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Decorative And Efficient Basement Lighting Ideas

With the proper lighting, a basement can be much more than just a large gloomy storage room. Unique basement lighting ideas can transform this underappreciated area of your house into a dynamic and loved addition to your home.

Using Natural Lighting To Light Up a Basement

Glass doors and, if possible, enlarged windows will help you make the most of any natural lighting your basement already receives. They are more expensive to install, but it will decrease your need for artificial lighting in your overall basement lighting layout and, therefore, help you save money on both fixtures and the electricity bill in the long run.

Making A Basement Feel Larger

Basements often have a dim cave-like feel and the generally low ceilings are a major contributor to this atmosphere. Make use of indirect up-lighting and strategically placed mirrors. This will project splashes of light on the ceiling and walls, visually opening up the space and making the room appear much larger and taller than it actually is. For floor lighting ideas like up-lighting have a look at our post here: Floor Lighting Ideas: Taking Your Interior Design To The Next Level

Versatile Basement Lighting Design With Track and Recessed Lights

Basement Lighting

Track and recessed lighting are both fairly inexpensive and create a soft ambiance that is perfect for a variety of potential room usage purposes. Track lighting should be used for higher ceilings and recessed lighting for lower ones. These types can sufficiently light the room to be used on rainy days or during the winter months. Install a dimmer and you have the ultimate home theater lighting setup.

track lighting

track lights are easy to re-position if you ever decide to rearrange the furniture in the basement

Track lighting is very versatile. It does not take up any valuable floor or wall space. Perhaps one of its greatest advantages is that any time you decide to rearrange your basement furniture, all you have to do is change the positioning of the individual lights and, voila, your lighting is still perfectly arranged for your room without having to do any reinstalling.

Other Types of Lighting Ideas to Consider:

Areas To Take Note Of

Always be sure to include adequate illumination directly above any bookcase, desk, reading, study, or work space in your basement lighting design. Directional lights or surface-mounted spotlights are great for this purpose as well as for highlighting particular decorative or architectural elements. Compact fluorescent ceiling lights can be used for such needs as they are very energy efficient and provide optimal color balance for ideal vision.

Grow lamps and full spectrum lights simulate natural light pretty well. These are great for combating Seasonal Affective Disorder in areas that experience long harsh winters and less sunlight throughout the year as compared with others.

image credits: A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc, sparktography


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Remodeling Cost Guide: How Much To Install Recessed Lighting

If you are thinking about installing new light fixtures anywhere in your home, you are probably wondering about the detailed expenses and how much to install recessed lighting fixtures? There are a number of things that will affect the cost: from where you house is located, to the type of ceiling you want the recessed lights fitted into.

recessed lighting in a living room

The national average cost to install recessed lighting professionally into existing drywall is about $162 per light. This may vary quite a bit, however, depending on where you live as electrical work gets pricier based on your location. In larger cities, that $162 may rise to anywhere from $175 to $250. Smaller cities and suburbs may receive reduced quotes in the $130 to $150 range. Having to wire a new electrical line to power the recessed lighting will also drive the cost up some. If you are more the hands-on DIY type, it will likely take you at least double the amount of time it would take a professional electrician, but it will only cost you about $40 a piece.

The Break Down To The Cost of Installing Recessed Lighting

Basic fixtures themselves are pretty inexpensive. Standard six-inch cans will run you less than $10 apiece. Specialty sizes cost a little more and so do low voltage alternatives. Trims are fitted around the hole in the ceiling, and will cost around $10 to $30 for each light. Whether your ceiling can be accessed from above also plays into the total cost. Remodel cans, which allow installation without tearing down the ceiling even if there is no above access, are more expensive at $20+.

The largest part of the cost comes down to electrical wiring and hiring an electrician to do it. The area in your house where you wish to have the lights installed must be evaluated and will heavily impact the recessed lighting cost and expenses. Remodeling a pre-existing light fixture or a very nearby electrical line makes the job much easier (perhaps even easy enough to do yourself if you have some electrical know-how and the right tools) and will keep the price down. If it is going to be necessary to add a new electrical line, it is best to hire an electrician if you are not experienced on a professional level. Also, remodeling older structures costs more than work on newer structures due to fishing of wires and potential complications.

recessed lighting

So there are a number of factors that will determine the recessed lighting installation cost. It will be based on the location of your house as electrician prices vary in different areas, the type of ceiling you are installing the lights into, the existing wiring layout, and the quality of the light fixtures you buy.

image credits: Favaro JR. kellen_butler

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L&L Design Guide: Cove Lighting Ideas
L&L Design Guide: 6 Bedroom Ceiling Lighting Ideas
How To Go About Lighting For High Ceilings


Floor Lighting Ideas: Taking Your Interior Design to the Next Level

Floor lights are used for guiding people or as accent lighting to illuminate walls as a backdrop. Adding floor lighting to a home adds a luxurious touch. You want to add a number of different light fixtures to a space to create different lighting effects – floor lighting ideas can help in achieving this. This range of light effects is what creates a visually beautiful setting. Here we will go over ideas on lighting floors inside and outside of the home.

Floor lighting ideas

Recessed Floor Lighting

Recessed lights installed up against a wall

Recessed floor lighting is probably the top choice when it comes to adding floor lighting. This will require some constructional work to create holes for the lights to sit in and the wires to route to them. Or if you are looking for landscape lighting ideas, solar powered recessed lights only require the base hole and no additional wiring. When it comes to in floor lighting, they are usually installed up near against a wall – this is so that the light washes onto the wall. While outdoors, recessed lights are also used to light pathways and stairs.

When it comes to in home recessed floor lighting, you’ll need to choose the right light fixtures. As people will be walking over the lights, possibly barefooted, you don’t want them burning their feet. You will want to look for lights that are rated “cool to touch” such as florescent or LED floor lighting fixtures – while tungsten or halogen lights could burn.

Recessed floor lighting

There are also other areas where recessed lights can be fitted:

-To the base of kitchen cabinets

-To the vertical parts of steps in a staircase

-Into walls, close down to the floor (in stairways or hallways)

Hidden Lights

It is a lot more elegant when you can hide the light fixtures. The light will gently diffuse off of walls and the floor providing a soft glow of light. This also helps in preventing glare which is easily caused from floor lighting as they are usually in a person’s eye line.

Cove lighting

Adding cove floor lighting will be a major undertaking. You will need to dig up a shallow trench, and then a cut away where the lights can be laid hidden. You can see an example of floor cove lighting from a scene from the movie Inception, when the characters are in the Japanese castle.

A scene from Inception showing cove floor lighting

Using Rope Lights to Create Modern Floor Lighting

Rope lights can be simply laid out on the floor along a wall. Or they can hidden and fitted under couches, or under kitchen, TV or book cabinets for a much more sophisticated and softer look.

Rope lights can be used for a range of floor lighting ideas


A small can light, like this one from lampsplus.com ($14.99) can be used for floor lighting

Small can lights can be placed on the floor and along the walls. They can also be hidden behind plant pots and couches out of site.

You will want to avoid downlights in most areas of the homes. They can create a tunnel like effect if a number of them are used side by side. One placed here and there around the home can still work.

Specific Outdoor Floor lighting Ideas:

Some outdoor floor lighting ideas include post lights that you can plant into the ground. These can be either electrical or solar powered. Another option are downlights that are fitted into walls, stairs, or posts.


5 Simple Outdoor Stair Lighting Ideas

When it comes to outdoor stair lighting, there needs to be enough surrounding ambient light to see the stairs clearly. If there is not enough to provide adequate lighting for the stairs, specific stair lighting fixtures will need to be installed. Not only is this needed to increase the safety, but it will also increase the visual appeal and also add to the property value.

The kind of outdoor light fixtures you will be able to use will be based on the layout and the surroundings of your stairs.  Other considerations need to be taken such as, do you want to add permanent, durable fixtures that require wiring or would you want simple to install and flexible to arrange solar powered outdoor lighting.

photo: Craig A Rodway The Modern Choice: Recessed Stair Lighting (Ideal For Deck Stair Lighting)

Recessed lighting, or light fixtures that are flushed with the wall/floor are a popular choice as they provide a minimalistic, sophisticated and modern look. This type of lighting for exterior staircases will require work to be done to install them: cutting of the stairs, stone path, or wall will need to be done for the light fixtures to fit flush with the surroundings. There is the option to use solar recessed lights, which will not require any wiring, but will still need areas cut out for them to be placed into.

There are 3 ways in which you can arrange recessed stair lights:

Place them in the sides of the top of the steps (fig. 1)

Inserted them within the vertical part of the step (fig. 2)

If you have walls on either side of the stairs they can be placed within them (fig. 3)

Recessed lighting on the steps themselves Recessed lights placed within the step Recessed lights placed on the walls





Recessed lights placed within the steps

Using Down Lights For Outdoor Stair Lighting

You can use down lights as an alternative to the trendy recessed lights. Unlike recessed lights, solar powered down lights will not require any major work to be done to install them. If you plan on using electrical down lights then installation work will need to be done to fit the wirings around the stairs/walls.

A down light fixture

Down lights would be one of the best options of exterior stair lighting, as it is a traditional and elegant lighting form. Because they are pointed downwards they do not interfere with a person’s vision, whereas recessed lighting can. Using this kind of lighting along with post cap lighting will create a sophisticated lighting design plan.

To be able to use these fixtures you will need to have a wall on either side of the stairs or even both. If you do plan on putting down lights on both sides of your stairs, see if it will look better alternating the sides on which the lights are on. The “airport runway” effect is when you have lights lined up on both sides, which you want to avoid.

Post Lighting or Solar Stakes

An example of a solar post stake light

If you do not have walls on either side of your stairs one option would be to use post lighting. These are stakes with light fixtures attached on top. These then that get buried within soil or rock. It is common to have the post lights electrically wired, but it would be much easier, faster and cheaper to use solar stake lighting.

Using Post Cap Lights For Exterior Stair Lighting

Any railing that has posts can have post caps placed on them. Though they might not provide enough lighting to illuminate the stairs, adding these to your lighting design creates different lighting effects (key in creating visual appeal with lighting).  Once again these can be solar stair lighting fixtures, providing a quicker and easier lighting solution.

Under Railing or Step Lip Lighting

photo: ceridwenn

An example of stair lip lighting

An alternative to post cap lighting would be under railing lighting. For this, it is common to install rope lights under the hand railing, out of eye sight. Rope lights are led lights encased within a plastic tube to create a rope. When it comes to design aesthetics, using post cap lights would be a better choice for railing lighting. If you do not have any posts to place the caps on, then under railing lighting will be second best.

These rope lights can also be installed right under the lip of the stairs, as an alternative to the other stair lighting techniques.


Lighting Design Tips:

The Runway Effect

You will want to avoid the runway effect. This is when the outdoor light fixtures are placed on both sides of the stairs right opposite each other. Instead, look to alternate the placing. Also with lighting techniques such as step lip or recessed lighting, you do not have to have lights on every step. It is better to use a number of low lighting fixtures (installed around the steps, railings, or on the sides), than to use a few powerful, overbearing light fixtures.

Varying The Types Of Light Fixtures

As mentioned above, it is important to vary the type of light fixtures used when planning your outdoor lighting.

For example use a combination:

  • Down lights on the walls/railings + post caps
  • Solar post lights + step lip lighting

Varying the type of light fixtures you use creates different lighting effects, which is much more visually appealing than using one type of light fixture, creating a monotone look. As well as being a visually appealing it will be more comfortable on the eye when walking on the stairs at night.