Make Your Basement Apartment Feel Light & Airy

The rent is D.C. is anything but cheap, and there has been a huge demand for ‘English Garden’ Apartments, also known as basement apartments. While these are typically must cheaper than their counterparts on the 1st floor and above, designing them to maximize natural light can be difficult.

As a basement dweller myself for almost a year now, I have tried many things to keep my basement apartment light and airy. And, through trial and error, have found 3 fool-proof ways to make your apartment seem a bit more above-ground.

  1. If possible, try to do a two-tone color scheme in light, natural colors. I was lucky enough to choose my trim color and some of the colors of my non-brick walls. I choose a light, eggshell gray for the walls to play off the already-white walls. I also asked for bright white trim. Although your trim color may seem like a negligible design accent, having white bordering the floors makes the apartment seem that much brighter.
  2. Decorate your walls! Okay, I know in my last tip, I said to focus on light & bright colors but adding paintings to your walls, especially large ones, makes your room seem a bit bigger & brighter. I’ve found that hanging pictures adds dimension to your room. The larger the paintings, the better. I currently have 3 large canvases that are all about 2, or more, feet long and about 1-1.5 feet across. If you are able to do a two-tone wall scheme, I’d suggest hanging the darker pictures on the white walls and the more colorful pictures on the differently colored walls. The addition of color breaks up your walls and adds, especially if you use landscape paintings or images, the feeling of ‘windows’. Additionally, most basement apartments have at least most of the windows closer to the ceiling, so adding paintings gives the illusion of where a window ‘should’ be.
  3. Pick furniture pieces that pop! Making your smaller furniture (side-tables, ottoman, bookshelves, etc) white, or light-colored and your larger pieces (couch, dining set, etc) also helps add dimension and a balance of light/dark to your space.

-T