How to Light Up a Dark Basement

How to Light Up a Dark Basement

Lighting Up a Dark Basement

Basements today can’t be compared to those of yesteryear, which were dungeon-like spaces with little design impact, and almost always poorly illuminated.  Think back to the years of excessive patterns and wall paneling!  Thankfully, people have grown and have gained lots of insight with regards to decorating their homes, and extending that living space right into the basement.  As such, they want more from these spaces, and if done right, they can feel as though they’re above grade level.  One of the most important elements with regards to below grade spaces has to do with its lighting.


How Much Light Does the Basement Need?

Lots!  A simple track light simply won’t cut it.  There is very little natural light that flows into basements, so the maximum amount of lighting is necessary to make up for that.  Recessed lighting is the key to providing that ambient glow that can easily help you create a space that is inviting.

basement lighting

Think overhead lighting and a lot of it.  The magic word, “layers” appears once again, where interior decorators and specialists recommend using pendants, sconces, floor and table lamps, and more to remove that cave-like feeling from the basement, which is more than possible with proper lighting.

However, basements to have their own special challenges, such as with low ceilings, in addition to the lack of natural light.  Each basement will be unique and will have its own unique challenges that each homeowner must overcome in order to achieve a fabulous space.  This is where things can get tricky, but anything can be overcome if the proper planning goes into it.

Creating a Cozy Vibe

To create a cozy volumes, you would have to include task lighting above specific areas, such as seating areas.  You can get an intimate feeling by hanging a pendant light or even a chandelier just above a bar area.  Shelves can take on all whole new appearance when they are lit up.  At the same time, they can become more functional, with the light allowing you to locate items easier, or simply to highlight some collections.

dramatic lighting

The All-Important Dimmer Switch

Get as much light into the basement as you possibly can, and connect all lights to a dimmer switch allows you to reduce the brightness accordingly.  This is the way to maximizing the usefulness of the basement, while controlling the elimination to set the mood as necessary.


The budget is the reality that often interferes with someone’s dreams, but when it comes to lighting, there are so many affordable solutions, it shouldn’t get in the way.  This is especially true when the basement is nearly finished, or has been completely gutted for renovation.  With a blank slate, it’s easy to create a lighting scheme that works, as long as you have a good plan to put in action.

Determining the Purpose

The most important thing when it comes to designing the lighting scheme in a basement has to do with determining the purpose of the particular space.  For example, a guest room located in the basement would be treated differently than the bathroom, the bar, and other specific areas on the same level.  In the hangout zone, or the family room, a pendant light would look fabulous over the seating area, identifying it for what it really is simultaneously.  As a flatscreen television is often nearby, it can be flanked with beautiful walled sconces that tie in well with the pendant light, although they don’t have to be a perfect match.

As in any other rooms in the home, certain spaces have multiple uses, and so it is imperative that they be created in the plans, before construction begins.  For example, you might want to place to curl up and read, and that would call for task lighting that would provide the right amount of light to do so.

Related Post