When it comes to browsing or purchasing a cupola, how do you know what kind to get? There are different designs, sizes, colors, and materials that make up residential cupolas. We wanted to give a few pointers from our experience of working with cupolas for over 25 years! Let’s start with the most popular question and then get into some great cupola design ideas.
How Big Should A Cupola Be?
A cupola should be roughly 1.25 inches for every foot that a building is wide. So if you have a building that is 24 feet wide, the formula would look like this:
(1.25 x 24 = 30”) For this structure, a 30-inch cupola would look great!
If you haven’t checked out our full article on sizing your cupola, it is really helpful!
Cupola Design Ideas For Houses
Cupolas that are used on houses or homes are created for aesthetics and design. These cupolas are often on an attached garage or lower point of the home. Cupolas are not meant to be the tallest point of your house. While the peak may seem like an appropriate place, the best cupola design idea for a home is over a 1st-floor room.
If you don’t have any 1st-floor room roof space (depending on the architectural design of your home), a cupola may be placed on a higher level, as long as it follows the sizing guidelines above. As you think about the cupola design ideas for homes, here are three things to keep in mind.
- Think Beauty Over Practicality – These cupolas are most likely not going to be used for anything other than a beautiful visual. For that reason, think about your desire and design taste. That is really all that matters when it comes to a cupola design on a home.
- Windows Are Often Preferred Over Louvers – A great cupola design idea for a home is to make sure that you grab a cupola with windows. Not only does this give a great look to your roof, but it also allows you to put lights in your cupola in the future.
- Aluminum Roofs Are Preferred Over Copper – With the aluminum roof, you can choose from some standard colors like; black, bronze, brown, green, coppertone, red, gray, and white. This allows you to really customize it to your home. We dive more into the roof cupola design ideas below!
Cupola Design Ideas: Roof
Here are some other aspects of your cupola roof to keep in mind as you choose yours.
Style – There are generally two main roof styles you can choose from: A straight or concave roof. These are going to be stylistic preferences because there are no actual structural pros and cons. The only thing to note is the steepness of the concave cupola roof.
Material – As mentioned briefly above, aluminum is one of the options for your cupola roof. The other (and generally more popular) option is copper. A lot of people love the copper roof cupola for its color, sheen, and patina.
When copper patinas, it reacts with the oxygen in the air over time to develop into a rougher blue/green look. This look is actually widely loved and can be seen on the statue of liberty!
Cupolas Design Ideas: Material
Now that we know the roof material of our cupolas, let’s look at what we want the actual body to be made of. There are two main options!
- Wooden Cupolas – These cupolas are often more expensive because they are more sought after. Surprisingly, wooden cupolas are not the most common choice for homes. Since most homes don’t feature the classic outdoor wooden look anymore, vinyl has stepped up!
- Vinyl Cupolas – Vinyl cupolas are the primary choice for homeowners today. You can paint them or leave them white (white generally matches your home anyway). They also tend to last longer with less maintenance than wooden cupolas.
Cupola Design Ideas: Base
When it comes to your cupola base, you have the option to extend it and make it wider. To figure out if you need this, you will want to calculate your roof pitch.
Pitch can be expressed as the number of inches a roof rises vertically for every 12 horizontal inches it extends. For example, if your roof rises 8 inches vertically over a 12-inch distance, that means you have a pitch of 8:12. An extended base size is generally reserved for rooftops rising at least 12 inches.
Cupola Design Ideas: Louvers vs Windows
As mentioned above, windows and louvers are going to be the main design options for the body of your cupola. While windows may be preferred for homes, that isn’t the case for all structures. Let’s take a closer look at these two options and their details.
- Windows – This option is a great visual look. It allows for inside lighting, as well as matches your windows on your structure.
- Louvers – If you want your cupola to be useable for venting, louvers are a great option. This style is more commonly seen on sheds and barns, but it gives a great textured look to any cupola.
Extra Cupola Design Ideas
Here are a few different cupola design ideas to keep in mind as your search for your cupola!
- Screens – Interior screening is excellent for usable cupolas. This allows the air to filter out of your structure while also keeping annoying insects out of your space!
- Weathervane Hole – A lot of cupolas today are also accompanied by weathervanes. If you think you may want a weathervane to attach to your cupola (whether now or in the future), it is a good idea to get that hole put in. This allows for a user-friendly way to safely ensure both items are affixed to your roof.
At Cupolas n More, we want to get you the best topper for your structure. Feel free to ask us any questions about how to work with the design of your building, whether shed, home, or anything in between. We would love to hear from you! Browse our shop to get some ideas for your new cupola.