Ways to Introduce Light From Above

We have gathered 15 amazing glazing ideas to bring natural light into the heart of your home.

Clerestory Windows

Clerestory Windows

1. Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows are an ideal solution for bringing in natural light while maintaining a degree of privacy. These high-level windows can be put to good use in solving issues, such as overlooking in new extensions (a particularly useful device to help with planning permission applications), and are a great feature for drawing the eye upwards.

2. Structural Glazing

For contemporary extensions, introducing structural glazing into the design can turn what would be a standard room with minimal daylight into a bright, light-filled space. Whether you specify a glass ceiling, wrap-around corner glazing, or go for full-height glass walls, you will benefit from plenty of daylight and maximise on the views.

Structural Glazing

Structural Glazing

Glazed Gables

Glazed Gables

3. Glazed Gables

This excellent means of introducing light from above is to utilise the space within the gable by filling it with glazing. This design feature can make for a great focal point both internally and externally, and can be adopted in traditional schemes, as well as more contemporary homes with large expanses of frameless glazing. Combining with timber is a good idea, as the material softens large areas of glazing.

Open Tread Staircase

Open Tread Staircase

4. Open Tread Staircase

An often overlooked feature in the home, the staircase can play a big role in the way light moves between the changing levels. Whether you opt for a rising, helical or zig-zag design, choosing open treads will give a greater sense of space and allow light to trickle down. This is a design feature which we have exploited within our most recent ‘Tiny House’ project in London. Combine with a glazed ceiling or rooflight above will maximise natural light. Better still, selecting a glass balustrade will bring added wow factor.

5. Glass Roof Tiles

This one is a great idea for barn conversions – perhaps where a few old tiles need replacing – glass pantile or roman roof tiles can be a means of introducing pockets of natural light from above without the ‘obvious’ presence of a rooflight. This design idea is subtle yet highly effective.

Double-Height Spaces

Double-Height Spaces

Glass Roof Tiles

Glass Roof Tiles

6. Double-Height Spaces

It might sound obvious, but planning in a double-height space – with a hallway and galleried landing, or living space with mezzanine level, for instance – is one of the simplest ways of poaching light from above. A good design solution is to include circulation space with glazing on the first floor galleried landing, allowing light to flow down into the rooms below in the centre of the home that might not otherwise receive enough light.

Glass Floor or Ceiling

Glass Floor or Ceiling

Introducing an Atrium

Introducing an Atrium

7.  Glass Floor or Ceiling

Introducing light from above doesn’t have to stop at rooflights — why not think outside the box and take glazing a step further with glass flooring or by introducing a panel of glass to the floor. This design idea not only lends additional light to the rooms below, but adds a real talking point to any home. Thishis solution isn’t just for new builds, with glass flooring being an effective retrofit solution too.

8. Introducing an Atrium

Adding a wow factor upon entry, a glazed atrium is a great design idea for new builds and renovations, creating circulation space from which other rooms lead off. Formerly an open-air design concept common in ancient Roman homes; known as atria, the atrium has developed into a glazed structure, perfect for modern homes, the double-height glazed walls and roof flood the hallway with natural light.

9. Roof Lanterns

These are perfect for more traditional schemes, roof lanterns not only fill a space with natural daylight, but can add drama and height to the interiors. They’re a particularly great addition to new kitchens and sunrooms. Companies also now offer conservation roof lanterns if your home is in a Conservation Area or is a listed building, allowing you to brighten your home and be sensitive to the existing building.

Rooflights

Rooflights

Sun Pipe or Sun Tunnel

Sun Pipe or Sun Tunnel

10. Rooflights

Rooflights have been popular for many years now, and the latest offerings can make all the difference to your home. Placed above a staircase, in a living or dining space, over a kitchen island, or in a bathroom, a rooflight will bring in twice the amount of light of the average window, and is perfect for rooms where side glazing may not be possible — or simply if you’re just keen to free up wall space. Given that many models now offer features including built-in blinds and remote-controlled opening – some models even allow the glazing to slide right back for a real ‘open air’ feel – you can find ones to best suit your needs.

11. Sun Pipe/Tunnel

Borrowing light from adjacent rooms is one thing, but what about spaces where devices such as rooflights and windows aren’t practically possible for instance, for basements, or rooms in the centre of a floorplan? The sun tunnel – also referred to as a sun or light tunnel – is an ideal solution for introducing natural light into those awkward spaces.

Glazed Links

Glazed Links

Internal Glazing

Internal Glazing

12. Introduce a Glazed Link

Using glass to signpost the transition between the existing home and a new space can prove a highly effective design tool in extension projects. Not only does this device add a real sense of drama to your home, but it can pull natural light into the heart of the floorplan, which is often an issue when extending an existing home.

13. Internal Glazing

Who says windows have to be on the exterior of the building? Internal glazing can provide a dual purpose as both a great point of interest and a source of light borrowed from a room above. Here, the internal window above the double-height kitchen not only serves as a way of capturing the hillside view from the bedroom space, but also introduces light from the double-height open plan living/kitchen space.

Basement Lightwells

Basement Lightwells

14. Lightwells

A key consideration when building a basement is how to introduce natural light below ground. The lightwell comes into its own in this situation, offering the opportunity to not only bring in light to the basement accommodation but also to include a sunken courtyard space for the homeowners to step out onto, and even an external staircase leading back up to the garden level. We have introduced these dramatic lightwells in both our Keyworth, Nottinghamshire and Tidbury Green Golf Course, Solihull homes.

Former Architects Submission

Former Architects Submission

Architecture Norths’ Detail Redesign - Note Fanlight above Door

Architecture Norths’ Detail Redesign - Note Fanlight above Door

15. Fanlights

These are a staple found in many Victorian and Edwardian houses, there’s a lot to be said for introducing glazing above the front door — namely, that it is a foolproof way of bringing light into what could otherwise be a dark hallway. These are something which we are designing more and more into our properties, as getting light into hallways are a common problem as some period homes and developer builds is at the centre of the floorplan. It’s also an ideal means of introducing light without compromising security or privacy. Within our designs we introduce fanlights as this enables us to increase the floor heights and allows a natural light to flow into the heart of the home. Our director redesigned all the stonework, windows and doors to be more in-keeping with the style of the property. The former architects Henry Mein Partnership of Nottingham were the original architects, however Henry Mein Partnership Architects have no architectural style or design, therefore our director brought the Edwardian/ French Baroque style to reflect the characteristics of the property and clients brief.