Advice for artificial light only areas
Designing a basement room that has no natural light can be challenging, but you can create an inviting space.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Townsend
By Sherry Holetzky
Don’t let that extra space in your basement go unused simply because there is no natural light source. Artificial lighting combined with a few tips and tricks to brighten up the space, can transform that “cave” into a comfortable, welcoming room.
Add Extra Lighting Elements
The obvious solution for brightening dark areas is to add more artificial lighting. However, throwing in an extra lamp or two will probably not do enough to resolve the lack of natural light. Aside from central light fixtures, add several other elements. There are many styles and price ranges from which to choose.
Don’t be afraid of overdoing it. You really cannot have too much light in this kind of space. Try using “can” lights in dark corners, a pendant light for a reading area, lamps on end tables for a conversation area, and task lighting for workstations or desks. Track lighting or pot lights throughout the room can help cast light into every nook, drastically changing the look and feel of the space.
Use of Color
Avoid using dark colors, since they will make the space feel small and closed in. Dark colors will also give the room a “heavy” feeling and they soak up light.
Use bright colors to reflect light, which will help increase the effectiveness of artificial lighting. Depending on just how dark the space is, use semi gloss or even high gloss paint for even more reflection.
Paint the ceiling in the same bright color or in a coordinating shade. Add a nice bright color to the floor as well, with paint, an area rug, or tile.
Add Lighted Architectural Features
A lighted picture frame designed to look like a window will create the illusion of daylight streaming in through a window. There are several varieties including some with little window boxes attached, which you can fill with greenery or silk plants to add some life to the space. Alternatively, hang an old window frame on the wall for added architectural detail, and illuminate it with a small lighting kit to add more light.
Mirrors also make great mock windows. Choose mirrors that are framed, and that are close to the size and shape of other windows in your home. Hang them at the appropriate height. Make sure the mirror is placed in an area where it will reflect one of your lighting sources.
Interior lit shadow boxes can also mimic a window and add more light, and they are a great place to display collectibles.
Cheap, Simple Ways to Increase Light
If your dark space opens up into a space that has more light, leave the door open when you are going to spend time in the darker room. You can also add some candles to the space, and light them when using the room.
Another trick is to plug in night-lights behind plants or small pieces of furniture. This is a very inexpensive option for adding more light, and night-lights do not require a lot of energy.
Even if you are unable to take advantage of natural light, make artificial light work for you, so that you can enjoy every space in your home.
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