Many people have rooms within their basement or lower-level areas. Without large windows these spaces can easily become dark and feel closed in. However, with some easy design ideas you can turn a dark basement room into a light and bright space – without breaking the bank. Here are some great ideas that I have used to make spaces brighter and lighter.
1. Add mirrors to the room. Mirrors will reflect light and also make spaces look larger. Adding a mirror also makes it look like there is a window in a basement or dark space. Make it even look more like a window by adding a mirror that is in the shape of a window to your room.
2. Paint the walls a light color. Above I have two pictures of the same space. This is from a house we flipped last year. The basement was a finished apartment, however the previous owners decided to paint the room a very dark red color. It looked horrible (I think you will agree if you look at the photo). It was amazing how the room instantly became brighter after I finished painting one wall in the room. When the entire space was painted with a light color the space felt brighter and larger. Paint is such a simple way to make a room brighter and larger.
3. Paint stone and brick. If you have dark bricks or stone on the wall of a room paint it too. The living room in our house was a very dark granite. It was depressing and made the room dark and dingy. My husband finally decided to paint it—despite everyone telling us not to. It was amazing how the wall, room and the entire dynamic of our home changed with painting this wall white. See photos above.
4. Trim the trees and shrubs by your windows and doors. This is a big one – especially for basement rooms. Try to avoid planting bushes near the windows. If there are bushes there already move them. This is an easy way to add natural light. Look at the before and after photos above. By removing all the overgrown shrubs and trees more light was able to go through the entryway to this basement.
5. Layer Lighting – Don’t just have one lighting source – add recessed lighting, hanging light fixtures and lamps. The layers of light will make your space brighter.
6. Open Floor Plan – Keep your space as open as possible. If you want to divide up the space into different rooms – like a basement apartment with a kitchen/living area you can do this with furniture and accent walls. By having the space open it will look larger and brighter.
7. Continuous flooring – Avoid using carpet or hardwood flooring in a basement space. Because basements are generally damp wood floors will buckle and carpet will become damp, moldy and smelly. In the basement we remodeled we used a continuous vinyl sheet throughout the entire basement. It looked like wood and it created a moisture barrier between the cement floor. This particular flooring also had a cushion feel to it so it was comfortable to walk on. Look how the flooring continues from one room to another in the above photos.
What have you done to make a basement room or a dark room brighter? Share your ideas in the comments below.