How to Get Natural Light into Basements

Typically, it is considered difficult to make a basement feel light and bright. Often they are turned into storage areas, or maybe a home gym, or cinema where natural light is not so important. However, if you are looking to design a basement space that has a more functional use, you might want to know about a few ways you can get natural light into the basement.

Many people ask us how to get natural light into basements? We have curated plenty of inspirational images to give you some new ideas on basement design. Check out some of our tips below to help get you started.

Light wells

A light well is a trench that can be dug out next to the basement wall to allow a window to be created, thus filtering light into the basement.

Light well sizes range from small areas to create a small window, to complete trenches that span a wall. Sometimes these can be enlarged to create a usable outside space.

Internal Courtyard

An internal courtyard, can be similar to a light well. This may be an external area that cuts into the basement space making natural light flow into the area.

Clerestory windows

A clerestory window is a set of windows above eye level, usually designed to bring light into a space. In terms of basement design, if the exterior ground level permits a set of clerestory windows would allow light to flood into the basement space.

Sun pipes

Sun pipes can be a cost effective way of bringing some natural light into the basement. The pipes direct natural light from outside, down the pipes into the basement.

Sun pipes can also be used in roof situations, to bring light into a dark landing or internal room.

Glazed Floors

A glazed floor can provide light into the basement from either an internal room above, or even an external area.

If the basement has a room above, the glazed floor would be positioned in the light ground level room, transferring that light down to the basement below.

If the basement does not have a room above, but instead has a garden terrace, a glazed floor would be a great feature to the terrace, but also bring in plenty of natural light.

Open up the Garden

If there is a large garden attached the property, it might be possible to open up the basement to the garden. This could be done in a number of ways. The basement level could be opened out to allow exit at basement level, with steps provided, or landscaping to reach the garden level above. If the change in level is gradual it will allow more light into the basement.

Open up the stairs

Opening up the stairs that lead down to the basement may be a way of filtering light down into the basement space.

Check out some of the images below that show how this can be achieved.

Create a New Access

Create an external access point to the basement with an external staircase. This will allow a new area to provide natural lighting, which could be supplemented with glazed walls or even bifold or sliding doors.

Other Ways to Improve the Basement Space



Mirrors help to reflect light around the space and are often a good option if you can’t make structural changes. Consider the angles of the mirrors and what will be reflected.



There are many options for artificial lighting to improve the basement.


Don’t use light

Think of things that the basement can be used for that doesn’t require natural light. Storage is always a great option, or perhaps a home gym or games room. Others often use a basement for a home cinema, or maybe a wine cellar! There are plenty of ways to use a basement with artificial lighting.


Glass Doors

Internal glass doors or screens can help keep the light flowing through the space rather than shutting it out between rooms.


Basements don’t have to be dark and gloomy spaces destined to be storage rooms. They can be light and bright and a great space to be in. We hope you found our tips useful, if you think there are any ways to improve the basement that we missed, let us know in the comments!
Need more inspiration? Check out our Pinterest boards dedicated to Basement Design and Detail.

Image Credits

Light well images
Stair images

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