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Question: 'We're adding a glass extension – a sitting/dining room – to our house and it's south facing so will get plenty of sunshine. Which is right for a glass box, and how do I position the furniture to make the best use of the room and make it feel cosy?'
Oliver Heath, expert in sustainable architecture, says: Glass extensions can be beautiful, with lots of natural light and views onto nature. Unfortunately, all that glass often means poor insulation, making a consistent temperature difficult to achieve.
One possible solution is to increase the insulation by having a solid ceiling with roof lights and keeping glass walls. This ensures the space maintains a more comfortable temperature in both summer and winter – saving you the cost of heating and cooling the space – while retaining high levels of light and views outside.
Predominantly glass extensions can also be noisy, with high levels of reverberation. Within the social hub of the home this isn't ideal, and soft furnishings such as rugs, curtains and cushions are vital to dampen the noise.
When it comes to the flooring, timber can also help to absorb echoes and make the space feel cosy, but it's not so helpful with temperature control. Heavier materials, such as stone tiles, will take in heat during the day and release it again at night. Both options have their advantages, so choose the material depending on how you want the space to feel.
For window coverings, bear in mind that light passing through glass turns to heat, which means that internal blinds simply won't keep the space cool in summer as the light, and therefore heat, has already entered the space before it hits the blinds. One of the best ways to counter this problem is by planting deciduous shrubs and trees outside your extension. In summer the leaves will provide shade and help to filter the light before it reaches the glass, while in winter the bare branches will allow light to come through.
Views of trees and plants have been scientifically proven to lower levels of physical and psychological stress, so place furniture facing out onto nature. If you're planning to have a dining table, position it so that when everyone's seated they can see the garden with only a 90-degree turn of the head. This will ensure your space has an invigorating, restorative effect.
From: House Beautiful. Subscribe here.
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