Skylight Design Guide

Which skylight features should you consider when designing your new dream spaces?

April 4, 2022

In the past, the only decision you had to make when buying a skylight was where to install it. With modern skylights, you’ve got options. Here’s some useful information to help you navigate the various choices today’s skylights offer and to help you understand which features make the most sense in which rooms.

Supplemental Lighting

One of the most common complaints about older generation skylights was that they transformed from a bright and happy source of light from above during the day, into a dark and gloomy overhead void after the sun went down. This objection was especially prevalent when skylights were installed directly over workspaces or in areas where there was not a lot of space for additional overhead lighting. Fortunately, modern skylights like the Marvin Awaken Skylight are equipped with supplemental lighting.

Awaken has lighting incorporated into the frame surrounding the glass and can keep spaces well-lit no matter the time of day. Supplemental lighting is a useful feature in any skylight, but you may want to give lighting an even greater consideration if you plan on installing one directly over workspaces like kitchens and home offices, and in smaller rooms like entryways and bathrooms.

Tunable Lighting

The human body has an internal clock that has evolved to operate on a 24-hour schedule. Many essential biological processes like sleep and our metabolism are regulated by our internal clock and are referred to as circadian rhythms. One of the most significant factors that regulate our circadian rhythms is the amount and type of light we receive during the day. The exposure to natural light signals our body to perform certain functions at set points throughout the day and into the night. However, we don’t spend as much time outdoors and our daily schedules are not as heavily influenced by the movements of the sun as was the case until the relatively recent introduction of electric lighting. This radical change from the way we have lived for thousands of years is causing problems.

The consequences of confusing our circadian rhythms can range from poor sleep and low energy to serious physical and mental disorders. Ironically, one of the solutions caused by electric lighting, may be electric lighting itself. The Marvin Awaken Skylight is equipped with customizable LED lighting that can be tuned to imitate the different color temperatures of light produced by the sun throughout the day. Exposing your body to the proper light at the proper time can help you keep your circadian rhythms in sync with your unique schedule and lifestyle.

If you need to wake up before the sun rises, you can set your lighting to match the morning sunlight. And when staying up late, you can change the color of your lighting to mimic the light at dawn right before going to bed, which can result in better sleep. This customizable lighting option obviously makes sense for skylights installed in bedrooms, but you might also consider it in other rooms where you spend time first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed.


You might be surprised to learn how polluted the air in your home is. According to the EPA, indoor air can be up to two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in building products are one source of pollution. Other major contributors to poor air quality are the pollutants produced in your kitchen when you burn cooking fuels and fry foods. A venting skylight in a kitchen space can be a simple and effective way to bring more clean outdoor air inside.

Venting skylights are also an effective tool to help refresh and cool down indoor spaces. When you install a venting skylight near the highest point on the ceiling of a house, and then open a standard window on the lowest level, you can take advantage of the stack effect. The stack effect occurs when hot air rises up and out the skylight and pulls in cool air from below in the process. The stack effect is also a great way to expel hot, humid air from bathrooms.


Another common complaint about the skylights of the past had to do with the screens. Screens are necessary on venting skylights to help keep bugs and debris from entering a home, but the screens on hinged skylights cover and obscure the entire pane of glass. Awaken features a unique projection venting system that opens on all four sides and has been engineered with a perimeter screen that does not reduce the amount of light shining in or detract from beautiful views of the sky.

Programmability and Smart Home Connectivity

If you choose a venting skylight or one with tunable lighting, you’ll probably want to be able to program those features and control them with mobile devices and smart home systems like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings. Advanced skylights like Awaken allow you to automate the venting process with the changes in the weather and control your tunable lighting to adjust to your unique sleep schedule. Awaken is also equipped with smart features that will close the unit if it starts to rain and send you alerts when changes in VOC levels are detected. Also, several units can be connected in the same room or throughout the house

The new features on modern skylights can add comfort to our favorite spaces and help build stronger connections with the outdoors. Connect with a Marvin expert in your area to learn more.

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