Basement Lighting Ideas

Give your finished basement the lighting it needs with a combination of windows, lamps, recessed lights, and other contemporary lighting ideas.

The basement tends to be the darkest area of the house. If you're fortunate enough to have basement windows, some sunlight will find its way into the cellar, but not nearly enough to brighten the entire area. However, there are a number of lighting options that, if used separately or in combination with each other, will help illuminate the basement and provide a brighter, warmer and more decorative atmosphere.

What type of lighting you choose will be determined by the height of your ceiling as well as the depth above the ceiling where the fixture's housing will be. Some fixtures demand more clearing within the ceiling for their housings than others.

Recessed Lighting
Circular recessed lighting offer a sharp, clean look, and the cone-shaped interior baffles that surround the light bulb splash light efficiently. Some recessed fixtures offer rotating sockets that allow the homeowner to direct the lighting toward a preferred area. An attractive feature is the liberty that recessed lighting fixtures provide. They can be installed in any pattern the homeowner wants, be it lined rows or strategic placement, and their strength can be controlled by installing a dimmer switch.
Fluorescent Lighting
Fluorescent lights have evolved. There is a wide range of stylish, residential models to choose from beyond the commonly recognized industrial look. Designs range from fixtures with lattice covers and wood-sided finishes to multishaped fixtures with rounded edges that have a modern, decorative feel. Most sizes allow easy installation within basement ceilings, particularly drop ceilings.
Track Lighting
The thin, rail-like tracks in track lighting run across a ceiling, and the light fixtures can be moved to a desired spot on the track. The ability to arrange the light fixtures allows the homeowner to accentuate an area or wall-mounted pictures.
Lamps
If you're trying to keep the ceiling clean of lights, use wall receptacles with of plug-in lamps. Strategically placed within the basement, lamps can supply ample light to their surrounding areas. With table and floor styles to choose from, the homeowner has flexibility in terms of placement.
Wall-Mounted Lamps
Wall-mounted fixtures won't illuminate the entire room but can enhance the look of a basement and accentuate a space. Placed above pictures or in sequence along a wall, they provide a decorative feel to complement their light. They can also be installed in designated reading areas or used to bracket a bar for warm ambiance. Sconces are available in an array of attractive designs and allow the homeowner to choose between those that splash light up off the ceiling or down toward the floor.
Natural Lighting
Walk-in basements offer the option of installing sliding glass doors. Coupled with any pre-existing basement windows, glass doors allow a fair share of light to enter during daytime hours and ease electric costs. Egress windows are another alternative. Not only do the windows serve as another light source, they are an added safety bonus as alternate ways to exit a basement in case of fire.
Resources
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Lamps Plus
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Basement Remodeler
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American Fluorescent