Traditional Roof Lanterns: A Timeless Addition to Your Home

Published on 24 November 2023

Traditional Roof Lanterns: A Timeless Addition to Your Home

With their elegantly sloped sides and romantic arched profiles, traditional roof lanterns have graced British homes for centuries. While styles have evolved over generations, traditional lanterns remain a beautifully timeless way to bathe your interior space with natural light. From their rich history to their impressive benefits, let’s explore the enduring allure of traditional roof lanterns.

The History of Traditional Roof Lanterns

Roof lanterns have been part of architectural design since the Renaissance, but became increasingly popular in the UK during the Victorian era. Victorians used lanterns to amplify sunlight in their grand entrance halls, galleries, and conservatories. Traditional materials like timber, wrought iron, and copper were meticulously crafted into ornate lantern styles.

During the 20th century, roof lanterns became synonymous with Victorian-style architecture. Though new production methods emerged, traditional styling and custom craftsmanship carried forward. This unwavering British affinity for heritage roof lantern design continues today. Homeowners still install traditional lanterns to add character and elegance to their homes.

Benefits of Traditional Roof Lanterns

Beyond their visual appeal, traditional roof lanterns offer many benefits:

Abundant Natural Light – The sloped and angled sides are designed to maximize exposure to sunlight from all directions. Lanterns flood even the darkest interior rooms with radiant light.

Ventilation – Many traditional designs incorporate operable windows or vents to encourage passive air circulation. This allows stale air to escape and fresh breezes to flow in.

Aesthetic Appeal – From intricate timber joinery to ornate metal cresting, traditional lanterns are truly works of art. They make stunning architectural statements.

Customization – Ranging from stately to whimsical, traditional lanterns can be customized to perfectly suit your personality and style.

Added Space – Lanterns transform unused loft space into attractive, light-filled rooms with vaulted ceilings. This creates valuable extra living area.

Styles of Traditional Roof Lanterns

With limitless design options, it’s easy to find a traditional roof lantern suited to your tastes. Here are just a few of the most popular styles:

Georgian Lantern – Distinctive symmetrical design featuring multiple glass panes divided by glazing bars. Offers an elegant, stately look.

Regency Lantern – Inspired by 19th century design with an oval or circular shape. Showcases intricate curved and arched glazing bars.

Victorian Lantern – Decorative lanterns with multi-pane glass, complex timber joinery, and metal cresting along the roofline. Very ornate.

Contemporary Traditional Lantern – Combines modern materials like aluminium and clean lines with heritage elements like decorative glazing bars and finials.

The style you choose will shape the overall look, from traditional or contemporary to understated or opulent. Consider the architectural style of your home and decor tastes when selecting a design.

Traditional Roof Lantern Materials

Traditional lanterns are defined by the care and artistry invested into their materials. Here are some of the most common:

Timber – Hardwoods like oak or mahogany provide durability along with beautiful grain. Pine offers a budget-friendly softwood option. Timber is incorporated into frameworks, sashes, muntins, and other design details.

Wrought Iron – Used for structural framework and decorative cresting and finials in Victorian lanterns. Offers incredible strength and classical style. Wrought iron develops an attractive patina over time.

Copper – Prized for roofing and flashes because it is waterproof yet malleable for shaping. Copper wears a stately green patina and inhibits moss growth.

Lead – Known for its easy malleability and water resistance. Lead is used for bonding glass panes and sealing joints.

Glass – Hand blown glass adds character. Laminated and toughened glass provides safety and strength. Insulated glass units improve thermal efficiency.

The combination of fine traditional materials results in lanterns of unparalleled quality, beauty and durability.

Installation of Traditional Roof Lanterns

Installing a traditional lantern takes careful planning and execution:

Structural Considerations – The existing roof structure must be assessed to ensure it can support the load. Additional rafters or joists may need to be added.

Flashing and Waterproofing – Proper seals prevent leaks. Install flashing around the base and weatherproof where the lantern joins the roof.

Ventilation – Adequate roof ventilation needs to be maintained. This may require adding new vents during installation.

Glazing – Traditional lanterns feature multiple glass panes supported by timber or metal glazing bars. Special care must be taken when fitting and sealing the glazing.

Materials – Lanterns are exposed to the elements, so durable materials like copper, aluminium, hardwoods, and laminated or toughened glass are best.

When installed correctly by a skilled tradesperson, a traditional roof lantern will provide a watertight addition that lasts for decades.

Create a Timeless Focal Point

With their refined profiles and luminous presence, traditional roof lanterns are classic architectural jewels that will enhance your home for generations. Embrace British custom and bring added light, beauty, and functionality to your space with a heritage lantern. Let it capture sunshine by day and moonlight by night to infuse your rooms with enchanting radiance.

Bask in the Glow of Heritage

With their ornate craftsmanship and sloped silhouettes, traditional roof lanterns are a timeless way to invite radiant natural light into your home. Their rich history, from Victorian-era innovation to modern-day custom designs, makes traditional lanterns an architectural legacy to embrace. Install one cast in timber, iron, copper, or glass and make a statement spanning centuries.

A Light as Timeless as the Ages

From grand Victorian galleries to contemporary open-concept living, traditional roof lanterns have illuminated British homes for generations. Their bespoke materials and elegant profiles make them architectural heirlooms. Whether your style is stately, whimsical or modern, a traditional lantern incorporated into your home bathes your interior in beauty as timeless as the ages.

Steeped in Rich History and Warm Light

With intricate joinery and sloping glass, traditional roof lanterns are architectural treasures that have graced the UK for centuries. Their custom craftsmanship and luminous presence continue making traditional lanterns sought-after for homes old and new. Bring rich heritage and warm natural light into your space with a bespoke traditional lantern made to inspire for generations.


What are traditional roof lanterns?

Traditional roof lanterns are architectural features composed of timber, metal, and glass built into the roofspace to allow natural light into a room or attic area. They feature sloped or angled sides and intricate details. Traditional lanterns originated in Victorian times but remain popular in contemporary homes.

What are the benefits of traditional roof lanterns?

Benefits include:

  • Allow abundant natural light into interior rooms and attics
  • Provide ventilation through windows and vents
  • Offer architectural elegance with custom designs
  • Create an eye-catching focal point
  • Add extra living space when installed in attics
  • Increase customization options with varied styles

What materials are traditional roof lanterns made from?

Common traditional materials include:

  • Timber – Hardwoods like oak or softwoods like pine
  • Wrought iron – Used decoratively and structurally
  • Copper – For roofing and waterproofing
  • Lead – For weatherproof sealing and glass bonding
  • Glass – Hand blown, laminated, toughened, and insulated glass

What are some traditional roof lantern styles?

Popular styles include:

  • Georgian – Symmetrical with multiple glass panes
  • Regency – Circular or oval shape with curved glazing bars
  • Victorian – Ornate and decorative with metal cresting
  • Contemporary Traditional – Mix of heritage and modern elements

How are traditional roof lanterns installed?

Proper installation involves:

  • Assessing and reinforcing the structure
  • Adding adequate roof ventilation
  • Installing flashing and waterproofing
  • Fitting and sealing multi-pane glazing
  • Using durable, weather-resistant materials
  • Working with qualified installers

How much do traditional roof lanterns cost?

Costs vary based on size, materials, and level of customization. Expect to invest £2,000-£10,000 or more. Lanterns using high-end woods and metals cost the most.

How are traditional roof lanterns maintained?

  • Inspect annually for any damage or leaks
  • Reapply protective finishes as needed
  • Clean glass and hardware using mild cleaners
  • Re-caulk joints and seals every few years
  • Consider repainting or re-staining occasionally

Proper maintenance preserves the beauty and water-tightness of a traditional roof lantern.

In conclusion, traditional roof lanterns are not just architectural features; they are timeless symbols of elegance and functionality. With a rich history dating back to the Victorian era, these lanterns have evolved to complement contemporary homes while retaining their classic charm. They offer numerous benefits, from flooding interior spaces with natural light to providing ventilation and creating stunning focal points.

At Prestige Roof Lanterns, we understand the enduring allure of traditional roof lanterns. Our craftsmanship and attention to detail result in bespoke lanterns that capture the essence of British heritage while embracing modern design sensibilities. Whether you seek a Georgian, Regency, Victorian, or contemporary traditional lantern, our expert team can create a custom masterpiece tailored to your style and space.

Choosing Prestige Roof Lanterns means investing in quality, durability, and lasting beauty. Our lanterns are crafted from the finest materials, including hardwoods like oak and mahogany, wrought iron, copper, and hand-blown glass. Proper installation and maintenance ensure a watertight addition to your home that will span generations.

Bask in the glow of heritage and invite warm natural light into your space with a traditional roof lantern from Prestige. Let your home shine with timeless elegance, and make a statement that transcends the ages.

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