The biggest complaint about basements is how dark they can be. Stuck underground with little to no natural light, basements need all the help they can get when it comes to light. Luckily brightening up your basement is a lot easier than you might think it is. By using the right lighting, flooring, storage, colour palette and egress windows, you can make your basement appear significantly brighter. Follow these four tips for a brighter basement in no time.
1. Strategic Lighting
Low ceilings and a lack of natural light can make basements feel dark and dreary. This is why the right lighting is essential for brightening up any basement. Your best option is to start by having pot lights installed. Unlike track lighting, pot lights do not take up valuable headspace, making them the superior choice for basements. Add them throughout the entire space to create your base lighting. Consider adding dimmers to your pot lights for a home-theatre effect.
Once you have your base lighting done, you can build upon it. Add floor and table lamps for ambiance. A sconce in the right place can be a beautiful addition. If you have the space for it, try adding statement lighting. Adding visually interesting lighting will draw the eye up, making your space look bigger and brighter.
2. Shiny Floors
Many homeowners do not realize that their flooring choice can greatly impact the overall brightness of their basement. When choosing the right floors for your home, opt for something that is shiny and reflective. Shiny floors will act as a mirror and bounce light off your ceiling pot lights, making the space appear brighter. Some great basement flooring options include polished concrete, tile, or laminate. If you’re concerned about cold floors, you can either install radiant heat underneath or add an area rug.
When it comes to flooring materials to avoid, stay away from hardwood and wall-to-wall carpet at all costs. While you may love the look of hardwood, it is expensive and will not handle water damage well should your basement ever flood. Similarly, wall-to-wall carpeting is a mold and mildew nightmare waiting to happen. Consider how damp and prone to flooding your basement is before choosing your final basement flooring.
3. Colour Choices
When it comes to paint colour choices, your best option is to keep things light and neutral. Once you decide on a colour for the walls, consider carrying that colour throughout the space. Paint any odd angles or bulkheads in the same colour so that everything blends together. If an all-neutral colour palette isn’t for you, liven things up with pops of bright colours. You can add these in through your choice of art and furniture.
One thing you want to avoid is a stark contrast between the floor, ceiling and walls. If you decide on a cream colour for the walls, do not go with dark floors and never paint your ceiling a dark colour in a basement. Contrasting colours will make the walls appear shorter and closed in by the ceiling and flooring. Stick to a similar colour palette throughout your basement to help create the illusion of a brighter space.
4. Clear the Clutter
No matter what you’re planning on using your basement for, it’s inevitable that it will be used for some type of storage. Disorganized clutter will instantly make any room look smaller and feel crowded. To avoid this, take some time to plan out your storage needs. Do you only need a few containers or an entire storage system? An organization specialist can help you figure this out and come up with a solution perfect for your basement.
Whatever storage method you decide to go with, try to keep it sleek and clean. Not only will this help hide the mess, but it will also make your space seem bigger and brighter. Consider adding built-ins, closets and bookshelves to help keep clutter organized. You can also take advantage of unconventional spaces like under the stairs to help keep clutter out of your main sight-lines.
While you may not be able to add more natural light into your basement, these tips are the next best thing. By incorporating strategic lighting, reflective floors, light colours and smart storage, your basement is sure to look brighter in no time.
Cover image courtesy of Interiors Impact.
Article Updated June 2022.