Sunroom Designs & Decorating Tips

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Easily confused with enclosed patios, sunrooms are additions to a home that allow you to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the surrounding landscape without actually being exposed to the weather conditions outside like strong winds, high humidity and rain showers. Sunrooms are typically attached to the side, or the rear of a home, and they mainly consist of transparent walls and roofing, allowing for a great deal of sunlight to pour into the room.

Sunroom Designs

The main purpose of a sunroom is to allow inhabitants to enjoy the outdoors, without actually having to be outdoors. To accomplish this, sunrooms are typically designed with a multitude of windows, or transparent walls, doors and roofing. Common sunroom designs include:

  • Curved roof sunrooms
  • Straight roof sunrooms
  • Cathedral roof sunrooms
  • Conservatory style sunrooms

Sunrooms are commonly perceived as outdoor rooms, so most homeowners tend to separate them from the rest of the home's interior. It's common to see a sliding door or French doors separating the sunroom from the rest of the home. This is due to the thin, transparent structure of sunrooms that do not offer much insulation or shelter when dealing with inclement weather. However, it is possible to integrate a sunroom with another portion of the home, like the living room, to allow for more natural lighting to enter the room. This also creates a nice little nook where you can enjoy the sunlight.

Conservatory Style Sunroom Straight Roof Sunroom

Construction Materials

Sunrooms can be purchased as prefabricated structures made to your specifications and installed to your home, or they can be constructed on site. The sunroom walls, doors, roof and eaves are typically made of:

  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • Vinyl clad aluminum
  • Glass

While a glass roof is quite common to allow for sunlight to enter the room at all angles, some people might prefer a solid roof to allow for a more enclosed feeling. Wood construction will allow for a nice transition between the indoors and the landscape outside the home, while white aluminum or vinyl cladding allow for a bright, vibrant feeling to match the natural light pouring into the room.

Types of Flooring

Although a sunroom is still considered indoor space, its flooring needs to be able to endure outdoor weather conditions like rain, dirt and constant exposure to the sunlight. While carpet is still a possibility, more durable flooring is recommended like:

  • Hardwood
  • Ceramic tile
  • Marble tile
  • Porcelain tile
  • Stone
  • Wood laminate
  • Stamped concrete
Wicker Furniture Sunroom Ceiling Fan in Sunroom

Furniture Ideas

  • Wicker sofas, chairs and ottomans
  • Pronged tables
  • Wood benches and chairs
  • Wooden picnic tables
  • Glass coffee tables

The most common furniture you would see in a sunroom would be garden or patio type furniture. Wicker and wood designs are the most prevalent, because they draw in the beauty of the landscape, while giving one the feeling they are immersed in nature and the outdoors. However, don't feel limited to this type of furniture.

It is not out of the ordinary to use a sunroom as another room for the home's interior, or an extension of a living room or bedroom. If you wish to have a leather couch and a TV in you sunroom, so be it. Make it your own design, and fill your sunroom with any furniture of your choosing. Just remember, it's called a sunroom for a reason. Overexposure to the sun's rays is not only bad for your skin, it's also bad for the skin of that leather couch.

Sunroom Decorating Tips

  • Think of colors and décor that transition well between the interior and the exterior of the home. Bright colors and floral décor can complement the garden and landscape outside of the sunroom.
  • Plants make great decorations in a sunroom because they bring out a natural effect, and will get plenty of much needed sunlight.
  • Area rugs work well in a sunroom that usually has a harder, more durable flooring surface like tile or wood. Place a rug under your sofa and other seating for added indoor comfort.
  • A ceiling fan with a built in light can be used to allow for proper ventilation and air circulation, while providing some extra lighting, just in case the natural lighting is insufficient.
  • Portable heaters and air-conditioning are quite useful in sunrooms, which typically lack proper insulation.
  • Think of installing blinds for those times when you want a little privacy or you might want a little more shade from the sun. Wooden, or bamboo blinds work well in sunrooms because of the natural feel as opposed to fabric window treatments that are better suited for interior rooms.

Other Sunroom Ideas

  • Create a children's play area by installing an indoor jungle gym. That way, your kids can still enjoy some outdoor play, even when it's raining outside.
  • Install an indoor pool or spa, or both, if you'd like! A sunroom will allow you and your family to enjoy some water recreation and leisure, no matter what the weather is outside.
  • A sunroom is the perfect place to setup an indoor garden. Your plants will get adequate sunlight from the sunroom's design, and you will be able to enjoy doing some gardening indoors.
Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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About Matthew Cenzon Matthew Cenzon has been writing for numerous publications since 2003, covering topics ranging from health and nutrition to the real estate industry. He is one of the contributing writers for IdealHomeGarden.com, and is a college graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with degrees in English and Asian literature. Matthew’s interest in interior design and home improvement stem from his background working in the residential real estate appraisal business for over five years, where he witnessed many of the Do's and Don'ts of home decor.

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