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Three tips for placing Sun Tunnel® skylights in the kitchen

Brighten up kitchen work areas with natural light from above.

Two Sun tunnel skylights brighten a white and natural wood kitchen

With a reflective aluminum tunnel that connects the lens on the roof with the diffuser in the ceiling, VELUX Sun Tunnel® Skylights deliver even, bright sunlight to the room below in a small, easy-to-install package. The resulting high-quality, clean daylight color creates a big impact in even the smallest spaces, which is why many refer to them as a “portal to sunshine.”


A natural fit for smaller spaces and budgets, Sun Tunnels are also perfect additions to the kitchen, seamlessly fitting in with the appearance of recessed lighting but with none of the electrical work or lightbulb changes. Additionally, if the kitchen is under an attic space that has ductwork or other obstructions, Sun Tunnels bypass obstacles, using an adaptable reflective tunnel to direct daylight into every corner of the kitchen below.

Homeowners often wonder where they should place Sun Tunnels in the kitchen. While every space is unique and should be evaluated individually, consider these tips to get started on maximizing your placement strategy:

Know your light.

Architects and designers have long studied how natural light can influence a space and the people who inhabit it. Whether the entry points are through side windows or skylights in the roof, effective daylighting strategies will consider how the sun will hit the opening at different points of the day to account for how much and how long sunlight directly hits the skylight.

Skylights, even a small one, must be strategically placed for maximum efficacy. For example, say you decide from the interior perspective that your kitchen island, furthest from the windows, needs light most, so you will install the skylight there. However, perhaps you did not realize that the second level of the home actually casts an exterior shadow over this point of your roof, blocking sunlight from ever fully reaching the tunnel. For that reason, before cutting any holes in the roof, it’s crucial to know if and when the sunlight will optimally reach the opening.

Because of the significance of daylighting, VELUX trains and certifies installers specifically in daylighting strategies to help homeowners find the best lighting solutions. The consultations are free and highly recommended.


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Consider where natural light will feel most functional.

Beyond knowing where and how the light enters the room, you should also know how you want to use it. Drawing again from daylighting, we know large, wide rooms are naturally darkest in the center point, furthest from the windows. Lighting solutions should consider the most effective way to light the room with the end use in mind.

For a narrower room with plentiful light from side windows, centering the skylights over the kitchen island may provide the perfect solution for increasing natural light in the central point of the room. The additional natural light opens up decor possibilities, enhancing bold colors and materials. Interested in going beyond white or grey in the kitchen? Get some color inspiration from these designers.

For a wider room with tall ceilings, skylights may prove to be a better complement to, for example, hanging electrical lights over the kitchen island, especially if the island is used commonly at night for homework or reading. In either scenario, the additional natural light will brighten the space during the day, but a certified installer can help you decide on the most practical location.

Curious how the Sun Tunnel installation works? Watch this video to learn how a Sun Tunnel is installed.

Find balance.

Finally, after achieving an understanding of what a strategic daylighting means for your home, think about how they will look alongside the rest of your kitchen design. Because even small kitchens tend to have the space to accommodate it, many homeowners choose to install two Sun Tunnels for the kitchen, which helps enhance the reach of natural light and balance the visual impact of the addition to your ceiling.

The human brain is predisposed to appreciate and find comfort in symmetry and patterns. To that end, aim for generous and even spacing between the Sun Tunnels, cabinetry and electrical lighting. A good rule can be to line up the skylight placement with the kitchen island or walk way. If complementing additional lighting, consider whether the skylights can be placed between or on either side of the electrical lights from a parallel perspective.

Another factor of balance: light and dark. As sunlight fades at night, consider adding an electric light kit to provide your space with electric light when natural light isn't available. The kit is mounted inside the tunnel and wired into your home’s electrical system, allowing you to turn on the light from the wall light switch.

VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylights provide a quick, low-cost solution to increasing natural light in any room. From enhancing décor color and texture to saving on energy costs, there’s a lot to love about the smallest skylight. Interested in seeing Sun Tunnels in other rooms? Check out how designers use them to pull off bold bathroom designs or light to dark closets.

Want to learn more about adding Sun Tunnels to your home? Talk with a VELUX daylight designer from the comfort of your own home. Schedule your virtual appointment today.

Next: 10 Reasons to add skylights to your home in 2023

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