How many times per day do you enter each room in your home? DIY professionals suggest that
homeowners can expect a return on investment of up to 115% if they enter their sunroom just
four times each day. That’s a very low bar for a big payoff down the line.
The challenge is curating a gorgeous, comfortable, and practical sunroom you’ll actually want to
use. If you haven’t designed one of these unique living spaces before, you might not know where
to begin. Plus, there are many common challenges that can make the most stunning sunroom
We’ve created this guide to help you avoid common mistakes and make the most of your new
room. Read on to begin curating the light-filled, all-weather room of your dreams.
Choose a Function for Your Sunroom
Sometimes a sunroom’s function declares itself. If your outdoor sunroom is part of your summer
house, the odds are good that you plan to use it for seasonal, warm-weather activities. In contrast,
year-round homeowners may seek to curate a more versatile, all-weather space.
Begin the design process by creating a list of your priorities. These may include the following:
Access to outdoor spaces
Open-air or all-weather design
Proximity to food preparation areas
Ability to safely install firepits, jacuzzis, etc.
Amount of natural light
Your choice of summer houses can often dictate many of the above details. Ideally, you’ll be able
to create a convertible space to enjoy in all weather. The key is planning ahead and
understanding the common sunroom design mistakes most homeowners make.
Common Problems With a Sunroom Addition
One of the most difficult challenges of adding an outdoor living space to your home is
temperature control. Think about a greenhouse. Most sunrooms have glass windows instead of
walls, which can heat up a room in extreme summer weather.
Likewise, you cannot easily insulate a room without solid walls. Thus, sunrooms can get
unbearably cold when temperatures begin to drop. They can even become chilly as the sun goes
down in the summertime.
Beat the Heat
We recommend incorporating window blinds into your sunroom’s design. This is a simple way to
block the heat and can even help create a cohesive design aesthetic. If your room is susceptible to
glare, you won’t need to vacate at the golden hour.
Keep Cold at Bay
It’s prudent to plan ahead to address cold temperatures. A solid roof traps heat and ensures the
room is inhabitable during inclement weather. There’s nothing like sitting in your sunroom
during a gentle rainstorm or watching snowflakes drift softly to the ground.
During construction, consider including at least one solid, window-free wall. This allows you to
include some insulation and keep things toasty.
We also love underfloor heating in sunrooms, which keeps feet cozy and warm in any weather. If
you like the aesthetic, many contemporary sunrooms also incorporate wood burners as a heat
Furnishing Your Sunroom
The best sunroom ideas are practical, which is why we began this process by encouraging you to
contemplate function. A gorgeous sunroom won’t add value to your home if you don’t use it. The
wrong furniture can turn your beautiful outdoor living space into a dead zone, no matter how
lovely it looks.
First, consider the following when choosing pieces for your sunroom:
UV tolerance and fading
From there, determine the primary function of your new space. If you’ll be using it for grilling
and al fresco dining, make a dining table and chairs your centerpiece. If dining is an afterthought,
consider a small bistro table and chairs where you can enjoy a cup of coffee on a sunny
If you intend to use your sunroom for relaxing and entertaining, make comfortable seating your
priority. Designated outdoor or patio furniture is naturally fade-resistant and will last longer than
traditional indoor textiles.
Area rugs go a long way toward adding a cozy, welcoming feeling to any indoor-outdoor space.
Durable textures are essential, especially if your sunroom includes a door to the outside. Choose
something that can hold up to wet or muddy shoes and traffic.
Let There Be Lighting
The beauty of a sunroom is access to natural light. You can capitalize on stunning sunlight by
including a skylight or glass ceiling in your design. Be aware that this may make it more
challenging to manage the internal temperature.
Even on long summer nights, the sun always goes down eventually. If you plan to use the space
in the winter, expect it to be dark the majority of the time. We recommend incorporating other
lighting options into your design to get the most use out of your unique living space.
Your sunroom is the perfect place to install an interesting lamp or lighting fixture, which can
become a point of visual interest in the space.
Furthermore, you may wish to add external lighting to illuminate the space outside your
sunroom. If not, you’ll get stuck gazing upon black glass.
Solar lights are an effective, efficient, and sustainable way to light your backyard, garden, or
lawn. We also love hanging lanterns or string lights from the trees. Keep your indoor lights warm
and dim so you can still see the stars on a clear night.
Design a Sunroom You’ll Really Use
Adding a sunroom to your year-round residence or summer home is only a wise investment if
you’ll actually make use of it. You can optimize your enjoyment of your new space by planning
ahead for success. Consider function, temperature control, practical furniture, and lighting before
you begin constructing your stunning, versatile sunroom.
While you wait for those design ideas to percolate, why not browse the rest of the blog? We
feature plenty of home design posts that will inspire your next ambitious project.