Let there be (natural) light: Things to consider when planning an extension

Home & garden

When you’re planning an extension, one of the key things to consider is natural light.

Not only to the new build part, but how the build will affect the level of natural light to the existing rooms.

It can be really tricky, because if you are building across the complete stretch of your house (like we did), then the new rooms can block out light from an existing room altogether.

This was the case with our house.

When planning our en suite second-storey bedroom, we were given the choice of bricking up the only window in our children’s bedroom, or making a strange upside down L shaped bedroom around it, allowing the window to remain, bringing in limited natural light, with a stunning view of a brick wall.

Bringing light into your home with roof windows: Bringing light into your home is important and when you're planning an extension you need to make sure that there is enough light. Let there be light: Things to consider when planning an extension.

The window had to go

The architect had persuaded us to opt for the latter, but when the builders looked at the plans they weren’t convinced.

For the first time (of many, many times to follow) they had a different solution.

Rather than giving our children a gloomy room with little natural light, and ourselves a oddly shaped and very expensive bedroom, we would save ourselves considerable expense by bricking the window up allowing us to have a regular, rectangular room, and instead the light would come in to the kids’ room via┬ároof windows like these from The Roof Window Store.

The window is brilliant; the solar powered blind cuts out all light and even though we haven’t painted the ceiling white yet, it lets in a good amount of light during the day.

Ways to bring light into your home - roof windows: Bringing light into your home is important and when you're planning an extension you need to make sure that there is enough light. Let there be light: Things to consider when planning an extension.

Roof window

We have also cut off a lot of natural light sources downstairs.

Our existing living room has a window at the front and did have a glazed door at the back, which is now an internal door. The same goes in the kitchen.

In both of these rooms, the number of windows has been reduced to one and the glazed area cut to less than one third of what it was, which of course ran the risk of plunging the rooms into darkness.

The existing living room has a very large mirror in the room which helps add space and light.

The room (which has a TV and sofa) is now mainly be used in the evenings as we will have a new family room with a huge glazed door and a new double glazed window, so it feels like the light is less of an issue for this room.

The kitchen however is dark and gloomy with dark wooden units, dark tiled walls, a black tile floor and dark grey surfaces. It’s also falling to bits.

Horrible dark kitchen units: Bringing light into your home is important and when you're planning an extension you need to make sure that there is enough light. Let there be light: Things to consider when planning an extension.

Existing kitchen units

I don’t know who picked it out but it’s always been a huge bug bear of mine, and now it’s in dire need of replacement.

Unfortunately it isn’t part of our build this time around, but it’s in the pipeline!

When we do start planning our new kitchen, we will definitely be thinking a lot about the light!

We will replace the dark tile floor with an easy-to clean linoleum floor and the room will be cheered up with light, neutral paint and new much lighter units like the ones we’ve now got in our new utility room.

Nice Howden's units in utility room! Bringing light into your home is important and when you're planning an extension you need to make sure that there is enough light. Let there be light: Things to consider when planning an extension.

The units in our utility room

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This is a collaborative post.

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