A house with a lot of light is so much warmer and more welcoming than a dark place, where the only light is a sliver that comes in is through the closed curtains or small windows. Flooding a house with natural light is visually ten times more appealing than dark unassuming place.
Of course you can use electric light to light up a place as well, but using it 24/7, it becomes rather expensive. Then there is candle light. It's romantic yes, but it can be a fire hazard and not the best idea during daytime. If you think carefully you can probably come up with a few other ideas how to brighten your home, but a skylight is one of the most functional ways to brighten a home.
What is a skylight?
Now you might ask what a skylight is or not even realize you probably saw one before, malls and corporate buildings are full of it.
In essence is a skylight exactly what the name say it is. A skylight is a window that is build into the roof or against the slope of the house. Skylights also comes in various shapes, with the most popular one rectangular, but also includes circular, oval, diamond and triangular.
Skylights can be made from Plexiglas and preferably in a bubble shape, because it strengthens the plastic. If you want a flat skylight, it is then made out of safety glass, like tempered or laminated glass. Skylights needs to be properly fitted, sealed and insulated to make sure it doesn't leak and have optimal heat protection. These windows is not only available in different shapes, but types as well, like the traditional skylight that is most commonly seen or the tubular skylight, which looks like big sunken lights in a ceiling.
How does it work?
The first work of a skylight is the same as any other window– it lets in natural light. This means that more sunlight is coming in during the day, creating an illusion of a bigger and more welcoming, attractive space. It not only illuminates a place but also naturally heats up the space in winter months.
By treating the glass (tinting it) it also helps to control heat gain and loss, thus keeping the place cool in the summer and warm in the winter and saving on electricity bills. Certain skylights also has the option to open, contributing to ventilation in the house. Certain skylights that can open, can also be used as and emergency exit, but be careful not to fall.
When is it the most effective?
A skylight is most effective if it is installed properly, if not, too many problems can arise like leaking or even glass falling out. Skylights is also more effective during sunny days, though overcast days can still let sunlight filter in, seeing as it is diffused by the clouds.
Furthermore it is neccesary to take the movement of the sun in account when placing a skylight. If you rather want more sun in the morning it is best to place it east on the roof, taking in account over which room you want it. This means that the room will be warm during the day and cool off during late afternoon. The opposite is true for a west facing skylight. The place will be cool during the mornings and heat up after midday. The best is to consult an expert that they can tell you where and what skylight would work best for your property.
Lastly another thing to consider is to put a skylight underneath a deciduous tree (one that looses it's leaves during the autumn and winter months). This lets in light during the warmer months, but not heat and heat and light during the colder months.
Have a look at the how skylights was used in the photo's taken by Rupert Warren.
Skylight in the hallway?
A lot of skylights in hallways tend to look like a glass roof, but if a hallway is suitable for normal skylights that can open and set at intervals, is it a good idea to think of it. First, hallways can be dark, especially in older houses where there is big rooms and long hallways and minimum light coming in from the rooms on both sides and this is why skylights are a great option because it illuminates the hallway naturally.
Secondly skylights that can open also adds to the ventilation, which might be obstructed by a hallway, depending on how the house was build.
If the hallway isn't suitable for a traditional skylight you still have the option of using tubular skylights. They take up a minimum amount of space, while still providing a lot of natural light. This is also a great option, because it uses a highly refelctive surface inside the tube, and can still provide light even when the sun is at a low angle.
Skylight in the living room?
Depending on the size of the living room, you can again choose between a traditional and a tubular skylight. Seeing that a living room is a more open space than a hallway a is a traditional skylight here a rather good idea, but it can also be altered to suit your needs. It doesn't need to look like three block in the roof – here is where you have more options if building from scatch. You can decide what types of skylights you want or if you just want to put glass into the raised ceiling (this creates a triangular look).
By putting a large skyllight or various tubular skylights into a living room creates a more welcoming feel, which also make the residents more happy. It also makes residents feel as if they are more connected to the nature if big skylights is used – the best of this is, at night you can see the stars without having to go into the heat or cold.
Skylight on the staircase?
One place in the house which is mostly neglected in terms of natural light is the stairs. The reason behind this is, it's because a staircase is a lot of the times build between two walls and one doesn't necessarily want a big wall window at the stairs, especially if the stairs faces the street.
If you don't want tubular skylights on the staircase, is a traditional skylight that can be tilted to the inside a good idea, to easily clean it. This big windows (depending on what size you want) can light up a large amount of the second floor and even of the ground floor. This is also a great place to bring in a bit of diversity into the house, especially if the rest of the house's windows and lights looks the same.
Skylight in other rooms?
Skylights can basically be put in any room that you feel needs to have extra light, but the best is to ask an expert for advice about if it would work, if not- why, where to put it and what shape and type would work best in the proposed or altered space.
A popular place to put skylights is small bathrooms, because a lot of the time these small bathrooms doesn't have a window in sight. A tubular skylight is perfect for a bathroom because of its smallness and a small bathroom with an over sized skylight looks unbalanced. The kitchen and dressing rooms is also popular places to put skylights.
For more ideas to on how to brighten your home, look at these 5 ways.