How to Choose the Best Basement Lighting

Create a space that doesn’t feel like a basement with basement lighting.

When you think of a basement, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most, it would be a dark, cold, scary space. Not for us though! We see basements as endless possibilities to expand on the usable space in your home. A space for that new home theater, custom bar, or home office that you have always needed — and with great basement lighting, that dark, scary place is no longer.

Finishing a basement to be an extension of your home requires a few key pieces. Proper materials designed for the basement environment, a great layout, and good lighting.

Basement lighting is one of the most fundamental things to ensure a basement becomes an extension of the home. No one wants a brand new space to feel dark and unwelcoming. Using a few lighting techniques and the right kind of light, you can make a basement feel like any other level of your home.

We have compiled everything you need to know how to choose the best basement lighting.

What are the best basement lighting options?

The best basement lighting that FBP recommends is LED Recessed Lighting. LED basement lighting will provide a widespread light source throughout the basement.

Combined with a proper lighting layout there should be no dark spots in the basement with the lights on. This will make the space feel inviting and more like the upper levels of your home.

Recessed lighting also comes in many different sizes for certain uses. Larger sizes can be used as general lighting, while smaller sizes exist for more focused light. For example, the image to the right from a home in Brighton, MI has smaller recessed lighting above the shelving to bring attention to this added detail. It is best to think about how a room will function then work the lighting around that.

Brighton, MI finished basement with carpeting and grey walls with electric fireplace


Benefits of Basement LED Lighting

LED lighting offers many benefits over traditional incandescent lighting. Such as longer lifespans per bulb, and energy savings.

  • The average LED bulb lasts around 50 thousand hours, while an incandescent bulb lasts only around 1 thousand hours.
  • Incandescent bulbs also have a much higher running temperature when lit.
  • On average an LED bulb is around 87 degrees compared to 335 degrees in incandescent light.
  • LED bulbs also use around 75% less energy than incandescent lighting.

How many can lights should I have in my basement?

The number of recessed lights in your basement will depend on the overall size and shape. Our designers use a general rule that one recessed light will cover about 70 square feet. When determining how many lights will be needed it is also good to think about where the lights will be placed. Straight rows of lights along the ceiling will give the room more even lighting. Depending on the room, the number of lights can also change. A bedroom may only need 2 recessed lights whereas a living room of similar size may look better with 4.

What color light is best for my basement?

Lighting color temperature can have a big impact on the look of your new space.

LED lighting comes in a wide array of color temperatures from warm white to cool whites. Depending on the preferred look you want, either side of the spectrum can work. Warm white light will provide a more yellow or warm color, while the cool white side creates a more white-colored light. Warm lighting is typically seen in lamps and accent lighting. Think about a restaurant and the smaller light sources they use for accent lighting. Cooler colors are often better for evenly lit spaces like a basement or living room. They will also help provide a more neutral color throughout the space.

Warm White

  • Pendants & Wall Lights
  • Restaurants and Commercial Ambient Lighting
  • Floor Lamps

Cool White

  • Basements
  • Garages
  • Work Environments
  • Task Lighting


  • Display Areas
  • Security Lighting
  • Garages

The following Troy, MI home is an example of how drastic the lighting temperature can affect the look of a room!

Troy, MI finished basement with carpeting and grey walls with electric fireplace

The image on the left has warm colored incandescent light bulbs and the right side has been replaced with cool white LED light bulbs. The color of the walls and flooring nearly appears to be a different color.

The homeowners had chosen their colors based on the lighting in the office which was a lot cooler of color than what was in their basement at the time of installation.

How can I add more lighting to my basement?

Adding lighting to your space depends on which stage of construction your basement is in.

If drywall has not gone up yet, there is an easier chance that you can add in additional recessed lighting.

If the basement is already finished you can look into accessory lighting. Things such as table and floor lamps can be added to a room to increase the available lighting while adding to the design. Accessory lighting is also helpful for creating different moods in a single space, simply turn on a few lamps for movie night.

Do you want to discuss your project with our specialists?

Our Specialists are here to assist you with creating the space that you need. Whether you are finishing your basement for added living space or a playroom for your kids. You will want to make sure you are protecting your investment by picking materials that will last for a lifetime.

Finishing your basement is no small task and requires lots of planning, research, and help from professionals. If you are interested in finishing or remodeling your basement, our specialists are here to help. We offer Free Consultations for complete basement finishing. Basements Plus is your one-stop shop to transform your basement into a brand-new lower level. We work out of Northville, Macomb, Clarkston, and surrounding areas!

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