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Design Option: Add in some Natural light with Skylights

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Design Option: Add in some Natural light with Skylights

When looking to design or decorate a home we can often get caught up in the details of the colours, furnishings and finishes we’d like to use. These are all important to the overall aesthetics of our space. However, equally or even more importantly is lighting. Lighting is a requirement to ensure that your space not only looks good but also functions well. Most of us are familiar with the basics types of lighting: ambient, task and accent. However, one that is often forgotten when designing is the option of adding in natural light.

We all enjoy the benefits of natural light in our lives and our homes. Natural light not only enhances the aesthetics of your space, but seeing the great morning sunshine is a wonderful way to begin the day. Many homes suffer from those dark and shady areas such as a staircase or a bathroom, where natural light struggles to reach. If this is the predicament you find yourself in, then consider adding a skylight to your design and let the light shine in!

The addition of skylights, or sun tunnels if you are lacking the space, can be a wonderful asset to your project. It not only increases the volume of natural light, but also aids in the “health” of your home. Windows are designed to let light in and to circulate air throughout a room. However, hot air rises, and therefore so will any toxins and pollutants. To counter this, many of the skylights on the market today are being designed to open, allowing your home to properly ventilate. Boasting this feature, along with greater energy efficiency, temperature regulation and protection from the sun’s rays, the skylights of today can be a fantastic complement to the design, architecture and function of your home.

When designing for my clients, I enjoy the challenge of maximizing light, especially natural light. As we often have limitations to window sizes and locations, skylights become a great option, creating a more open feel to the space – a great feature for “space-challenged” urban dwellers!

However, before you start ripping up your roof and ceilings to install skylights in your home, there are a few important points you should be aware of in order to maximize the benefits of this great feature.

  1. Plan well and be aware of the finished outcome. Skylights are not vertical windows; the two are not interchangeable. However, they are designed to complement each other. A window is designed to catch the sun’s rays and when open circulate air in a room. By adding an operable skylight, you are able to bring sunlight into the core of your home while also properly venting out your home, thereby creating a healthier environment.
  2. Think about how the sun moves throughout the day. Skylights positioned on a north-sloping roof will pretty much diffuse light for you all day, whereas one situated on a southern sloping roof will be exposed to more direct sunlight. To diffuse the light you might want to consider a skylight with a built-in operable blind.
  3. Select appropriately for your space to maximize the design aesthetics. Just as a large skylight in a very small bathroom may appear overwhelming, a single small skylight on a vast sloping ceiling in a family room or kitchen may not be as impressive as you might hope. Skylights come in varying sizes. Therefore, if you have a large ceiling you may want to consider adding more than one skylight or create a cluster of different sizes for visual appeal. However, for tighter more confined spaces, the sun tunnel option may be the way to go. You also need to consider your lighting plan in accordance with the skylight.

Whatever your decision, I think we can all agree that skylights, as well as sun tunnels, can be a wonderful feature in your home. They add a strong architectural design element to your space while creating interest and airiness to your ceiling. So invest a little more thought into the volume of natural light you’d like to see in your home and consider the addition of a skylight in your next renovation project.

Whatever your decision, I think we can all agree that skylights, as well as sun tunnels, can be a wonderful feature in your home. They add a strong architectural design element to your space while creating interest and airiness to your ceiling. So invest a little more thought into the volume of natural light you’d like to see in your home and consider the addition of a skylight in your next renovation project. LindaMazurDesign.com

Photos by Stephanie Buchmann. Skylights photos courtesy of Velux Canada.

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