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maxmillan 03-16-2010 02:11 PM

What are good paint colours for basement
The past tenant painted the basement a myriad of colors. The living room is lime green and the in-wall shelves are burgundy. The kitchen wall is a mix of burgundy and yellow. The bedroom is yellow. All the baseboards are white.

I want to choose more neutral colours such as light beige, eggshell, etc.

However, I want to make the basement brighter, mature and not look lived in by a teenager.

Any suggestions what colours to paint the wall so it will look classy? Should I also paint the baseboards a complimentary colour other than white? Should the ceiling remain white?

granite-girl 03-16-2010 02:25 PM

I think just a crisp clean cream color or something light maybe a subtle light blue or sagey green, whatever will fit with your furnishings & flooring. I'd keep it simple & on the lighter side. I think white woodwork always looks good as a contrast to about any colored wall.
Good Luck

Nestor_Kelebay 03-16-2010 03:12 PM

Your best bet is an off-white.

The reason why is that in a basement apartment, you probably have smaller windows than in the main floor and higher apartments. White reflects more light than any other colour, and so you would have more light reflection off the walls and ceilings if they were painted white or off-white. That would make the apartment seem brighter, and make it a bit easier to rent.

maxmillan 03-17-2010 02:10 AM

Thanks for the suggestion. I thought I was being prudish with a white or off-white choice but I do want the basement to be bright. The front window faces North and the side windows are small and the sunlight is blocked by the adjacent houses and only gets minimal light. It will be a lot of work priming and extra coating as the last tenant used really ugly thick colours.

Nestor_Kelebay 03-17-2010 09:28 AM

You don't need to prime.

Originally Posted by maxmillan (Post 42414)
It will be a lot of work priming and extra coating as the last tenant used really ugly thick colours.

Why prime?

The reason why people will often prime before changing the colour of a wall (from red to green, say) is that primers are white, and they often get that white colour from the white pigment titanium dioxide in the primer. Titanium dioxide is white in colour and has the second highest hide of any pigment used in house paints, second only to black. Consequenly, if you want to paint a red wall green, you may want to prime with a green tinted primer because the titanium dioxide in the primer will hide the red colour better than a coat of green paint (which uses Phthalocyanine Green as the pigment) and doesn't hide as well as the pigment titanium dioxide. Be careful with this as many primers use zinc oxide or even chaulk as their white pigment, and so they look equally white, but simply don't hide worth a crap.

In your case, if you want to paint a burgundy wall white, just buy a top quality white or off-white PAINT (not a primer) like Pratt & Lambert Accolade Velvet or Satin in the F4090 or F4790 tint base, or buy Benjamin Moore Aura and get guaranteed hide in one coat or Sherwin Williams top-of-the-line interior latex paint in a white tint base. Those paints are expensive, but if you opt for cheaper paint, you'll have to put on twice as much to hide the underlying colour, and so you save on labour with the better quality paints.

The way to tell that you're getting complete hide in one coat is by painting the perimeter of your walls with either a sash brush or a 3 inch roller and a piece of sheet metal (to keep the paint off the other side of inside corners). Then fill in with a 7 or 10 inch roller. Allow that paint to dry overnight, and in the morning, look for any "picture framing", which is the increase in colour density around the perimeter of the wall where the two coats overlapped.

If you see any of that picture framing, then you're not getting complete hide in one coat. If you were, then one coat of paint would look exactly the same as two, (or three or four coats) and you would not see any of that picture framing effect on the wall at all. The more of that picture framing you see, the less well your paint hides.

Everything else being equal, the flatter the paint, the better it will hide, but the harder it will be to clean marks off the paint. When I was looking for a paint to use in my apartment block I tried to find the highest gloss paint (for easy cleaning) that would hide the underlying beige colour paint in one coat (for less work) and found that I could do that with Pratt & Lambert Accolade in the "designer white" F4790 tint base. If you're wanting to hide a darker colour in one coat, I'd suggest BM Aura.

TxBuilder 03-17-2010 09:37 AM

I would paint it bright seeing as basements are typically dark.

Nestor_Kelebay 03-17-2010 11:44 AM

White reflects more light than any other colour. All other visible colours get their hue from absorbing certain frequencies of light. Blue paint on a wall, for example, gets it's colour by absorbing all the red and yellow light.

So, if you have incandescent lighting in a blue room, it will be darker in that room because incandescent light has lots of red and yellow in it's spectrum. If you had fluorescent lighting in a blue room, it would be brighter because fluorescent light has more blue and violet light in it's spectrum, so more of the fluorescent light would be reflected from the walls rather than be absorbed. Sunlight contains all the different colours in equal proportions, but the atmosphere acts like a prism, and so sunlight appears more blue-ish in the mornings and red-ish in the evening. That's why the Sun normally looks reddish right before sunset. (Especially when you see the Sun setting over the ocean where there isn't anything to block your view immediately before sunset.)

But, there are many different shades of "white". Just compare different samples of "white" paint or white paper from different sources, and you'll find they're all different shades of "white". And, of course, there are different shades of both incandescent and fluorescent lights.

maxmillan 03-17-2010 11:51 AM

Thanks Nestor for the valuable time-saving method. I don't mind paying more for high quality paint as this probably equals buying primer and doing two coats of paint. Plus my time is valuable. I'm painting the basement as practice for the real "professional" paint job I have to do when I move into the third floor. The nimwit on the third floor has painted part of the walls and doors BLACK!

As for the basement colour I'm still swayed towards white/beige but maybe a canary yellow would be okay.

Thanks everyone.

Nestor_Kelebay 03-17-2010 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by maxmillan (Post 42453)
The nimwit on the third floor has painted part of the walls and doors BLACK!

It's spelled "dimwit".

You need a list of "House Rules".
One of them should be not doing any painting or alterations to the landlord's property.

handyguys 03-17-2010 02:43 PM

I painted mine three colors.
flat white for ceiling.
Semi-gloss white for trim
yellowy beige for some walls
and a blueish color n other walls

I chose the blue to darken it up a bit for a home theater area. It isnt too dark. I'm not sure how to describe the blue I used.

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