Figuring out what to do with an unfinished basement can be a tricky situation. You may not need what you put in there to be very nice looking, but you want it to be as functional as possible in the space. The best example of this is probably lighting. Regardless of what you're using this space for, you want to be able to see what you're doing down there. We have looked into the best lighting options for unfinished basements, so you can easily pick the best option for you!
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
When choosing lighting for an unfinished basement you want to put functionality upfront. Some lights don't do well in that environment. It's important to consider how much lighting you need and the condition of your basement. Here are some of the best lights for the job.
- Flush mount lighting
- Track lighting
- Round LED lights
- String lights
- LED light bar
Unlike picking lighting for the other rooms in your house or a finished basement, you probably don't care what they look like in this situation. However, just because a basement is unfinished doesn't mean it can't be spruced up and given some charm. Luckily you can have great functionality and a bit of style to have the best of both worlds. Before you pick the option that sounds best, you might want some more information. Make sure to keep reading down below to learn more about each option in depth!
- Best Lighting Options For An Unfinished Basement
- Other Unfinished Basement Lighting Thoughts
- Finishing Up
Best Lighting Options For An Unfinished Basement
Unfinished basements are more different from the rest of the rooms in your house than you might think. Not only do they have a different purpose, but they're also usually underground. These things mean that you can't use the same considerations you would when lighting the rest of your home. Before you pick a lighting option, you have to think about a few things.
Considerations Before Choosing A Type Of Lighting
The main things to think about are the basement's environment, the state of the room, and the space available. Basements are generally cold and moist. For this reason alone, you should not use any fluorescent lighting options. Utility lights with fluorescent bulbs may seem like a handy first choice, but they don't work well in cold and moist environments. These lights can quickly malfunction.
Next, think about how much natural lighting and space you have. It's important to remember that unfinished basement walls won't reflect light like painted walls. So you may need more lighting than in a typical room. The last thing to consider is how low to the ground the ceiling is. Basements usually have a lower ceiling, so any lights that hang may want to be avoided. If you want a hanging light, just put it somewhere that you don't need to be.
1. Flush Mount Lighting
One of the best ways to combine function and style is to pick a flush mount light. They are simple to install and can sit flush against the basement's ceiling, so they are entirely out of the way. Depending on how big your basement is, you might want to get a few of these lights.
You might also have trouble finding a good place to put them on your basement's ceiling, depending on how much flat space is available. However, since there is a huge variety of styles and sizes available for this type of light, you can probably make them work.
2. Track Lighting
Track lighting is arguably the best option for unfinished basements. This is because of a combination of three things. They're easy to install, and since they generally come in a line, they can fit well in between rafters and ceiling joists. Also, since there are several lights on one track, you may easily get away with only installing one. Whereas with the other options, you might need several to light your entire basement.
3. Round LED Lights
Round LED lights are also a convenient option for unfinished basements. They are similar to flush mount lighting, except they are usually smaller, flatter against the ceiling, and can be found easily in battery-powered varieties, making them the easiest to install by putting a battery in and sticking them anywhere.
Since they're smaller and generally lower-powered, you might need quite a few more of them. They also don't look as pleasing as the other options.
4. String Lights
An unexpected choice is to use string lights. While these are normally used in an outdoor setting, they work well in unfinished basements. Since they're designed for the outdoors, they stand up well to the harshest basements environments, the best out of all the options. It's also likely that you can buy one string to run across your basement to get the job done. They just have to be plugged in. Their industrial style also looks great in unfinished basements.
5. LED Light Bar
LED light bars may be one of the least attractive options, but they work well in unfinished basements. They look and perform similarly to standard utility lights. If you don't care about style and want well-functioning lights, this option may be the best for you. They are fairly large, but you might still want two or three of them to fill out the entire room, depending on your basement.
Other Unfinished Basement Lighting Thoughts
Before you make the final decision on which lighting option is best for you, there might be a few more things to think about. You also want to make sure that you get the most out of whichever option you choose.
How Do You Light An Unfinished Basement?
There are quite a few options to light your unfinished basement. Aside from the ceiling light choices above, you can find some ways to light your basements that don't involve installing a fixture. Floor lamps and regular lamps are one way to go about it. They might be a little cruder than the other options, but they'll do the job.
Another common way to light an unfinished basement is to use a single exposed light bulb. If you go this route, just use a soft white bulb to minimize the harshness of the light as much as possible.
How Can I Maximize My Basement Light?
It's understandable to want to get the most out of what you have and completely illuminate your unfinished basement. A great way to make sure you're maximizing your basement light is to pick the best light for your basement. This is another reason why track lights are so popular in these basements. They do a great job of spreading out the light from one fixture. You can also get several of the same lights to get the job done.
How Can I Make My Basement Brighter?
The obvious answer to this question is to add more lights. However, this approach can quickly clutter your basement with light fixtures and possibly look clumsy. Aside from just adding more lights, there are some other ways to think about this problem.
Using the room itself is a great way to make it brighter down there. Simply adding some paint can make a huge difference. For most unfinished basements, you can paint the ceiling and even the brick. As long as you get the right type of paint and choose a lighter color, it will help reflect the light and spread it out. If it has a cement floor, you can even paint that a lighter color to help brighten your basement!
When it comes to choosing a lighting option for your unfinished basement, functionality is front and center. However, that doesn't mean you can't find an option that looks good too. Before you choose, a light think about the unique properties of unfinished basements. You want to pick the option that suits not only your needs but the needs of your basement. Once you choose a lighting option, you can finally use this space to its fullest potential!
Make sure you click on the links below for some more basement project inspiration!