What is a Daylight Basement & How to Style It

Daylight basements have become a popular addition in modern American homes, providing an opportunity to transform an underutilized space into a functional and valuable living area. Whether you are looking to create a cozy family room, a home theater, or a guest suite, a daylight basement offers endless possibilities. With the natural light and accessibility of above-ground windows and doors, a well-styled daylight basement can add significant real estate value and comfort to your home.

However, styling a daylight basement can be a big undertaking. From choosing the right window, flooring, and lighting, to selecting furniture and decor, this is a remodel project that will need a lot of planning. Consider working with a professional design-build contractor to take the worry and stress out of the process and get the job done right. In this blog post, we will explore the common features of a daylight basement, and the unmatched benefits of having one, and provide you with inspiration that can help you style yours to suit your unique needs and preferences. But first, let’s dive into what a daylight basement is. 

What is a Daylight Basement?

A daylight basement, also known as a walk-out basement or garden-level basement, is a type of basement that is partially or completely above ground. Unlike a traditional basement, which is completely underground and often lacks natural light, a daylight basement has windows or doors that allow natural light into the area. The windows in daylight basements come in various types depending on your taste and the intended function.

Daylight Basement Windows

When planning for daylight basement windows, several factors are crucial to achieving the right result. The size and placement of the windows in proportion to the space is important. This is to allow as much natural light as possible into the room. In addition, the window type and treatment should be decided based on your personal taste and functionality. For example, an egress window with roller shades is a great option for a guest bedroom as it provides safety in case of an emergency, while the roller shades can also provide privacy, blocking out light when needed.


There are varieties of windows that can be used in a daylight basement. The following are some of the most common types you can choose from:

  • Casement Window: This design is hinged on one side and swings outward when opened. It is a popular option among homeowners because it is also quite easy to open and abundant natural light can easily enter the space.
  • Sliding Window: With a simple slide horizontally along a track, you can open and close in a matter of seconds. This is a good choice when there is limited space for the window to swing outward.
  • Double-Hung Window: This is a classic window style. It comes with two sashes that slide up and down in the frame. 
  • Picture Window: It typically comes as a large, single pane of glass that neither opens nor close. When you want to maximize the amount of natural light that enters the space, it is best paired with other types of windows to provide adequate natural light and ventilation.
  • Bay or Bow Windows: They are typically made up of multiple windows that are arranged in a row and joined together to form a curve or angle. They are a good choice when you want to create a focal point such as a window seat.

Common Features of a Daylight Basement

Certain features are common across all types of daylight basement designs. These features set them apart from their traditional counterparts. Let’s take a closer look at these common features in more detail. They are as follows:

  • Natural Light: One of the most important features of a daylight basement is natural light. Without natural light, there is nothing like a daylight basement. This explains why a daylight basement must have windows or doors that allow natural light to enter the surrounding.
  • Egress Windows: Egress windows are windows that are large enough for a person to escape through in case of an emergency. If your daylight basement is used as a bedroom, you may want to install egress windows.
  • Moisture Control: Since basements are underground, moisture control is crucial to prevent water damage and mold growth. A proper waterproofing system and moisture-resistant materials can help to ensure that the room stays dry and comfortable.
  • Higher Ceilings: Daylight basements can accommodate higher ceilings than traditional basements, which can make the room feel more open and spacious. Ensure to make the most use of yours.
  • Direct Access to the Outdoors: Since a daylight basement is partially or completely above ground, it often has direct access to the outdoors. This can be a major advantage if you want to use it for outdoor entertaining, a suite for rent, or as a play area for kids.

How to Style Daylight Basement

If you are looking to style your daylight basement, it is important to have a good plan in place before you begin. Hiring a design-build contractor is fundamental. This guarantees a single point of contact for the entire project, including streamlined communication during the design and construction phases, and potentially faster project completion time. From an expert design-build contractor’s point of view, we’ll like to share ideas on how to style a daylight basement with you. The following are creative tips and ideas you can apply when styling your daylight basement;

Prioritize the Main Purpose of the space

Ask yourself what the primary use of the space will be: will it be a home theater, a family room, a game room, or a guest suite? You should also consider your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy, as well as any specific needs that you may have. By keeping your intended purpose in mind, you can create a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

For example, a home theater would require customized seating arrangements, lighting, and soundproofing to create an immersive movie-watching experience. On the other hand, if it is a guest suite, you may want to focus on creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere, with a comfortable bed, soft lighting, and perhaps even a fireplace.

Make the Most of Natural Light and Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures can play a crucial role in creating the desired ambiance and functionality. While natural light is a major advantage of this type of space, you may also need to add artificial lighting to create a functional and inviting atmosphere.

First, take advantage of the natural light that enters your daylight basement through the windows or doors. For example, you can achieve this by arranging your furniture in a position and dimension that maximize the amount of natural light in the space, while you also consider installing sheer curtains or blinds to control the amount of light that enters the space at different times.

To supplement natural light, use a mix of overhead lighting, table lamps, and floor lamps to create a layered lighting effect. Choose lighting fixtures that complement the overall aesthetic of your daylight basement, considering factors such as ceiling height, room size, wall color, and furniture style. Dimmer switches are also a fantastic addition as they allow you to adjust the amount of light to fit different activities or moods, conserve energy and save on electricity bills.

Choose the Right Flooring

There are several options for flooring in a daylight basement, including carpet, hardwood, tile, and concrete. Consider the durability and maintenance requirements of each option, as well as your personal style and activities. For example, for a home gym or playroom, you may want to choose a durable and shock-absorbent material such as rubber or foam tiles.

You should also know that daylight basements are often prone to moisture, so it is important to choose a moisture-resistant flooring material. Materials such as tile, vinyl, and concrete are all good options for this reason. 

Select your Wall Colors Carefully

Choosing lighter colors for your walls can create a brighter and more open feel, while darker colors can add depth and richness. You can play around with an accent wall to add visual interest and draw attention to certain elements in the room: it could be in the form of patterned wallpaper, artwork, wall sconces, and many others. We will elaborate on further available options during your consultation. Do not be afraid to test out colors before committing to them, as colors can appear different in different lighting conditions. Take a quick look at our blog on The Psychology of Painting for more insight.

Choose Furniture Based on Scale, Function, Aesthetics, and Comfort

Furnishing your daylight basement is all about finding the perfect balance between scale, function, aesthetics, and comfort. You want furniture that fits comfortably in the space without overcrowding it, while also serving your specific needs. And of course, let’s not forget about the importance of comfort

But it’s not just about practicality – you also want furniture that complements the overall style and color scheme of your daylight basement. So get creative and mix and match different furniture styles to create an eclectic and personalized look.

Incorporate Storage Solutions

When it comes to styling your daylight basement, adding storage solutions should be among the top priorities. Consider using built-in shelves, cabinets, or storage cubes to keep your belongings organized and out of sight. You can also incorporate decorative storage solutions like baskets, boxes, or storage ottomans that can double as seating or accent pieces.

Adding storage solutions such as built-in shelving, cabinets, or wall-mounted organizers can help you keep your daylight basement organized and functional. Adding storage solutions not only keeps your belongings organized and out of sight but also creates a cleaner and more spacious look in your basement living.

Make the Most of Reflective Surfaces or Mirrors

Using reflective surfaces or mirrors can be an effective way to brighten up a daylight basement and create the illusion of more space. Mirrors can be used strategically to reflect natural light and create a brighter and more open feel to the room. Consider placing a large mirror on a wall opposite a window to reflect more natural light into the space. In addition to mirrors, you can also incorporate other reflective surfaces such as metallic finishes on furniture or accessories. These reflective surfaces can help to bounce light around the room and create a more vibrant and inviting atmosphere.

Add Indoor Plants

These plants can help improve air quality and create a more relaxing atmosphere. Choose plants that thrive in low light conditions and are easy to care for, such as spider plants, snake plants, or pothos. You can also consider placing a few plants near the windows to maximize their exposure to natural light. With the right selection of plants, you can create a beautiful and healthy basement oasis.


Benefits Of Daylight Basements

Daylight basements offer numerous benefits, which include the following:

Increased Living Space

A daylight basement can provide additional living space for your family. It can increase the functional square footage of your home without the need for an expensive addition. 

Increases Your Home Resale Value

A daylight basement can increase the square footage of your home, which can in turn significantly enhance the resale value. What is even more exciting is how a well-designed daylight basement that is functional, stylish, and properly finished can make your home more desirable to potential buyers and can ultimately lead to an even much higher resale value.

More Cost-Effective Than Building An Addition

Finishing a basement is a more cost-effective way to add livable space than building an addition, simply because the structure is already in place. With the foundation, walls, and ceiling already in place, you will not be spending much compared to a newly constructed addition.


Since a daylight basement is partially or fully above ground level, it can be easily accessed from the main floor of the house. This makes it ideal for private uses such as a home office or guest suite. It also means that family members who have difficulty with stairs can easily access the space, increasing its functionality for everyone in the household.

Connection to the Outdoors

By allowing natural light into the space, it transforms a dingy, claustrophobic, and cold basement into a more inhabitable and appealing space. This connection to the outdoors can make the room more appealing and enjoyable.

The Bottom Line

Irrespective of the condition of your basement, with the right planning and execution, your daylight basement has the potential to become exactly how you wish it to be. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure when and where to start, our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way from the design stage to the final installation. From working with trusted suppliers for all materials to following standard quality control, you can trust that your project is in the right hands and you will not be spending unplanned expenses on any redo.

Not only do we have a consistent record of working based on our budget clients’ desired standards and budgets, but we also take agreed delivery time seriously. Contact us today and let’s help bring your daylight basement to life! Take the worry and stress out of the process by letting our professionals manage the work and hassle for you.