5 Ways to Brighten A Basement Apartment

By Madison White on August 5, 2019

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Basement apartments can be great options for college students who are looking for a cheap place to live. Especially in crowded cities, living in a basement may be a great option. Unfortunately, it can come with a few drawbacks with lighting and decorating opportunity. Don’t fret though, there are still a variety of ways to bring light back into your basement apartment.

1. Choose light colors for walls

The biggest challenge that comes with a basement apartment is that it can feel cramped, small, and dark. Because of this, you never want to make your rooms darker than they already are. Instead, you’ll need to try and amplify the amount of light that you do have.

It seems like common sense, but painting dark walls in a basement apartment will inevitably darken the entire space. In order for things to feel bigger and brighter, look to have walls that are white, light blue, or a cool grey.

If you’re in an apartment that doesn’t allow you to paint, you can think about adding lightness to your space in other ways. Try thinking about adding lightness by having light-colored bedsheets, wall decorations, curtains, and rugs. Because minimal and modern interiors are still very popular, you shouldn’t have any issue finding simple, light-colored items to fill your space with.

2. Add some mirrors

Have you ever walked into a restaurant thinking it was large, only to find out that one entire wall was covered in mirrors? This little trick can easily translate into your basement apartment when you are trying to make your space look bigger and brighter than it normally is. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to have a whole wall of mirrors, but adding some large mirrors to your rooms can do wonders for making it appear bigger.

3. Diversify your lighting

As is with most apartments, basement apartments are likely to come with a few fluorescent overhead lights, and not much else. While these do serve their purpose of giving light to your space, they aren’t doing you any favors when it comes to actually making your apartment feel brighter. In fact, harsh overhead lights often make people feel like they’re in cramped, uncomfortable places like offices or hospitals. This definitely isn’t what you want for your home!

An easy fix is to diversity how you light your apartment to include many different sources beyond the overhead lights. It is a smart idea to invest in some floor lamps alongside some table lamps. These are going to give off a warmer, more inviting light so that when you come into the space, it will feel warm and cozy, and not cold and uncomfortable.

Another great idea is to try out other, more unusual types of lighting. You could try hanging string lights around the edge of your bedroom or hanging other cool lighting fixtures from the ceiling. Lighting will make a huge impact on how your basement apartment looks and feels so you should invest your time into figuring out what works best for you.

4. Think big

This may seem contradictory, but to make your small space look bigger, you need to think big. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they have small spaces and short walls that they need to only decorate with small items. This is not the case. In fact, too many small items can sometimes highlight just how small your space is.

Going big can actually do wonders for a small space. Hang large paintings or pictures on your wall instead of just a few small ones, or try doing an entire gallery wall. When hanging things like curtains, make sure you hang them fairly high up to create an illusion of a bigger window. If you’re still looking for some ways to go big, you can always add some large mirrors to create space.

5. Add some greenery

You might also find this one a bit contradictory. Plants in a place without sunshine? It can work! It is true that living in a basement apartment will limit the variety of greenery that you can choose from. You won’t be able to create the perfect environment for something that needs lots of sunlight. Luckily, there are still lots of low-light plants that will thrive in a basement apartment. Different types of ivy do really well in lowlight settings, as do other plants like snake plants, ferns, and pothos. Adding some greenery will bring life back into your basement apartment that may otherwise feel dull and lifeless. If all else fails, you can fake it with some strategically placed fake plants.

Trying out some of these techniques is sure to bring you some success in lightening up your apartment. Remember to make the most of what you have and most importantly, have fun with it!

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Madison graduated with her Master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester (UK), and holds Bachelor's degrees in English and Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She currently teaches English at Wichita State University and works as a freelance writer and blogger on her website Madison White Writes and elsewhere.

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