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Lantern Windows

Are you adding a room to your house, or renovating your garage into a living space? Then you might consider installing lantern windows.

Lantern windows (also called roof lanterns) are very much in vogue right now. They are a perfect solution to add light to your new room.

Many homeowners will have heard of the standard window types, like casement or awning windows. Lantern windows are less common, however. Will they suit your home, and what do you need to know about installing them?

Lantern Window Features

Glazed roof lanterns were originally used in Renaissance cathedrals – so they have an impressive reputation! They are basically an arrangement of joined glass panes that form a type of “glass ceiling” in a space. Some are designed to be opened, but most are fixed and remain closed.

In later years, lantern windows were used extensively in conservatories and sunrooms.

There are many fine examples of conservatories used to house plants in public buildings, such as the stunning Enid Haupt Conservatory in the New York Botanical Gardens.

Smaller conservatories or sunrooms were popular features in the homes of well-to-do Victorian Britons and their American counterparts.

A lantern window is a superb way of adding show-stopping elegance and character to your décor, and illuminating dark spaces in your home.

Lantern Window Prices

Like any window type, the cost of installing a lantern window can vary depending on the style, material, size, and design you choose.

You will need a professional assessor to tell you if you have the right kind of roof and wall structure to accommodate this installation.

The table below is a rough guide to the prices and duration of getting various lantern window sizes installed.

Window SizeInstallation TimeWindow CostLabor Cost
2.5’ x 2.5’2 days$1,600$660
5’ x 5’2-3 days$2,700$800
5’ x 10’3 days$3,300$1,000
10’ x 10’4 days$4,000$1,300

*The above mentioned costs are based on national averages. Always compare estimates from professionals in your area for a more accurate estimate of how much your installation will be.

Pros and Cons of Lantern Windows


  • Lantern windows allow extra natural light into flat-roofed rooms, which has a number of health benefits.
  • Roof lanterns offer expansive and attractive views of the sky.
  • Lantern windows that can be opened allowing for extra ventilation.
  • A roof lantern structure is an impressive architectural feature that adds a great deal of cachet and value to your home.


  • Lantern windows can be costly and complex to install.
  • You might need your roof to be risk-assessed before going ahead.
  • Lantern window glass will have to be quite heavy to handle the elements, so a professional team will construct the feature onsite.
  • You will have to consider planning permission laws and permits.

Lantern Windows FAQs

What kind of room will suit a lantern window?

A lantern window or roof lantern is designed for a flat roof – usually on an extension room or conservatory. If you want extra illumination in an attic or other room that has a sloping ceiling, you should investigate dormer windows or skylights instead.

Rooms that generate a great deal of heat and steam, like bathrooms and kitchens, might not be ideally suited for these windows because of the lack of ventilation. However, if you have your heart set on relaxing in your bath while gazing up at the sky, you could consider a style of lantern window that can be opened if needed.

Extensions like bedrooms, living rooms, or dining rooms will suit lantern windows. If you’re planning on adding a conservatory or sunroom to your home, this is the ideal opportunity for a lantern install.

Lantern window size – What will my room need?

The size will depend on the area of your room below, lighting, and budget. However, even a smaller 2.5’ square window will let in an impressive amount of light.

A bigger lantern window will be very heavy and tricky to install. Make sure you get an experienced assessor to look at your roof and discuss your needs. This is probably NOT something you can add to your home DIY list unless you’re an experienced builder yourself!

Lantern window material – What should I choose?

Aluminum frames are strong and don’t need to be very thick, so your window will contain more glass and less visible frames. Timber frames will need paintwork maintenance every few years. Vinyl, PVC, and aluminum lanterns will just need to be checked out every so often for wear and tear and can be cleaned with mild detergent.


Lantern windows only suit certain roof types, and you will need to get experienced professional installers to build them for you.

The windows are often large and complex in construction, so they’ll be made onsite in your home. While this shouldn’t take too long, it can be inconvenient. Someone will need to be at home for the duration.

If you have the right kind of room or rooms and don’t mind some extra noise and inconvenience during your home renovation, lantern windows are the kind of feature that will attract some serious attention and admiration!