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Natural Light

Maximizing natural light from skylights with creative light shaft design

Explore photos of skylight installations that open up the ceiling to allow sunlight to spread throughout the room.

A white and green kitchen with two skylights

When you add skylights to your home, you take advantage of your roof’s orientation to the sky and sun to bring in natural light from above, providing balanced, even light throughout the day. While skylights can be installed in any type of ceiling, whether it’s flat, cathedral or vaulted, there are best practices for designing a more open light shaft for skylights in rooms with flat ceilings.

What is a skylight light shaft?

The light shaft, also known as the chase or light well, is the area between the skylight on the roof and the ceiling. It is typically enclosed in drywall, but shiplap and tongue-and-groove wood can also be used to finish it. On flat ceilings, the light shaft can measure as little as 2 to 3 feet or be much deeper at 6 feet or more.

Why should skylight light shafts be flared?

The most basic light shafts are box-shaped and are constructed so the drywall runs straight down from the skylight to the ceiling. Skylights installed with basic light shafts will provide additional natural light to a room, but the light will be focused on the area under the skylight. The kitchen below has skylights with basic, box-shaped light shafts.

Mod Kitchen Feat

To maximize how sunlight spreads throughout the room, the light shaft should be constructed to be as open as possible. Sometimes, the top and bottom of the shaft will be flared outward, while on other installations, all four sides can be flared. With trussed roofs, a larger light shaft can be constructed with the trusses exposed.

Skilled skylight installers will design light shafts to bring as much natural light throughout the room as possible. Find a VELUX-certified installer near you to learn more about brightening your home.

Scroll down to view different types of skylight light shafts and see what might work in your home.

These kitchen skylights are installed with a light shaft flared out from the top of the skylights.

Kitchen skylights white green

These skylights installed in a vaulted ceiling benefit from having their light shafts extremely flared on the top and the bottom.

Living room skylights white grey

This bathroom skylight is installed with a four-point flare light shaft.

Small Bathroom Skylight Black Tile Floral Wallpaper

The installer exposed the trusses in the light shaft under three skylights, filling this bedroom with natural light.

Bedroom skylights exposed trusses yellow

And this bedroom has two skylights installed on each side of the roof ridge. The installer created a large-span light well around the trusses to bring in more natural light and create an architectural element.

Bedroom Main View Leftsml

Even with a vaulted ceiling, as in this kitchen, flaring the light shaft gives the room a more open feeling with clear views through the skylights.

Kitchen skylights angled

Learn more about skylight installation options for your home by scheduling a virtual design consultation today!

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