A simple and efficient direct displacement-based design (DDBD) method is introduced to base isolated (BI) structures. Assuming the vibration mode of superstructure to be the shear type and considering the BI structure to be an equivalent single degree of freedom (ESDOF) system with spring and damper at the seismic isolation layer. The acceleration response spectrum in Chinese code is converted to displacement response spectrum. Corresponding to the design displacement, the equivalent period is obtained. The relationship of the deign displacement, equivalent period, equivalent stiffness and base shear of the system can be derived from the given formulations. Then, the distribution of the base shear along the floors is obtained. This method has been applied to the design of a 12-story BI structure with lead rubber bearings in high intensity zone in Suqian city, Jiangsu province. The results show that the method is feasible for the design of BI structures.