Popular fiction hasn’t been kind to those living below street level. Whether it’s housing a dead body, ice cooking operation or simply a down’n’out thirty something taking advantage of their parents’ enduring hospitality, basement dwelling rarely brings to mind glamour or good fortune. Of course in reality this image is largely down to the darkness; a lack of windows doesn’t generally breed positivity. There are ways, however, to bring the good vibes and metaphorical sunshine to such a place. So if you’re looking for transformative basement makeover ideas, here are 4 IDEAL ways to brighten up your basement flat on a budget.

LAYERED LIGHTING

If you’re decorating your basement apartment on a budget, you first need to address any sense of dinge or darkness. The answer doesn’t lie in introducing as much artificial light as possible; this in fact will lead to a starkness not at all suited to a stellar cellar space. Instead, you want lighting which is layered.

Your basement lighting solutions should follow a fairly simple formula. Start with ‘overall lighting’; those hanging directly from the ceiling which mimic natural light. As basement flats tend to have lower ceilings, consider adding ceiling spotlights instead of fixtures that hang down to create a sense of space. Next, you’ll want ‘task lighting’, which illuminates specific tasks, such as reading or applying make up, and the areas of the room where these activities are focused. Important too is ‘accent lighting’, which can shift mood and focus, and transform gloomy corners. These contrasting forms of light will not only bring brightness to your basement, but they’ll also give texture to a style of room so often in need of that touch of character and class.

FIT MIRRORS  

If your basement area is, in estate agent’s terms, ‘cosy’, then getting a few mirrors up is a surefire way to bring a sense of space to proceedings without the huge financial outlay required to actually knock down walls and expand. Indeed, a mirror is an ideal way of incorporating light into your below level living space, as reflections will make the room feel bigger and brighter. Not only that, but a mirror will also add depth to a flat wall and can be used as a feature piece on plain backgrounds. With a more expansive feel to the space, those cliched dark corners and lurking presences will be exorcised.

IMPROVE THE AIR QUALITY

Of course, with fewer or no windows, air quality is a consistent inconvenience; an issue that is a constant battle when you live underground. Don’t stress, better air quality is achievable with the right tools, primarily with air purifying plants and a dehumidifier. The former brings myriad benefits, both in terms of that much sought after cleaner, more breathable air and of course, by elevating aesthetics. And the latter can improve air quality by preventing mould, mildew and that horrible dankness which basement flats are synonymous with. In doing so you’ll relieve any odour and stuffiness which is, to say the least, distracting.

LIGHT & BRIGHT WALLS

When it comes to choosing paint colours for a basement apartment, light and bright should definitely dominate. Giving a new lick of fresh paint is an extremely cost effective way of getting the most out of your cellar space. Of course, an over abundance of bright orange or yellow, for instance, is overkill. Go instead for subtler shades of warmth which still bring that light giving, mood lifting quality, such as sand, ecru or almond.

EMBRACE MINIMALISM

The stereotypical image of bright and white minimalism is what we’re going for here. The goal is to cut down to the essentials and at all costs avoid clutter which can make a space feel smaller, more crowded and darker. However, you’ve got to tread a fine line between minimalism and starkness. If you get rid of everything, you’ll end up with a basement that feels like a clinical hotel lobby. Remember that minimalism isn’t about saying goodbye to colour, more of freeing yourself from unnecessary distraction.