Looking for sunroom ideas to transform yours into an in-home oasis that rivals a resort? A sunroom can become an escape from life’s stresses, a haven for true relaxation. Sunrooms are typically spaces with windows or screens on three sides that, as the name suggests, let the sun shine through. Whether you want to shake up your current sunroom or create one from scratch, here are the questions you need to ponder to make sure you get it right.
Question No. 1: How can you optimize your area’s sunniness?
Your home’s location—or more correctly, the weather in that location—is the first piece to consider, since it plays a central role in sunroom design. Florida homeowners concentrate on heat and how to avoid sweltering temperatures, while in New Hampshire, the focus is more about avoiding cold, according to interior decor expert Kerry Spears, who has lived in both states.
Spears says Southern homeowners often use plants that enjoy hot and humid climates, brighter colors, and window treatments and blinds to block out the sun. Northern homeowners tend to prefer muted colors and plants that can withstand colder temperatures. They also need to winterize their sunrooms if they want to enjoy them between November and March.
Question No. 2: What’s the purpose of your sunroom?
If you’re looking to redesign a sunroom, you should figure out what you really want out of the room, says Linda Holt at Linda Holt Creative in Burlington, MA. Once you figure out its use, you can start designing your interior space.
Homeowners commonly use sunrooms as a:
- Primary living room
- Secondary living room
- Dining room
- Reading room
- Craft room
- Family game room
- Music room
Question No. 3: Furniture and furnishings?
Sunrooms usually get a lot of direct light, so outdoor furniture is a wise choice. Holt says indoor wood furniture can crack if it’s left right in the brightest spot. Plus, the sun fades items, so consider outside performance fabric that is UV-resistant.
“A sunroom feels like an extension of the outdoors, so enhance that with your decor,” Spears says. She likes to go for furnishings and accessories in natural finishes like rattan, grasscloth, or exposed wood.
Other decorating must-do’s? Find an indoor/outdoor rug that fits the space. If you plan on using your sunroom as a dining room, window treatments are especially important. After all, you don’t want the setting sun shining in your dinner guests’ eyes.
Question No. 4: What colors should you choose?
Holt says color selection depends on the sunroom’s orientation. North-facing rooms are typically darker because they don’t get as much sunlight, so you’ll want to choose brighter colors that will reflect light better.
Of course, colors aren’t just what you put on your walls. Furniture, rugs, and accessories contribute to the room’s color palette.
Sunrooms typically have more windows than wall space, so the furnishings will play a large part in how colorful or muted your room looks.
“If you want to really connect with the nature just outside that sunroom, blues and greens blend well,” says Spears. “When done in lighter tones, those colors are also very soothing A sunroom, to me, always seems like a little slice of vacation in your home, so with that you want calm and relaxing tones.”
Question No. 5: How green is your thumb?
Holt says no matter what type of furniture and furnishings you add to your sunroom, there is one element that should be a part of every design—plants. Not faux flowers or fake trees. Real plants.
Holt says homeowners should figure out what plants will withstand the sunroom’s environment. Maybe your sunroom gets constant sunshine from 7 AM to 7 PM. In that case, you’ll want to choose plants that love the sun and heat. If the sunroom is in the shade for part or most of the day, then go with a plant that thrives in that environment.
“A good tip is to choose the same plants for your sunroom as you would for your garden,” Holt says.
Spears says some of her favorite sunroom plants are:
- Fiddleleaf figs
- Ficus trees
Some of her favorites require indirect sunlight, but thrive in high humidity so place them in the room to avoid direct sunlight. For those in colder climates, you’ll need to make sure plants get enough heat in the cooler months.
Question No. 6: To TV or not to TV?
Whether to include electronics in your sunroom depends on what you want from the room. If you want a place to get away from the world, meditate and read books, then TVs and electronics don’t make sense.
Spears says sunrooms are typically a second living space, a place to relax. However, if you plan to use your sunroom as the main living area, you’ll likely want a TV. Spears says you can make them less conspicuous by mounting the TV and removing the console so it’s not the focal point of the room. “I also try and blend it in by having art or other interesting pieces surround it,” she says.