Basement House Plans


We often think of basements as extra living spaces, a second floor without having to build a second story. While basements are great for extra rooms, extra storage, and more square footage, they also serve a purpose foundational. Basement floor plans are great foundation solutions for uneven land, slopes, and hillside homes in colder climates.

The traditional basement is the floor below the main or ground floor of the house. While their depths differ, many are only halfway underground so the other half is still above ground level. They’re often built in cooler, northern climates when the foundation footing needs to be deeper to penetrate the ground layer where water isn’t freezing.

Whether a basement is unfinished or finished is up to the owner. They can request builders to finish the basement for them during construction at an additional cost, or owners can finish the basement themselves.

Looking for a basement home? Check out NLH’s basement floor plan listings!

Basement Floor Plan Types

Styles and types of basements range widely depending on foundation requirements, basement depth, and design. The following are the four main basement floor plans.


While crawlspaces aren’t full basements, they are part of the foundation and a lower level of the house. Crawlspaces create a space between the damp ground below and the flooring of the housing, and they are often a strong foundation option when there is too much water at ground level for basements. They’re commonly used in warmer, humid climates.

Crawlspaces can range from eighteen inches to standing height, though most are under four feet. Depending on how much space there is and the climate you live in, you can use the crawlspace as storage or add certain types of flooring to give it a more polished feel. Although you should always keep in mind the location of the house–if the lot is prone to flooding, the crawlspace helps protect the home from standing water and any added furnishings may be ruined.


A cellar is a basement space that is entirely underground and has no windows or light coming in from the outside. Due to the lack of windows, cellars have more restrictions than basements. They can’t be used as rental apartments or extra bedrooms.

However, cellars don’t have to be all doom and gloom. They make a great space for an at-home movie theater, storage, wine cellars, food preservation, and more.

Day-lit/ Daylight Basement

Day-lit, also called daylight or walkout basements, are when part of the basement isn’t underground. The lower level is often built into a hillside, leaving at least one side of the basement above ground. The exposed side brings in natural light through windows and doors, giving it a more open feeling than traditional full basements.

Often decks or porches are added to allow outside access to the lower level. These can be a great feature for entertaining or turning the basement into a mother-in-law suite.

Sub Basement

Sub basements are an additional lower level beneath a walkout or day-lit basement. They are completely underground like a cellar and don’t have exterior doors or windows. Since they are a second basement, they’re usually used as storage so the main/upper basement can be used for living spaces.

Basement Benefits

Basements provide a wide range of benefits to homeowners beyond the expected increased living space. Basements are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, giving you a comfortable space to stay in during the peak seasonal temperatures. Basements are also quieter, so you can stay warm or cool down in peace.

Want extra living space? A finished basement gives you additional square footage to meet the needs of you and your family. You can also build a separate entrance to a finished basement, allowing you to rent it out or host family without them intruding on your routines.

Lastly, basements are great financial decisions. The payback on the cost of remodeling the basement usually comes in at between 20% to 115%. Your work and money put into finishing the basement will increase your home’s value and give back to your wallet if you choose to sell.

Popular Uses for a Basement

Need ideas? The possibilities are endless! Though popular options tend to be entertainment rooms or additional living spaces such as extra bedrooms or offices. The following is a list of common popular basement uses.

  • Home Bar
  • Game room
  • Den
  • Informal living room
  • theater/media room
  • Library
  • Gym
  • Playroom
  • Office
  • Laundry room
  • Pantry or wine cellar
  • Extra storage

Tips for Finishing a Basement

Have an unfinished basement and want to turn it into your dream space? Don’t let anything stop you!

Seek Out Professionals

The best option is to seek out professional builders who can help you, especially if you’re planning on adding exterior exits. Basements have to be well insulated and protected against moisture from the ground or you’ll have structure and health problems later on.

Worried about the cost? As stated earlier, the payback on any money spent remodeling or finishing the basement ranges from 20% to 115%. If you can foot the bill now, the return will be much greater.

Still want to DIY a finished basement? We’ve included a few basics for you to consider.

Obtain Proper Building Permits

You can’t legally finish your basement without obtaining the proper building permits first. Research your local building codes to ensure you’re meeting any requirements then apply for your permits. Once your city gives you the green light, you can get started.

Check for Moisture or Dampness

Basements are prone to moisture, dampness, and mold because they’re surrounded by groundwater. Before you do any DIY projects in your basement, you need to ensure there isn’t moisture seeping in through the walls. Testing this is simple. Tape a plastic sheet to the bare concrete wall and wait 48 hours. If there is any condensation on the plastic sheet, exterior or interior, you need to address the moisture seeping in before you begin working on your basement.

You may also need to properly seal the tie rods in the concrete.

Insulate Pipes

If your walls are moisture-free, you can begin insulating your pipes. The insulation does more than help protect your hardware or maintain basement temperatures. It also lowers your energy bill.

Choose Practical Flooring

Basements sometimes flood. While not everyone deals with flooding and your home should be built to lower flooding risks, it can still happen. Piping breaks, water lines backing up, etc. Pick flooring that fits your basement needs AND is easy to clean in case your basement floods.

Install lighting

Basement lighting can be tricky, especially if you have a cellar or sub basement. Without natural light windows, your family and your guests will be relying on the lighting you install. Ensure you’re getting enough light into each room as you plan and install your lighting.

If you’re installing windows, you can’t use any regular windows available to the ground floor and higher levels. Check your city’s guidelines and code requirements to ensure you have proper windows for maximum safety.

Leave Space For Storage

This doesn’t mean you can’t finish the entire basement, but you do need to remember to save space in your rebuilding for storage. It’s easy to map out all the space when you’re excited about your future basement, and storage may be the last thing on your basement list. Don’t let it be the last and ensure you have enough space for you and your family’s storage needs.

Looking for a Basement House Plan?

Basements can raise the value of your property while improving your lifestyle and living space. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy your own basement and check out NLH’s current basement home models!

Styles and types of basements range widely depending on foundation requirements, basement depth, and design. The following are the four main basement floor plans.

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