Finished basements have a lot to offer a home and the individuals living in it. It provides you with a versatile space to use for so many activities, from entertaining guests to practicing some of your favorite hobbies—the possibilities are endless for this additional room. This is why basements are often the number one feature that home buyers look for in their search—and why this renovation is the key to raising a home’s value. However, when it comes to finishing or redesigning your basement, certain aspects tend to get overlooked in the interest of saving time. One of these very factors is overall basement lighting.
Proper lighting is what provides a room with its warm atmosphere and workable conditions. Without it, we risk not being able to see what we’re doing and leaving the space itself feeling cold—not a place you want to spend your time. But since basement lighting can be tricky to get right, there are several things to think about when planning your renovation. These are a few important lighting considerations for basements and how to make this area perfect for any type of activity.
When we typically think of a basement, we tend to imagine a dark, underground room that feels cut off from the outside world. This makes us feel as though basements can only benefit from artificial lighting fixtures and that they can’t be as energizing or comfortable as your above-ground living room. However, this simply isn’t the case. Though basements often have a limited amount of natural light available, they need just as much as any other room in the house. Because of this, finding a balance between the two, despite a minor setback from the lack of windows, is key. At night, your basement will have nothing but artificial lighting fixtures to illuminate it, so during the day, you’ll need to find ways to compensate, such as reducing your use of window treatments or hanging more mirrors.
But when it comes to choosing the lighting fixtures themselves, you’ll need to think about their size carefully—both individually and as a set. Basements are notoriously small, even when they’re empty. For this reason, homeowners undergoing this type of renovation must find ways to conserve much-needed space. Otherwise, they risk the finished room looking cluttered and potentially crowded. Therefore, when it comes to lighting, a minimalistic approach will always be your best bet. Since the room itself is so small, it likely won’t need as much light to feel sufficiently illuminated. As such, you won’t lose too much by going smaller and using fewer fixtures as a whole.
In addition to the size of your desired lighting fixtures, it’s also crucial that you think about how you’re going to place them. After all, the last thing you want is for your newly finished basement to have a few corners that are darker than the rest of the room. Placement is what allows each light source to illuminate a space in the most consistent and even way possible. As such, it’s what ultimately allows you to see everything you need to in a controlled manner. Because of this, proper basement fixture placement should always correspond to the shape of the room, refrain from oversaturating an area with light, and account for darker nooks and crannies.
Another important lighting consideration for your basement is the type of lightbulbs and light color you plan to use in that space. There are several types of lightbulbs, and each of them can give off light of varying intensities and colors. For this reason, this isn’t a decision you want to make without first doing a bit of research. For starters, florescent bulbs are highly efficient, long-lasting, and very bright. However, they can be very white in color, which causes the light to bleach out certain hues within the room. Halogen lights, on the other hand, radiate a warmer-colored light that homeowners typically find more desirable. However, they tend to get incredibly hot to the touch and aren’t compatible with too many types of fixtures. In recent years, LED bulbs have become more widely popular as the perfect middle-ground between the former options. These lights come in a range of colors, give off a strong light, and are very cheap to leave on for longer periods.
Make sure, as well, that you’re thinking about where you’ll install your new light switches. While this detail might seem like a personal preference, there are several codes to abide by when making this decision—one of the most important ones addressing safety. Walking through the dark, feeling for the switch, is one of
the surest ways to injury yourself, especially in a basement. As such, it’s often a good idea to install the main ambient lighting switch somewhere near the basement entrance. Then, install switches for any specific task lighting in the section of the room where the most work will likely occur. Just be sure to check whether the room can handle wiring in the areas you want your switches. Should you find out later that it doesn’t work, you’ll need to rethink your entire plan.
As mentioned, running new wiring through an older basement can present a series of safety hazards that you might not be able to deal with. As such, once you choose your lighting fixtures and make all the necessary plans, it’s essential that you leave the wiring process to the professionals. This way, you won't need to worry about the various safety hazards or the quality of the work—it'll all be in the hands of a capable professional.
At Bicycle Glass Co., we understand how difficult and confusing it can be to find the right lighting fixtures for specific home projects. This is why, when it comes to basement renovations, we various fixtures in a plethora of sizes to accommodate even the tightest spaces. From our extravagant chandeliers to our hand-blown glass mini pendant lights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and incorporate into their vision so that you can make the most of your renovation experience and get the results you’ve been dreaming of.