Usually used for storage, doing laundry and other sundry jobs, often basements are ignored spaces. Further, basement stairways are narrow, low-ceilinged spaces with limited lighting, which can make it quite hazardous and prone to mishaps, especially when you’re traipsing up and down.

So, read on for some really cool basement stair lighting ideas that can solve your basement stairway lighting troubles and keep you safe.

basement stair lighting ideas

Smart Basement Stair Lighting Ideas

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1. Above-the-Door Lighting

Above-the-Door Lighting

A really smart way to light up your basement stairway is by installing a light above the door leading down to the basement. By placing a bright light on the wall above the stairwell door, you can effectively light up the entire flight of stairs all the way down.

However, the drawback of this option is the light that you install above the basement door must be a surface mount light since there will not be sufficient room above the door to hide the electricals in the wall.

The best above-the-door lighting option is to use an LED tube light that you can install along the edge of the door even if there is not a lot of room between the door frame and the basement ceiling.

Our Pick
Barrina LED Shop Light
  • Super Bright
  • Energy Saving
  • Easy Installation
  • Comfortable

2. Recessed Step Lights

Recessed Step Lights

Using recessed stair lights is another smart way to illuminate your basement stairwell. Typically, these recessed lights are installed in the wall and the light is directed onto the stairs, illuminating them, so that you can see the walkway clearly. The best part is that you can install as many or as few recessed stair lights as you want.

You can install one recessed light for every step if your basement is very dark to provide good illumination or you can install one light every few steps. Recessed stair lights are a very nice, space-saving way that allows you to illuminate your basement stairs without installing large and bulky fixtures in a very tight space.

Our Pick
LEONLITE 120V Dimmable LED Step Light
  • User-Friendly Design
  • Smooth Dimming
  • Easy to Install
  • Quality You Can Trust
  • Guaranteed to Last

3. Recessed Ceiling Stairway Lights

Recessed Ceiling Stairway Lights

Also known as can lights, recessed ceiling lights are excellent options for basement stairwells having very low headroom. These lights are usually hardwired and are installed in level with the ceiling. This allows you to maintain maximum space and also add as much light as possible to illuminate your dark basement stairs.

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There are varying sizes and depths of recessed ceiling lights available on the market and you can choose the model that works best for the space available in the overhead area.

However, you should ensure that you select the right type of recessed ceiling lights. If the ceiling is flat, then standard recessed ceiling lights will work well to illuminate the spaces where you require.

In case the ceiling is sloped, then it is better to opt for recessed ceiling lights that direct the light on the stairs instead of into your eyes when you’re climbing down the stairs.

This may sometimes mean that the light fixture may not be flush with the ceiling and so you should keep this in mind when selecting the lights for your basement staircase.

Our Pick
Smart Recessed Lighting Ultra
  • Voice Control
  • APP Intelligent Control
  • Brightness & RGBWW Adjustable
  • Music & Mic Sync
  • High Quality & Easy Installation

4. Flush Mount Lighting

flush mount lighting

If recessed can lights are not an option because of trusses, then you can consider low-profile flush mount fixtures. These lights are perfect for flat ceilings and can be installed either on the landings or on top of the stairs and provide lighting to the entire length of the stairway below.

Ideally, you should have around 7 feet of headroom at least; however, even if the ceiling is much lower, then a low-profile flush mount fixture will work well.

Our Pick
Youtob LED Flush Mount Ceiling Light
  • Super Bright
  • Stylish and Slim Design
  • Easy Installation
  • Energy Saving

5. Wall Sconces

wall sconces

If there is not a lot of headroom in your basement staircase, then you could consider installing wall sconces. You can have one or several wall sconces on the basement staircase wall that provide light while remaining out of your way.

This is a great basement stairway lighting idea that is not only functional but adds to the décor of your home. Wall sconces are a great idea if you have around 36 inches of space, at least from one side of the stairway to the other. Additionally, you should choose a wall sconce that is close to the wall so that you will not bump into it.

Our Pick
Lightess Modern LED Wall Sconce
  • Dimmable Sconce
  • Aluminum Sconce
  • Broad usage
  • Easy To Install

6. Under-Step LED Strip Lighting

Under-Step LED Strip Lighting

Another cool option for basement stair lighting is using LED strips. This is especially a good option if you have converted your basement into a recreation room, entertainment room or living space. This type of lighting makes use of an LED strip, which is installed under the front of each stair or wrapped around the midsection of each stair.

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LED light bulbs are more energy-efficient compared to other types of bulbs, which means that you can leave them on for the entire night without the fear of high utility bills.

LED strips do not only help to illuminate your basement stairs but they are decorative and look quite elaborate, adding to the décor of both your staircase, as well as your home.

LED strips offer a nice sleek and modern look to the staircase while providing soft and glare-free illumination. While you can choose from different shades of LED lights, the best colors for dark basement stairways are bright or warm white light, which provides plenty of illumination. You can also opt for the yellow LED lights that can convert your entire stairway into a warm, glowing path.

Our Pick
Pathway Deck Step Light
  • Broad usage
  • Waterproof and Anti-corrosion
  • Energy Efficient
  • 360° Swirl Design

7. Recessed Wall Footlights with Sensors

Recessed Wall Footlights with Sensors

Installing footlights with sensors recessed in the wall not only helps to illuminate your basement staircase space but also helps to increase your safety, allowing you to go up and down the stairs effortlessly. And, since these lights are recessed in the walls, you can install them however low or high as you want.

Equipped with sensors, these recessed wall footlights automatically switch on/off when they detect any movement. The lights will get turned on when you walk up or down the stairs and turn off when you’re not using them. Not only are these lights functional, but energy-saving too.

There are stair lights with 3 types of sensors—passive sensors, active sensors and dual-technology sensors. Lights with passive sensors are equipped with infrared sensors that detect any changes in infrared heat or radiation.

Active sensors make use of infrared energy, which detects any change in the room. Dual technology sensors are models that turn on the lights when activity is detected by both ultrasonic, as well as passive infrared.

Our Pick
Motion Sensor Light Lights for Stairs
  • Smart Motion Sensor
  • Soft Light
  • Simple Mounting
  • Durable & Battery Powered
  • Multiple Uses

8. Staircase Railing Lighting

Staircase Railing Lighting

Installing illuminated handrails are a wonderful idea for basement staircases. Not only is this lighting idea extremely interesting, but it is also very versatile, blending into any type of décor too.

This is a great way to illuminate your stairwell in an invisible way. You can install LED light strips on the underside of the handrails so that the light source is not visible.

Not only is this type of lighting energy efficient because of the use of LED light strips, but the lighting style adds color, warmth and an element of interest to your stark basement staircase. Staircase railing lighting is a simple, yet effective way to illuminate your basement stairs.

Our Pick
Motion Activated LED Light Strip for Stairway
  • Day and Night Modes
  • Soft and Durable
  • Rechargeable and Environmentally Friendly
  • Easy to Install and Use
  • Ideal Home Light
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9. Narrow Staircase Lighting

Narrow staircase lighting

If the staircase leading to your basement is very narrow, then it is important to choose the right type of lighting. The perfect lights for narrow stairwells are usually ones that are neither too low nor too bright.

Low lights can make the basement staircase look too dark and gloomy. Using recessed wall lights is a good option for a narrow stairwell and when paired up with wall sconces for the landings, you can have a brightly illuminated stairway inside your home.

Our Pick
LEONLITE 120V Dimmable LED Step Light
  • User-Friendly Design
  • Smooth Dimming
  • Easy to Install
  • Quality You Can Trust
  • Guaranteed to Last

10. Staircase Spotlights

Staircase spotlight

Spotlights are an excellent way to illuminate basement stairs, as well as decorate them. This simple lighting method is very versatile and can be installed very easily, blending into any type of décor.

The best thing is that while the fixture is concealed, the spotlights are bright enough to light up the entire staircase. Not only are spotlights sleek and modern, but they also help to highlight any décor on the basement stairwells such as paintings, photos, etc.

Our Pick
Motion Sensor Stairs Night Lights
  • Turns on & lights your path as you walk
  • Peel & stick
  • 15 Bright bulbs (5 on each pad) No wiring required
  • Ideal for halls and staircases

11. Ceiling Pendant Lamp/ Chandelier

staircase pendant lamp

If you have sufficient headroom, then you can use the extra height on the landing or the staircase to create some extra drama.

You can either opt for a stunning pendant light, cascading pendants or a ceiling chandelier that is sure to highlight your décor, while adding some artistic appeal to the basement stairwell, apart from illuminating the space. And, you can choose a traditional or modern style lamp that will complement the rest of your home décor.

Our Pick
Linea 5 Light Glass Cluster Pendant Light
  • Features clear glass shades with adjustable cords for a custom look
  • Features a modern fixed canopy and convenient mounting bracket
  • Dimmable when used with a dimmable bulb and compatible dimmer switch
  • Compatible with smart bulbs

The Final Word

Stairs, especially the ones leading to the basement are as important as the stairs in the other parts of your home and must be given equal or more importance.

Basement staircases are an area that you go up and down several times a day and should not be forgotten when you’re decorating the rest of your home.

Illuminating your basement stairs will help to make them safer and prevent any falls or accidents, while overall improving the usability of your basement.

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