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4 Reasons Skylights Make Your Plants Thrive and Which One to Choose

Understand the different skylight models and how their placement on the roof affects lighting for houseplants.

Plant leaves illuminated by sunlight from a skylight

For plant lovers, finding the ideal house is as much about the natural light inside the home as the home itself. For those with a dark home or certain rooms that lack natural light, not all is lost. Adding skylights or Sun Tunnel® Skylights can bring in the sunlight your plants need to prosper, grow and create a home you’ll love.

Whether you’re fond of fiddle leaf figs or mad about monsteras, quality plant care means providing the right amount of sunlight for them to photosynthesize, creating energy they use to grow. Here are three reasons skylights can make adding plants to your interior design easier to curate a jungle-vibe home.

Skylights add natural light to rooms throughout the day

Adding skylights will instantly brighten any space. In fact, they provide up to 30% more natural light than standard windows. There are three types of skylights: fixed skylights, fresh air skylights and Sun Tunnel skylights.

  • Fixed skylights - Often called traditional skylights, they offer a view to the sky and can be equipped with shades for light and temperature control. They’re ideal for rooms that just need sunlight.

  • Fresh Air skylights - Available in electric or solar-powered models, these skylights open with a remote control or smartphone app to create airflow in addition to brightening the space. They’re ideal for rooms that need fresh air and sunlight, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

  • Sun Tunnel skylights - Also known as tubular skylights, Sun Tunnels consist of a lens mounted on the roof connected via a highly reflective aluminum tunnel to a ceiling-mounted diffuser that looks similar to recessed or spot lighting.


The orientation of the skylights on the roof will affect the type of light they provide and the intensity of the light. Consider the type of natural light you need before you install a skylight in your home.

  • North-facing skylights - Produce softer, diffused light throughout the day. Best for plants that need indirect light.

  • South-facing skylights - Bring in more direct daylight throughout the day. Best for plants that need bright, direct light.

  • East- and west-facing skylights - Positioned for direct sunlight in the morning and late afternoon, respectively. Outside of the morning and late afternoon, both will fill the room with bright, but diffused light. Best for plants that need some direct light, but not a whole day’s worth.

  • Sun Tunnels - Because Sun Tunnel skylights funnel sunlight through a tunnel, they provide bright indirect light. Placing plants directly underneath a Sun Tunnel will provide the brightest light, while other plants can benefit from medium light levels found nearby.


Skylights brighten spaces that can’t have windows

Small bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms and bonus rooms are all spaces that can benefit from a touch of greenery, whether it’s a pothos hanging at the end of a hallway, a toilet top fern garden or colorful calatheas in the laundry room. But what should you do if the room in question has no source of natural light?

Adding a skylight or a Sun Tunnel can transform interior rooms like bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms and bonus rooms that either lack windows or have only a single, small window. And with sunlight from above, plants can now thrive in these spaces.

For example, this homeowner installed a skylight in her hallway bathroom, which had been dark and unwelcome for indoor plants. The skylight not only brightens the space for the people using it, but now plants can live there under the skylight’s ample sunlight.

Small bathroom skylight black tile

Consider a Sun Tunnel for small bathrooms or hallways that don’t typically have access to windows. This homeowner used Sun Tunnel skylights to brighten her main bathroom and its abundant indirect light is perfect for a hanging pothos.

5 pink and green bathroom sun tunnel plant
Photo credit: Jeff Mindell

Skylights that open create airflow that indoor plants need to be healthy

Houseplants breathe and use oxygen in addition to sunlight for photosynthesis, so a healthy indoor habitat includes air movement. Circulating air around indoor plants helps prevent moisture buildup on leaves and remove waste gases plants release.

Skylights that can open create airflow through what’s known as the chimney effect. As air warms up, it naturally rises. When a skylight is opened along with a window below, cooler air is pulled in through the window to create a soft indoor breeze. And not only is this healthy for your plants, but it also has the added benefit of releasing polluted indoor air to keep the home fresh.

Skylights enhance your houseplant decor

Not only do skylights bring natural light to new areas of the home, allowing indoor plants to thrive, they also open up new possibilities for designing with plants. Take, for example, this bathroom, which includes hanging plants in the skylight light shaft.

Bathroom skylight plants pink vanity feat

For plant parents with dedicated sunrooms, skylights boost the amount of sunlight throughout the day, as in this sunroom where a fiddle leaf fig named Glory basks in the light.

Sunroom skylights fiddle leaf fig light blue

Do you have plant-inspired interior design dreams? Find out how you can bring more natural light and fresh air into your home by scheduling a virtual design consultation with a VELUX daylight designer today!

Next: 10 must-see Sun Tunnel transformations

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