Everyone wants a basement that no longer harbors any vestiges of the dank, dark place it almost certainly was to begin with. We all want light, bright, and airy – just exactly what a basement inherently is not. So how do you plan basement lighting to achieve the look you want instead of settling for what this underground area most naturally offers? By planning far ahead of the time when all you think you need is to plug in some lamps.
Natural Daylight for Basements?
Incorporating natural daylight into your basement remains the best way to light it, if at all possible. Building window wells high into at least one basement wall gives warmth and comfort to any basement setting. The cost for this is fairly high, but in so doing, you’ll provide an inestimable benefit that will last as long as the basement itself does.
Another way to get natural daylight into the low places of a basement is to use the rather unconventional method of tubular skylights. These, sometimes called “solar tubes,” feature light collectors mounted on the roof of the house (similar to a small skylight) that focuses sunlight through lenses directed through tubing into the basement area, which does an excellent job of spreading it through the room.
Utilizing pretty sophisticated technologly, some solar tube lighting systems incorporate electric lighting so lights can be turned on night or night, with some of them even capable of regulating the amount of light that enters the basement.
Of course, you’ll want to include plenty of lighting in the way of track lights, pendant lighting, and everyday, old-fashioned lamps that plug into wall receptacles. Depending upon how big your basement is, it’s a good idea to have at least two electrical outlets on each wall as you lay your plans out on paper.
Keep It Open
Shooting for an open-style floor plan goes a long way to spreading light in a basement. So while you’re still at the pencil-and-paper stage, make sure you include this as a major part of your building plans. Except for perhaps the walls needed for a bathroom and maybe one closet, keep everything else free and clear and as wide open as possible.
If you feel you must delineate between areas in the basement, try using room dividers that are fairly open in their design. Also, simply grouping furniture and rugs together in different parts of the room makes for a natural sort of area-definition that will still keep light coming to all areas possible.
Another trick when planning basement lighting entails colors. Just as with the rest of the house, white, light colors for walls, floor coverings, and furniture reflect light almost as well as mirrors. To keep the area from becoming a boring palette of all-white everything, use patterned throw rugs, sofa pillows, and wall décor to bring in colors from the rest of the spectrum.
By using at least two or more of these tips, you should be able to transform a dark, ugly basement into a bright, lighter place to spend time. So remember to put lighting at the top of the list when planning your basement, and you won’t ever need to regret the lack of light in what could be the favorite room in your house.