Basement Updates – Choosing a Paint Color

Two weeks ago, I shared a look at the progress made in the basement by the professionals. Well, today I’m excited to tell you that the pros are finished and it’s now time for some DIY action down there! Let’s take a look at pictures before-flood, post-flood, and now…

The Basement Evolution

Our basement before our makeover
We'll be installing an exterior sewer backup system to protect our basement
A look at the basement before painting

Hooray! We have a real room with walls, baseboards, doors, and carpet. Everything feels so fresh and good and I’m really loving it.

Our basement before
The status of the basement
our basement before painting

The pros got everything done in about two weeks (even working on the weekends!) and I’ve had this space to myself for the last week or so. It’s been wonderful not having a bunch of noise and chaos coming from the basement!

Our basement pre-flood
Our basement flood
Finn's new office space in the basement

The biggest difference was removing this wall and finishing off our storage unit to make a larger basement. It feels 10x bigger now and we’re planning to make this Finn’s dedicated office space. I’m still in the middle of the design plan, but I’m really excited for him to have his own space…and to kick him out of my office. Ha!

Our basement before
The status of the basement
Our basement makeover, choosing a paint color

A recurring question from my community has been about choosing carpet again down here. Why would we do that if flooding is a possibility? Many reasons.

First, carpet is the most budget-friendly option when it comes to both material and labor. Second, this will be a cozy spot for our kids and we want them to be able to play on the carpet. And finally, no material, except for polished concrete, is truly “flood-proof.” If we installed luxury vinyl flooring down here, we would have had to rip it all up with our recent flood. We’re hopeful that we won’t run into any more water issues with the sewer backup system we’re adding!

The type of carpet we chose is Dream Weaver in the color “gold rush.” It’s low pile, looped, and has two tones of colors. Pre-flood, I did a ton of carpet research and started getting estimates from all over. Then, once we had to hire a crew to re-do the entire space, I asked if they could handle the flooring too, just to keep it easier and more efficient. I showed my contractor a carpet I liked and he matched it the best he could to the brand he uses. I think it’s fine and it gets the job done!

What I’m Tackling Myself

Choosing new basement paint colors

Now that the pros are outta here, I’m getting started on projects. To save money, I’m doing all of the finishing work myself…caulking the baseboards, filling nail holes, painting the walls, ceilings, doors, and trim. It’s a lot of work, but I think I saved about two to three thousand dollars off of our labor bill!

Adding shiplap to this wall

Before I get to that, I’m adding shiplap to this wall right here. We will eventually hang our TV here with a console below and I think a bit of woodwork will give it some extra interest. Once that’s up, I’ll fill nail holes and caulk.

Then, I’m planning a big week of painting. Right now, the walls are primed and it’s a bit intense with that super bright white primer. Everything needs a nice coat of paint to feel fresh and finished down here.

Choosing A Basement Paint Color

How to choose a basement paint color

Okay, now the hardest part…choosing a basement paint color. When I initially shared this design plan for the space, I had my heart set on dark and moody walls all over.

Help me choose a basement paint color

Now, with brand new everything, I’m less tempted to go dark to mask the space. I don’t really want to do something too light (I think white paint can look dingy in a basement), but I’m thinking perhaps a more medium-toned hue. But what kind of medium tone? Gray? Blue? Beige? Green?

How to choose a basement paint color

I ordered a bunch of paint swatches from Clare Paint and that was super helpful to narrow down my favorites. Their swatches are sticky and go right on the wall. You can easily remove them without damaging your walls and they re-stick if you want to use them over and over again.

Checking out various basement paint color options

After working through all of the various colors, I narrowed it down to these four…

Choosing the perfect basement paint color

Top, left to right: “Set in Stone”, “Greige’ // Bottom, left to right: “Motor City”, “Flatiron”

Before you go choosing your favorite, I want to tell you my plan for where this color will go. I plan to paint the bulkhead (ceiling area that hides the ductwork) the same color as the walls, as well as the baseboards. I think that will camouflage the unsightly bulkhead area. As of now, I’m planning to paint the doors and casing in the color Benjamin Moore, “Simply White”, just like we have throughout the rest of our house.

And, one more thing to consider, here is a look at all of the paint colors we have on the first and second floors of our home…

The paint colors in our home

With that new information, which basement paint color is your favorite?

Choosing basement paint colors

Top, left to right: “Set in Stone”, “Greige’ // Bottom, left to right: “Motor City”, “Flatiron”

I can’t wait to share the one I choose on the blog in the coming weeks!

Catch Up On Our Basement

Here’s a look at all of the basement plans I’ve shared so far…


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.