Though I am dubious about the wisdom of intentionally putting a hole in your roof for a skylight, it’s hard to argue with how they bring light to a dark interior. Used over a staircase in a row house, the effect is amazing. I’ve seen houses where architects use the device with great success. The trouble with skylights (in addition to the potential for leaks) is that they are somewhat bland-looking at night or when you don’t need them. Skylight specialist Velux America now offers a new blind collection with 85 colors and patterns that include a series by international design superstar Karim Rashid. The blackout blinds block 98 percent of outside light, making them perfect for bedrooms or rooms that require darkness, while the light-filtering blinds are translucent and admit a soft, natural, diffused light to reduce glare.