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8 Best Basement Lighting Options for Finished and Unfinished Spaces

We’ve rounded up the best basement lighting options on the market, making any type of basement cozier and more functional in no time.

basement lighting
Staff, Courtesy of Wellmet

Even if it lacks the abundant natural light you enjoy on the other floors of your home, your basement doesn’t have to be dark and dreary. By lighting your basement effectively, you can make it much more functional and inviting, whether it’s a completely finished space or a garage-style workshop area. There are a wide variety of basement lighting options to choose from too, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find ones that match the style and décor of your current space. Proper lighting can not only reduce your risk of falls and other accidents, it can also help make your basement feel like a natural extension of the rest of your house, potentially increasing your home’s resale value.

What to Consider

The first thing to consider is what type of basement you have. If it’s a rough, unfinished basement that functions primarily as a storage or workshop space, then you’ll probably want a light that provides maximum visibility, similar to models that you would use in your garage, like the Amico LED Garage Lights or the BBOUNDER 4 Pack Linkable LED. If you have a finished basement, you’ll probably want to go with a more stylish option that matches the rest of your décor.

You should also think about what type of lighting is best for your basement. Track lighting uses a long “track” with a series of lights mounted to it, and since you don’t need to install each light individually, makes for a relatively simple installation process. Recessed lights offer a low-profile solution, and since the body of the light fits inside the ceiling, these are great for those who want a minimal, understated look. Task lights usually hang down from the ceiling, and are used to draw attention to a specific area, like a bar or gaming table. The task lighting designation doesn’t always mean a piece is utilitarian, however: task lights can be single or multiple pendant lights, or larger and more ornate options, like chandeliers.

You should also think about how your basement lights will be installed. While some are easily screwed into existing bulb bases or plugged into your wall socket, others may need to be hard-wired. If you’re uncomfortable around live wiring, you’ll need to hire a professional, which will increase the overall cost of your basement lighting project.

Also, think about what kind of bulb you want to use. Some lights containing LED chips don’t use a bulb at all, meaning the lighting component contained therein can’t be replaced—something to keep in mind if you’re interested in this type of basement lighting. If you want to use your own CFL or incandescent bulbs, make sure the lights you choose can accept them.

How We Selected

We’ve lived in homes with both unfinished and finished basements, and have hands-on experience installing and removing lighting fixtures. We used this experience, in combination with extensive online research, to help put together this list of lighting options.

We did our best to include a wide variety of lighting products, keeping multiple basement types and styles of décor in mind while considering options. We also made sure to include a range of prices, so regardless of your budget or basement, you should be able to find a light that fits your needs.

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Best Recessed LED Option
Ultra-Thin Recessed LED
$119.98 (14% off)

Key Specs 

  • Type: Recessed
  • Bulb: LED

If you’re looking for a large quantity of recessed LED lights at a reasonable price, this set could be the perfect fit. It includes a dozen 5-inch lights, each with their own junction box that is designed to easily connect to your existing wiring. 

If you have the expertise, or are comfortable hiring an electrician, these lights can also be conveniently daisy-chained together for a relatively simple install process. 

Each light uses a pair of spring clips that fit inside the ceiling and out of sight, making for a clean, flat presentation. 

  • Includes 12 lights
  • Bright LED lights
  • Dimmable operation

  • May require an electrician
Best LED Track Lighting
30-Watt LED Dimmable Track Light

Key Specs 

  • Type: Track
  • Bulb: LED

This track lighting from Cloudy Bay features four rotating LED heads, all mounted on an adjustable bracket, making it perfect for those who want maximum versatility. The LED chips produce a warm white light, and can be dimmed all the way down to 10% brightness. 

This kit also comes with all the necessary installation hardware, and can be mounted to sloped and vaulted ceilings. It even comes with a five-year warranty and guarantees to last 25,000 hours. The white finish should blend in with most finished ceilings, but it’s also available in black if you prefer.

  • Versatile design
  • Dimmable

  • Somewhat expensive
Best Surface-Mount LED
Cool White LED Wraparound Light
Lithonia Lighting

Key Specs 

  • Type: Surface mount
  • Bulb: LED

This 47.4-inch LED light is mounted directly to the ceiling, and its wraparound design gives it the ability to emit an impressive amount of light both down and outwards. 

Despite its powerful 2900-lumen output, this light features a relatively low-profile design that sits just 2.6 inches off the ceiling, and the modern, minimalist style should fit in with most finished basements. 

This light is built to last as well: the LEDs should last for 22 years when used for six hours per day. If you’d prefer a shorter option, it also comes in a two-foot version.

  • Long-lasting LEDs
  • 5-year warranty
Best Pendant Light
Farmhouse Industrial One-Light Pendant Light

Key Specs 

  • Type: Pendant
  • Bulb: CFL, incandescent, or LED

If you have a specific area in your basement that you want to bring attention to, like a countertop or wet bar, a pendant light like this one could be a great option. 

Its seeded glass shade and metal cage give it a rustic style, and the base is compatible with any type of E26 bulb. Its adjustable hanging cord allows you to customize its distance from the ceiling, and the 6.3-inch diameter means it won’t overwhelm even smaller spaces. This also comes in a three-light option for those who need a bit more power.

  • Can accept any E26 bulb
  • Includes all mounting hardware

  • Might not match your existing décor
Best for Maximum Coverage
LED Garage Lights (4-Pack)

Key Specs 

  • Type: Surface mount 
  • Bulb: LED

They probably wouldn’t work with a finished basement, but these garage-style lights would be perfect for a workshop that needs maximum visibility. This set includes four lighting units, each of which features three LED panels that can be adjusted up to 90 degrees. 

This design allows you to customize the direction of each individual panel, making these lights the most versatile option on our list. They can also be installed without any wiring, and they screw directly into the existing base on your ceiling. The lights also sit just 5.4 inches off the ceiling, giving them a relatively low profile.

  • Includes four units
  • Low price
  • No wiring needed

  • Not ideal for a finished basement
Best Shop Light
Linkable LED (4-Pack)
$69.99 (13% off)

Key Specs 

  • Type: Hanging
  • Bulb: LED

If you’re looking for the high output and hassle-free installation of a shop light, this set of four suspended Bbounder lights could be a great fit. The exposed tube design allows for an expansive 240-degree beam angle, and at 48 inches long, should cover an impressive amount of space. The lights plug directly into an outlet, so no hard-wiring is required, and you can easily connect all four lights to each other, if you like. 

All mounting hardware is included, including wall anchors, chains, and hanging hooks, and at just four pounds per light, these shouldn’t be too hard to install yourself.

  • Lights emit 4,000 lumens
  • Easy to mount
  • No hard-wiring needed

  • Not ideal for finished spaces
Best Pool Table Light
3-Light Pool Table Light Pendant

Key Specs 

  • Type: Task
  • Bulb: CFL, incandescent, or LED

If you’re looking to specifically light your pool table, consider this hanging Wellmet light. Its 43-inch length makes it long enough to illuminate the entire table, and the Tiffany-style shade should fit right in with a traditional bar or man-cave-style game room. 

You can use CFL, incandescent, or LED bulbs in this light, and its adjustable 4-foot chain allows you to easily customize its height above the table. 

It's pretty pricey, but if your priority is recreating that pool-hall look in your basement, it could be worth the investment.

  • Colorful Tiffany-style shade
  • Can accept most bulbs

  • Expensive
  • Unique look may not match some basements
Best Flush-Mount LED
LED Flush Mount Ceiling Light

Key Specs 

  • Type: Flush mount
  • Bulb: LED

This 12-inch flush mount light would be a great option if you want to add a serious amount of light to your basement on a budget. 

At $27 a piece, these are a solid value, and their powerful LEDs produce an even, flicker-free light. Although it does require a hard-wired installation, this model makes the process easier than most, and the light itself simply twists into place when you’re finished. 

Best of all, it sits less than an inch off the ceiling, giving it an attractive, low profile. It is non-dimmable, though, so keep that in mind.

  • Large diameter produces a lot of light
  • Very thin design

  • Non-dimmable operation
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