Unfinished Basement Lighting Ideas: How to Light an Unfinished Basement

Wanna know how to brighten unfinished basement? There are many unfinished basement lighting ideas that you can use to create a comfortable, pleasant space in your unfinished basement. You may be wondering what type of light fixtures should be used for an unfinished ceiling or how recessed lighting can help finish the look of your unfinished basement. This post will discuss some great ways to light an unfinished ceiling as well as an open ceiling and give examples on how to make the most out of your lighting design for your DIY media room or craft room!

Here are our ideas, tips and recommendations when it comes to how to light up an unfinished basement!

Unfinished Basement Lighting Ideas

Here are some basement lighting for unfinished basements ideas.

Low Hanging Task Lighting

One of the easiest ways to light an unfinished basement is by placing task lighting below eye level. It provides bright and direct illumination for a specific area without taking up too much space or over-illuminating your basement, which can be distracting. A good example of this type of lighting would be track lighting systems, floor lamps with flexible necks that

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Flushmount Lighting

Flushmount lighting is a type of recessed light that you can use to illuminate your unfinished basement. This type-of fixture has the potential to produce more warmth and ambiance than other types, making it ideal for rooms with high ceilings or when extra mood lighting is needed.

How to Light Up an Unfinished Basement

Lighting can make the difference between an unfinished basement and a finished living space. Recessed lighting is one of the most cost-effective ways to light up your unfinished basement without taking anything away from its charm. In addition, it doesn’t produce any glaring or direct lights that would be distracting for family members watching TV in other rooms. For the best possible lighting, mount your recessed lights at a 45 degree angle.

In addition to recessed ceiling lighting, you should include plenty of task lighting for tasks like cooking and crafting projects. Consider installing under-cabinet or track lighting for these purposes as well as overhead fixtures that can help illuminate rooms with large ceilings or high windows.

If you’re planning on adding a tv to your unfinished basement, it’s important to include lighting that is specifically designed for viewing television. Achieving this requires task lamps pointed at the screen with no more than three feet away as well as ambient or general lights in other areas if needed.

Avoid these finishing touches: hanging a single bulb from the ceiling, using incandescent lights and spending too much money on expensive lighting fixtures.

Considerations for Basement Lighting

Quantity Natural Light

Some basements have windows or doors that will let in natural light although some don’t. This should be a consideration when designing your lighting scheme.

Room Style

The style of a room can tell you what lights to have in your basement. If you have an industrial room, then exposed recessed lighting will look good.

Type of Room

Each room’s lighting in a house is different depending on what it’s for. If you have a media room, then there are fewer lights because they like to keep the room dim. An art studio needs lots of light, but a happy place has to be bright. A bathroom and laundry room both need to have bright lighting too.


Budget is always a concern. If your budget is low you can choose simple exposed lighting. You can always replace later down the line!

Lights to Avoid in an Unfinished Basement

Bare incandescent bulbs are bad. They provide a yellow light and they are not welcoming. Soft white bulbs are better because the light is warmer and nicer. They also talk about other ways to brighten up the basement, like with plants.

You should not use tube lights in an unfinished basement because they do not work well in the cold. They also mention that tube lights do not work well if there is high humidity. Since unfinished basements are often damp and have low temperature, fluorescent tube lights should probably be avoided.

You want to be careful where you put lights. A low ceiling should stay away from lights that hang down too much. Pendant lights are only good for task lighting and in areas where people don’t walk around a lot.

Unfinished Basement Lighting Options

Basement Lighting for Unfinished Ceiling

Here we will discuss the best lighting for exposed basement ceiling and lighting for open ceiling basement.

Unfinished Basement Lighting Low Ceiling

In basements, low ceilings require either recessed or flush mount lighting.

Unfinished Basement Light Fixtures: Recessed vs Flushmount

Recessed lighting can make a basement look good. It has an industrial feel to it. Recessed lights are put in between the ceiling joists and with the trim type, they give off more light.

Flush mount fixtures come in a lot of styles. They also come in different finishes.

Recessed lighting can be in the ceiling. They have a place to put the light bulb. It is good for light and it is narrow. Flush mount lighting has a place to put the light bulb too, but it is broader and spreads more beams of lights in a room.

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Unfinished Ceiling Uplighters

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When should you avoid using an uplighter in a basement?

As mentioned above, there are many great reasons to use an uplighter for your unfinished basement ceiling. However, it is important that you know when not to use them. Uplighters are more aesthetically pleasing than recessed lighting but can be less functional depending on the amount of light they provide in a room. If you have low ceilings or lots of windows, opt for recessed lighting instead because uplighters will not offer adequate coverage in these areas. Lastly, an unfinished basement should never rely

Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.