For centuries, Canadian basements have had a reputation for being dark, cold and dreary places. Finding a basement with no windows at all was common too. However, with the housing market exploding and people actively trying to maximize their spaces, basement renovations have been more popular than ever.
Nowadays, the trend is leaning toward bright and airy basements that are versatile — whether they’re used as recreation areas, hobby rooms, additional bedrooms, home offices, or even rentable spaces.
Basement redesign usually comes with a lot of fluorescent and recessed lighting, and while these are useful for evenings, why settle for artificial light during bright and sunny days?
We’ve created this guide to help brighten your basement and make the most of natural light. Along the way, we’ll also cover a few basement window ideas.
Let’s get started!
Get an Egress Window for Your Basement
The first step in increasing the amount of light in your basement is to see if you can either expand the existing window frame or install a different window style that lets in more light.
If you choose to expand the basement window’s existing frame, be prepared for an intricate project. You’ll most likely have to hire professionals who can safely cut through your concrete foundation to get this done. However, the advantages are plenty — especially if you get egress windows.
Getting egress windows is at the top of any list of basement window ideas because they offer a lot of benefits.
Egress windows are required by the National Building Code of Canada if you plan to have a bedroom in the basement. Therefore, by getting egress windows, you immediately increase the versatility of your basement, as it can be made into a bedroom of a rental space. Furthermore, larger egress windows lead to the following benefits:
- More natural light;
- Better ventilation;
- Added fire safety; and
- A significant boost in your home’s resale value.
Because egress windows are also meant to be alternate exits in case of emergencies, the usual hopper windows won’t do. The best egress windows for basements include casement windows and sliding windows. These window types usually have large openings that can easily be used as an exit route.
1. Casement Windows
Casement windows are the best type of egress windows for basements. Because casement windows swing outwards completely, the entire window opening becomes a readily available exit in case of emergencies. The way that casement windows fully open also means that they offer a lot of ventilation for the area.
2. Double Lift-Out Slider Windows
The next best type of egress windows for basements are slider windows. These windows open by sliding a panel of glass to the side. This way of opening makes slider windows great alternate exits in case of emergencies because they are intuitive to use.
The only downside of choosing this type of egress window is that they open one panel at a time. This means that you need a bigger window for it to be an acceptable alternate exit for an adult.
3. Fixed or Picture Windows
One or two egress windows in your basement will give plenty of natural light and ventilation. However, if you want an extra bright basement space with plenty of sunlight, you can add fixed windows (aka picture windows) along the walls. These windows are not operable and only serve to let in more light.
The upsides to choosing fixed windows as additional windows include the following:
- Fixed windows are not entry points for flooding;
- Depending on the size, fixed windows may not need window wells and drainage; and
- All else being equal, fixed windows have superior energy efficiency over operable counterparts.
Having a combination of one or two egress windows and a few fixed windows (or smaller operable windows) is one of the most popular basement window ideas for homeowners nowadays. And it’s clear why. This combination gives unparalleled brightness for just about any basement.
If you would like to learn more about egress windows, check out our guide: Everything You Need to Know About Egress Windows.
To learn more about installation for a basement with no windows, check out this guide: What You Need to Know About Basement Window Installation.
Other Ways to Bring In And Maximize Natural Light
Bigger basement windows are the go-to solution to have more natural light in your basement. But there are plenty of other ways to brighten up a basement with no windows. Try out these four tips:
1. Use Metallics & Other Reflective Objects
We’ve all heard about using mirrors to make a room appear more spacious. But how many mirrors can you put up to reflect light without making your basement look like a circus funhouse?
This is where metallic accents and reflective surfaces come in. Though these materials aren’t mirrors, they still allow light to bounce and give the appearance of a brighter room. Try to incorporate furniture with chrome accents, chrome lighting fixtures, metallic artwork, silver frames, etc. Then, sit back and watch your basement become brighter!
2. Choose Lighter Colours
Lighter colours will also make your basement feel brighter and airier. Try to stick to colours like off-white, light beige, duck egg blue, and the like. This tip applies to the colour of the walls, floor rugs, flooring, furniture, and pretty much everything else you decide to put in your basement with no windows.
3. Rethink Your Layout
An open layout in the basement allows more light to flow in the space. Anything obstructive will cut off light and potentially create dark corners and spots that you’ll need to address with artificial lighting. Therefore, rethink your basement’s layout and try to keep it as open as possible.
4. Consider Getting Solar Tubes
If you want to fully maximize natural lighting, reduce your dependence on artificial lighting, and make your basement extra bright, you might be interested in getting solar tubes.
Solar tubes, otherwise known as light tubes, are structures installed on the roof to channel light down to a specific interior space. Though these structures cannot take the place of actual windows, they are amazing as secondary natural light sources. It might just be what your basement with no windows needs to brighten up.
Stylish and Durable Basement Windows for Your Home
This wraps up our guide on basement window ideas and how to bring in more natural light to your basement.
If you’re looking for durable, stylish, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance basement windows, we’ve got you covered. Clera Windows + Doors has been a leader in the fenestration industry for over 40 years. We design windows that simply have it all.
Our sleek and well-insulated basement windows are made of 100% virgin UPVC, making them extra durable and resistant to moisture damage. We also have a wide array of customization options to help you get exactly what you need and prefer for your basement windows.
Check out our available windows here or get started by contacting our team. We’d be very happy to address all your questions about basement window ideas, expanding existing basement windows, and installation for a basement with no windows.