Basement bathroom ideas – create a subterranean wash room that's bright and beautiful

These basement bathroom ideas will inspire the perfect design for your home

Basement bathroom ideas: porcelain tiles in bathroom
(Image credit: Porcelain Superstore)

If you’re looking for basement bathroom ideas, you’re in the right place. When designing a new space for a wetroom, washroom, family bathroom or an en suite for an underground bedroom it can be daunting to know where to start. 

Find out how to turn your basement building project into a luxurious spot for relaxation with our tips, trends and ideas that will get your imagination racing. From costs and lighting design to tiles and baths, we’ve got everything covered so you can start planning your new amazing basement bathroom space.

  • See more: Bathroom ideas – decor ideas for wet rooms, shower rooms and more

1. Tile a wetroom


(Image credit: Stone & Ceramic Warehouse)

Is there anything more luxurious than a wetroom? Pair a flush shower tray with matte or slip-resistant tiles with a realistic marble-effect to create the ultimate showering experience. 

This bathroom goes one step further and includes a freestanding bath with ceiling speakers so you can sit back and relax away from it all. 

2. Embrace unusual basement spaces for a unique bathroom


(Image credit: Matki One)

If your project deals with a sloping site, or if you’re wrestling with low ceilings in the basement, embracing the individual qualities of the space could make your new bathroom very more special. 

A change in floor level and an innovative shower recess – with built-in storage – design makes the most of the space available and creates a bespoke finish in this stunning, modern bathroom. 

3. Remember good lighting is key


(Image credit: Mereway Bathrooms)

When planning your lighting for a bathroom always remember the three essentials: task, ambient and accent lighting. 

Glamour lights in vanity mirrors or strategically placed pendant lights are great to illuminate jobs like putting make-up on or shaving while recessed downlights in the ceiling can take care of general (ambient) lighting. 

Accent lighting – such as LED strips or wall sconces – adds that finishing touch to any space, highlighting special objects or pictures. 

4. Create a light well 


(Image credit: Maison Vanentina)

Where possible, adding a glazed light well to the outside of your bathroom will always be worth the effort. 

Basement bathrooms by their very nature struggle with natural light and anything you can do to fight feeling cramped or claustrophobic will get you one step closer to your dream room. 

5. Reference natural elements


(Image credit: Porcelain Superstone)

Basement bathrooms suffering from a lack of natural light can feel a bit disconnected from the outside world so introducing links to the great outdoors where you can is essential. 

Wooden vanity units, natural stone tiles and even a natural clay wall finish are all wonderful ways to connect a bathroom basement to nature. 

6. Install walk-on roof lights


(Image credit: Mereway Bathrooms)

Consider installing walk-on rooflights above the basement as they are a great way to ensure natural light will be able to permeate the room from spaces above. 

It's a good solution for spaces that are entirely subterranean. Do keep privacy in mind though – think carefully about their position and ensure the glass is opaque.

7. Make the bath the star of the show


(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Freestanding baths are without a doubt one of the most beautiful elements to include when designing a new bathroom. 

Placing the tub in the middle of the floor – and adding LED wall panels as in this example – not only provides a luxurious finish inspired by boutique hotels, but also makes bath time fun for young children. 

Although be sure to choose a suitable flooring for the splash zone.

8. Get creative with lighting


(Image credit: Matki One)

Planning in lighting with your architect or electrician in advance of your basement project can inspire some wonderful results. For instance, recessing an LED strip within a shadow gap before adding the finishing touches can create a beautiful wash of light, as this bathroom goes to show. 

9. Contrast light and dark


(Image credit: Porcelain Superstore)

Matching a pale wall tile with an on-trend bold wall and industrial-style matte black fixtures is a sure-fire way to make a big impact.

10. Create a view with a feature wall


(Image credit: DelightFULL)

This majestic monochrome bathroom is a masterclass in elegance and timeless style. Keep your sanitaryware simple and splash out on a mural or statement wallpaper so your new space in the basement takes you to another place. 

How much does it cost to put a bathroom in the basement? 

Let's talk money, how much does it actually cost to put a bathroom in the basement? 

'The answer is — it depends,' says James Hockley, managing director of Trace Basement Systems. 'In respect of the waterproofing, for a full conversion of a responsibly-sized single room from a reputable company providing the worthwhile guarantees could be in the region of £10-£15,000 ($12-19,000).'

Add on top of the costs of a normal new bathroom, which can range anywhere from £3,000 up to £9,000+, depending on the quality of finish and professional installation costs. 

How do I plumb in a new basement bathroom?

There are also logistics to consider, like how you go about plumbing a new basement bathroom.

Plumbing is one of the most challenging aspects of creating a bathroom in a basement so positioning the layout close to existing plumbing above will reduce costs a little as extending the water lines to create new hot and cold water taps is naturally cheaper than routing new ones. 

'Pay particular attention to mechanical ventilation as basement bathrooms do not typically include windows and the structure may effectively be vapor tight as a result of the installed waterproofing,' explains James Hockley. 

'Therefore you must take provision to adequately deal with vapor production or otherwise suffer condensation issues.'

Do you need a special toilet for a basement?

Yes, you might need a different or special toilet for a basement bathroom.

While installing a normal toilet is feasible in some basement bathrooms, if your space is positioned below the sewer lines an upflush (also known as a macerating) toilet would be more suitable. 

Where a normal toilet flows down towards the soil stack, upflush units discharge into a tank (which can be concealed behind drywall), where waste is ground up before being piped towards the stack, meaning these toilets can be installed pretty much anywhere. 

How should I decorate a basement bathroom? 

Once the structure and waterproofing has been completed, it's time to think about how to decorate a basement bathroom.

The design can be similar to any other bathrooms, although you may want to compensate using various tricks of the trade for the lack of natural light, such as including large mirrors, rooflights or even small courtyards outside the basement. 

How do I light a basement bathroom? 

Rooms underground are going to be dark, so it's important to think about how to light a basement bathroom.

'Compensate for natural light by using multiple layers of light in your bathroom,' advises Sian Parsons, associate designer at John Cullen Lighting. 

'Use downlights to provide ambient lighting and wall lights either side of a mirror for task lighting. Look at building your layers with a mid level of light such as downlights in niches, uplights behind a bath or floor washers — by putting the layers together you get a good feeling of general light.'