Basement Lighting

Basement Lighting Design

With the price of prime property sky rocketing its no wonder that savey property owners are choosing to extend down to increase their property size rather than moving.

Here we describe some of the key things to think about when considering the lighting design for your basement.

Basement Lighting Design – Natural light.

Basement Lighting Daylight Image

Basement Lighting Daylight


It is very important that as much natural light as possible is incorporated in to the scheme, our previous blog gives some good ideas;, whether it be through sun pipes, walk on roof lights, light wells or skylights the importance of natural light cannot be over emphasized. Otherwise the contrast of light between the rest of the house will be far too great (unless of course you are planning on building a dungeon..!)

Basement Lighting Daylight Table

With computer models we can quickly simulate day lighting which would enable the visualization and placement of skylights and windows . The images above show the use of sky lights and an exterior glazed door. The coloured image shows the luminance achieved from the day light. Other calculated results such as the daylight factor and illuminance values can be calculated.

It is possible to create “fake” skylight out of artificial light which mimic the colour K of the natural light outside – these are good for when there is no way of getting natural light in.

As well as natural light the colour of the room also have an important impact on the way light interacts with the space with lighter colours reflecting light further. So it is worth considering the colour as well as the light from the outset.

Form follows function.

Basements are often multi use spaces being used for entertaining, training, gym session, swimming pools, watching movies, housing art collections, gaming or a combination of all of these things. So the lighting needs to be flexible to accommodate the changing needs of the space.

If lighting is for entertaining then it is going to be important that the lighting can be dimmed and that key features such as a piece of art work or pieces of sculpture can be highlighted and controlled. Coloured light can be a fun way of emphasizing the space as an entertainment area – but should be used in moderation and with the correct control systems installed. Luminar do a very funky dmx lighting iphone ap, perfect for these type of spaces.

DMX Lighting Ap

DMX Lighting Ap

DMX Lighting control from

Ceiling Height

Basements often have limited ceiling heights so to avoid that cavernous feeling you can sometimes get ways of lighting on to the ceiling should be explored. A good way of doing this is with coffer detail around the edge of the room as it means that the light can be hidden in the sides allowing greater ceiling height to the centre of the room. Linear LED is a good way of doing this. Care needs to be taken that any LED is dimmable, doesn’t cause heavy shadows and is angled to ensure maximum projection on to the ceiling.

Basement Lighting

Lighting the surfaces such as walls and ceiling can really help lift the space.

Other top tips for basement lighting design

Have you optimized all the natural lighting opportunities?
Has the function of the room been fully considered – what are you going to use it for?
Can the ceiling be lit either with wall lights or with a hidden cove detail?
Have controls been fully considered – how are the lights going to be dimmed and switched?

We have a lot of experience of lighting for basements so please get in touch if you want some ideas and inspiration for your project.