Basement Lighting Ideas

Lighting up your basement isn’t as simple as screwing in lightbulbs. Even if you have some bright ideas,  basement lighting isn’t a simple feat. Basements usually don’t have an abundance of natural light even if they are a walk-out or have windows. To get the best lighting for basements, it takes a fair bit of planning. It’s fair to say that no one wants a poorly lit basement that makes it difficult to manoeuvre around, this is why planning out your lighting treatment is important. First, you will have to decide if you are simply adding in light or doing a full remodel. After deciding that, you can start imagining lighting ideas for your basement and drawing up your lighting plan. 

Lighting plans are essential when it comes to adding or redoing the lighting in your basement. Lighting plans help you conceptualise the space you want and set the overall tone while also simultaneously helping you plan/address all the lights you’ll need.

Whether you are doing a full remodel or simply adding a little oomph to your basement. Planning out your basement lighting can help you lighten up your mood and your basement.

Lighting Plan

Lighting Plan

Now, as previously stated, having a lighting plan is one of the best ways to help you determine what types of lighting you need to help create the environment you desire. 

Think of a lighting plan like a recipe, it gives you an overview of everything you may want or need and then helps you create the room you want. A good lighting plan will consider all aspects including things like functionality, lighting outlets, overall ambiance, decorative touches, and of course, budget. Like any good recipe, your lighting plan helps you create the most accurate budget and is essential for effective planning. 

immovable furniture

When building your lighting plan, it’s important to make sure you are working with the most accurate floor plan of your basement. This means measuring and plotting all corners, outlets and any furniture you may have. 

It’s also recommended to note the following when making your lighting plan: 

  • Items such as immovable furniture. Make sure you put down any immovable objects such as fireplaces, windows, etc. 
  • Draw in any furniture that you have in your basement. It’s best to mimic the furniture as closely as possible to help give your lighting plan an accurate feel of available space. 
  • Mark out any functions in your lighting plan. Activities such as TVs, reading, eating, exercising, etc. This will help you visual the direction of people and identify where the placement of light fixtures should be. 

To recap, some of the advantages of a light plan include: 

  • Overview of lighting layouts and outlets
  • Functionality
  • Consideration of lighting effects and controls
  • Decorative touches of lighting fixtures
  • Budget development
Open Space Basement Renovation by Harmony Basement Oakville

Lighting Types

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to lighting a room or doing your basement lighting is that there isn’t a significant difference between the different types of lighting. Too many individuals believe that any basement ceiling lights can meet all their lighting needs. There are different kinds of light that work in different types of basements better. For instance a light for drop ceiling basements would be different than LED basement ceiling lights for a walk-out basement.There are 3 types of lighting with each type of lighting providing a particular function and purpose. 

The three types of light are:

  1. Ambient lighting 
  2. Task Lighting
  3. Accent lighting

Lighting experts strongly recommend layering lighting within a room to achieve your desired effect. By layering your lighting, you’re able to highlight certain features of the room, set the mood or ambiance and fulfil all your needs.

Basement Renovation Project by Harmony Basements Stouffville

Ambient Lighting

 The first type of lighting is the most common, which is ambient lighting or general lighting. This kind of lighting provides the overall illumination for a room and creates the base light level throughout a space. Ambient lighting is independent of any other kind of lighting. The purpose of ambient lighting is to create an overview of the room since ambient light bounces off the walls to illuminate as much space as possible.

Custom Basement Renovation Project Oakville

Task Lighting

Task lighting does as it’s name implies, it’s lighting for a particular task or function. This kind of lighting is in a specific and particular area of a room. Usually task light provides light for small focal points. In your basement, task lighting can be used over a bar, in a reading corner, over a gaming table or under cabinet lighting. 

house accent lighting

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting draws your eye or attention to a particular object. Its whole purpose is to highlight a certain feature of the room, whether that be an architectural feature, artwork, sculptures or other statement pieces. Accent lighting also gives off the impression of a larger room. Generally, accent lighting requires installation in order to provide focal point lighting. 

Modern Basement Remodeling Project Burlington

Ambient Lighting Options

When it comes to ambient lighting choices for your basement, there are some considerations that you need to think about. Depending on whether you are remodeling or adding lighting in will dictate which options you implement. 

Some common ambient lighting options include: 

  • Recessed lighting 
  • Track lighting
  • Chandeliers or pendant lights
  • Ceiling or Wall-mounted fixtures

Recessed Lighting 

Recessed lighting is a favorite among lighting designers and is preferred if you have a finished or suspended ceiling. This kind of lighting is installed above the ceiling (meaning they would have to cut a hole in the ceiling) and has an opening or fixture that is flush with the ceiling. Recessed light provides down lighting that is bright and has minimal shadows and glare. 

It is also worth noting that if you are not remodeling your basement it will be more expensive and more difficult to put in recessed lighting.   If you have a drop ceiling or open rafters, putting in recessed lighting will be easier. 

Track Lighting 

Track lighting is usually mounted or suspended from the ceiling, this kind of lighting contains several heads that can be positioned anywhere along its’ linear track. The heads on track lighting can be repositioned so they direct lighting in any way you please. Track lighting is a great alternative to recessed lighting since it can be easily added to a junction box (also known as an electrical box) or you can run a cord across the ceiling which can easily be concealed with wire molding or paint.

Track lighting is ideal for low-ceiling basements or even basements with exposed ceilings. This lighting is easy to install in any kind of room which makes it one of the best lighting ideas for basements. 

Ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures

Ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures are mounted directly onto the ceiling or wall. Usually, you can choose the style of shade which can range from basic to stylish depending on your preference. Ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures are one of the most traditional and common fixtures that provide ambient light.

This kind of lighting is good in a variety of basements including finished basements and walk-out basements.

Pendant light or Chandeliers

Pendant lighting or chandeliers can add lighting over a specific area but are also a great way to add ambient light with a flair of design.  Pendant lights can also add some sculptural pizzaz to the space and are available in various styles, colors, and shapes. Both chandeliers and pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling and direct the light upwards to provide ambient lighting. If you want to maximize the brightness of pendant or chandelier light for your basement lighting, choose clear or glass shades that won’t shadow the bulb.

Like recess lighting, pendant and chandeliers would require cutting into the drywall if you are retrofitting them into a finished ceiling. 

Task Lighting Options

When it comes to task lighting, as mentioned before, layering light can help you create a beautiful and inviting space. When it comes to task lighting its purpose is centered around illuminating tasks such as reading, computer work, or any other task-related work. Usually, these tasks would require a brighter light in a smaller focal point of the room. For a more pleasant feel and illumination, it is best to avoid harsh lights or lights that would cast irritating shadows. It is also recommended by lighting experts to have a single switch for focal lighting that is separate from the overall lighting switch. 

Some examples of task lighting options include: 

  • Table and Desk Lamps 
  • Under Cabinet Lighting 
  • Pendant Lighting

Table and Desk Lamps 

Table and desk lamps come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and designs. Lamps are extremely versatile and can provide portable light in a room, they most often direct light downward. If you are concerned about the number of outlets you have and do not want to go through the costly installation of additional outlets, you can always look for lighting with built-in outlets or take advantage of cord concealers. 

Table and desk lamps come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and designs. Lamps are extremely versatile and can provide portable light in a room, they most often direct light downward. If you are concerned about the number of outlets you have and do not want to go through the costly installation of additional outlets, you can always look for lighting with built-in outlets or take advantage of cord concealers. 

Under Cabinet Lighting 

Under-cabinet lighting can be mounted under a variety of surfaces, so don’t think that it is only confined to your cabinetry. If you have a basement bar or kitchenette, under cabinet lighting can help highlight prep areas or glossy countertops. Another benefit of under cabinet lighting is that they can be easily plugged into existing outlets or can be battery powered as well.  They also can come in linear or puck-shaped fixtures. 

Pendant Lighting 

Like previously mentioned, pendant lights can be used for both ambient and task lighting. Since pendant lights are suspended from the ceiling, they direct their light downwards and will require cutting into the drywall if you have a finished ceiling. Pendant lights in a basement can be used above gaming tables, bars and look wonderful in high ceiling basements as well.

Pendant lighting is a great option for high ceiling basements and basements that are being remodeled or renovated since they require some installation into the ceiling.

Basement Living Room Modern Design - Basement Remodeling Brampton

Accent Lighting Options

Accent lighting is used to focus or highlight a specific point of interest in a room or to create a specific effect. More often than not, accent lighting can be used to show off an architectural feature, plants, a sculpture or a collection of objects. 

Some examples of Accenting Lighting include: 

  • Rope or Runway Lights
  • Wall Sconces (Both corded and mounted) 
  • Track lighting

If you are looking for low ceiling basement ideas, exposed basement ceiling ideas or unfinished basement lighting ideas, both corded and wall mounted sconces are ideal choices!

Accenting Lighting types

Rope or Runway Lights 

If you wanted to highlight some decorative touches like a toe-kick under the bar, parts of your stairway or even to help create ambiance in a home theatre.  LED tape or rope lighting is not only a great way to add a stylish flair but is also budget friendly.  If you have a low-ceiling basement, rope lights and string lights work wonderfully in providing light without the hassle of installation. 

Rope lights, string lights and runway lights are an ideal lighting solution for low-ceiling basements, unfinished basements and exposed-beam basements as well. Since rope and runway lights don’t require any installation other than hanging they are a wonderful basement lighting idea

Both corded and mounted

Wall Sconces 

When it comes to highlighting architectural features, wall art or displays, wall sconces can add a tasteful highlight to the room’s decor. Although wall sconces do need to be mounted into the walls if you do not wish to cut holes in your wall there are also a variety of corded sconces available. Both corded and wall-mounted sconces can help you accentuate features such as built-in shelving or cabinets, mounting wall sconces directly above will direct light downwards and help draw extra attention.  

custom basement lighting ideas


At the end of the day, when it comes to lighting up your basement, there are many steps involved. from coordinating your basement lighting ideas with a custom lighting plan and then moving forward with implementing it can take a lot of work. Hopefully, after reading through this article, you have some bright ideas on how to light up your basement properly. 

If you feel like you still need a little help, we don’t blame you! Harmony Basements is the industry-leading and preferred basement contractor for the Toronto and GTA area. No matter if you are doing a full basement renovation or need some innovative help to finish your basement, we have all the industry secrets and experience to help you create the space you envisioned. 

We pair our high-quality service with exceptional work ethic. We always take the time on every project to truly listen to what our clients desire and collaborate to create the space they want.  Our team of experts uses top-of-the-line equipment, technology, and materials to help you get as close to perfection as possible.

Contact us today to get help on creating the perfect basement lighting for you!