Basement lighting


Old 12-05-04, 06:51 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: michigan
Posts: 32
Basement lighting

What's the best type of lightning to install in a basement with a dropped ceiling, the finished area will be about 1500 sq. ft.

I was thinking recessed lighting, but from what I have been reading you should install a can about every 25 sq. ft., that adds up to alot of fixtures.

I was planning on using 2 circuits for the lighting, I could add more if it is neccesary.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 12-05-04, 09:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
"Best" is very subjective. It depends on personal taste and types of activities. Fluorescents give you the highest lumens for the watt. And surface mounted fixtures distribute the light much better than recessed fixtures. Some people criticize recessed fixtures for creating a cave-like feeling. Other people like the light quality of recessed fixtures. Some people are short on available power and need the most efficient lighting. Others don't have such concerns.

There's a reason they make hundreds of different kinds of fixtures.
Old 12-05-04, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Yorba Linda, CA
Posts: 338
If you're going for all-out efficiency, fluorescents are the way to go. I don't prefer them in houses however; too institutional for my taste.

In fact, there seems to be a tendency for people to light basements as though they were office buildings. Unless you envision rows of desks, there are more attractive ways to go about it. Recessed incandescent downlights are popular, useful and attractive, but there needs to be more in a residential interior.

I like to see recessed downlights as "infill" lighting, but not as the only or even the primary light source in a room. Table lamps and torchieres are better in residences, and the light can be distributed according to "task" (reading lights, etc). Nice lamps serve two functions - lighting and sculpture. Wall sconces are epsecially useful in basements - they help to break up what can be a rather dreary space. Some of the new ones are quite artistic at mighty reasonable prices.

If your taste runs to the dramatic, look at some of the floor-mounted cylinders that you put behind the furniture and shine up on the ceiling. Consider using adjustable eyeball downlights to highlight pictures, plants and such. Track lighting can be useful, but make sure that the fixtures don't shine in your eyes when you are sitting on the furniture - nothing will clear a room faster than when your guests feel as though they are being interrogated.

Look at some of the new decorative pendants and low voltage track fixtures they're carrying at home centers. None of them are really bright enough to be the primary source of light, but they are nicely styled these days so you get a bit if light along with your art. The fact you can aim them is a definite plus.

Plan what you intend to do in the space and plan your lighting accordingly. The general rule is that you want the particular task illuminated more brightly than the rest of the room. This means reading lamps for reading, a pool table light for the pool table and dimmers on the overall room lighting for watching TV. Install plenty of plugs so your lighting can change in the future as your room does.

Big fun!

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