Roof Lanterns: A Buying Guide


An affordable and efficient way to fill a room with natural light, a roof lantern can transform the way you use your home.

Once the ultimate architectural feature for Victorian and Georgian homes, the roof lantern is now available in such a wide variety of shapes and styles that you don’t have to have a period property for it to work. From domes and pyramids to octagons, a roof lantern can also improve the exterior of your home on top of the additional interior light benefits.

‘Architects are realising that roof lanterns are quicker to install and pose fewer problems with building regulations and planning applications,’ says the Design Director at Town and Country, Mark Jones, in an interview with House Beautiful. ‘They still bring natural light to dark corners or create fabulous pavilion-style extensions at a fraction of the price of using frameless glass.’

Who can see in?

Think about who might be able to see in through your glazed roof lantern. If your home is overlooked by the neighbours, or someone is able to get on to your roof easily, then a roof lantern could pose both a privacy and security risk.

Do you need planning permission?

As Mark Jones stated, they usually pose fewer problems than other building renovations.

If your roof lantern is part of an already agreed extension or you’re replacing an existing rooflight, then you won’t need planning permission – though it is always within your best interests to double check.

If it is a new addition or if it’s not a flat skylight then you should seek permission, because some neighbours may object to it as an eyesore.

You will need to consider building regulations, though most architects will know these already. There is a limit to how much glass one building can have!

How much light do you want?

Consider the light that will come in. Are you happy with light all the time? In a kitchen, this might be fine if it’s not overlooked, but if the room/roof gets direct sunlight, then it may become too bright to cook in, for instance.

What size do you want?

This is very much down to personal preference. If light is your main concern, you don’t necessarily need a massive roof lantern. You’ll be surprised at how much light even a small one will let in. Consider the room and the way you’d like it to look – peruse our case studies for ideas.

Most roof lanterns will come in set sizes, so once you know the type or style of lantern, then you can pick the size that you want.

Do you need ventilation?

If the space is south-facing and receives direct sunlight, doesn’t have any opening windows or contains a kitchen, then it’s worthwhile considering ventilation. There are a variety of options, depending on the style of your roof lantern.

This is something to consider in conjunction with security, because it could give access to burglars.

Are you interested in roof lanterns? Head to our selection of styles or get in touch for more information.

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