Light up your gloomy basement with these 10 tips | homify

Light up your gloomy basement with these 10 tips

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Any property with a basement already has heaps of room to spare, but in most cases that precious legroom goes to waste under mountains of dust and loads of clutter. Add to that the fact that most basements have no (or small) windows, and it makes the idea of turning a dark, understyled basement into something more practical and beautiful, like a guest bedroom or extra bathroom, even more difficult.

Or does it? Maybe you just need a few helpful guidelines on how to turn a dark basement into something much more promising…   

1. Light-coloured walls

Drummonds Case Study: European Retreat, Denmark Drummonds Bathrooms Scandinavian style bathroom
Drummonds Bathrooms

Drummonds Case Study: European Retreat, Denmark

Drummonds Bathrooms

We all know how crisp-white walls can trick the eye and make a room look bigger and lighter, but what if you’re tired of those neutrals? Then you may consider a lighter version of a natural tone, like lemon yellow or mint green, and see how that strikes your fancy. 

2. Add glass

Shiny and see-through surfaces are great for making small rooms seem bigger, and that is why we recommend you choose glass doors (and even interior windows) for separating your various basement zones.

3. Light flooring

Living Areas trulli Design Minimalist corridor, hallway & stairs
trulli Design

Living Areas

trulli Design

Just like your walls, that basement floor will need to be in a lighter colour in order to make the room seem less gloomy. And what's more enticing than a pale blond wood?

If wood is above your flooring budget, consider more cost-effective options like wood-look laminate. 

4. Trim your garden greens

Herb garden homify Country style garden

Herb garden


The only windows that many basements offer are those narrow, slit-like ones. Now, if your garden/yard has some busy plants and overgrown grass growing near your basement windows, that could put a damper on the amount of natural light that filters inside.

Maybe it's time to phone up a professional Gardener and get them to give your exteriors a little trim?

5. Bring in plants

Rescue + Refurb Solving Spaces Rustic style bathroom
Solving Spaces

Rescue + Refurb

Solving Spaces

Speaking of those fresh plants and flowers outside, liven up your basement with some potted pretties and/or vases with freshly cut flowers for some colour and detail, not to mention fresher indoor air.

6. Consider layered lighting

One lonely ceiling light will not be enough to give your gloomy basement a clearer style. Instead, add different lighting fixtures to the space (i.e. wall sconces, a table/floor lamp, pendants) to not only boost the illumination factor, but also contribute to your basement's decor.

7. Make magic with mirrors

Since they reflect light and create the illusion of more space, mirrors are pretty much vital if you want to make a dark space seem bigger and lighter. And if you can manage a mirror gallery in your basement, preferably in a spot where incoming light can be reflected (maybe from those slit windows), consider this a huge boost to your interior design skills.

8. Don’t overlook statement lighting

Contemporary Gold Brass Luxury Chandelier SETI 8 Arms Glass Lamp Shade Luxury Chandelier Classic style living room
Luxury Chandelier

Contemporary Gold Brass Luxury Chandelier SETI 8 Arms Glass Lamp Shade

Luxury Chandelier

In your layered lighting, ensure there is one stand-out piece (like a striking chandelier, if you have the head room) that can draw all eyes up and make the room seem bigger, lighter, and more inviting.  

9. Consider monochrome colours

Working with a monochrome palette where the floors and ceiling are identical in colour will allow your walls to (visually) open up the entire room. But for an even greater effect of spaciousness, stick to the neutrals like whites, off-whites, greys, browns, etc.

After all, there’s a reason why they claim that white and black is regarded as a timeless colour scheme…  

10. Picture the outdoors

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Home Herbarium


A beautiful painting of the beach won't trick anyone in your basement into thinking they're outside. However, the right accessories conveying the freshness of the great outdoors (such as framed photos of landscapes, a mural depicting rolling hills, or even botanical-inspired wallpaper… ) can do wonders for that cramped feeling of your once-gloomy basement.

Next up: let’s see how to Upgrade your laundry room in 9 stylish steps

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