Decor Snob Interior Design Ideas and Inspiration
6 Basement Lighting Ideas To Brighten Things Up

5 reasons why it might not be the best idea

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

basement lighting ideas

There are a ton of incredible basement lighting ideas to brighten up the finished or unfinished basement in your house. I’ve looked at hundreds of lights and fixtures and designs to find the ones that will bring the best warmth and light to your downstairs space. Whether you’re redecorating your existing space or finishing out your basement, there is something here for everyone.

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You will create a warm, inviting, and exciting atmosphere in an unfinished basement with just a few simple and often surprisingly affordable lighting options. You might want simple recess lighting or perhaps a perfectly selected chandelier, or maybe you have a tray ceiling that you want to use to its fullest potential.

No matter what kind of basement you have or design you’ve got in mind, I guarantee I’ve got the perfect lighting solution for you right here. With my ideas for basement lighting below, you will make the bottom floor of your home the envy of every other room in no time.

Classic Recessed Basement Lighting

Classic Recessed basement lighting

Recessed lighting: Nothing has worked quite so well for quite so long as this particular classic form of lighting fixture. Recessed lighting works well in every possible space, no matter what size or style. What’s more, this lighting creates a feeling of all-around brightness and coziness.

Classic Recessed Basement Lighting

From rustic to industrial, recessed lights match up with ease and they look great!

Classic Recessed Basement Lighting

Put recessed lights over the primary seating couches or chairs, above a bar area, or even separate the recessed light fixtures with wooden beams.

Classic Recessed Basement Lighting

Recessed lighting works great for every single one of these basements. This style of lighting is incredibly affordable, too!

Expressive Chandelier Basement Lighting

One unique lighting idea for the center point of your basement space is a modern chandelier.

Chandelier basement lighting

A well-chosen chandelier allows you to show off your personal side with flair and a dash of elegance. Nothing says uniqueness and personality in a basement area quite like a hanging light fixture. They can be installed in the center of the main living space, over pool tables, or over a basement bar.

There are chandeliers made entirely of brass. Others are wrapped in glass enclosures that simultaneously soften the light as well as hide the lightbulbs underneath.

Chandelier Basement Lighting

Chandeliers both brighten up the basement space and complement the existing interior design beneath it simultaneously.

Imagine walking down the stairs to your basement and you see a remarkable, artistically designed chandelier. Picture the reaction you’ll get from your family and friends!

Industrial Edison Bulb Lighting

Here’s my own personal lighting idea: Edison bulbs. These handsome light fixtures get their name from the inventor of the light bulb himself, Thomas Edison. They create a warm vintage look. Edison bulbs are a much warmer color than most other lightbulbs. They have an exposed filament inside the bulb, which gives them an antique, yet modern, look.

Industrial Edison Bulb basement lighting in basement

Here you can see string Edison bulbs hanging from a black-painted unfinished basement ceiling intermingles with exposed recessed light fixtures.

Edison Bulbs lighting ideas in basement with black painted basement ceiling

In rustic unfinished basement fashion, the black basement joists host industrial Edison cage lighting fixtures.

Edison Bulbs Lighting in Basement

Now don’t think that Edison bulbs will make your basement look old! Actually, quite the opposite. These lighting fixtures tend to create an ambiance of modern industrial sophistication that shows off the rest of the basement in soft and warm tones.

Edison Bulbs Lighting in Basement

Edison lighting fixtures come in tons of varieties. There’s the single Edison bulb, industrial chandeliers, and even exposed string lighting similar to holiday lights (and you don’t have to pull these down every year!).

Edison Bulbs Lighting in Basement

You can combine Edison bulbs with any other basement lighting aesthetic. They work well on their own and they work well with other basement lights such as recessed lighting, pendant lights, track lights, tray ceiling lights, and a whole lot more. These lighting ideas work great in unfinished basements too for a cozy and warm atmosphere!

basement lightingwith edison bulbs

Chic Tray Ceiling Accent Basement Lighting

For a chic and modern touch, the tray ceiling RGB lighting fixtures will make your whole basement shine. They will add a unique style and beautiful glow to the whole basement.

Chic Tray Ceiling basement lighting

A tray ceiling is sometimes called a recessed ceiling. You can tell one as soon as you lay eyes on it because it looks like something out of a boutique art gallery. An entire section of the basement ceiling – usually rectangular in shape – literally pops up into the ceiling.

Tray Basement Lighting

You can design a tray or recessed basement ceiling accent lighting to be exactly the way you want.

Classic Recessed RGB basement lighting

If you want to go modern then RGB light fixtures in the ceiling are what you want.

tray basement lighting awesome

Simple and unadorned is one great option. Or dress them up with cinematic or colorful lighting for a pop or splash.

exposed basement lighting

You can opt for a more elaborate basement ceiling to stand out and take center stage too. These lighting ideas are unique, in that can go with traditional and modern home decor styles. For that, a tray ceiling with recessed lights works like a charm.

Exposed Rafter Basement Lighting

There’s a very good reason that many people these days absolutely love rustic interior design. It’s both fashionable and comfortable without sacrificing any on style. This basement ceiling idea gives you a lot of flexibility when choosing lighting fixtures and coming up with ceiling light designs. You can do exposed recessed lights, hanging string lights, track lighting, simple task lighting, pendant lights, Edison fixtures, anything goes!

Exposed Rafter basement lighting

Joanna and Chip Gaines, of HGTV fame, have brought country interiors into the homes of people all over the country. So, it makes sense that this same aesthetic would translate to lighting fixtures and ceilings, especially in the basement.

rustic basement lighting for an basement

With exposed basement ceiling wooden joists or panels in a partially unfinished basement, you will create a chic rustic appearance instantly. Add in some simple recess lighting or even Edison bulbs, and you’ve got a basement that’s fit for prime time! They can be super easy to install too.

exposed basement lighting in partially basement

Basement ceiling light ideas on exposed joists will work just as well in a number of totally different interior decoration looks. Modern, traditional, man cave, you name it! You can install track lights between the joists as well.

If you want a little bit of high country living in your unfinished basement, these rustic lighting ideas will do all the work without distracting from your home’s own personal appeal.

Starry Night Sky Basement Lighting

Create a unique and eye-catching basement with what I call a Starry Night Sky lighting design. It can be dark and light at the same time.

Starry Night Sky Basement Lighting Ideas

It’s not hard to tell why such a title works so well for this particular style of basement ceiling lights.

Starry Night Sky Basement Lighting

Like all the ideas and styles on this list, starry night sky lights will work in any basement ceiling, finished or unfinished basement. The light fixtures are designed to twinkle like stars.

With smaller lights atop a white or lighter coat of paint, the lights won’t pull much of the room’s focus. If you want a ritzy Las Vegas feel, use slightly bigger lights on a dark background to make them pop. (And if you want the whole galaxy to spin above your head, go to the Great Hall at Hogwarts!)

stars basement lights

Of course, you might even do something right in the middle, incorporating a tray or recessed ceiling alongside your unique starry night sky lights, to create an elegant and natural twinkle from wall to shining wall.


No matter what lighting ideas you love the most, there’s a lighting fixture or motif that works perfectly for you and your home. From the very traditional lighting to the modern lighting to the more ornate and elaborate.

For homeowners, every basement in every home brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. With the ideal set of ceiling lights, you’ll do more than just bring light to the room. You will create a space that is exclusively yours, expressive of your own personal style, and a great place to spend time, work, or just relax.

I always love to know what designs people use throughout their houses. Let me know which ones are your personal favorite below in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you about your own interior design and decoration journey at home.

Photo: Superior Custom Homes & Remodeling
Photo: Leslie Goodwin Photography
Photo: Leslie Goodwin Photography
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Photo: Epic Group Ohio
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Photo: Rae Duncan Interior Design | RDID
Photo: decorsnob
Photo: Gramophone
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Photo: The Coolist – Pinterest Headquarters – San Francisco
Photo: MODE4 Architecture, PLLC
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Photo: Designing Interiors Inc

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