Let there be light! A quick guide to installing skylights

LIGHT AND BRIGHT: Consider skylights in large living areas. Photo: Marni Epstein-Mervis
LIGHT AND BRIGHT: Consider skylights in large living areas. Photo: Marni Epstein-Mervis

Light, ventilation, access to a beautiful view - there's no end to what a well-placed skylight can do. Home renovation and design platform Houzz has millions of photos providing design inspiration, including fresh ideas to brighten your home with skylights.

Houzz Australia and New Zealand editor Vanessa Walker has compiled a series of practical tips from professionals in the Houzz community for homeowners to consider when installing a skylight.

Let there be light. But where?

Recent Houzz & Home studies reported that 19 per cent of renovating Aussie homeowners installed a skylight when updating their home.

Skylights are most useful in spaces where you don't have access to north-facing light or where there isn't any natural light at all. Think about placing a skylight in modest spaces such as hallways and bathrooms that rely on artificial illumination. We also often see professionals on Houzz use skylights in vaulted ceilings, to spotlight over a staircase or in large living areas.

Skylights are most useful in spaces where you don't have access to north-facing light or where there isn't any natural light at all.

Illusion of space

If you're eager to bring more light into the home, a much-adored design feature that professionals on Houzz utilise is combining a skylight with a void. When a skylight is set over a void it can create a dramatic illumination through the home that can make a smaller house feel spacious and special.

Natural light passing through voids on lower ceilings can offer an open connection between different floor levels. The combination also helps to draw light deeper within the home which energises other elements in the space such as paint colours appearing brighter. An architect or designer can help guide you in creating this layered lighting look.

LOOK UP: Skylights can be a feature in their own right. Photo: Camilla Ropers

LOOK UP: Skylights can be a feature in their own right. Photo: Camilla Ropers

Control temperature levels

Installing a skylight certainly invites the sun's rays but it can also double down on helping to control temperature levels in the home. Window specialists on Houzz suggest opting for a skylight where you can control the amount of light and heat allowed to enter through the window.

For homes that warm up easily, seek a skylight that opens to release excess rising heat. Consider a tinted glass to block UV rays or retractable blinds to diffuse glare and provide shading over living and workspaces.

A professional installer will be able to advise what's best for your home's orientation.

Ready for whatever weather

Australia does come with extreme weather challenges so when considering skylights, resilience to prevailing rain, hail and shine should be of utmost priority.

Typically, skylights are weather-proofed with outside aluminium framing and can come with a wall switch or sensors to trigger the skylight to close when it rains.

To ensure the skylight can hold its own in the peak of summer, consult a professional on double glazed window options and have them inspect the profile and glass for defects after any solid precipitation.