Basement Remodeling with Low Ceilings

You’ve been looking to finish your basement for a long time, but you’re concerned about the low ceilings in the space. Will this aspect of your home prove to be a detriment to your basement remodeling plans? Fortunately, this is a common issue, and there are many remodeling solutions for basements with low ceilings.

Insufficient Headroom

One seemingly obvious solution to creating more headroom is to literally excavate the existing floor and dig deeper down. However, this process can be extremely involved and costly. The best plan is to consider having the ceiling drop down as little as possible and to use flooring options that don’t raise the floor level all that much. Depending on local buildinhomeguides-articles-basement-remodelg codes, however, the acceptable height for a basement may require that you dig down. If so, it’s not so much of a problem, just a significant additional cost.


When it comes to exposed ductwork, there are many design solutions to make it fit into your finished space. In cases where a finished ceiling would make headroom too low, joists or concrete structural beams may be exposed. You could also decide to box them in with drywall, which helps to create a coffered or soffited ceiling. Some choose to paint exposed structures black for a more modern look, but others suggest lighter colors to brighten up the space.

Insufficient Natural Lighting

Because basements ordinarily will not have the natural light of above ground rooms, this can leave the lower level a bit too dark. Creative lighting design can easily overcome this problem, however. Recessed can lights placed close to the walls or energy-efficient fluorescent linear fixtures hidden in coves are two popular basement lighting choices.

Brighten Up the Basement With Color

Beyond lighting options, color choices make a big difference when it comes to how bright your basement will be. Using plain white all around is often a common choice, but this white-washed look probably isn’t the best look for a finished basement. Light colors are a good choice, such as caramel or ivory on the walls, are a good way to prevent the glare that can happen with all of the walls and ceilings being only white. It’s also good to use paint colors to mark out different parts of the basement to help organize the space visually. Keeping a space bright and visually interesting is especially important when you have low ceilings already.

When it comes to finished basements, there is often a tendency to not think about designing the space as you would other rooms in the home. However, using architectural elements such as crown molding, wainscoting, etc. helps connect the space to the rest of the house. You want people to enter the basement and feel like they’re still in the same house. Many visitors may not be expecting that. Especially in a basement with a low ceiling, you want to distract people from thinking about the ceiling height and feel comfortable in your new finished living area. Think of the basement as you would any other room in your home and you’ll end up with a finished basement like you never could have first imagined.