Finished basements make a great additional space for family rooms, man caves, or entertainment hubs. With so much activity in the space, lighting choices are important. Fluorescent lighting is the most common existing basement lighting, but most people feel it is unpleasant and uninviting. There are many better options on the market now. When planning your basement lighting, there are many things to consider including the current wiring, code, type of activities you will use the space for, and architecture. Here are some tips for planning a successful basement lighting project.
1. Consider Accent Lights
Accent lights create soft shadows in the areas where they are placed. This type of basement lighting is popular because it affords you the ability to light specific areas of the basement. It essentially creates mood lighting, which draws immediate attention. It makes the space more attractive, especially when you include dimmers to control the lighting.
Although accent lighting is great over the bar, near the gaming center, or at the craft table, it is only meant to accent specific areas or artwork on the wall. Design all accent lighting in conjunction with your primary lighting source.
2. Use Beams to Your Advantage
Most basements have support beams that run the length of the basement. The basement beams can also effectively be used to run your basement lighting. You can weld or otherwise mount light fixtures to the beams or you can use your beam as a foundation for a drop ceiling to create a different feel in the space. Take advantage of this built-in feature in your design.
3. Use Hanging or Recessed Lighting
Effective lighting makes all the difference in a basement, which typically has little or no natural light. Lamps are one option, but most people prefer a central lighting option. The most common lighting solutions are recessed lights and hanging lights.
Recessed lighting is set into the ceiling and effectively hides the bulb while eliminating the need for fixtures. Hanging lights hang down from the ceiling and allow you to choose your style of fixture. A combination of the two options keeps the room from looking too cluttered.
Regardless of which you choose, you will need to figure out how to hide wires. This can be done with a drop ceiling or by feeding wires through beams and walls. Also be sure to check building codes in your area and acquire any permits that are required.
4. Design Staggered Lighting
Instead of putting the lights in a straight line across several beams, stagger them. To create staggered lighting, use the beams as a guide for the lights. Use light bulbs that are brighter than normal and place recessed lighting along the length of a beam using several beams. You can also add strips of lights, mounted to the beam. The lights will work together to illuminate the area. If you are feeling particularly handy, you can link each row of lights to its own dimmer switch.
Taking the time to plan the lighting for your basement will allow you to effectively light up the space and also create the look and feel you want for your finished basement.
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