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Natural Light

Why skylights and stairwells are a perfect match 

Six reasons to add natural light to your stairwell.

Sunlit stairwell with a skylight and knot art

Interior stairwells are often dark — cut off from windows and doors that would provide natural light. Not only do they lack light, but they may also cast shadows into their neighboring rooms. Skylights change the nature of the stairwell entirely from a dark, closet-like hole in the wall into a space with a design aesthetic of its own. Additionally, with natural light from above, stairwells can support more colorful and distinct design choices, as the details won’t be lost to the shadows.

Many homeowners get stumped by stairwell design, so we’re here to help with some bright ideas, starting with The HGTV Dream Home® 2021.

Bold color + natural light

The HGTV Dream Home® 2021 sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean in Newport, Rhode Island. Inspired by the natural landscape, expansive views and a bold modern design sense, designer Brian Patrick Flynn merged natural elements with bright jewel tones throughout the home design, including the entryway stairwell.

The three-story home features an entryway with an open staircase that combines cranberry colored walls, light industrial railings and natural details such as a wooden mermaid wall installation and natural fiber chandelier. The stairs themselves are made from a light gray wood material, which reflects light and provides useful contrast between stair and level floors to help prevent falls. VELUX Fixed skylights at the top of the stairwell brighten the passageway, while also spilling natural light into the first floor entryway and second floor landing.

Red stairwell skylights

Stairwell as art gallery

Flynn is no stranger to stairwell design. In the HGTV Urban Oasis® 2019 he hung oversized art on the stairwell’s walls. Two VELUX No Leak Solar Powered “Fresh Air” skylights bathe the stairwell in natural light, allowing the art to make a statement.

Stairwell oversize art

Additional natural light from above also lends itself to art with texture and dimension, such as an intricate macrame or knotted piece like the one used below.

Gallery stairwell texture

Stairwells that celebrate simplicity

If ascending and descending through an art gallery isn’t your thing, pare down the design elements to just a few things that can be amplified with natural light from above. In this stairwell, the designer combines a wall covered in reclaimed wood planks and wrought iron hand railings. Natural light from above highlights the beautiful texture and color variations of the wood juxtaposed with the clean lines of the railings. The skylight also opens to create a cooling breeze inside the home.

Minimalist stairwell

Artwork that mimics the steps

Repetition and symmetry of stairs offers an opportunity to match that rhythm with framed artwork. For example, a set of family photos, bathed in natural light from skylights, is a reminder around whom this house is built.

Stair step photos stairwell

This homeowner opted to add a Sun Tunnel skylight to her stairwell landing to highlight the framed collection of black and white art and family photos.

Sun Tunnel Stairwell art gallery

Do you have a stairwell that needs brightening? Find a skylight installer in your area or schedule a virtual consultation with a VELUX daylight designer today.

HGTV, HGTV Dream Home, HGTV Urban Oasis, HGTV Dream Home Giveaway, HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway and their associated logos are trademarks of Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. All rights reserved. Photos © 2019 - 2020 Discovery or its subsidiaries and affiliates. All rights reserved.

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