HALL-E-LUJAHH we finally have electricity in our victorian cellar! This has been such a long time coming, I can’t even tell you! We probably finished working on the basement back in April/May of last year (2020) and then spent the rest of the year simply waiting and saving until we afford to move forward.
Back in December, just a couple of weeks before Christmas, we finally were able to have this job completed! The day had come where we would no longer have to enter the basement by torchlight, we weren’t going to unexpectedly be hit in the face by a cobweb, and for the first time EVER, we could put away all those trawling extension cables. The basement was finally going to actually be USABLE.
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It was a celebration for sure! But not too much of a celebration as unfortunately the electricians we hired didn’t do a great job and there’s quite a lot we now need to re-do. Some of their work isn’t even compliant with current regs and the certificates they provided mentioned work they hadn’t even done. Yep, it really was just a BAD experience. It’s not often we hire tradespeople, but somehow we just seem to be jinxed when it comes to electricians.
Some of the non-electrical work, such as running the conduit, we could have done ourselves and NEARLY did – but given that I was 8 months pregnant at this stage, we decided to pay the electricians to do it. Their work is unlevel, unfinished, sloppy. They even ran out of conduit and instead of buying more, smashed holes in the ceiling to run it through the joists, despite the fact we specifically WANTED it in conduit. Oh and have I mentioned the broken light they tried to pretend they didn’t know about? Even though it was in 2 pieces and they’d gone on to install it on the wall. Ugh.
Basically, it wasn’t a great job, BUT the good news is – it’s all fixable. It’ll take a bit of time, effort and money of course, but it’s not the end of the world. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself.
So anyway, with the negative stuff aside, let’s take a look at the positive stuff – we now have LIGHT and POWER in our basement!! So I thought I’d do a quick little post showing you our new cellar lighting and the style we’ve gone for.
And doesn’t it look GOOD?! We’ve basically gone for a quirky underground industrial vibe using low wattage wall lights to create a dark and moody atmosphere. As these rooms have no natural light, it was really important for us to get the lighting right down here. Essentially, it would set the entire ‘feel’ of the room.
Our ceilings are also fairly low down here, so we knew ceiling lights wouldn’t have worked in this space. The great thing about wall lights though, is that they also act as a decorative feature. Being right at eye level, they’re unmissable. I also like how they often focus the light (ie up-lighting/down-lighting) and they create a lovely ambient light. The opposite to something like spotlights, which are discreet and provide more practical lighting.
With a tight budget (and the fact we required A LOT of lights – 13 in total!), I searched high and low for the best bargains I could find for our cellar lighting. All of these lights above are from eBay – From top left to bottom right:
We have, however, also opted for some additional brighter lights in the two rooms where we need more practical lighting. One of these rooms will become a DIY workspace and the other, an office. There’s still quite a bit of work to do, but you can get a rough idea of how the office will work below.
For some extra task lighting in these rooms, I picked up a quirky cage light from a local antique centre for £25 which I’ve hung with a cast iron bracket from eBay* (eBay affiliate link) and some outdoor-rated bulkhead lights from Electrical Direct at £10 each. Both these rooms have the option to be a bit brighter (less moody!) for when we’re wanting to do work in here.
As for sockets and light switches, we’ve opted for these industrial metal-clad surface mounted ones, bought from Screwfix. We have 13 sockets and six light switches, which sounds like a lot but it’s really only 2-3 sockets and 1 light switch per zone (plus one at the top of the stairs!).
We’ve also used plastic industrial-style conduit to hide the cables running along the walls. We would have loved to used galvanised metal conduit to match the sockets, but the price of this was drastically more expensive and would have cost hundreds extra. We just couldn’t justify spending that much on essentially, a bit of tubing.
You’ve probably also seen that we’ve added some electric radiators down here too. These were also purchased secondhand via eBay, but they’re the Haverland XR series, a brand which you can find at Electric Radiators Direct. I’ll review them in time, but so far, we’re happy with them!
The final electrical thing we’ve added down here is our dehumidifier, which is a low-energy ElectriQ Smart Dehumidifier from Appliances Direct. We purchased this back in March 2020, but haven’t been able to use it in the basement as we’ve had no power down here. Again, I’ll do a full review of this eventually and let you know how well it’s working for us in time.
(Flamingo lamp was another secondhand buy from Facebook Marketplace, but you can find these new at Graham and Green here.)
And that’s our newly lit basement and our new cellar lighting! There are a few things we still need to add – some lights on the stairs for example, but right now I can’t tell you how amazing it is to just be able to finally use this space and literally turn on a light and walk down the stairs. It’s changed the entire feel of the space and made each area FEEL like it has the potential to become a proper room.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have already seen a sneak peek of our new DIY storage zone down here too, which I’ll be sharing soon.
So, let me know what you think – is our dark moody basement your kinda vibe? 😉
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