18 Best Basement Lighting Ideas

The basement is one of the darkest places in your home, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. You can transform the underlit space with clever lighting, giving it a brand-new lease on life. Once you’ve illuminated your basement, this home extension can become a regular hang-out spot.

These 18 basement lighting ideas can either fulfill functionality purposes or spruce it up to become an interior design showpiece. Whatever your planned basement usage is, there is a lighting idea to match. Gone are the days of a dingy basement, as the appropriate lighting will bring in a welcoming atmosphere and bespoke charm.

1. Liven Up With Light Layering

Before you install your basement lighting, the best idea is to plan it out strategically. It may seem incredibly tempting to stall one or two lights and be done over with them, but using multiple light sources for light layering is the best way to boost the atmosphere.

multiple light sources in the basement

You can work out the total wattage your basement requires for ample brightness and divide that wattage into different lighting. You can put lights up on your ceiling floors and walls, and by adding multiple sources and fixtures, the layered lighting look will come together and enliven the dark basement into a serene space.

2. Try Track Lighting

Track lights have a modern vibe that’s perfect for styling any basement. What’s more, they deliver a powerful amount of illumination, suitable for the darkest spaces. Track lights are connected on a rail that’s super simple to install, making it a quick lighting solution. You should be all set with two parallel track fixtures.

track lights in cellar room

Another bonus is that most of these lights have movable fixtures, so you can direct light to where it is most needed. If track lights look too stark and boring for your style, you can search a little further for more attractive ones, like a monorail with a delightful curved design.

3. Fix In A Flush Mount

Basement ceilings are notorious for being low-hanging, and dangling a chandelier would be a big no-no; instead, you can find yourself a glamourous flush mount fixture to be the star of the show. If you like the dreaminess of a hanging fixture, a semi-flush mount will hit the spot while keeping the head bumping zone clear.

Flush mounts suit low-ceiling basements because they attach flush with the wall, hence the name. These fixtures usually house multiple bulbs, meaning they effectively pour light into a room. There are endless styles and designs to choose from to give your underground room satisfying light and style.

4. Place Some Pendants

Your basement might be where your bar and gaming room are situated, and fashioning it with ambient light will encourage you through countless good times with your friends and family. Pendant lights fill the role because they’re both decorative and brilliant light sources.

billard table in basement with pendant light

If you have a bar area, installing three stylish pendant lights above it will look stunning. An odd number of pendant lights is always your best option. A single large pendant above a pool table will guide you through some heated games if you have one. Whatever the interior design theme of your basement, there will be a pendant light to complement it.

5. Install Recessed Lights

Recessed lights are a staple lighting source thanks to their concealed appearance, even light distribution abilities, and energy efficiency. Recessed lights are incredible illuminators and will cover every inch of your basement when spaced correctly. These lights are also fantastic to pair with another light source. You’ll never get left in the dark again with these lovely fixtures.

recessed lights on basement ceiling

Installing them might take some work and a professional, but the rewards are worth every penny. A bonus idea is adding dimmers to them so you can set the mood at any time. If your basement has a cement roof, you will only be able to install them if you place a false roof over the ceiling to conceal the fixture housing.

6. Bring On The Fairy Lights

Fairy lights allow the room to feel romantic and peaceful, making your basement the perfect place to hide away from the rest of the world. Fairy lights will never go out of fashion because their twinkly ability is unmatched by any other light. If your basement ceiling has exposed timber, you can easily wrap a few strings around them for an affordable, easy-to-install lighting makeover.

4 rows of fairy lights

These bohemian lights are a fan-favorite, but for those who aren’t all that crazy about them, you can town it down by filling a jar or two with the twinkly goodness and placing them on the coffee table or shelving for a slight glowing touch.

7. Put Up A Neon Sign

The 90s are calling! They want to bring some fun style back to the 21st century, and the best way to honor that is a statement neon sign in your previously dull basement. Neon signs fit the bar area, or if your basement is an extra living room, a neon light would make it the coolest one in your home.

neon sign placed on the wall

Neon lights aren’t primary sources of light, but they bring personality and a relaxed atmosphere. You can get one custom-made with your favorite quote to make the space extra unique and inspiring. Feel free to kit the rest of the basement out with retro decor.

8. Light Up Some LEDs

LED strips are the most versatile idea out there, and it’s affordable! You can light up one wall or all of them for a halo effect. There are countless ways to place them, but the main one is to outline the corners of your walls and add some along the base of the wall and cornices.

LED lights effects in the basement

Other options include the ceiling, behind your bar, beneath a couch, along shelves and cabinets, and around mirrors. Neon lights give you all the control of setting the mood from relaxed blues to party-time pink.

9. Light Wash The Wall

If you have a wall with brick texture, cute wallpaper, or fascinating art, you can make your basement wall a statement piece by shining a few lights onto it as galleries do. The light that reflects off the wall makes the space feel larger and brings in necessary brightness. You can wall-wash using angled recessed lights or track lights.

ceiling spots for wall wash light effect

You’ll want to space each light evenly parallel to the wall at 1.5 or 2 feet. Once you’ve washed your wall in light, you can add a few other lights on the roof to even out the lighting scheme to lighten the rest of the floor space.

10. Add Wall Sconces

Another element you can add to your layered lighting scheme is the humble wall sconce. The best idea is to have two or three on one wall or two on each opposite wall. You can go crazy with the design by finding artsy wall sconces or bring in a touch of vintage – they have a long history in interior lighting and still prevail as an attractive modern-day lighting option.

sconce lights on wall next to stairway

You can also decide on which direction the wall scone directs light, including upwards, downwards, or both. These lights aren’t good enough to illuminate the entire basement, but they add a layer that ensures all parts of the space get evenly lit.

11. Function With Fluorescent Luminaires

If your basement lighting project is for more practical reasons than design, you’ll benefit from fluorescent luminaires’ brightness and energy efficiency. This light is key for basements that function as a place for storage, gym, or workspace, but it also suits an industrial style. Due to their effectiveness, you’ll notice that schools, warehouses, and offices use fluorescent luminaires.

luminaire with fluorescent tube lights

Fluorescent luminaires are the brightest lights on this list, and by placing one or more, depending on your basement size, the illumination level is crisp and even. They aren’t the cheapest lights to install, but the energy efficiency and low maintenance make up for that shortfall.

12. Find A Floor Lamp

A floor lamp will be your saving grace if you want to light up those hard-to-reach spots. You can place a floor lamp on opposite corners of the room for a balanced look and successful illumination. The lights come in various sizes and styles, and you’re bound to find the perfect one for a trendy basement.

TV room in the cellar with floor lamp next to sofa seats

A special mention goes to swing arm floor lamps for their adjustable versatility and arc floor lamps because they are incredibly fashionable and add drama to the space. Other options include tree, tripod, down bridge, club, and torchiere styles that all look fabulous.

13. Mirror Your Lighting

Since basements can feel a little cramped up, this marvelous idea will give the illusion of more space. To get this lighting idea right, you should hang a large mirror on the wall and place a light source nearby, at least a foot away. The mirror will reflect light throughout the basement and simultaneously give the room a new dimension.

mirror with four spotlights

You can also use two or three medium-sized mirrors to achieve the same result. With this idea, there will be no feelings of claustrophobia and a design element that brings the ultimate design elegance.

14. Illuminate Artwork

Your artwork can become more than just a picture on the wall. This idea is an alternative to wall washing and entails using picture lights. Whether you have one large masterpiece or a few small ones, this light will liven them up and show every fine detail.

artwork on the wall with picture light

Your picture lights should get placed above the art piece and angled towards it. Artworks placed in landscape position require light of at least a third of its width, and a portrait placement needs half its width. Your lights should have an 80CRI rating to ensure that the artwork’s color reflects light correctly.

15. Industrialize With Lights

Thanks to the typically exposed brick walls, one design theme that will flourish in the basement is industrial design. This style originated when people rented industrial buildings as their homes. Industrial style is a classic look, and thanks to the rawness of the basement, it’s easy to get right and turn it into a chic lounging area.

Feel free to take the design opportunity and light the space with industrial lights, which include fixtures made of robust materials with Edison bulbs. You can find lights that look like exposed pipes and have fixtures with visible cabling, tripod stands, concrete shades, and ornate geometric metal exposing bulbs.

16. Uplight The Basement

Stone and brick walls, like those in your basement, are the ideal candidates for the uniqueness of uplighting. Uplighting entails fixtures spaced evenly along the bottom of the wall that face light upwards. These lights bring out the texture of the walls and create a subtle nightlife atmosphere, which is simply gorgeous.

The light also bounces off the wall and reflects it to the rest of the room. Uplights also make the wall a feature, as in the wall-washing idea, but rest assured, this stunning lighting scheme is rare and will bring a next-level wow factor.

17. Mount Some Chinese Round Paper Lanterns

If you’re ready for a fantastic basement, this is your idea. Chinese paper lanterns are a novelty lighting idea that creates a soft, welcoming ambiance. They’re also inexpensive and simple to hang up. The Chinese culture believes that lanterns carry troubles away, and who wouldn’t want a trouble-free basement escape?

colorful paper lanterns

You can string the beautiful lights along your ceiling or space a few nails evenly across the top side of your walls and string them in. You can play around with color ones to match your design or keep it simple with white.

18. Pick The Perfect Bulb

The light bulbs you choose have a major impact on your lighting ideas. Some bulbs are old incandescent bulbs that use a lot of energy or LED bulbs that are more efficient. Another contender is CFL bulbs. The best choice is with LED bulbs, as they’re low maintenance have minimal energy consumption, and cost you less in the long run.

different light bulbs for basement lighting

If you don’t want the stark whiteness many LEDs produce, you can opt for ones with a warm light rating. When choosing your light bulbs, it would help to consider how much light wattage your basement needs.