Basement Ceiling Ideas

Beth Asaff
Basement ceiling

Nothing reminds you that you're in a basement - no matter how beautifully finished - than a lack of finished ceiling. No matter how low or duct-filled your current basement ceiling is, there are ways to finish it that will make it look better, brighter and more like a part of the finished basement you've been aiming for.

Ceiling Tiles

Most basements have visible pipes and ductwork running along the ceiling area that must remain accessible in case of repairs or leaks. So while it's entirely possible to put up a drywall ceiling, ceiling tiles let the pipes and ducts remain easily accessible by enabling you to simply pop a few free and replace them after the repairs are over.

There are several types of ceiling tiles available; using ceiling tiles does not mean you need to make your basement look like an office building.

Acoustical Tiles

Acoustical ceiling tiles are one of the most frequently used options for basement ceilings, particularly those basements that include bedrooms, offices and other areas where noise control is important. Acoustical ceiling tiles snap into a grid laid along your ceiling. They come in a wide range of different materials, styles and colors.

Acoustical ceiling tiles

Acoustical tiles will help deaden the sound of people walking on the floor above the basement, which makes them ideal for families with basement bedrooms. Conversely, they also deaden the sounds coming from the basement, so musicians, kids or entertainment centers won't affect those above them.

Places to find acoustical ceiling tiles include:

  • USG: USG makes acoustical ceiling tiles that have a naturally random texture for a more pleasing look and style.
  • Acoustical Solutions: Acoustical Solutions has contoured panels and patterned panels to create a decorative look.

Tin Ceiling Tiles

If you want to have an elegant, formal or interesting ceiling for your basement, consider putting in some suspended tin ceiling tiles. Tin ceiling tiles come in a variety of different patterns, colors and installation methods. Some can be done in a suspended grid; perfect for encasing low-hanging pipes and ducts.

tin ceiling tiles

It's possible to find tin ceiling tiles without patterns as well, for a sleek contemporary appearance to the basement ceiling. The tin tiles pop in and out like other types of suspended ceiling tiles, but they offer a unique texture and design.

Places to find tin ceiling tiles include:

  • American Tin Ceilings: American Tin Ceilings makes drop ceiling tiles in all patterns and colors, including pattern-free tiles.
  • Armstrong: Armstrong's Metallaire series is made up of classic-patterned ceiling tiles available for installing in a suspended grid.

Multi-Level Ceiling

basement multi-level ceiling

If you have areas in your current basement ceiling that drop lower in places, but it remains higher overall, consider doing a multi-level ceiling. Multi-level ceilings use drywall like a standard ceiling, but instead of dropping down to the lowest part of the ceiling, you can raise it to a normal ceiling height in most areas, and only drop down as needed. This is a fun way to make a very contemporary ceiling; consider painting sections of it different colors to highlight the various sections.

The drawback to this type of ceiling is, of course, the fact that you can't easily access the pipes or ducts. Depending upon how low your ductwork is, you may not want to frame it in and lower the ceiling in some areas as well.

Tray Ceiling

basement tray ceiling

If the ductwork in your basement is confined to the perimeter of the room, an attractive way to finish the area is to create a tray ceiling. Tray ceilings have a lowered section that stretches around the perimeter of the room, with a raised area in the center.

Many people add decorative trim to the edge of the lowered section, as well as decorative moldings to the perimeter of the raised section. You can also paint the bottom of the lowered section the same color as the walls to create the illusion that the walls are higher than they are.

Dual Ceilings

If you want the look of a closed ceiling in your basement, but also want the access to the pipes and ducts, consider creating a dual ceiling. Locate the most likely areas of the ceiling to require regular access and install a drop-ceiling over in that area. Enclose the rest of the ceiling with drywall.

Paint the Existing Ceiling

painted ceiling

Some ceilings are really too low to enclose properly with either drywall or a drop-ceiling. In these cases, consider painting your pipes, ducts and exposed woodwork to create a pleasing, finished appearance. You can paint all of these areas the same color to help disguise them, or paint them in a rainbow of colors for a children's play area.

Painting the existing ceiling area is also one of the least expensive ways to finish the ceiling.

Box in Pipes with Faux-Wood Beams

If you have one or two low-hanging pipes, but want to keep most of the ceiling higher, consider enclosing the ceiling at your preferred height, and use a faux-wood beam to enclose the low-hanging pipe. Faux-wood beams can also add a nice architectural touch to the whole room, making the basement feel as though it is part of a cabin.

wrapped pipes

Places to find faux-wood beams include:

  • FauxWoodBeams.com: FauxWoodBeams.com carries a wide selection of different sized and colored beams to fit any space.
  • AZ Faux Beams: AZ Faux Beams has several different realistic looking faux-wood beams that can create a variety of different looks.

Enjoy Your New Ceiling

No matter what method you use to complete the ceiling in your finished basement, the results are sure to help finalize the entire room. Use any of these ideas to finish off your ceiling and enjoy your new basement room.

Basement Ceiling Ideas