Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

Small basement bars face some real challenges when it comes to light: the nature of their location in the house means that large windows, or at the very least access to natural sunlight, is typically extremely limited. Poor fluorescent lighting only adds to a dark and dreary ambience. Fortunately, it is possible to create a light and bright space for entertaining. Read the following small basement bar ideas to learn more on how to design a space that is warm and welcoming.

Use Light Wall Colors

Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

You can immediately lighten and brighten your small basement bar ideas with the use of a light color palette. Brilliant white is an excellent color to lighten up your basement bar, but be sure to use decorative features such as framed pictures to avoid it looking too stark. With the right accessories, you can still create a warm ambiance yet keep the room looking bright and clean.

If you are concerned about brilliant white, opt for an off-white shade like cream or eggshell. Take care, however, that your choice of paint color does not create a sickly glow. Certain off-white shades contain quite a lot of yellow, which can compromise the feeling of space in a small area. If in doubt, test a few different shades on the wall, before committing to repainting the whole room. Test the shade in both shaded and lighter spots of the room so that you can gauge the overall effect.

Install a Wood Floor

Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

Choosing flooring to complement your tiny basement bar ideas can be a little tricky. While light colored carpeting can keep the room looking bright, it is also prone to stains and dirt. Tiles are very practical, but you run the risk of it looking a little institutional.

The solution is found in wood floors. Wooden floors are attractive and warm, yet durable and hardwearing. They can easily be cleaned of any spills (including the dreaded red wine), yet they will keep your bar looking light and airy. Some homeowners are wary about wooden floors in basements, as there could be difficulties with dampness and expansion.

However, there are many types of laminate and composite that can be used in a basement. These types of products have the look and feel of a real wood floor so that you can create that light yet warm and cozy feel to your bar. Learn more about flooring material varieties, and find out which option is best for you, in our article on wooden floors here.

Carefully Consider Lighting

Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

When there is a lack of natural light, often a simple ceiling pendant will not suffice. You will need to carefully consider lighting options to create that light, bright ambiance. In the wet bar picture above, you can see that the homeowner has installed ceiling fixtures, spotlights, and under-cabinet lighting to compensate for the lack of a window.

When standing at the bar trying to measure out ingredients for a cocktail, an abundance of light sources is a great design choice. You can also adjust the style and source of lighting, to set the perfect ambience. Remember that LED lights have developed a great deal in recent years, so you can enjoy an energy efficient and clean light source to brighten up your bar. 

Install a Mirror

Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

Mirrors are often used in commercial bars and pubs, where they are mounted behind the bar. A large mirror cannot only make the room feel larger, but can also make the space feel brighter and lighter. By including a mirror in your small basement bar ideas, you will immediately gain a sense of light and space.

A mirror can also be an excellent way to showcase any displays. Stacks of gleaming glasses look even more spectacular when reflected in a mirror. If you want to create a nostalgic look, have your mirror etched with a name for your bar or a slogan. For a more country cottage style, opt for a mirror with a vintage or distressed wood frame. 

Use Light Wood Tones

Introducing Light into Your Small Basement Bar Ideas

Finally, you can create a lighter mood by choosing lighter wood tones. Although many traditional bars often have very dark wood bars, cabinets, and shelving, you don’t need to go down this route with in your small bar plans. While basic pine may look a little sparse and lack the depth to create character in your bar, there are still other lighter shades that will do it justice.

In the picture above, the warm honey shade of the wood is complemented with a granite bar and countertop. While this has a more contemporary feel compared to more traditional dark wood full bars, it is less oppressive in a smaller space. The pillars and edge detailing are all in the same shade to complete the look.

Basements tend to be darker and more closed in, but your small basement bar ideas don’t need to be compromised by a lack of natural light! With a little careful planning and some design considerations, you can create an inviting atmosphere with a bright ambiance. By considering the colors and tones you incorporate into your designs and plan how you will introduce light into the room, you are sure to create a room where you and your family and friends will enjoy spending your time. All you need to think about then is stocking your bar with everyone’s favorite drink.


Do you have a bar in your basement? How have you made the most of limited light? Do you have any small basement bar ideas to share with other homeowners for designing a warm and welcoming space? Join the conversation and share your stories in the comments section below!

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