Lighting plays a major role in a finished basement, helping to create an open, comfortable atmosphere. Finish your Virginia basement the right way by carefully considering the lighting design and placement. Make sure to go over the electrical design as well, ensuring you have adequate outlets for floor lamps and entertainment systems. Talk about these tips and concerns with your basement contractor and make the most of this valuable space.
Harness Natural Light
Basement windows are often small, and most homes have a minimal number of windows in that area. But that doesn’t mean that natural light will not play a major role in your below-grade space. Maximize the impact of what you have with colors, window treatments and décor strategically chosen and installed.
Light paint and wallpaper colors help to reflect and expand sunlight (as well as artificial light). Choose bright neutrals for the walls and ceilings. When including a contrasting accent color, be sure to limit any dark areas so that the area is not overwhelmed in shadow.
Leave basement windows uncovered or opt for frosted glass to add privacy without blocking the natural light. Sheers work well when you need a window treatment, as do other thin and translucent materials. Avoid heavy drapes and light-blocking shades.
Mount mirrors in strategic locations to double up your natural light, directing sunlight throughout the room. And try to avoid placing furniture too near a window, potentially blocking the light.
Overhead Lighting for Optimum Coverage
Overhead lighting in the basement needs to unobtrusive, while providing good coverage throughout the room. Some basement living spaces can function with floor lamps and other portable lighting systems, but most family basements need to be well lit for optimum enjoyment.
Consider pot lighting for the main area. These fixtures are recessed into the ceiling to maximize head room and hide any unsightly wires and switches. One pot light covers a wide range, and most designs call for a set of lights. If you are considering using fluorescent light fixtures in your Virginia basement, be sure to invest in quality brands with an attractive shape and mounting.
Think about the areas in your home that require task lighting, such as desks, computer areas and craft stations. Then consider the timing and frequency of activity in those areas. Do you need specific task lighting, or can you get away with a dedicated lamp?
When you need a well lit area any time of the day or night, consider under-cabinet fixtures or three-way lamps to make the space practical.
Energy Efficiency and Safety
Use energy efficient CFL bulbs in your basement to keep costs and environmental impact low. Also consider installing timers and encouraging your family members to turn lights off when leaving the room. This can be especially expensive in the basement, as lights may be left on for a long time with no one to notice.
Put in night lights to brighten dark corners, and always install three-way switches near the stairway to provide safe passage up or down.
Finish your Virginia basement in a bright and comfortable way with well designed lighting. Take advantage of natural light and choose overhead and task lighting with your lifestyle and hobbies in mind. Good lighting makes this space more enjoyable and fun for the whole family.