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  • How To Brighten Up a Basement With No Windows

    March 22, 2022 6 min read

    Dark and dingy basement with no windows

    Whether your basement is used as a laundry room, spare bedroom, or recreational area, it needs to have just enough light to make it cozy.

    Some basements come with small sliding, hopper, or glass block windows. But others are entirely covered in bricks or concrete without an inch of a pathway for natural light.

    To brighten a basement with no windows, you have to choose the best lighting, strategically install them, and efficiently rethink your wall color, flooring, and kept items. The right lighting fixtures induce the atmosphere you aim for in a windowless basement.

    These simple means can make your basement lighter and brighter, giving a more welcoming vibe.

    If you’re wondering how exactly to carry out these solutions, then you better read on and find out. 

    How To Brighten A Windowless Basement

    Natural light is often an ideal source of lighting in a typical room. But in the case of a windowless basement, you can opt for other alternatives.

    When done right, you can increase the brightness in your basement substantially.  

    Here are some of the practical steps you can take to brighten your windowless basement.


    finished basement with painted walls and wood flooring

    • Repaint the Walls With Light Colors

    Perhaps the easiest way to project a brighter atmosphere in your basement is to make sure that your design palette is primarily made of light colors. It makes sense as painting your basement walls with dark colors can create a sort of gloomy atmosphere.

    But which light color should you choose?

    As they say, when in doubt, you can always go with bright white. After all, it is the lightest of all your color options and will really help reflect the light that you do have.

    It also wouldn’t hurt to choose from saturated hues that exude a warm but luminous effect.

    You may want to add a splash of other stylish shades like light neutral colors such as the following: gray, beige, cream, and sky blue. These colors do not only make the basement brighter, but they also create an illusion of space, making the tiny area look more prominent.

    Furthermore, choose brighter colors for your baseboards and moldings than your walls to add some depth. You can also paint the ceiling white to make it taller.

    The projection of additional space can improve lighting in the basement. So, choose your colors well.


    man installing an MPI full room lighting system from STKR Concepts
    • Install a Lighting System

    It’s easy to say that increased visibility is standard enough to determine the amount of light in the basement. However, if you’re going for cozy, you may have to re-evaluate your basement’s light requirement.

    Brightness is measured in lumens level. A light bulb should have 800 to 1200 lumens to guarantee visibility.

    But if you’re trying to brighten a dark basement, you will have to install an entire lighting system. Learn more about the best lighting system for your basement by clicking here.

    One example of an efficient lighting system that can engulf the darkness out of your basement is the new TRiLIGHT ShopLight.

    The flexibility of its light arrays allows the entire system to shift from a drop light to an omnidirectional light. It also has a daylight white color temperature, which almost simulates natural light.

    TRiLIGHT ShopLight is even more convenient when your basement is unfinished.

    If you are aiming for a light source that gives off the same brightness as the TRiLIGHT ShopLight but with a promise of energy efficiency, you can choose to have the TRiLIGHT Motion Activated Ceiling Light that automatically turns on when motion is detected.

    This means that when you walk down to a pitch-dark basement, it will automatically turn on for you. But more importantly, when you leave the basement and forget to hit the light switch on the way out, the TRiLIGHT will turn off for you after a few minutes of inactivity.

    One of the best parts of the TRiLIGHT is its ability to just screw into an existing standard bulb socket making it a quick and easy install.

    If you need to fill a larger basement and still want the ease of just using one standard ceiling fixture then the Multi-Point Illumination (MPI) would be a great choice. 

    It comes with four pod lights that plug into the main screw-in fixture giving your large basement five different points of light and 7500 lumens. These four extra points of light can be put anywhere within nine and a half feet of the main unit and will help eliminate harsh shadows around the room.


    tall floor standing mirror surrounded by lightbulbs in the corner of a room

    • Add Some Mirrors and Reflective Surfaces

    Mirrors are highly effective in expanding and making your basement brighter than it actually is.

    If you have a limited light source, adding a mirror or any reflective surface like a shiny metal can reflect light in various corners.

    Likewise, adding mirrors in your windowless basement adds the illusion of windows, making it more spacious and cheerful. 

    If you want to level up the brightness, you can install a mirror with attached light fixtures. If you’re using the basement as a gym, consider placing a large mirror that can take up one entire wall.


    light colored flooring table and chair again wall

    • Install Light Colored Flooring

    It’s not just the walls or the ceiling that influence brightness in your basement.

    By now, you already know the importance of choosing the right color to create a light, airy, and cheerful atmosphere. So repaint your floor with vibrant colors.

    If you’re planning on carrying out a significant renovation, choose flooring materials that can reflect light, such as vinyl and tile.


    messy basement with books and junk everywhere

    • Organize and Declutter Your Basement

    It goes without saying, but a cramped basement can be a dark space, even with windows around.

    Do you intend to use your basement in any other way aside from storage? First, make sure to have enough breathing space. In a windowless basement, space is even more valuable.

    You may have the best lighting system and the whitest of the colors for your walls and flooring, but you simply defeat the purpose when it is filled with boxes and unused materials.

    Here’s how you can organize and declutter your basement to make it brighter:

    • Add some shelves or cabinets for storage

    Place your stored items on shelves or cabinets instead of having them lying around on the basement floor.

    This way, you can maximize the vertical side of your basement and minimize the use of the horizontal part. In addition, no item should stand in your way when you come to hang out in the basement.

    • Do a thorough inventory of items in your basement.

    If you’re using your basement for both storage and other functions (entertainment, laundry, etc.), make sure that one purpose does not overlap the other.

    You can limit the items you choose to store in the basement. Select the ones you’re confident to use again and discard those that are completely unnecessary.

    Likewise, you can also choose to transfer some of your kept possessions to storage units.

    Why Do Some Basements Tend To Be Windowless?

    It is common to find a basement that either has limited or zero windows.

    For starters, as the name suggests, the basement is located under the house’s ground floor. Therefore, it is expected that it’s the area in the house that gets the least amount of natural light.

    According to the International Residential Court, if your basement is measured at 200 square feet or less and is used to store items, equipment, and such, you can choose not to install a window.

    Basements are generally used as storage rooms, so the lack of windows does not really create a huge problem for homeowners.

    But when it is intended to be turned into a bedroom, at least an egress window or door is required.

    However, there are several cases wherein a windowless basement has to be converted into another type of room.

    In the process of doing so, some people can be torn between renovating the entire basement just to add a window or two or simply redecorating the area to make it brighter.

    Either way, it only proves to tell that your basement is in need of good lighting.

    In a Nutshell

    You don’t need to feel gloomy if you have a windowless basement.

    Even without natural light, you can easily make this space as bright and wide as you want with ways doable within your means.

    Begin with the right colors for your walls, floors, and ceilings. Then purchase the best lighting system that induces warm and cozy vibes. 

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