"It's so bright and beautiful down here, I forgot I was in the basement!"
That's probably the ultimate compliment for anyone who has completed a basement makeover. And a major part of that good impression has to do with an effective lighting scheme.
Good lighting is critical in any finished basement, because there's very little natural light available.
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These 4 rules will help you get the light just right in your new basement space.
Choose energy-efficient lights.If you're interested in saving energy and money, avoid incandescent lights. Instead, use fluorescent lights or LED (light-emitting diode) lights. Fluorescent lights can be included as part of a dropped ceiling. It's also possible to use Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) in place of screw-type incandescent lightbulbs. Fluorescent lights are 75% more efficient than incandescent lights —an 18watt fluorescent lightbulb provides the same level of illumination as a 75watt incandescent lightbulb.
LED lights aren't yet as commonly available as CFLs, but they're becoming more and more popular because of their energy efficiency and longevity. LED lights use even less electricity than fluorescent lights, and will last longer too. An LED doesn't require a filament like incandescents and fluorescents, so it can be tiny in size. That's why an LED light can be ideal as an accent light.
Use separate switches to control light levels. Controlling light levels enables you to manipulate the mood of a room, matching the light to the activity. At the very least, general, accent and task lights should be controlled by separate switches. Figure out where you want these switches to be located. For example, it might make sense to turn on general lighting at the top of the basement stairway. Once you're down in the basement, two switches in a single electrical box can give you control of accent and task lights.
There are simple ways to refine this basic plan. You can put general lights on a dimmer switch, but make sure your fluorescent lights can be dimmed before making this decision (some can, while others can't). If a dimmer switch won't work, consider dividing general lights in half, so that it's possible to turn on half or full light levels. Another variation would be to eliminate a wall-mounted switch for task lights, and simply let these lights be turned on and off at the fixture.
No matter what you use to light your basement, there's no substitute for natural sunlight to keep the area beautiful. Making the most of your basement windows and window wells is the perfect way to bring as much daylight into the area as possible. And upgrading the basement windows and window wells will also do wonders to keep the basement energy-efficient!
No matter what you opt for when designing your remodeled basement, Total Basement Finishing would like to help. Our experienced and certified basement finishing contractors and specialists are available to provide you with a free basement finishing estimate and consultation that will help get you on your way to a beautiful finished basement. In just a couple weeks, we can transform your dark, dreary basement into a beautiful and attractive new living space. Call or contact us today!
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