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One way to deal with illumination in a basement is to use novel mood lights. These give you control over both the amount of light in the space, and the color of the glow that fills the room.

Illumination is one of the most important elements to consider when decorating or designing your basement. Light is often at a premium in this space, where windows may be lacking, or positioned high in the walls, making it difficult for sunlight to angle in. You may also have problems with a lack of electrical outlets, or fixtures.

Basements also often feel very confined and stale. Illumination is a great way to banish these feelings from the space, or at least strategically alter them to create a new ambience.

This is why it is important to consider all of your lighting options, and the various problems your basement can present for each one, when developing a plan for this space. The selection of the correct lighting can completely change the way the room is used, reinvigorating it, and giving it new vitality and function.

Strategic Light and Shadows

If your basement has a rough unfinished interior than you may want to consider using light and shadow to hide the less attractive spots, and focus attention on the areas that you want.

If your walls are a bare concrete, consider focusing your light towards the center of the space. You can then create a nook, far from the walls, by placing couches and chairs in a small circle around the source of light. In this way you will create a smaller virtual room, without walls, and hide the rough interior of the space in shadow.

A pool table with a billiard light looming over it will do essentially the same thing.

If there are features to the space that you don't like, water damaged walls, unfinished support structures etc. you should make certain to face the focus of the space away from them.

If your basement has a focal point such as a TV or a fireplace, be sure to place them opposite of any unattractive features.

The use of spot lights on various works of art, either on the wall or on pedestals and stands, will draw attention towards the pieces and away from everything else. Leaving the rest of the room almost dark, or even lighting walkways with string lights or small button lights, can create a dark and exciting art gallery.

Height Considerations

Aside from the lack of windows, many basements are also lacking in vertical height. This limits the number of fixtures you can select for placement in the ceiling.

Recessed fixtures are very popular in basements because they take up virtually no ceiling space. Track lighting and flush mount fixtures are also often used in this space.

If your basement simply does not have room for a ceiling fixture, or if you don't want to go to the trouble of an electrical installation, you can always use portable lighting solutions.

Table lamps allow you to place a light anywhere in the space. they also allow you to easily move this light anywhere you like, if you decide to change the purpose of the room.

Floor lamps have many of the same advantages as table lamps, except that they are much taller, and tend to illuminate more of the space with an ambient light, rather than directing light onto a small concentrated space.

The drawback to floor lamps is that during a flood they will become an electrical hazard because of the cords on their base. Table lamps, being in a higher position, don't face these problems.

Water and Electricity

Dampness and flooding are always going to be a potential threat to your basement. For this reason it is very important to take as many precautions as you can when lighting this space. If you have wires or chords which may cause a potential problem during a flood, consider getting a flood alert monitor to give you a heads up as soon as the water starts coming in.

Since a fire in the basement can be such a catastrophe for the entire structure of the house, you will probably want to have a trained and licensed professional do any electrical installations that you decide to incorporate into the space.


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