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Arboreta’s architectural designers can help you explore how to maximise the light in your oak frame structure, whether that is a garden room, orangery or an extension. In essence the points you need to think about are:

  • Natural light coming in from above is twice as powerful within a room as that from a vertical window.
  • What was once a trend is now a ‘must have’ in many new extensions, although French doors still work well, particularly with a more traditional design. The trick to perfecting that indoor-outdoor feel is to have a level threshold throughout and use the same flooring material, that way is looks really seamless.
  • If you are not allowed to have a huge expanse of glazing, perhaps due to privacy issues, then consider clerestory windows. These are high level windows that work in both contemporary and traditional homes. This style of window also works well in rooms where there is little natural light, perhaps a small bedroom only has one small window back adjoins a landing space where there is lots of natural light. You can ‘borrow’ light from the landing from through the clerestory window into the bedroom.
  • Whatever style of window you go for do consider how the design will affect the overall look of your home and get the colour right. You can now have aluminium powder coated in a myriad of colours and timber can be painted to ‘lift’ the look of your extension, although at Arboreta we like oak to be natural, we think you can appreciate the beauty of it more. Remember to consider the thermal value too.
  • Oak & glazed links work well when you are linking buildings together. For example you could link a renovated outbuilding to your house by mean of a glazed link. These rooms, providing you have the right thermal value, can actually be used as a room in their own right if they are sufficiently sizeable.
  • If you have a particularly stunning specimen tree or a fabulous courtyard to look out on, consider having a picture window to lead your eye straight out to that view. You can highlight even further this area by installing some exterior garden lighting. (to be dealt with in another blog topic).
  • Perhaps you have a room in the centre of your house that desperately needs light? Why not consider installing sun pipes. These are installed through the roof and draw the natural light down into the room.
  • A glazed balcony as opposed to a solid wall will also help you to enjoy uninterrupted vistas from your bedroom out across the lawn, particularly if you have full height glazed doors coming off the room in question.
  • Want to introduce more light into your hall? Consider having glazed sides. These are panels of glass either side of the front door, as high and as wide as fits with your building specification. For privacy purposes, you can have opaque glazing or glazing that works via a simple flick of a switch.
  • Structural glazing can be used to enable light to travel from one floor to another. If you’re having a basement extension, you can allow the light on the ground floor to light up the room below.

A light filled garden room


Primary light streams through the lantern and glazed sides.