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15 Low Basement Ceiling Ideas

You step down into your basement and instinctively duck your head. The ceiling isn’t low enough to hit your head on...but it’s low enough to feel claustrophobic. You want to use the room more, but you’re not sure what to do with it. Is there a way to make the ceiling higher? Maybe you can find a use for the room as it is? Check out these Low Basement Ceiling Ideas to help get you started.


1) ​​​DIY Pallet Ceiling

Normally, when you walk in a room, you don’t notice the ceiling. You may look up at it at some point, but it isn’t the most important thing in a room. In a basement with a short ceiling, the ceiling is much more noticeable. You’ll want an attractive ceiling, like this pallet wood ceiling. Wood ceilings are great because they take up less room, so choosing wood over drywall will actually increase the room height. You’ll also be getting free materials since free pallet wood isn’t hard to find.

2) Open Ceiling

In this basement remodel, the owner left the ceiling open. While this sounds like a strange idea, it gives the feeling of extra height. You even gain a little height, since you don’t have to attach half an inch of drywall to the ceiling joists. If you don’t like the look of the ductwork, you can paint it, or add drywall between the ceiling joists to cover it up. This still gives you some extra room, but not as much as a fully exposed ceiling.

3) ​​​Paint Floors

What does painting floors have to do with the ceiling? I’m glad you asked. Every layer of material you add to finish your basement decreases the overall height. You’ve got half an inch of drywall on the ceiling, and if you put down tile or vinyl floor, the inches slowly add up. Since you don’t have any inches to spare, painting floors can keep you from using precious space on flooring. This video shows you how to paint concrete. While the video shows outdoor concrete, the guide also tells you how to adapt the method for indoor areas.

4) ​​​Recessed Lighting

There’s nothing worse than walking into a room and hitting your head on something. Unless you’re walking into a room and hitting your head on something fragile. You bump into a light fixture and panic a little as you watch the pendant light swing wildly around. Luckily, nothing breaks. Instead of pendants or semi-flush mount lights, use these recessed lights in your basement. They take up little or no ceiling height, and you can’t hit your head on them since they recede into the ceiling.

5) ​​Short Furniture

Short furniture looks strange in many rooms, as you can see in this picture. That’s because it’s too short for the room. Short furniture and short ceilings are perfect for each other. The short furniture will make the ceiling height less noticeable, and the short ceiling complements the short furniture. This makes it a great gaming room or kid’s playroom if you have a need for one. Bean bag chairs and gaming chairs are great choices, and gaming chairs will still provide comfortable back support, despite their short height.

6) ​​Vertical Stripes

You can only make a basement ceiling so high. If you can’t add height, you can still make the ceiling look taller. Vertical stripes help make a room feel taller, even if it’s the same height. This vertical striped wallpaper will look good, and you can see in the pictures on Amazon that it makes each room look like the ceilings are higher than they are. The stripes will make the walls seem shorter horizontally, so it works best in a short but wide basement.

7) ​​​​Gaming Room

When you play video games and board games, you don’t really need a lot of height. You spend most of your tie sitting at a table or in your favorite gaming chair. This makes a gaming room a great use for a basement with a low ceiling. The low ceiling won’t disrupt your use of the room, and you get a neat gaming room out of it! This can be an entertainment area for friends and family or a cozier computer gaming room like the one in the picture.

8) ​​​​​​White Paint

Never underestimate the value of a simple coat of paint. Light colors make a room look bigger, and white ceiling paint will make your ceiling look further away. This won’t affect your actual ceiling height, of course, but it’ll make the ceiling less noticeable, and make the area feel more open even when you do notice the ceiling. With a white ceiling, guests might not notice how low the ceiling is until they take a hard look at it.

9) ​​Hang Things Vertically

If you want your ceiling to look taller, your paint and material choices aren’t your only options. If you don’t want to do serious redecorating, try getting some vertical art pieces like this one. You’ll want to get pieces of different heights. This piece is tall and 3-dimensional, so it gives the illusion of not only height but also depth to your space. Other pieces may only be a little taller than they are wide. Choosing different size art pieces makes the effect more subtle.

10) ​​​​Match Walls and Ceiling

One way to make a ceiling look higher is to make it disappear. Paint the ceiling and walls the same color so you can’t see where the wall ends and the ceiling begins. This will make the walls seem endless, in effect, though you’ll still see the short ceiling on closer inspection. Paint both the wall and ceiling white to open up the space. White or other light colors will make the spec seem even more open.

11) ​DIY Fake Window

One way to make a room seem larger or taller is to add more light. The best way to do this is natural light, but that’s not always an option in a basement. If you want to let more light in, but can’t install windows, try making a fake window. You can make an easy DIY window by building or buying a wood frame, then hanging LED strips behind it. The problem is, you can often see the LED strips behind the glass. This DIYer shows you how to etch glass to make the LED strips less noticeable.

12) ​​​​Industrial Style

You took our advice and left your ceilings exposed. Now your ceiling feels taller, but you can see ductwork and plumbing in the ceiling above you. While you can try to cover this up, you’ll usually end up reducing your ceiling height again. Instead, embrace the industrial style. Paint the exposed parts of the ceiling, and add industrial décor like the décor in this picture. This will make the exposed ceiling seem like a design statement instead of a necessity.

13) ​​​​Hang Mirrors

Lighting a room is a good way to make it seem bigger. If you have white ceilings to make the ceiling seem higher, bright light will increase how effective the white paint is. Reflective surfaces like mirrors can help distribute light and make the ceiling look higher, also, but it can be hard to hang mirrors in a concrete basement. This video shows you how you can hang a mirror in stonework. You can hang your mirrors in concrete the same way.

14) ​Children’s Playroom

If you don’t feel comfortable with the short ceiling height, give the room over to somebody who will. If you have young children, the ceiling will easily be high enough for them to frolic, play, and do whatever they want. Turn the basement into a playroom like this one, and maybe add a carpet on the hard floor if you have more active children. You’ll want to customize the room for your kids, but this article will give you some ideas to get started.

15) DIY Soundproofing

When somebody is pacing on the second floor of a house, it sounds loud. If you opened up your ceiling to add height, there’s one less layer of material between you and anybody walking around on the first floor. If you don’t open up your ceiling, you’ll have a short space that lends itself to cozy up with a game or book, and you don’t want loud footsteps interfering. This article gives a few ideas for soundproofing. Weight the pros and cons of each method, since some methods will thicken your ceiling and lower the height.


Do any of these ideas appeal to you? Have you tried any in your own home? Leave us a comment below to let us know!


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