Light Source Options for Basement Recessed Lighting
Most basements have enough working against them. Don't make it worse with poor lighting
For a basement remodeling project, what are the pros and cons for recessed lighting options between a line voltage GU10 MR16 fixture and a PAR30 halogen fixture? I don’t want to install something that could become outdated. Also, although this is a basement, I don’t want it to feel like one.
Let’s start with the design objective: If you don’t want it to feel like a basement then you will need more than just recessed downlights. The space will feel cave-like since there will be no ambient lighting bouncing off the ceiling. This can come from sconces, torchieres or cove lighting. My strong suggestion is that the recessed fixtures should be adjustable accent lights, so that they can be pointed towards art, table tops and relatives that don’t move. There also needs to be some decorative lighting, such as one or two close-to-ceiling fixtures to draw people into the space. These can serve double duty as ambient light sources as well. Plus, you will need some task light for reading, even if it is just finding the buttons on the remote control. ow that we have that out of the way, I will discuss the various lamps you are considering. First off, stick with an adjustable recessed fixture that takes a regular screw-in base. This goes for the other types of light fixtures in the room as well. This will give you the most options for now and in the future. I would have you take a look at a PAR20 or a PAR30 halogen for now, and then maybe upgrade them to LED versions in the future. Trust me — we both will have plenty of things to regret in the next five to 10 years. Lighting shouldn’t be one of them.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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