The idea of sleeping under the stars is a romantic one, so skylights are something that many tiny house builders dream of incorporating into their plans. But just how easy are they to install? Are they as practical as they are beautiful?
The Case For Skylights in Tiny Houses
Skylights Let Light in
Skylights in tiny houses let natural light into the loft space, which can open up the area and make it feel much bigger than it actually is. When you're short on space, this illusion can make a world of difference.
Skylights Look Cool
If you've spent any time at all swooning over tiny house photos (who hasn't?), you're bound to have seen gorgeous photos of tiny house lofts with the sun streaming in through a skylight or two. The fact is that skylights just look cool.
Skylights Can Be Used as Entrances and Exits
While they do tend to be on the small side, if push came to shove, a skylight could be used as an alternative exit or entrance to your tiny house.
Of course, most of the time, the front door is going to be the easiest entrance to use, but if there were a fire for example, being able to squeeze yourself out of a tiny hatch in the roof of your house could save your life. On top of that, some pieces of furniture can be tricky to navigate around corners and into tight spaces, so having the option of lowering in your more awkward belongings could save you a lot of hassle on moving in day.
Skylights Can Bring Heat in
Depending on the climate you live in, the time of day, the season, and the direction your tiny house is facing, a skylight could allow a bit of extra heat into your tiny house. Of course, depending on where you live, this could also be a reason not to install a skylight.
You Can Sleep under the Stars
Sleeping under a skylight means you have an unobstructed view of the night's sky. Again, where you live and whether or not you're interested in astronomy or romance will determine whether or not this is a plus for you!
Skylights Can Increase Ventilation
If you install a skylight that can be opened, you can add ventilation to your tiny house. Having an additional window will allow you to get plenty of air flowing through your tiny house.
The Case Against Skylights in Tiny Houses
Skylights Can Leak
This is the biggie. Talk to any builder and you'll find out that they're not keen on skylights. This is because skylights tend to leak after a few years.
That's annoying enough when you live in an ordinary house, but when you live in a house that can move (which can put more stress on the frame and structure), having a skylight can become really problematic. My designer strongly advised me against installing a skylight for this reason.
Skylights Can Cause You to Lose Heat
Any window provides an opportunity for heat to escape, so if you want to install a skylight, you'll want to make sure to use the highest quality and best insulated material you can find. Of course, higher quality materials come with a higher price tag, so if you're on a tight budget, you might want to pass on skylights.
That said, the loft is always going to be the hottest part of any tiny house, so if you live in a particularly warm climate, this could be a pro for you.
Skylights Give You Less Privacy
Depending on where you live, a skylight could give you less privacy. Particularly if your tiny house is parked in the shadows of a taller building, you might not want other people to be able to look in on you while you're sleeping.
You'll Have To Live by The Sun
Unless you buy a skylight shade, you'll have to adapt your routine to suit the sun. When the sun comes up, you'll be woken up, and when the sun goes down, it'll get darker a lot sooner.
If you're a morning person or you like the idea of starting your days a bit earlier, you might appreciate this, but, otherwise, you might find having a skylight more annoying than anything else.
Should Your Tiny House Have a Skylight?
The thought of sleeping under the stars, having lots of natural light, and rising with the sun is a lovely one, but it may be more of an ideal than a practical way to live. Skylights look lovely but they come with some substantial downsides.
If you can afford a high quality skylight and you won't be building your tiny house on a trailer or moving it around very much, you might have no problems installing a skylight. Otherwise, you should probably have a good think about just how important a skylight is to you.
What is your experience of skylights in tiny houses? Are they more hassle than they're worth? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Photo credit: Tammy Strobel