See the light with innovative and unexpected uses of this timeless material
From sliding glass doors and floor-to-ceiling glass partition walls to Crittall-style room dividers and extensions, glass ceilings, glass roofs and even glass flooring, there’s plenty of modern and contemporary inspiration when it comes to using glass in the home.
Using glass doors or even a wall of doors to connect to your garden is guaranteed to lend a real sense of drama to your abode, plus it’ll maximise natural light and provide uninterrupted views of just about anything you want to show off. A glass extension or floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors will also help blend the indoors and out.
Wak-on glass flooring (also known as floor lights) helps to facilitate a flow of light between floor levels, making the most of the sunshine. Or let even more light in via a roof window or glass ceiling. A roof window can typically let in up to twice as much light as a conventional vertical window – this is because the glazing is angled directly towards the natural light source, with very little diffused or reflected light. If you have a bigger budget, a glass roof will bathe your home in daylight, brightening dark corners and expanding the feeling of space.
‘Statement’ is a word the interiors world likes to use – a lot. That said, we can’t think of a more fitting description for up and over glazing designed to catch sunlight as it moves around a property. This type of configuration works very well on narrow installations of glass, where side windows or glazing is not possible. It’s also very popular for side-infill extensions that are largely overlooked by neighbouring properties.
Get the look: This project is by Sophie Nguyen Architects.
Make an entrance with a single oversized glass door or even a wall of doors – both options are guaranteed to lend a real sense of drama to your abode. This bespoke approach will maximise natural light and provide uninterrupted views of just about anything you want to show off. Keep door hardware discreet so as not to detract from the star of the show.
This glass is triple-glazed, which adds great insulation and goes hand in hand with noise-cancelling technology. The minimal framing gives uninterrupted views and a really contemporary look.
Get the look: The Caulfield Company scaled new heights with this impressive six-metre wall of glass. To offset the weight of the made-to-order glass doors, an automatic motorised control system makes them easy to open. Prices start at £15,000.
This oversized glazed internal door, which just oozes chic Scandi simplicity, works hard for both the compact corridor and living space. Its large glass centre means both areas feel more spacious and less enclosed. Another point of difference to this door is that it operates off a pivot rather than a run-of-the-mill hinge.
Get the look: Cue & Co can make a similar door, from £2,800, excluding fitting.
Space restrictions and party wall issues with neighbours meant that Eldridge London had to think outside the box when excavating the basement of this terraced house. Unable to install external windows or light wells, the solution was a glass floor that spans the length of the dining space.
Get the look: Project by Eldridge London. Contact Firman Glass for something similar – expect to
spend from £35,000.
Now here’s a brilliant idea: borrow light to brighten a gloomy room. Cue walk-on glass panels (also known as floor lights), which facilitate a flow of light between floor levels. Set flush to the floor to avoid a trip hazard, walk-on glass flooring is most effective when located alongside glazed patio doors or positioned directly under a roof light to take full advantage of the sunshine. Panels need to be strong enough to walk on, so you’ll need structural calculations to be done before installation.
It’s all about teamwork in this urban kitchen, where walk-on glass flooring flanks bifold patio doors to capture sunlight and filter it down to the playroom in the basement below.
Get the look: This project is by Neil Dusheiko Architects. The glass floor and glass doors cost around £14,000 and £16,800 respectively.
Look up because your best source of light may come from above. A roof window can typically let in up to twice as much light as a conventional vertical window – this is because the glazing is angled directly towards the natural light source, with very little diffused or reflected light. If you have a bigger budget, a glass roof will bathe your home in daylight, brightening dark corners and expanding the feeling of space.
By adding a large glass roof to this basement extension, FC Architects has let light penetrate into the open-plan kitchen/dining space. The other advantage is roof thickness. A glass roof is thinner than a solid one so you gain extra headroom, which is ideal for a basement extension where you might be limited by planning constraints.
Get the look: This project is by FC Architects. A similar roof from Easyglaze costs around £19,200.
Many design-conscious types have been reluctant to embrace stained glass, deeming it too old-fashioned
for a contemporary look. However, change is afoot. After all, there’s something mesmerising about the richly coloured streams of light produced when sunlight strikes stained glass. It’s not just for windows and doors either – you can use it for dividing walls too. Scour reclamation yards for old church windows or commission a custom design.
Here, designer Jo Berryman provides a lesson in how to keep the distinctive aesthetic of stained glass fresh. The entrance to this hall is more in keeping with modern tastes, mixing clear and coloured glass to dial down the high drama of traditional stained glass. There’s also the added benefit that it lets more light filter through.
Get the look: This project is by Jo Berryman. Acquire your own unique piece of stained glass from Lightworks Stained Glass.
Forget open plan. The current buzz is all about broken-plan living, which works in much the same way as its predecessor, drawing light into dark rooms and increasing a sense of flow and connectivity. However, unlike open-plan, broken-plan employs structural elements, such as internal glass walls or windows, to create both a visual and physical separation without the room losing its independence. If privacy is a priority, choose frosted or even privacy glass, which changes from clear to opaque as needed.
Textured glass set within matt-black steel framing adds a hint of industrial style to this bathroom scheme. The beauty of the glass divide is that it provides privacy without compromising the flow of natural light from the window above the bath. The connecting space is characterised by a large mirror hung above the vanity unit to help amplify the light.
Get the look: This project was designed by Stiff + Trevillion. Expect to pay from around £6,000 for similar Crittall-style glazing.
Here’s how to separate spaces, but keep a sense of flow. This EMR Architecture design means that cooking smells are contained thanks to a pocket door that slides into a cavity within the kitchen wall. Meanwhile, an internal window lets in light and helps retain connectivity to the living room even when the door is shut.
Get the look: Project by EMR Architecture. A similar window will cost around £3,000.
Some design trends become so deeply ingrained in everyday life that they’re taken for granted. Take outdoor living, which is driven by a desire to break down the barrier between home and garden to extend one’s living space.
Opting for great swathes of glass is a foolproof way to blur the boundary between indoors and out. Worried about overheating? There’s a range of solar-control coatings available that give you different levels of solar protection.
Get the look: The project was completed by the Llama Group. Shown here is a Sky-Frame sliding door system, priced from £14,000. The Sky-Frame sliding doors were 2440mm high with a total run length of 11528mm. Vertical profiles are only 20mm wide and carbon re-enforced, giving the maximum window view. In the summer months the fully flush system opens up to provide seamless transition to outdoors living.
You don’t need to opt for the modern effect of sheets of plain glass in a period home. With their exquisite detailing, vintage and reclaimed options can add more character while still allowing the light to flow freely in a space.
The owners of this modern white kitchen have added interest by offsetting the minimalist style with decorative glass on the doors. The blend of architectural designs creates a visual tension but yet an appealing balance.
Get the look: This kitchen from Elan Kitchens costs £34,000.
Vintage-style glass doesn’t have to be rooted to period properties – cleverly mixed into a contemporary setting, it can have an equally stunning impact.
This elegant glazed partition is proof enough that a door can be much more than just part of the bones of a room. The painted wood gives a Crittall-style look to these Edwardian doors and separates two areas while retaining a sense of unity without compromising on the light.
Get the look:Black Oak Builders can make something similar from around £7,500.
A wow-factor glass staircase can add drama to your home aesthetic and provides an airy and seamless transition between floors. Fitting a glass balustrade maximises the use of natural light to the stairwell and also gives the illusion of a greater sense of space. They are usually constructed with shatterproof glass and can withstand heavy loads, so are perfectly safe for family homes.
Designed to float gracefully above the floor, this staircase is so much more than a practical route to the next level. A glass balustrade lightens the look of the timber treads and risers and a handrail wrapped in luxurious leather helps frame the balustrade.
Get the look: This project is by Gregory Phillips Architects. Allow £25,000 per flight of stairs.
A glass box extension with a minimalist, barely there frame isn’t just a contemporary statement – it can elevate the look of a traditional home without compromising the integrity of the original architecture.
A reminder that Victorian architecture needn’t hold you back in the style stakes, this slick glass extension by Minale + Mann brings this London home bang up to date. By extending sideways, its owners have gained valuable square metres for a casual dining area. Bifold doors enhance the seamless transition between indoors and out and allow for amazing views of the garden.
Get the look: This extension was part of a complete renovation that cost approximately £1 million.
Old doesn’t have to mean traditional. Here, a super-contemporary glass box extension by Scott Donald Architecture lightens the visual aesthetic of the period brick building. The ‘open-ended’ design is achieved using 3.2m-high Sky-Frame sliding glass doors at both ends, increasing the sense of space from within and providing an impressive through-view. To remove any barrier between indoors and out, a cavity built into the wall allows the sliding doors to disappear completely when open.
Get the look:This project is by Scott Donald Architecture. The cost of this extension was around £200,000 (shell only).
You don’t need to live in a former factory to adopt the industrial aesthetic of Crittall windows. From new builds to period properties, the windows’ sturdy, slim-profile steel frames adapt with enviable ease to their environment and bring envy-inducing architectural details with them, making them great for shower cubicles or room partitions.
Colour theory dictates that white pushes the walls of a room back, which works well here as height has the potential to make the space feel narrow. Crittall-style glazing was chosen to provide sharp definition to the sea of white. It also frames the view and breaks down the scale of the opening.
Get the look: Project by Guy Stansfeld of 318 Studios. Expect to spend around £8,000 for something similar.