Skylights (also known as roof windows or roof lights) have been around since the mid-1800s. Since this time, technological advances have allowed skylights to improve and expand in range, size, and style. With the right skylight design, your home will feel more spacious and open, and be filled with natural light. Other benefits include the ability to reduce mould, strained eyesight, and your electricity bill. They can also add value to your home, and contribute to a more energy efficient life. Skylights are great additions to any space, and can be easily installed during the building process, or in older homes.
There are three main types of skylights – fixed, tubular and vented.
Fixed skylights are typically rectangular, square or circular, and are designed for hard-to-reach spaces such as high or cathedral-type ceilings. They dramatically increase the amount of light entering a room, and are the perfect solution to dark spaces, without the added electricity cost of extra lights. The technology used in fixed skylights prevents glare from entering the room, while still allowing you to look through the skylight into the sky above
Tubular skylights are great options for those with a little less ceiling space, as well as for small areas like pantries, hallways, and closets. Tubular skylights are a cylinder-shaped option that runs from the top of the roof down to the ceiling, giving out natural light. While smaller than fixed and vented skylights, a tubular option can be styled in many ways – multiple skylights running along a hallway, matching pantry and cupboard skylights, or a range of other options.
Vented skylights are similar to fixed, but are able to be opened and closed. A vented skylight offers the added bonus of extra air flow, and can be manually operated, or controlled with a remote. Stuffy spaces with few windows would benefit from a vented skylight, as more air is able to circulate through the house, and more light able to penetrate the murk1. Skylight ventilation also has the advantage of helping dark or damp spaces stay dry, reduces mould potential, and can reduce condensation in areas like the bathroom.
All three styles have specific purposes, and figuring out which would fit best into your space is a personal preference. They can also be customised, and different brands have slight alterations and differences. If you’ve ever wondered whether a skylight would enhance your home, but aren’t sure where to start, the following are some inspiring skylight ideas to brighten up any space!
Image from Velux
A general house/living area skylight is a simple way to create a warmer and more welcoming space in your home. For those who love having fresh flowers or plants around your main living area, skylights will extend their life. Fixed skylights are also a great way to take advantage of the beautiful, sunny days that abound in this corner of the world. Skylights create an architectural appeal, bringing flattering light into your house, and showing off your home’s best features, adding value to your home2. Due to the increasing popularity of skylights, the range of styles has grown, so you will easily be able to find the perfect match in size, colour, and type for your house skylight. Fitting seamlessly into your space, the natural light of a skylight makes your living area a great spot for entertaining, parties, and family events – and the perfect spot for your pet to take a snooze in the sun!
Image from Decoist
One of the most popular skylight ideas is a bedroom skylight. Depending on your bedroom size and ceiling height, a vented skylight can not only add light, but also air flow. A warmer climate can benefit from this, as breezes can add ventilation to your space. For those who may live in cooler climates, a fixed option adds the heat without letting cool air in – many modern skylights are fitted with sun tracking technology, which consists of external, reflective mirror panels that continuously move throughout the day, following the sun. This increases the amount of sunlight in your space, and increases heat. Skylights offer significant amounts of natural light, even on overcast days, requiring little to no extra artificial lighting3. Over time, this can save you electricity costs, through less use of artificial lights, heaters and/or cooling appliances. Bedroom skylights also offer the calming benefit of being able to watch the clouds or night sky, both of which are more relaxing, and better for you than looking at your phone before you go to sleep at night.
Image from Pinterest
Kitchen skylights are another awesome idea. As kitchens are very family-centred in modern life, a dark or cramped area is not ideal. Adding a skylight in the kitchen can open up the entire space, making it feel bigger and more spacious than it otherwise would. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you want it to be a place where you can relax and enjoy the space.
There are a few options for skylights, depending on the kitchen style you have. Sloping skylights, like the one above, are a great way to add a lot of light, but for smaller kitchens, tubular skylights will also dramatically increase the natural light. This helps to create an airier, more homely space, and can also assist with things like growing kitchen herbs in pots.
Home office/study skylight
Image from Decoist
As more people are working from home, home offices and studies are being used much more than previously. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that the area is healthy and welcoming, and not associated with tension, being uncomfortable, or overly dark. Natural light from skylights helps reduce eye strain, is shown to make people more productive, and also reduces stress4. This improves concentration for workers and students, and also improves mental health – being able to take a quick break and rest your eyes from your computer or book by looking outside helps to rest your eyes, and reset your concentration. Depending on the space you have, skylight ventilation also encourages fresh air flow. Allowing aspects of nature into your work space is a great way to be as productive as possible, in a healthy way.
Image from Cass Brothers
We spend a lot of time in our bathrooms – first thing in the morning and last thing at night we are brushing our teeth, showering, bathing, shaving, and using beauty products. The natural light that comes through a skylight is perfect for not only making your bathroom feel more spacious, but allows for better reflection when applying beauty products. Less shadows are created by natural light than artificial, and modern skylights ensure there is no glare bouncing off your mirror. The sunlight coming through also helps to dry towels, bathmats, and face-washers – items that can typically stay wet when in darker rooms. This reduces the potential for mould growth, not only keeping your bathroom bright, but clean and healthy as well!
Natural sunlight has a lot of benefits, and these can easily be incorporated into your home by adding a skylight. No matter how small your spaces or ceilings are, there are skylights to suit your needs. A few extra things to keep in mind when deciding on the perfect skylight for your space are:
- Direction: To know where to place your skylight, you need to think about the direction it faces. If you prefer morning sun, skylights facing east are the best choice. If you prefer more warmth and light in the afternoon, facing your skylight west is the way to go.5 Make sure to research this before deciding where your skylight will go.
- Consultation with professionals: a skylight must fit your needs, but also gain the maximum benefit of the area you live in. Oversized skylights can let in too much heat and light, leaving you worse off than before. Professional installers will know maximum and minimum sizes for needs, as well as the best time to maintain them, whether annually or bi-annually.
- Laminated glass: if you live in areas where there are summer storms or hail, investing in laminated glass is the safest way to keep your skylight safe, and in working condition.
- Features: do you want to be able to control your vented skylight with a remote? Access it manually? Do you want it to automatically close in rain? All these features are possible, but need to be thought about during the quote and install process.
The above are just a few great ideas to add to your home, whether you are planning to build, or wanting to renovate. You can’t go wrong with natural sunlight, and when installed safely and professionally, will get enjoyment out of your skylight for years to come.
- 2020, 11 Different Types of Skylights, Home Stratosphere.
- 2020, How to Select the Perfect Skylight: The Buyer’s Guide, Belle Skylights.
- Peter Lyon and Richard Hamber, 2013, Skylights, Australian Government.
- 2012, Benefits of Natural Light, Patio Enclosures.
- 2018, Everything You Need to Know About Skylights: The Different Types of Skylights, Atlanta Skylights.