the floor, you’ll make your basement look lighter and larger as a result. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the benefits that come with a clutter-free basement in the process.

White Ceiling

White is a common ceiling color, as it pairs well with nearly any shade and fits in with most color schemes. Consider painting the ceiling in your basement white. Since white reflects light, this will bright up the room and actually make it appear bigger.

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Related Questions

How can I make my basement feel cozy?

To make your basement feel cozy, furnish it with things that accent the colors and bring the walls in. Warm lighting and plush furniture will also add to the cozy feeling. Adding these things to a basement could help contrast its harsh, underground vibe.

Why is my finished basement so cold?

One of the reasons that basements feel so cold is that they tend to have more moisture in the air. Even in the summertime, more moisture in the air gives your body the feeling of being cold. This will be especially true in the winter when that moisture is a lower temperature, to begin with.

Michael Oconnor
Michael Oconnor

I am a writer and editor from The Bay Area, CA. When I'm not typing, I enjoy hiking, woodworking and gardening. I love sharing tips and discovering new trends in home improvement.

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