Increasing Natural Light in the Home

Home extensions in London come in all shapes and sizes. Here at Home Tales, we appreciate that every single extension design is unique. There is never going to be a ‘one size that fits all’ design. The design of your home extension should be customised to your own style and requirements. While the design of each home extension varies considerably, there is one consistent requirement from homeowners across London, and that is to increase natural light within the home. There are many advantages that come with undertaking a home extension and increasing natural light within the home is one of them. Extending your property offers you with a fantastic opportunity to incorporate modern design features that encourage natural light penetration. We thought we would talk you through some of the most popular features.

Modernising a period property 

It’s important to recognise that period properties are not very effective at natural light distribution within them. The traditional layout of a Victorian terrace on the ground floor is the three-room design; the front living room with the bay window, the middle ‘dining room’ which has a door leading onto the side return, and the smaller kitchen area on the outrigger to the rear. The door leading onto the side return is never a fantastic source of light, because the side return blocks a large amount of light penetration. That said, it’s better than nothing – and when you think about extending into the side return, you need to consider how you want to use the middle ‘dining room’, as you will likely to lose the natural source of light for this room (as it’s being extending into and encompassed into the floor area within the property). 

During the Edwardian era, architects designed more spacious, brighter properties, and for this reason, Edwardian properties are often better at encouraging natural light distribution within the home. 

The orangery extension

An orangery extension is often mis-interpreted in its definition. First, it’s important to recognise that an orangery and an extension are different things. An extension is very much an extension of the property, and is adding onto an existing room, creating one large room within the property. An orangery is more like a conservatory from this perspective, in that it’s added on as a separate room to the property. Unlike a conservatory however, they can be built as freestanding structures. Here in London, people tend to build single storey extensions instead of orangeries. That said, lots of homeowners like the design of an orangery, and they might mimic some of the features in their home extension design. Large roof lanterns are one of the iconic features that are associated with orangeries. This is also an effective way of encouraging natural light into the home. If you want to go for a more modern finish, rooflights are a modern form of roof lanterns. 

Glass doors 

One popular design feature within home extensions in London is to have large glass doors towards the rear of the property, leading out onto the garden. This not only gives a lovely indoor-outdoor feel, but it also helps to catapult natural light deep into the home. Glass doors come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and styles. Bi-fold doors are perhaps the most popular, and one advantage of these doors is that you can retract them all of the way, to completely open up the indoor area with the garden. They also tend to have less panels than the alternatives (French doors or crittal style doors), so that again helps natural light penetration within the home. Another option is crittal style doors or French doors. Both of these doors are also effective as helping natural light enter the home. 

Windows and rooflights 

Extending your home offers a fantastic opportunity to install rooflights or Velux windows within the roof of your ground floor extension. If you are extending to the rear, rooflights or a roof lantern are a popular choice. In most cases they are flat as they are installed on a flat roof design. If you extending to the side, Velux windows and all-glass roofs make for a wonderful feature. 

If you don’t want full-width glass doors to the rear, consider putting both a window and glass doors instead. This is beneficial as it means you can utilise more wall space which is great for extending your kitchen cabinets and worktops. 

Open plan design 

Nothing blocks light more than a wall within the home. Having an open plan design means light can travel room to room. Some homeowners create an entirely open plan ground floor area, which can look fantastic as you have natural light penetration from both the front elevation and rear elevation. 

There are loads techniques and methods that you can incorporate into your home extension design to increase natural light within the home. If you are thinking of extending, and wish to talk through the possible design solutions, get in touch with our team today on 020 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. Alternatively you can book a telephone consultation directly via our online booking page.  


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