Planning Lighting for a Finished Basement
Planning your basement lighting is essential in order to maximize the usefulness of the basement so that it can be an extra living and entertaining area. Here are some tips and points to consider when planning your basement lighting.
Determine How You'll Be Using the Space
Decide how you'll be using each area of the basement. Office space will require a different type of lighting than a media room, and a media room will need a different type of lighting than a game room or a playroom. Basement bedrooms also have unique lighting needs.
The best way to plan basement lighting is to draw a rough floor layout of the basement. Label each section for how it will be used. On a separate piece of paper, list the lighting needs of each room.
For example, in a media room, you may want soft glow lighting that can be dimmed as needed. A bedroom will need several lighting options from soft glow lighting to create a soothing atmosphere to brighter lighting for bedtime reading.
Recessed lighting, also often referred to as pot lights, is an ideal way to light the entire basement. Recessed lights go right into the ceiling. There are no fixtures hanging, which allows you to maximize basement space.
Recessed lighting is versatile. It can be used for all types of basement lighting needs because of the variety of bulbs available. Colored bulbs can be used in the bathroom. Soft glow bulbs can be used in the bedroom.
The Workshop and Laundry Room
These two areas have unique lighting needs. It is important to keep them in mind when planning basement lighting. In the past, industrial fluorescent lights were automatically put in basement workshops and laundry rooms. They are still an option, especially in a workshop.
Modern laundry rooms typically have more of an atmosphere than the ones in the past. The jarring brightness of a fluorescent light is not the best option. Recessed lighting provides plenty of light in a basement laundry room without giving an office feel. Task lighting can be placed over the utility sink or the folding counter.
Don't forget the closets when planning basement lighting. Basements typically don't have the same amount of natural light as other areas of the house; therefore, the closets will likely be darker those on upper floors.
Ensure that the wiring allows for more than a standard bulb and a string. If you're working with a developed basement and there's no option to rewire, include lights in the closet. Then purchase a standard battery-operated touch light that can be installed inside the wall of the closet. All you'll need to do is press the light when you open the closet door so that you can see what's inside.
When planning basement lighting, make sure there are sufficient outlets to install decorative lighting for bedrooms and media rooms. Decorative lighting can include lava lamps and any other lamp that may not give off a lot of light, but that will dramatically add to the basement's decor.