Windows in Attics

Whether you have converted the attic into an office, bedroom, playroom or studio space everyone it seems wants natural light in their attic rooms. And the other challenge with rooms in the attic is with ventilation. And of course, most people will want the windows to add aesthetic value as well.

You need to plan for the right type of windows in the design and development stages of the project.

Here we refer to 3 common types of windows in attics:


One of the most popular types of attic windows are skylights, which allow more natural light into a room.  When its cold inside a skylight can help to warm up the room in the attic too.

Natural light can be funnelled into the attic through a corridor built into the skylights.

Skylights are most often associated attic rooms as they are easy to install.  You will need to check that you have the correct skylights installed as some are not recommended if the loft space is going to be used as a regular room, rather than just a storage space for instance.

Skylights are renowned for making the room too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. This is where you should consult with  a specialist roof designer as there are things that can be done so you have the perfect temperature in your attic room. Your designer will also advice you on energy efficiency.

Rose Windows  

The rose window, sometimes called a Catherine window, after Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred on a spiked breaking wheel, is installed flush with the roof and has a circular design. It is typically ornamented with stained glass and/or geometric designs.

Rose attic windows look similar to medieval cathedral architecture, and have now been adapted for contemporary loft conversions. Rose windows are probably for those homeowners that want something a little bit different in their loft conversion and want “stand out” roof windows.


Dormer windows were first used to illuminate attic sleeping areas in 16th century Britain.

The word “dormer” comes from the French “dormeor,” which means “sleeping room.”

“Lucarnes”, found in 12th century Europe, were the predecessor to the dormer window. A lucarne was a common architectural feature found in warehouses, mills and factories.  If you are lucky enough to still have some old buildings in your town, look towards the sky and you could see a lucarne. The lucarne are sometimes restored in renovation projects.

A dormer window sticks out from a slanted roof. A dormer has vertical window panes that let light into the attic space and when opened provide a source of ventilation.  A dormer window has its own roof. It really looks like a little window sticking out of the roof itself.

Dormer windows are great for bringing in natural light but they are also used to improve the aesthetic appeal of the outside of the house and hopefully add to the curb appeal.

It is advisable to choose a dormer that complements the existing style of your home.

Dormer windows are a common element of a loft conversion as they are relatively easy to install, add light and space in the attic.

We have only mentioned 3 types of windows used in attics – there are many variations of skylights, dormer and rose windows to consider.

Remember though to think about how your roof windows in the attic affect the look of the house as well as how well they bring light into the attic room.