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Rooflights – How to choose the perfect location in your home

open plan living advice

Rooflights are a fantastic way to maximise the amount of natural light in your home and an excellent way to create an impact in a room. But positioning them in a way that benefits the space and gets light into the right area is often something that isn’t adequately considered. So here are six things to think about to help you choose the perfect location in your home.

Extending

Whether you’re extending or converting, roof lights are a fantastic way to get more daylight into your home. But rooflights are often poorly located. When choosing the best position for your rooflight, aim to light the darkest areas of the space. 

When you extend your home, the rooms you are building in front of will become much darker. Rooflights are the ideal way to bring light back into these spaces. Position the roof light as close to the existing external wall of the house as possible to light into the central or darkest area. 

When you extend over a garage, you often lose the window in the side of the house, which lights the stairwell. One of the simplest ways to get light back into the space is to put a rooflight in the roof space above the stairs. Do bear in mind you will need planning permission if the rooflight is to the front of the house. Rooflights to the rear will not require planning. 

Kitchen Guide

Furniture layout

When planning the location of your roof light, take the layout of your furniture into account. An easy way to do this is to mark out each furniture piece on the ground with chalk or tape to help you visualise how the space will flow. 

Think about the atmosphere you are trying to create in the space and where you need to get light. You might find it uncomfortable to have a rooflight directly over your head when you’re sitting on the sofa, for example. On the other hand, placing a roof light over circulation spaces tends to work better as it creates a more dynamic flow through the room.

If your room has a very sunny aspect, you might want to consider a glass with UV protection to stop fabrics and finishes from fading. “Optitherm will work to a certain extent to stop sun fading fabrics but, be careful about the size of roof light that you choose for very sunny aspects,” warns Dave Baxter of Skylight.ie.

rooflights

Orientation

When it comes to the size and shape of the rooflight you choose, think about the orientation of your room. If you have a sunny aspect and a lot of glazing, you won’t need lots of rooflights. Too many rooflights can result in the room being uncomfortable at different times of the day. So consider the number of rooflights and where you place them carefully. 

Bear in mind also that having too many rooflights can lessen their impact from a design perspective. It’s much nicer to have one large feature rooflight than lots of smaller ones. 

For north-facing or darker spaces, the location is more important than the size. “Don’t just go big for the sake of it because even a small roof light will let in a huge amount of light if positioned correctly,” says Baxter.

There’s a misconception that a pitched style roof light will let more light in than a more contemporary flat rooflight. “The opening in the ceiling is the same size regardless of what style of roof light you install,” says Baxter. “The position of the opening is what will make the difference,” he explains.

Cleaning and practicalities 

“Self-cleaning glass, in my opinion, is a gimmick,” says Baxter. “Your skylight is like your car. If it gets dirty, you’re going to need to clean it,” he explains. 

Take the location of any large trees into account when planning the position of your rooflight. For example, if you live near a park or a lot of trees, you will need to factor in more maintenance, so make sure you position it in a way that allows access for cleaning.  

Lighting

Strategically placing rooflights over designated areas – like the kitchen workspace or the walkway through the space – can create a striking feature as well as bringing lovely daylight to your room. But don’t forget about your artificial lighting layout.

If you place your rooflight directly over your dining table, you won’t be able to hang a pendant light. Instead, think about the atmosphere you would like to create in the room at different times of the day and plan accordingly. 

In a kitchen, make sure your work surfaces are well lit and that the lights are positioned so you are not working in your own shadow. It’s essential to coordinate both natural and artificial light to ensure you get light exactly where you need it at all times of the day.

Overlooking

If you live in a terraced home or built-up area, overlooking may be an issue. Carefully consider the location to maximise your privacy. The last thing you want is your neighbours having a clear view into your home from their bedroom windows. If your options are limited, a tint can be applied to the glass, obstructing what can be seen from the outside. 

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Interior Design
Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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