Best Lighting for Unfinished Basement Ceiling

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Installing lights in an unfinished basement can be a challenging situation. In this space, your lighting must be more functional than fanciful. Thus, when choosing to light for your basement, you’ll want to settle for the best light that’ll suit your purposes.

Flush mount lighting, LED light bar, and string lights are lighting options that’ll suit unfinished basements. Other options you can opt for are Round LED lights and track lighting.

Despite choosing functional lights, you’ll still want them to lend an appeal to your basement. Fortunately, there are several lighting options available for you. This post covers lighting options that’ll not only function properly but add charm to your unfinished basement.

Best Lighting Options for Unfinished Basements


Before picking a light for your basement, here’s what you should know – not all lights are suitable for that environment. Basements are always cold; thus, you must be selective of the kind of lights to use.

One lighting option you should avoid is fluorescent light. These lights would be your first pick because they are bright and suitable for concealed spaces. However, these lights don’t function well in cold and moist areas.

It would be best to also avoid incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs give off a harsh yellow light that’s often unwelcoming in basement spaces.

It would help if you also considered the natural lighting in the basement. Basements are unusually dark as there’s little room for natural air passage. As a result, they usually require more lights than standard rooms.

Finally, you must consider the distance of your ceiling from the floor. Basement ceilings hang lower than standard rooms, so you might want to avoid hanging lights.

Therefore, it’s best to create a lighting plan before installing. This helps you narrow your options determine how many lights you’ll need and the best places to position them.

Below are five lighting options suitable for unfinished basements:

Flush Mount Lighting

Flush mount lights are the best options for lighting your basements. These lights combine functionality with a sophisticated look.

They are quite low profile, measuring less than two inches in height. As a result, they are easy to fix, take out, and replace when necessary.

On the other hand, hanging them might be challenging if you don’t have enough flat space in your ceiling. Also, it’s impossible to change their LED light. So, when a malfunction is noticed, you’ll have to take out the whole unit.

LED Light Bar

These lights are all about function making them good options for unfinished basements. However, unlike their counterparts, they function like regular utility bulbs. In other words, they’re not stylish or classy and won’t make your space look any better than before.

The best thing about these light bars is their lifespan. Once installed properly, they could last 50,000 hours without flickering or humming. Plus, they’re not hardwired, making them easy to install.

Lightbars are bright; still, you might need a couple of them to light up your space. You can mount more than one of these lights together in places where you need lights the most. If this piques your interest, you can also choose to mount them at different spots in your basement.

String Lights

String lights are usually outdoor lighting options. This means they can bear harsh conditions, making them perfect for unfinished basements.

Their style makes them very easy to install as you only need to run them along the joists in your ceiling. Afterward, plug them into a connected socket, and they’re ready for use.

These lights offer a warm glow; in other words, they’re not very bright. As a result, it’s best to combine them with other lights if you want a well-lit room.

Round LED Lights

Round LED lights are another excellent option for unfinished basements. They share the same exterior features with flush mount lighting. However, they’re much smaller and flatter, making them more convenient to install than flush mounts.

These lights also have battery-powered variants that don’t require electricity to function. So once there’s a malfunction, you can easily take down the lights, change their batteries and have them running again.

On the other hand, you’ll require a handful of them to light up your basement. This is because of their smaller structure. Round LED lights are also less appealing than flush mount lighting.

Track Lighting

If you’re looking for cost-effective, functional, and appealing lights for your unfinished basements, track lights are for you. The lights come in a line that you can easily fit between ceiling joints and rafters.

Track lights are bright, and you might only need one track to light up your basement. Unlike other options, you’ll need to get more than one to light your space.

How Much Light Do I Need in My Unfinished Basement?

Deciding how much light you need for your basement depends on two things – your space and the type of light. When creating a lighting plan, you must calculate how much light you’ll require in your basement space.

A standard rule for this calculation is to multiply the square footage of your basement by 1.5. So, if your basement measures 600 square feet, you’ll need 900 watts. In order words, you’ll need 15 60-watt fixtures.

What Color Light Suits My Unfinished Basement?

The color of lights can give your basement a different touch. Fortunately, LED lights to come in several spectrums ranging from cool to warm colors.

Most times, it’s best to go for brighter lights in basement spaces. You can opt for bright white lights for a more functional space or dimmer lights for a warm glow. Nonetheless, your light color depends on your preferences.

How Can I Make My Basement Brighter?

The best way to brighten up your basement is to use more lights. Nevertheless, before filling up your basements with lights, note that too many fixtures might make your space look clumsy.

Instead, use other options to brighten up your basement. One of them is to paint the basement walls.

When painting, ensure you select a light color for your walls and ceiling. Lighter colors help reflect lights making your basement look brighter.

If this is not a better option for you, use more lights but install them in strategic places.

What Other Lights Can I Use for My Unfinished Basements?

There are several options for lighting your basements. Though ceiling lights are great options, other lightings can brighten up your space without the need for installment.

Floor and regular lamps are good options. The only downside is that they’ll not light up the entire basement. This is because you can’t fix lamps in different areas like ceiling lights; you can only place them in a spot.

How Can I Maximize My Basement Light?

Once you’re installing lights in your basements, it’s only normal to want the best out of them. The only way to maximize your basement lights is to choose the best lighting option. Ensure you consider the pros and cons of using any lighting option before settling for one.

Furthermore, choose lights that can last a long time and are easier to change when damaged. Finally, ensure you consider the light color, the function of your space, and the basement size. This gives a clearer picture of the lights that you should use in your unfinished basement.

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