Using glazing to introduce natural light into the home, whether you’re building from scratch or adding an extension, is a top priority for homeowners wanting to do away with dark spaces in the centre of the floorplan or feel claustrophobic by small, pokey rooms.

Whether you go for swathes of full-height, ultra-wide sliding glass, add rooflights or even get creative with glass floors/ceilings and even staircases, there are plenty of ways of introducing glazing into your home to inject daylight — and borrowed light from other spaces too. Here, we list some great glazing ideas to provide inspiration for your project.

1. Add Light from Above

This bank of Velux rooflights is a great way of introducing glazing to add light from above

 This bank of roof windows are from Velux

There are many ways of injecting daylight into the home. Whether you’re unable to introduce a ‘standard’ window opening, or you simply want to wash your interiors with light, you can brighten spaces by introducing light from above (a rooflight, for instance, introduces almost twice the amount of light as a vertical window of a similar size).

Rooflights, roof lanterns and structural glazing are all good choices, and can look just as great above the dining table as they can above the kitchen, or even bath, for those looking to view the stars from the tub!

2. Choose Bifold or Sliding Doors

These sliding bifold doors open the room up to the outdoors

Many people prefer the fact that bifolds can be concertinaed back to open up
an entire room, as these doors from Origin go to show

Now seen as a ‘must-have’, providing access to the garden and essential to creating that indoor/outdoor look, bifold and sliding doors are almost a prerequisite to any self build or home improvement project. While there is very much still a market for French doors – particularly in traditional settings – bifold and sliding doors allow a large section of the room to be opened to the garden beyond.

Both your budget and aesthetics will dictate your decision. Bifolds, for example, can sometimes come in slightly cheaper as sliding doors usually require much larger spans of glass to be used in a single frame and achieve much thinner profiles; they can provide that much sought-after unobstructed view.

If you specify bifold or sliding doors with the aim of achieving that indoor/outdoor lifestyle with a level threshold to the outdoor patio, you will need to pay careful attention to drainage and water runoff to ensure rainwater drains away from your home — and not into the interiors.

3. Design in Clerestory Windows

Incorporating clerestory glazing into a home can bring in light as well as allow the roof to appear as if it's floating

Clerestory windows can provide plenty of natural daylight while maintaining a degree of privacy. The beauty of these high-level windows is that they can be introduced in both traditional and contemporary homes, can pull more daylight into the home and can be used as a design device, providing the illusion of the upper storey floating above— as pictured above. They can also be used internally between rooms within the home as a means of borrowing light between spaces.

4. Don’t Forget Traditional Windows

Traditional-style windows

These traditional-style windows are from Bison Frames

With all the hype surrounding frameless glazing and ultra-wide sliding doors, it can be easy to forget more traditional windows. From period-style sash windows to casements, specifying windows for your project shouldn’t be overlooked, as the cost can take up a large chunk of your budget.

Whether you opt for timber, composite, powder-coated aluminium, PVCu or steel, the material will have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your house both inside and out, as will the colour you specify. It’s worth shopping around to find the right frame to suit your house style. You’ll also need to decide how narrow or chunky the frame should be and the thermal performance.

5. Consider Internal Glazing

Internal glazing in this home allow glimpses into other spaces in the home

This project from Denizen Works demonstrates the possibilities internal glazing can offer

Creating a ‘through-view’ with internal glazing can provide glimpses into different spaces. Whether you opt for full-height shards of glass, clerestory glazing between rooms, or even opt for internal window reveals internal glazing can create interesting views from within the home and also allow other rooms to ‘borrow’ light.

6. Capture the Vista Picture Windows

Turn your view into art by creating a picture window

Whether you’re designing a new home or adding an extension, and looking to capture a particular vista, introducing a picture window is the perfect way to lead the eye out to your desired view.

Wide, tall, narrow or square, a picture window lends itself to a contemporary project where the views do the talking — this example is case in point. Where you’re introducing a hefty amount of glass however, give thought to its handling on site (have you planned for a crane for example?).

A structural engineer will need to advise on the intricacies of its specification, weight, thickness of the pane, how the glazing will be positioned within the structure of the building, and so on.

7. Install Light Tunnels

Add light tunnels to bring light into spaces where a window is not possible or feasible

A run of light tunnels from Fakro offers light to this bathroom

Spaces at the centre of your home and basement rooms can suffer from a lack of natural light. One clever solution which can offer natural daylight to those hard to reach areas is a light tunnel (or ‘sun pipe’).

When positioned on a south-facing roof, where the light intensity is at its greatest, the glazed dome with flexible tube allows natural light to travel down into a room.

8. Go for Glass Balustrades

Glass balustrades from Ideal Combi

Glazing needn’t just be the reserve of windows. Where you have a terrace or balcony, selecting glass balustrades will allow you to benefit from uninterrupted views, particularly when viewed out through full-height glass doors.

9. Specify Sidelights

Full-height glazing and sidelights either side of the front door help to bring in light into the hallway

In contemporary homes, why not make a bold statement by installing walls of glass either side of, and even above, the front door as this example demonstrates (the front door is from Kloeber)

Perfect for injecting light into the hallway – a room which can often be dark and cramped – specifying a front door with sidelights can wash your interiors with natural daylight. For those looking to maintain a sense of privacy, selecting opaque glazing can prevent passersby from seeing into your home.

10. Consider Glass Floors and Ceilings

Adding glass panels to a floor can help rooms above and below to borrow natural daylight

Glazed panel from Roof Maker

Internal glazing is a great way of allowing light to travel from room to room and can create a talking point — none more so than the glass floor/ceiling. Built using structural glazing, glazed panels can offer views from above and below and inject a sense of fun, too.

11. Choose Glazed Links

Using glass to create a link between two buildings is a great way to introduce light

A modern glass addition to their cottage has enabled Adrian and Amy Mole to convert and incorporate outbuildings to create one characterful, unique home

A perfect way of joining an existing building with a new extension, the glazed link offers a visual transition between old and new, and also helps to bring natural light into the home.

12. Think about Corner Windows

Corner glazing here allows the whole room to be opened up to the outdoors

Introducing a corner window is a great way of maximising on daylight and allowing both the exteriors and interiors to connect with the landscape. They also benefit from a 180° vista, and ability to follow the sun’s path throughout the day. Corner windows allow you to include other design features such as window seats, too.

One factor to be aware of with the corner window is cantilevering the structure so that the weight is not loadbearing on the glass. Here, it is important to liaise with your structural engineer to ensure the steel beams support the glass if you are to create a corner window without a corner post.

13. Contemplate Pivoting Patio Doors

Patio doors which pivot as a means of opening are a fun way of moving from inside to out

Patio doors which pivot as a means of opening are a wow-factor
way of moving from inside to out

Move aside bifold and sliding doors: the latest glazed patio doors do not fold or slide back, but delicately pivot — providing a large expanse of glass coupled with minimal frames as a further benefit.

14. Dream Big with Unique Glazing Solutions

Consider using glazing for unusual elements, like stairs, to make a real style statement

Glass can be put to many good uses in an interior scheme, as this extension/remodelling project by AR Design Studio demonstrates (the staircase was created by Concept Stairs)

Here, toughened glass treads form a gravity-defying way of travelling between floors. Glass balustrading almost appears invisible too — and allows more light to filter down.

15. Window Dressings for Privacy

These screens from Centor offer shade and privacy

For those after privacy, and for shading on summer days, some specialists offer insect screens (such as those pictured above from Centor) as well as integral blinds which can be controlled via a remote or pulley system, offering a discreet solution

Half of the battle with large windows and doors in modern homes is how to dress them: blinds, curtains, or nothing at all? While it might be best to leave your glazing well alone for a streamlined look, this can impact on privacy at night when the lights are on, and can leave homeowners feeling as if they live in a goldfish bowl.

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