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Basements can be transformed into a multitude of different rooms, whether it's a spare bedroom, den, games room or even a home cinema. In fact, with space coming at a premium in many major cities, some people are even moving into basement apartments. Although basements can offer a wealth of benefits there is one significant limitation to utilising below ground spaces and this is lighting. Usually, basements lack natural light and their overreliance on artificial light sources can create a harsh and unwelcoming environment. However, this doesn't have to be the case, there are many ways in which you can improve lighting within these rooms and, therefore, the overall space.
Capitalise on Natural Light
Your first step is to utilise all of the natural light that you can. Some basements have small windows and these can make a huge difference to the overall lighting of the room. Natural light helps to create a welcoming environment with an open and spacious feel. This is particularly important when it comes to smaller spaces. If your basement does not have windows it may be possible to install them if part of the room is above ground, but this is obviously dependent on budget and time constraints. If you do have windows, try to not cover them up with heavy curtains. If you require privacy you could install roller blinds which can be left open during the day.
Choose your Bulbs Wisely
Those who don't have basement windows will have to rely on artificial lighting during both the day and night. It is therefore incredibly important to choose the right types of lights and this includes the type of bulb which you use. Most of us are familiar with incandescent bulbs which give off an inviting bright light but aren't particularly energy efficient. On the opposite end, we have fluorescent bulbs which are energy saving but can emit a harsh, clinical light. Halogen lighting is arguably the best type of lighting aesthetically and falls in between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs in terms of efficiency. However, the problem with halogen lighting is that it's limited to a few specific types of products and horrendous energy usage. Finally, we have LED light bulbs which are the most energy efficient of the four types and have improved dramatically in the last few years. The type of lights that you choose will be dependent on your specific situation. Don't forget, you can utilise a mixture of different lights in order to achieve a look which is better suited to your room.
Mix it up
Many people try to brighten up space by using as many lights as possible, but this can be just as detrimental. Too much light in a single space can be overbearing and create a claustrophobic atmosphere. The way to remedy this is to create different types of lighting at different levels. For example, you could use overhead spotlights or strip lighting as a main light source and then add table and stand up lamps as accent pieces. Strangely, to appreciate lighting we often require shadows and these can be created using smaller lights at wall or floor height. Don't be afraid to mix it up!
Mirrors, Mirrors, Mirrors
Mirrors are perfect for rooms with limited light and/or space. Placing a mirror in an area directly facing a natural light source will help to illuminate your entire room. This is also true of artificial lighting and this technique can be used to disperse light more naturally throughout the space. Mirrors are not the only pieces which can be used to reflect light throughout your basement. Furniture made from shiny materials, such as metals or glass can be utilised in a similar way. You can also choose to install a reflective floor such as polished wood or stone which will help to brighten up the room. There are many techniques available in order to transform your basement into a room that is just as welcoming as any other. Great basement lighting is the perfect place to start.