Great sunroom ideas will not only look stunning, but they will also ensure this invaluable room will be practical and comfortable whatever the weather.
We've all been in an awkward conservatory that is too hot in the summer and freezing in the winter, offering a three week period every 6 months where it can be used effectively. Done well, sunrooms can be a beautiful space to relax in the sun or as a cosy family room.
While the term sunroom can refer to a range of glazed structures, typically a sunroom featured elevations construction of brick, blockwork of timber, while conservatories are generally completely glazed.
Getting the design right in a sunroom, from shape and size to the materials and furniture, is important to get right to ensure the space will enhance the home.
(MORE: How to Add a Sunroom)
1. Pay Attention to the Roof When Looking at Sunroom Ideas
Unlike conservatories – with their glazed walls and roofs – which can be cold in winter and unbearably hot in the height of summer, a sunroom with a tiled or slated roof is designed to be used whatever the weather.
Here, this Oakwrights project is topped with solid roof tiles and features traditional French doors which open out onto a sun terrace.
2. Include Sunroom Lighting Ideas for Late-Night usage
A good lighting scheme is paramount. Statement pendant are often the go-to solution and can be paired with wall lights or slim sconces for a well-considered lighting design.
3. Sunroom Ideas for Year-round Use
As a sunroom should be suitable for use year-round; taking heating and cooling during both winter and summer months into consideration is essential. Make sure to consider things like underfloor heating or high levels of insulation.
4. Include a Glazed Gable for a Sunroom with Wow-factor
There are few design features that will add the same wow-factor as a glazed gable, as this impressive garden room by Prime Oak shows.
5. Simple Sunroom Ideas Can Create Beautiful Spaces
Pared-back with a warm timber-effect floor, this sunroom features glazed doors and a large show-stopping roof lantern to let natural do all the work.
6. Install a Kitchen in a Sunroom
Sunrooms don't have to be exclusively sitting areas or snugs. As this stunning home shows, placing your most used room - usually the kitchen - into a striking sunroom can transform the whole house.
7. Consider Overhang Sunroom Ideas
Roof overhangs are becoming increasingly popular in more contemporary design, but they can look equally elegant in traditional styles, as this Arboreta project goes to show. Overhangs are ideal for reducing solar gain in a heavily glazed environment, like a sunroom, and therefore prevent overheating.
8. Create a Sunroom Living Room
Outsource the living room into a well-designed sunroom which is comfortable come rain or shine and utilise space inside the rest pf the house for other practicalities.
9. Add Shade with Sunroom Blinds Ideas
Cooling spaces that feature large expanses of glazing is a tough job without sacrificing all the lovely clean lines and views most of us hope to create. The roman blinds used in this sunroom designed by David Salisbury protect the space from high temperatures without spoiling the aesthetic benefits.
10. Should the Sunroom be Open Plan?
Arboreta’s director Alex Cole advises: “The rule of thumb for sunrooms is that you will need to tackle more Building Regulations with an open-plan layout than you would with a closed-off layout. As an open-plan layout requires you to knock through a standing wall, there are more complications structurally to consider before building can begin.
Overcoming these regulations is a minor inconvenience when you weigh it up against the benefits of having an open-plan extension that links seamlessly with your home.”
11. Link Sunroom Extension Ideas
This sunroom by IQ Glass features a glass link that connects it to the main house creating one continuous space between the two rooms.
12. Practical Sunroom Flooring Ideas
Stone or tiled flooring (as seen in this space by GreenRooms by Oakwrights) is not only a robust addition but is also easy to clean — essential in a room which opens up to the garden. It can also provide thermal benefit as it pairs well with underfloor heating, keeping the chill off the room in winter, but is also good at keeping the room cool in the summer months.
13. Choose the Right Artificial Lighting for Your Sunroom
This contemporary-style sunroom features a characterful collection of pendant lights hang from the central points of the roof structure, with downlights illuminating the perimeter of the room.
(MORE: Clever Lighting Design Ideas)
14. Add Your Sunroom on a South Facing Elevation to Make the Most of the Sun
Locating a sunroom on a southern elevation allows for the space to make the most of the light, as in this David Salisbury sunroom. Although be sure to consider overheating in glazed spaces facing south. Tan Yasin of IQ Glass advises: “A solar control coating can reduce solar gain while creating a comfortable internal environment.”
15. Maximise Light and Views with a Double-Height Sunroom
Who says sunrooms need to be single storey? This double-height space luxuriates in natural light and offers a beautiful in-between zone before venturing out into the garden. Large swathes of glazing feature in this aluminium sunroom by Apropos.
16. Opt for Sympathetic Sunroom Design Ideas for a Listed Building
Older and listed houses lend themselves well to more sympathetic approaches in design. This timber frame sunroom by Prime Oak incorporates similar materials to the cottage it adjoins — from the wood stain used on the external joinery to the stone roof tiles and stone plinth.
17. Bring in Light from Above in Your Sunroom
Letting in light from above can be achieved in several ways, most commonly with rooflights and lanterns but also clerestory windows. Another discreet solution which can bring light deep into the floorplan is a flush rooflight — such as this example by IQ Glass.
18. Choose the Right Doors to Link Your Sunroom to the Garden
Incorporating patio doors into a sunroom completes the sense of connection with the outside space.
As sunrooms function as a place between the home and the great outdoors, using characterful patio doors, as here by Vale Garden Houses, helps draw the eye out towards the garden.
19. Achieve a Contemporary Look with an Aluminium Frame
Aluminium-framed sunrooms can complement period properties and modern homes alike. This Solarlux structure completes the contemporary design of this home.
20. Maximise Light in Your Sunroom with a Glazed Gable
The glazed gable of this Prime Oak sunroom enhances the feeling of space and a connection to the garden. Sunrooms mostly introduce glazing through individual banks, rather than one continuous expanse of glass and this example utilises the oak frame for this purpose. Note too how the pitch of the roof takes its cue from that of the main house.
(MORE: Ways to Bring the Outside In)
Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.
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