Colors that Brighten Up Basement-These Two Brightened Up Mine!

A Dark Basement Room

We have a small room in our basement with a tiny rectangular window. On a dark, gloomy day, it was illuminated by two light fixtures and a floor lamp. On a bright, sunny day, the room isn’t that bad as the natural lights make its way in by peeping through the teeny, tiny window.

As with most basements, this is below ground.  While a slight portion of its one wall is partially above, it can only accommodate a small size window like that of the existing one. Needless to say, installing a larger window to brighten it up, is not an option.

This space served as a craft and a TV room for my kids when we first moved in. The walls were painted by a tinge of beige. A craft table, three chairs, arts and craft cubbies, a sofa bed and a TV, occupied it. You can imagine how drab and dingy that room was :(. Early last year, I decided to freshen it up. As work was undergoing upstairs in our living room and kitchen/dining space, why not include the basement as well.

I now had the flooring changed from carpet to laminate that you can see on this link.  You will be amazed how it turned out.

Colors for Basement

When I was researching for colors that brighten up basement, I kept noticing these numbers with the acronym LRV. I saw them on paint swatches and on the manufacturer’s color specifications. What are these three letters and numbers mean? This is what I’ve found in which guided me to pick the colors to use. My handy and friendly Mr. Google came to my rescue again :).

What is LRV?

Light Reflectance Value (LRV) is the amount of visible and usable light that is being reflected from a surface, when illuminated by a light source, natural or artificial, It ranges from a percentage scale of 0-100. With 0 being absolute black and 100, being pure white. A guideline that is used by design professionals, such as interior designers and architects, just to name a few.  It is best explained on the link below.









How Important is LRV in choosing your paint colors?

The LRV will guide you to predict how light or dark a paint would feel and look once it is up on your walls. Paint colors with 50% or more will reflect more light back into the space. Less than 50%, will tend to be darker and will absorb more light than reflect it back. Understanding LRV made my painting process a lot easier as it pointed me to the direction of properly selecting the colors that would best suit my project.

Using Sample Board Sheet is a Good Idea

Painting is something that you don’t want to guess wrong as you will end up re-painting your walls :(. What I learned during this painting process and one that worked for me was the use of sample board sheets. I bought my pint-size cans of paint for sampling and grabbed a few paint brushes from a dollar store. I painted each of them on the sample sheets. I moved each sample sheet around the walls to see how it will look like in different areas of the room. When you do this, do the sampling individually. It is easier to choose when done separately from each other as you can focus on one color at a time. As I would paint the walls a second coat, I painted the sample sheets a second coating as well. Try to get another set of eyes during your sampling, it helps to get another point of view.

Colors that I used to Brighten up my Basement

I painted one side of the walls with Palladian Blue and the rest with Classic Gray. I selected two colors to use just to kinda divide the space (visually) into two separate areas.

To Further Lighten it Up

To further lighten it up, of course, I needed brighter lights. I updated the two light fixtures to much brighter ones. I used the cool white LED light bulbs instead of the soft warm, which were very, very helpful. I hung colorful and bright pictures on the wall. I also put some colorful throw pillows on the sofa bed. At the other end of the room where there is no window at all, I stuck these tiny pieces of geometric hexagon mirror stickers that I found online, on the wall. I placed them adjacent to the light fixture so that they can help bounce the light back throughout that area.

The Gloomy is Now Bright and Roomy

Guess what? I didn’t guess it wrong:). These paint colors made the room brighter! And my husband couldn’t be happier with the result, he didn’t have to re-paint :).

For my final touch, I moved the craft table, the chairs and the cubbies and the TV out and transferred all the exercise equipment into this room while the sofa bed remained. The space was totally transformed and appeared more energized and revitalized! … I think this is now my cue, the treadmill is calling me :), have to run! 

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Cheers 🙂

Before & After Pictures




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