I've changed my mind (not a huge surprise, knowing me)!
I originally wanted the basement stairs behind full walls and a door. I've recently decided, after some persuasion, to keep the staircase open with a railing. This way it'll look like another floor of the house, rather than a basement. Kind of like the way stairs going up seem inviting. I realize that sometime in the future this will mean a baby gate... but I am soo on board with this.
I think originally I was thinking it would be a while before the basement is finished, and it would be more cost effective to shut the basement door until then. BUT it's time to think about forever. A time when the basement is finished. The walk-out basement, with higher than normal ceilings, a sauna, wetbar, full bathroom, and an HD projector (a girl can dream, right?). I want people to feel invited downstairs, and not have to walk through a door.