Great post by San Francisco Chronicle’s Home Styles on getting more natural sunlight in a basement.
Basements typically do not get much sunlight, but there are ways in every budget to maximize the natural light available to them. A lack of natural sunlight makes any space feel dreary and smaller. Use some inexpensive “smoke and mirrors” trickery, a middle-of-the-road alteration or a more costly installation to bring extra natural sunlight into a dimly lighted space.
A large mirror is an inexpensive way to catch more light. For roughly $100, you can pick up a mirror that’s about 2/3 the length of a sofa, for example, to mount over a couch in a dark basement. By placing the mirror across from a window – even a small window – you’ll catch the reflection and the light. Your basement will suddenly appear brighter and larger. You don’t have to stop with one mirror. Strategically place two or three for the utmost benefit, if your budget allows. Upscale Consignment always has a large assortment of mirrors to choose from,
Light, reflective colors, such as white, cream, yellow and sky blue, bounce sunlight that enters the room and makes a dreary space appear airier. For $100, you can purchase a couple of gallons of paint and painting supplies. Put a fresh color on the walls and some bright white ceiling paint on a dull overhead surface for maximum sunlight reflection. If your budget allows, decorate the space with light reflective glass, or metallic items, soft colored furnishings, and pale flooring. To add pseudo-natural light, consider full-spectrum, white daylight bulbs placed in all light fixtures.
If your basement curtains still block some sunlight when fully opened, the space will be darker. Inspect the curtain rod and the window’s width. The rod should extend at least one foot beyond the edges of the window instead of ending directly above it. This way, you can push the drapery to the sides, exposing the full window and maximizing the flood of light into the basement. Blinds, even when open, will also decrease the amount of light entering a space unless mounted to reveal the entire window. Check the blinds’ hardware. The fixtures should be installed so that when the vertical or horizontal blinds are pulled up or to the side, none of the glass remains blocked. Make the necessary changes, such as mounting blinds higher or wider to make the most of every ray of sun. White or light colored window treatments, such as natural bamboo blinds or delicate sheers are best to reflect and increase light. For a modest investment, replace darker fabrics or blinds with brighter, light-filtering ones.
For the basement with an exterior entry, add more sunlight by upgrading to a glass door for around $300. The window in a door will provide additional natural light from outside brightening the space considerably. Side-by-side exterior French doors and garden doors, sliding glass doors or a window door with sidelights will increase the flow of light at an additional investment of about twice the cost of a single glass door.
Although more common and efficient on the top floor, tubular skylights are capable of carrying sunlight up to 20 feet down to any space from the rooftop. The small plastic domes or bubble-like skylight windows, mounted on the roof, catch the sun’s rays. An experienced supplier or contractor will inconspicuously hide the special piping or tube with a highly reflective inner surface within an interior wall. The nature light is bounced or cast from the rooftop through the tube to diffusers similar to pot lights in the basement ceiling. Not including installation and depending on quality and size, a tubular skylight costs from $150 to $600 and keep in mind that you’ll be saving on your electricity bill.
As always, we hope that you enjoy this post and find it helpful in restyling the place you live into the place you love!
Photo Credit: jenniferbrouwerdesign.com