If you’re in the process of renovating your basement, lighting is the key piece in finishing the puzzle. Lighting can make or break the finished look, so taking the time to plan the appropriate lightening can make all the difference between the basement of your dreams and a dingy, dark, unwelcoming space. To help you along the way, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten tips you need to know about basement lighting.
1. Know your Measurements
Before you even start considering style or design, you need to consider how much, and what kind of, lightening your basement needs. If you have some sort of natural light coming in, work out which areas benefit from the light the least. Is there a corner that stays dark even at midday? If so, a centrally placed ceiling light that distributes light evenly around the room may need to either be replaced or at least complemented by some additional wall sconces or floor lamps in the darker areas. To really get a feel for how much lighting is required, you’ll need to grab a tape measure and get to grips with the room’s dimensions. You can then work out how much lightening you need: 2 or 3 ceiling lights may be best for a large room, while 1 may suffice for a smaller space. Similarly, consider whether the room’s height would benefit more from wall sconces or recessed lighting than it would a pendant design (which, as Homedit notes), may look great in a high-ceilinged room, but will be less fitting in a low room).
2. Consider Your Activities
Before paying the installation costs for a lighting fitting that may not necessarily be appropriate for your needs, consider exactly what you’ll be using the basement for. If you’ll be using it as an office or a workout room, you’ll need to consider focused lighting that sheds enough light on the main areas you’ll be utilizing. Unless you use the basement for working out, floor lamps and tabletop lamps are a great way of introducing both lighting and ambiance to your basement. Granted, if you’ll be running around the gym with weights, its best to avoid anything that can be knocked over. Otherwise, a few strategically placed, stylishly designed lamps will look great in a room designed primarily for lounging or entertaining.
3. Take Control
These days, a one size fits all approach to lightening (or indeed anything else) is simply not going to cut it. We all want to be able to customize our surroundings to our exact needs… in the case of lighting, this can be achieved with the strategic use of dimmers switches, or even by linking up our lightening systems to our smart devices. A dimmer is a great way of creating a certain mood or ambiance; excellent if you use your basement for entertaining. Linking your lighting to your smart device, meanwhile, will give you the option to control your lighting easily and on the go through a convenient mobile app.
4. Keep It Stylish
So far, we’ve dealt mainly with the functional aspects of basement lighting. Equally important as style which, thanks to the different lighting options on the market, doesn’t need to be sacrificed for utility. Of course, style is going to come down to personal preference as much as anything, but before you let your adventurous spirit carry you too far, remember that lighting is very much a focal point of any room. Keep the style in fitting with your choice of flooring, decorations, color scheme, and overall style to avoid creating an accidental eyesore: a Chinese lantern style light shade may look wonderful in a boho styled basement, but it’s unlikely to fit quite so well in a space that is otherwise dripping in traditional elegance.
5. Accent Your Areas
Have a stylish painting or piece of decorative art you want to call attention to? If so, consider supplementing your central light features with some strategically placed accent lighting. As CT Lightning notes, you can also use accent lights to diffuse light across a room with highly placed fixtures.
6. Beam Up
If your basement has support beams running its length, employ these to your advantage by using them to run your lightening. You can either choose to use them as the basis for a drop ceiling or alternatively, you can mount light fixtures directly to the beams.
7. Stagger It Up
If you opt for our previous suggestion of using support beams as the foundation for your lighting fixtures, add an extra layer of lighting trickery by going for a staggered look using the beam as a guide. Try running recessed lighting with bright bulbs along the length of the beam- if your basement is naturally dingy and you really want to work the lights to their best advantage, try intersecting the recessed lighting with stripped lightening, again mounted to the beam.
8. Avoid Fluorescent Lighting
If you have a particularly dark basement, it can be tempting to think that flooding the area with fluorescent lighting is the best way of tackling matters. While fluorescent lighting is unquestionably powerful, it’s also just the wrong side of industrial, and most people will find it too cold and uninviting to be an appropriate fit for their home.
9. Hide Your Wiring
Regardless of whether you opt for recessed lighting or hanging lights, you’ll need to consider how to tackle the problem of hiding the wires. Regardless of how stylish the fixtures are, there’s no quicker way to ruin the aesthetic than dangling strands of wiring. If you have beams, you may want to consider feeding the wires through them to keep things tidy. If not, you can do the same using walls, or you may even want to consider creating a drop ceiling which will keep everything neatly hidden away out of sight.
10. Bulbs For Every Occasion
Once you have the light fixtures sorted, the last thing to consider is the bulbs you’ll be equipping them with. Bulb technology has advanced hugely over the past couple of decades, and you now have plenty of options to consider. Before you do, make sure to check the maximum wattage your light fixtures can handle: there’s no point in investing in an all-singing, all-dancing LED or CFL lightbulb if it proves too powerful for the fixture to handle.