How to bring natural light into a basement

7 top tricks to create a basement room that’s flooded with natural light.

Natural light plays a big part in how we feel about our homes so when you are creating a room under the ground, the more light you let in the happier and more comfortable you will feel in the space.

Think of those lovely days when sunlight streams through the windows of your home – that’s the feeling you want to create in your new basement conversion, and there are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Light wells: vertical light is the strongest type of light and will go a long way to illuminating your basement. When designing your basement, look at the garden to see where you can incorporate light wells or roof lights. These can vary from window size to full-scale roofing panels – has a good supply ­– but both will help to make sure your basement is flooded with natural light.
  2. Terraces: if you have the space, it is a good idea to extend further to add a terrace to your basement. Adding glazed doors will give extra light as well as giving the basement its own access. Having a view of the garden from the basement will also help with perspective, contributing to the feeling of light and space.
  3. Sun pipes: if garden space is valuable, you can add a sun pipe which does the same job as a light well but without the views. It is effectively a metal pipe which captures the sunlight and redirects it straight into the basement, giving you a sunny glow underground.
  4. Extend ceiling heights: to maximize the feeling of light and space, consider increasing your ceiling heights. Often basement height is restricted but if you are able, steal some height from the floor above to create double-height ceilings.
  5. Internal glazing: another way to bring natural light into your basement conversion is to put in a glazed staircase and balustrade to access the basement internally. This ensures maximum light from the floor above can penetrate into the basement. Toughened glass and anti-slip treads on the stairs are a must.
  6. Glazed floors: installing a glazed floor in the room above will allow light to penetrate directly into the basement. Position glazed floors beneath roof lights or windows for maximum impact. The glass will need to be toughened glass and fire safety approved.
  7. Design details: there are various interior design techniques you can employ which will help to increase the feeling of natural light in your basement. Use plenty of mirrors, facing them towards open windows and other natural light sources to reflect the light that is already there. Incorporate shiny surfaces into your design where possible – for kitchens, choose high gloss cabinets and worktops which will reflect natural light, and in family and media rooms, choose high gloss media units and shelving systems. Paint walls in bright colours that reflect light well – white or off-white is a good choice for basements and complement with brightly coloured soft furnishings and artwork.
Peter Little
The Cool Basements Company Ltd.