Top tips for keeping your basement light and bright in the winter months
Although it’s an annual thing, it’s always somewhat surprising how quickly the nights start to draw in at this time of year. And it doesn’t just get dark – it’s the kind of inky blackness that makes you want to run for cover. And with the clocks going back in a week or so, you know the night-time darkness is going to start creeping in even earlier.
So how do you ensure that you can continue to enjoy your basement living without feeling like a mole every time the clock hits 4pm? There are some tips that interior designers use that can make your space feel light and bright, no matter what’s happening outside.
1. Bring the sunshine in: of course, this is the most important consideration when building a basement extension. The ideal is to use techniques that let as much natural light into the space as possible, using light wells and sun pipes. These channel light from the outside into the internal space and can be very effective. Depending on your orientation, it can be possible to install glass doors to an outside area, and even windows, which will allow light to flood into the room, and can feel especially pleasant especially on those crisp winter days.
2. Fake it: when the sun goes down, it is possible to use artificial lighting to create that warm and cosy space that feels so right for this time of year. A lot will depend on what you use your basement space for – if you have a basement kitchen, then LED spotlights are essential to create a bright, energised space where you can clearly see what you are doing. Task lighting is also important, say under cupboards, or above the hob or sink. It’s a good idea to use a dimmer switch too because there are times when you might want to create mood lighting. Try brightening up dark corners with lamps, create a warm glow with wall lights and use hanging pendant lights over dining areas for extra ambience.
3. Be clever with wall colour: the colour of your walls will dictate how bright your basement feels. White ceilings are essential to create a feeling of light and openness, and some people choose to continue this on the walls as well. If you prefer to have some colour, go for brighter shades that will reflect light back into the room rather than dark shades which will absorb light.
4. Add pops of colour: you can also use colour on your soft furnishings and interior decor to lift a room. Choose bright scatter cushions or throws to add pops of colour, have some fun with bold, patterned rugs, and hang artwork that makes an impact on the eye. Even small touches like bright crockery, colourful plants, and fun towels and tea-towels will add to the vibrancy of your space.
5. Reflect on it: it’s a tried and tested technique, but placing mirrors in strategic places will increase the feeling of light and space in a basement room. Try to position mirrors so they can reflect back any natural or artificial light. If you have a basement kitchen, think about how you can use your splashback to bounce light back into the room – stainless steel is a good choice, as is heat resistant, reflective, coloured glass. Even your kitchen worktops can make a difference – high gloss surfaces will pick up light and help to make your room feel nice and bright.
By using some of these tried and tested techniques to create a feeling of light in your basement, you can enjoy winter cheeriness rather than dreariness over the next few months!