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These diminutive structures sit atop a roof ridge and bring light and air into a dark attic space. Check out a few cupolas that also bring style and interest to their top spots.

Light & Airy

Photo by Nancy Andrews

Cupolas were originally designed to add natural light and ventilation to the area under a roof. They sit on the ridge of a roof and can be found in many shapes, including square, round, and octagonal.

On barns, they're meant to allow a continuous flow of air into the hayloft, helping to dry the hay. This multi-sided octagon features wooden louvers to promote ventilation.

Tall & Handsome

Nancy Andrews

Glass panes on a square-based cupola allow light into the interior space. Operable windows bring in ventilation.

Making a Point

Nancy Andrews

A square wooden cupola with louvered sides has a spire-like finial, mimicking the gable wall below.

View Too

Nancy Andrews

When a cupola is big enough for a person to look out through its windows, it is also called a belvedere, as in this square cupola in a style typical of Italianate houses.

Stepping Up

Nancy Andrews

A stepped roof is topped with a cupola, creating a fancy crown for a gazebo.

Fresh Air

Nancy Andrews

A square cupola with louvers brings fresh air into an attic room made larger by a shed dormer.

Bird's Eye

Nancy Andrews

A slender cupola, topped with an obelisk finial, has arched openings sized on a birdhouse scale.

Shingle Style

Nancy Andrews

A tapered wood cupola topped by a metal roof adorns a Shingle-style house.

Classical Rendering

Nancy Andrews

With its domed top, columns, and circular base, this roof adornment is the definition of a classical cupola.

Barn Time

Nancy Andrews

The metal roof on this cupola suits the barn-like quality of a board-and-batten garage.

Rustic and Ready

Nancy Andrews

This farmhouse ell's cupola has a deep band of copper flashing protecting its base

Roof Finery

Nancy Andrews

The domed roof of a square-based cupola is adorned with metal ornamentation, giving it an almost bulbous appearance.