A walkout basement is probably the most unusual feature of your house. If not, congratulations! Your home must be incredible because there isn’t much better than a walkout basement. It’s time to transform the basement and surrounding yard into the usable space it’s waiting to be. These Walkout Basement Ideas will help you create a basement you can be proud of, inside and out!
1) Double Doors
While this homeowner was clearly in the middle of some unfinished renovation, you can see the effect that exterior doors can have. Imagine stepping out of a finished basement into a patio through these. Beyond being an attractive look for a patio, double doors are convenient for a basement. Make sure you can open both doors, so you can move furniture in and out without struggling. One of the advantages of a walkout basement is that you never have to carry things down narrow stairs, and you don’t want to lose that advantage because of a narrow doorway.
2) Fire Glass
Fire glass probably doesn’t sound like something you’d want in your walkout basement; that’s good, because you don’t want it inside. Instead, you want it on a patio outside your walkout basement. Your basement design is ideal for a patio because you can spend time in either the patio or basement when you have guests. Fire glass is a great way to make a patio fire pit look dramatic, and you can get it in a variety of colors. Use this to draw people outside when you’re having a get-together.
3) DIY Wheelbarrow Planter
When winter comes, it’s time to bring all the deck and patio furniture in This includes some of your decorations that could get in the way of snow shovels or get hit by plow blades; luckily, your walkout basement makes it easy to bring things in and out. Since you have an easy way to store them, design yard decorations that you can move in and out, like this homemade wooden planter. The planter is shaped like a wheelbarrow and functions like one, so you can wheel it into your basement when you’re cleaning up the yard for winter.
When you start planting seedlings in a greenhouse, the air is probably a bit chillier than you’d like. It may be too windy, rainy, or cold outside to carry potted plants back and forth, so you do all your prep work in a boiling hot greenhouse. Instead of picking between the two, build an attached greenhouse like the one in this image. This way, you can prepare your seedlings in the basement and bring them out without exposing them to the elements. Add a second doorway to the outside, so you still have walkout access to the yard.
A walkout basement can be one of your most vulnerable areas when it comes to break-ins. They’re convenient, but people often neglect security on walkout basements, just as they do with sheds. This basement has direct access to your house, but the entrance is probably in an out-of-the-way spot. Use a motion sensor light like this to scare away potential burglars and make it look like somebody is home and keeping an eye on that basement entrance.
6) Garage Doors
Garage doors are convenient for bringing large equipment or vehicles in and out, which is why we use them on garages, of course. Since they open upwards towards the ceiling, there’s no ridge to drive or wheel something over. It’s just a smooth floor. Adding an insulated garage door like this to your walkout basement means you never have to struggle when moving things in and out of the basement, since you can always wheel them in and out instead of lifting and carrying them through narrow doorways.
7) Art Studio
Some artists prefer natural lighting, and a basement art studio isn’t for them, but if you like to have natural lighting you can control by dimming it and changing angles, a basement studio is a great idea. The best thing about putting the studio in a walkout basement is that you can always open the doors and install windows for light if you want it. You can even have a two-room studio: one room with natural light and one with artificial, dimmable can lighting.
8) Billiard or Kitchen Island Lights
If your basement isn’t finished yet, it probably has harsh, bright lighting. This is common in basement workshops or utility rooms where you want to see what you’re doing, but it doesn’t really work for a cozier space. When you renovate your walkout basement, add pleasant lighting like this farmhouse-style kitchen island light. This type of light is suitable for bars or billiard tables, and it creates a cozier feeling for a get-together or a friendly game of pool.
9) Lock Garage Doors
Garage doors are a convenient way to get in and out of a walkout basement, whether or not you store large equipment in it. Unfortunately, they’re also a target for burglars, since they’re often in an out-of-the-way place that isn’t visible from the road. In this article, Your Garage Door Guys go over a variety of ways to keep your walkout basement secure if you have a garage door. This way, you can have the convenience of a garage door without sacrificing security.
10) DIY Indoor/Outdoor Sofa
Part of your walkout basement design is coordinating the exterior and interior. The walkout basement extends your living space into your backyard in some ways as you open doors during warm weather and combine the basement and patio space into one recreation area. The walkout basement also makes it easier to bring furniture in and out as the weather gets colder and people aren’t spending time on the patio. With this video, you can learn to build an outdoor sofa that will also look good in your basement during cold weather.
11) Concrete Paint
Now that you’re doing some renovation, your basement will likely get a lot of traffic, and you want it to look a little nicer than the bare concrete floor. This Drylok concrete paint is ideal for either basements or patios, so you can use the same paint on both the walkout basement and an attached patio. If you plan on finishing any part of the basement, you’ll want to use this to seal it and keep unwanted moisture out of the finished areas.
Most basements can’t legally be used as living space because they have to have outside access. With a walkout basement, you can not only turn it into living space, but make it a private space for an in-law, adult relative, or even a renter. Since the tenant can use the outside door, they’ll have all the privacy they need, and they’ll have ways to get out in case of a fire. Frame and finish the basement, then add a little patio to increase how much rent you can ask for.
13) Under-Deck Drainage
Adding an under-deck patio means you have two tiers of living space both outside and inside. You can lounge in the shade under the deck, so you don’t have to retreat to your basement every time the sun becomes too much for you. The problem with using a deck for shade is that they’re usually designed to let rainwater run between deck boards. This keeps the upper floor dry but doesn’t protect the area underneath it at all. Deck Drain Experts provide a solution to this issue so you can have a dry patio underneath your deck.
14) Walkout Basement Pub
A walkout basement is a perfect place for entertaining guests. You can finish a portion of the basement and install a patio outside for warm weather. A home bar is always a good way to entertain guests, and these rustic bar stools are perfect for an unfinished, semi-finished, or finished basement. The rustic design means they’ll match less finished looks, so you don’t have to worry about an expensive basement remodel. You can get these in pub height for the full effect, but the counter-height ones will look best if you have a short ceiling.
15) DIY Patio
Since you have a walkout basement, it’d be nice to have a place to walk out to. Installing a patio gives you a place to sit outside and entertain guests away from your regular living space. In this video, Mike Day with Everything About Concrete shows how to form, pour, and stamp a concrete patio. The concrete will match an unfinished basement, but the stamped pattern will make it look attractive and finished. If you finish the basement, the patio will still look amazing and last longer than a patio made with pavers.
16) Double Barn Doors
Double doors make a walkout basement more accessible, so you can carry large furniture into your basement without using stairs or twisting the furniture every which direction on the way through a small door. If you use your basement for entertaining, but don’t have a finished space yet, consider barn doors like these. These fit a finished farmhouse space, but the rustic look means they can also match an unfinished basement. Since you can use them indoors or outdoors, you can use them for a farmhouse-style basement apartment, too.
17) Exercise Room
Basements make great exercise rooms since noise doesn’t carry as far from a basement as it does from an upstairs room. You can do step-ups and lift weights without worrying about loud footsteps and dropped weights disturbing the rest of the house. You want finished floors if you’re doing cardio, since they flex more than concrete. A walkout basement is a hidden gem because you can combine strength training in the basement with outdoor cardio, and come back inside to stretch without skipping a beat. Put some workout machines like these in your walkout basement to make a workout room.
18) Outdoor Rug
A walkout basement is easier to get in and out of, which means it’ll get a lot of traffic. If you have a finished space, you’ll need a welcome mat to keep dirt off the floor, but let’s face it, when you’re working, you don’t always remember to wipe your feet each time you go in and out. Instead of a small welcome mat, get an outdoor rug like this. This way, when people inevitably forget to wipe their feet, they track it onto the rug instead of your finished floor.
19) Different Shapes
There are many things you can do with a yard when you have a walkout basement. The hill your house is built into probably lends itself to some unique landscaping features. Your basement is a portal to these places, and the entrance deserved some special care as a result. Instead of sticking with a square or rectangular patio, doorway, and garden, choose different shapes to give an organic or fantasy look to the area. Step through a round pergola doorway like this to get to your patio, or design a patio that’s triangular or round
20) Bowling Alley
If you aren’t using your walkout basement for anything else, why not go all-out with a basement bowling alley? This gives you a private place to hang out with friends, and you can invite people to spend time there without having to go through the house. This lets you have privacy in your house while still having the most amazing basement in the neighborhood. This article goes through the costs, and they even recommend ways to shorten the alley if your basement isn’t big enough.
21) Weathered Slate Pool Table
It’s hard to find a place to put a pool table. They take up a fair amount of room, and you need to have space on every side for a pool cue. Put a pool table like this in your walkout basement to create a fun place for you and your friends to hangout. This weathered grey wood pool table will match an unfinished or rustic-themed basement, and the slate top is durable. Since slate top pool tables are heavy, having it on a lower floor saves you the trouble of carting it upstairs.
22) TV Room
In this modern age, it’s not uncommon to have a TV in every room. The living room TV is set to the Hallmark channel while sports blast in the master bedroom. The cooking channel volume gets turned up in the kitchen as sound from the three TVs compete. A basement TV room is a relaxing place to get away from other TVs, but also from interruptions while you’re relaxing and watching TV or playing games. If your eyes get tired from watching the screen and you’re not ready to go back upstairs, you can step outside for some fresh air.
Basements don’t usually have enough light for plants, but bringing a bit of nature into the area makes it more inviting. If you have a finished basement apartment or recreation room, try putting some fake plants like these around. Since you have a walkout basement, you can complement them with real plants near windows, and even place some real plants outside to frame the entrance. This makes a basement apartment feel more like living space, and brightens a recreation area.
24) Pool Table Levelers
Your basement may be the best or only place to put a pool table, but it comes with one major drawback. Basement floors are rarely perfectly smooth. While the basement itself might be level, the concrete will have imperfections that can cause your table to sit unevenly. This can be a major problem when you’re playing pool, and all the pool balls want to roll in one direction more than another. Use these pool table levelers to level your pool table for a more enjoyable and predictable game.
25) DIY Darts
Your walkout basement can easily become a home bar. In fact, it’s the perfect space for it. You can have a second bar outside, or have an indoor bar with a seating area outside on a patio. Darts are a staple of bars and home bars, but if your guests have bad aim, you can run into problems. If your walls aren’t finished, you don’t want poorly aimed darts breaking against concrete; if it’s finished, you don’t want to damage a finished wall. Watch this video by JM to learn how to make dartboard backing from salvaged wood.
26) Big Arcade Games
Your walkout basement is probably the biggest room in your house if you don’t have it divided into smaller rooms. If you have a large space, you can turn the walkout basement into an arcade with more than just a pinball machine. Get an indoor basketball game like this, and maybe install a basketball hoop against the exterior wall, if you have room. Look for more arcade games to design a full-size arcade in your basement. If you have kids, they can invite friends over and hang out in the basement arcade.
27) DIY Window Well
A walkout basement can be made into living space, with more windows to let light in on one wall, and a full-sized door, so you can turn it into an apartment or invite friends over to spend time in the backyard without traipsing through your living room to get there. The basement will still be dimmer than a normal room, and you’ll only have a view on one side. To fix this, use this guide to install windows wells and add windows on more than one wall.
28) DIY Music Room
Every musician has likely dreamed about their own concert. If you’re an aspiring musician, or you like the idea of entertaining the neighborhood, a walkout basement music room may be the solution. Soundproof your basement will have insulation and other methods from this article, then use it as a recording studio or a place to practice. Then, if your town’s regulations allow it, you can take the equipment outside for a neighborhood concert. Either way, the walkout basement makes it easy to get big or heavy instruments in and out.
29) Table Tennis
Unless you’re a table tennis expert, you’ve probably missed a swing once or twice and had the ball fly off into nowhere. You might have spent a while searching for it only to find it fell down the stairs or rolled into another room. Buy this portable table tennis set for your patio or basement. It’s indoor/outdoor, so if your current table isn’t designed for the outdoors, consider getting this one to replace it. You can easily carry it through your basement door onto a patio or ground-level deck to play outside.
30) DIY Wine Cellar
Basements are perfect for anything that needs to be kept below a certain temperature. They aren’t exposed to the outside as much as most rooms, so you can control the basement environment fairly well. Use the instructions in this article to create the proper environment, then create a wine cellar in your basement. You can turn the basement into a wine bar or set up a bar on a patio just outside the door. If you have large decorations, such as wine barrel chairs or premade wine racks, you can easily bring them through the basement door.
31) Man Cave
A man cave can be a place to be alone and retreat from the rest of the household, or it can be a place to enjoy yourself or party with friends. Either way, your walkout basement is ideal. It’s a naturally private space, and you can invite friends over without disturbing anyone in the house. Just hang this sign up and let them know to use the basement entrance to your man cave. If you add a patio outside, you can even make an indoor/outdoor man cave.
32) Recording Studio
A walkout basement has the benefits of both a private basement space and a convenient upstairs space. This makes it a great spot for a recording studio. You’ll need to make a lot of changes, such as soundproofing, of course, but the basement design means you can bring equipment in without worrying about stairs. You can also have guests and bandmates over without having to go through your living space. Check out this article to see how one person made a basement recording studio.
33) DIY Bar
A walkout basement is a great place to put your home bar. You’ll have privacy to relax with a drink and chat with friends, but you’ll have easy access to the yard if you want to have a big get-together. With the tips from your article, you can design a classy, finished bar with beer taps for your favorite brands. The basement will naturally keep the liquor at a cool temperature, and with a wine room and kegerator, you can have a fully stocked professional-quality bar in no time.
34) Rec Room
If you’re looking for ideas for your walkout basement, it’s probably not essential space. Since it’s extra space anyway, you can focus on designing a fun space without worrying about cramming as much as you can into it. Try designing a full recreation room like this one. You’ll want classic games like pool and darts, but think about your favorite activities, too. What activities take up too much space or make too much noise to allow in your house? Put them in your walkout basement.
35) Holidays and Get-Togethers
When you get people together for a holiday meal or large barbeque, your house probably gets a bit crowded. Instead of bringing extra chairs into the dining room and living room, move everything to the basement. You can even use this guide to make a kitchen for your basement. Consider adding a stove for barbeques and an extra oven for big family meals. Customize the kitchen for your needs, so you’ll have food-based events covered. Set up a seating area in the basement and get some portable stacking chairs to move outside during good weather.
When you look at your walkout basement, what do you imagine? Did we miss any ideas? Let us know in the comments below!