My small basement darkroom
Finished Darkroom

My darkroom is a 9’4” × 6’4” room in my basement. Along one side is a custom cabinet with both open and closed storage, and a single drawer underneath. The top is some kitchen counter top that I salvaged when the installers put a scratch in it. Above the cabinet, I strung some rope between two L-brackets that I can use to hang prints to dry.

The other side has a sturdy computer desk that’s holding my enlarger, paper, etc. Because of a load-bearing wall, a lost a little space on that side, so I installed some shelving on the narrower part that’s being used to store cameras and other miscellaneous equipment.

I have two safelights with red filters mounted to the walls. Over the wet side I have a Kodak model C, and over the enlarger I have a model B. I have 3W LED bulbs in each of them, so heat should never be an issue for the red filters. The safelights are plugged into a switched outlet on the ceiling. The switched outlet is wired in such a way that the overhead light in the room cannot turn on when the safelight is on, just to make sure I don’t accidentally turn it on during a printing session.

To lightproof the door, I took a different approach than I did with my previous room. In the old house I tried to use weather stripping around the door to seal it off, but with a fairly flimsy interior door, the door just bends and the stripping doesn’t really work. I had a bunch of paper taped to the door, covering up the gap wherever I could find light coming through. For this room, I took a much simpler approach: I hung a cheap curtain rod above the door, and sewed a rod pocket in some blackout fabric. As long as I pull the curtain over the door, the room is completely light tight.

One thing that is missing from this darkroom (and my previous one too) is running water. Adding plumbing to this room would have been too costly to be feasible. In my previous setup, I just used a large water jug in place of running water and it worked out OK; I only did resin coated prints, so the final wasing didn’t need to be as intense as it is with fibre. In this current room, I have a laundry sink in a room close by, so I can use a combination of that and the water jug to do what I need.