Jessie’s Waffle: Paint Color for the Basement

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In my house, the basement is the place where furniture goes to die, so I was all ears when my sister told me she was going to try to breathe new life into her own.  Jessie has lots of elements for the basement already figured out. New sectional: check. New flooring: check. New paint color: nope.

Let’s get a sense of the room before looking at specific paint colors.  See this corner?

basement-decorating, basement-before

Here’s the sectional that is going to go there:

visions-sectional, sectional-for-basement, corner-sectional, corner-sectional-for-basement


The TV will be moved in front of the cubby area under the stairs:

Jessie's basement

And the gray carpet will be replaced with this:

hardwoods-by-floorcraft, hardwood-floors-replace-carpet, Busket-Lane-Floorcraft


So now we can turn to paint colors. Jessie’s oldest daughter, Lucy, is pushing for a warm, orangey color to make the room feel less cold and dank. Her youngest daughter, Anna, likes pink, and Jessie is drawn to the blues, blue/grays, and gray/greens. Here’s what Jessie says about the dilemma:

I am in a quandry about paint. Nobody in the family loved any of my initial samples, so I mixed and doctored and got all these other colors. Some are in better favor than others. My plan right now is to just paint the back wall where the large windows are or maybe the back wall and the wall below the stairs.

Here are some paints she is considering from the green family:


the blue family:

blue-colors-besement, blue-benjamin-moore-colors-basement, blue-basement, blue-paint-for-basement

and here are some from the red, orange, yellow and pink family:

red-paint-basement, red-pink-yellow-for-basement, warm-colors-basement, choosing-paint-basement

Here’s a look at all of them:


The basement will be used primarily for TV/movie watching and sleepovers (which Jessie notes are really just extended sessions of movie watching). So what do you think? Which color family should Jessie adopt to make her new basement fabulous?

PS — if you like one color in particular, let Jessie know which one in the comments section.

What are you waffling about these days? Whether it’s spring sandals or a new rug just click on the button below to send me your waffle and get help.


11 responses

  1. The blues are fabulous!!! All of them!

  2. Jessie, I voted for Blue family. I think all of the colors you picked are fairly dark – I love color, but tend to go with a softer palette. Try Benjamin Moore Grey Cashmere or Benjamin Moore Pale Smoke (my favorite) – both have a hint of green, so they’ll satisfy both those color urges. Or Titanium. You can’t go wrong – I’ve used all of these colors time and time again.

  3. Who is Jessie kidding? It doesn’t matter what anyone suggests (even Certified Interior Decorators/best friends). Anna gets veto power! 😛

    Love your blog Mollie!

    • I am replying to my own post, because this has been left out of the waffler question: The whole house interior should really be considered reg any color scheme, but partic in J’s bment, as it is adjacent to fam room & kitchen via open stairwell, so bment hues should be unified w/other public spaces on main floor.

  4. My favorites of the colors given are in the blue family – #1 favorite is the second from the top and #2 favorite is the top blue color, but I like the bottom two as well – guess the greenish one is the only one that wouldn’t make my list (from that family). Hope all goes well in painting!

  5. Ms. Ramsey and I share the same thoughts about the color for this room. I too like the blue second from the top or as she also described, an orangey, cantelope, coral shell, peach would be really nice too as long as it isn’t too light and/or peachy.

    Can’t wait to see the final result. Good luck!

  6. Jess I go for more vibrant colors as well but agree that basements can kind of get to feeling like a dark hole. I would go with a mid-range blend kind of like the second from the top in the blue family (but perhaps a shade lighter). I also think grays are nice and have had really good luck with them even here in the NW. I’m partial to Behr’s Manhattan Mist (a gray that can look white or blue depending on the light but sets off wood floors beautifully – also goes well as background to more vivid accent walls or rugs or pillows) and Behr’s Scotland Road (a mid-range kind of sage green that also goes great with wood floors). I painted my small windowless powder room this green and it warmed it up without making it feel clostrophobic. A mid-range color in the orange family that is warm but light is Behr’s clamshell. This leans toward peach although has some brown in it but also goes really great with wood floors and dark furniture. Lightens and warms. I realize peach is a bit 1980s but I think with your fabulous sectional and if you avoid pastels elsewhere you could definitely carry it off. Good luck! Love this site too!

    • Wow, Brinnie, you are encyclopedic! I tried all sorts of grays but everyone in my family nixed them. But I will see if we have Behr around here (HD, Maybe?) Thanks for the input!

  7. Though Jessie seems to prefer colors are intense and dark, I think the room needs something lighter, even if it will be used mainly at night. My picks, the green under the light switch, the top green closest to the top shelf or the one just under it. Or yellow, which I always think makes a room cheerier. You can see I’m a competent waffler.

    But, what about the rug? That’s harder to find than a paint color. To be safe, I think J should find a rug she likes first and then select the wall color.

    • We are putting down the wood laminate with a big piece of bound carpet underneath. Our local carpet store has a huge selection of remnants, and there are several that we have identified. They are and will lighten up the area, and are so inexpensive that if they get dirty, or we get sick of the color we can justify replacing every few years. Also, we already have 2 yellow rooms in the house, so I don’t know about a 3rd.

      • Jess, I will reiterate what we’ve talked abt, and several others (incl Momma H) have concurred- you have several vibrant primary hues on main level, why of all places would you start a neutral scheme down in bmnt? Use a diff tint or tone from what you used on main level. Yellow & white can be used along w/the blue- complementary, so they work well together- cheerful, but classic. You alredi know this, bec you’ve done it so well upstairs- you are just a waffler, like the other Meltsner Women! xx