The shorter and colder days of winter don’t necessarily mean that you have to resign yourself to spending all your time indoors, cuddled in front of a fireplace, and waiting for spring to return. The addition of a simple sunroom can allow homeowners to enjoy those limited hours of sun during the fall and winter months without having to get bundled up in dozens of layers of clothes. Sunrooms, also called solariums or conservatories, are usually attached to the south-facing part of the home. The glassed-in living space is accessible from the inside of the home and adds a multifunctional, “outdoor” living area. While sunrooms are usually not separately insulated, the use of passive solar design will significantly heat up the area enough to be enjoyed by homeowners when temperatures outside are uncomfortably cold.
Sunrooms, when not carefully designed, however, can be uncomfortably hot or cold throughout the year. These top sunroom ideas shared below can help you get the most out of a beautiful and functional addition to your home than can also increase the thermal performance of your home during the winter.
Benefits of Adding a Sunroom onto Your Home
The most obvious benefit that comes with adding a sunroom onto your home is that you will be able to spend more time enjoying the light and warmth of the sun during the fall and winter months. About 10 million Americans suffer from “seasonal affective disorder”, a mood disorder wherein people who usually enjoy stable mental health suffer from depressive symptoms during the winter months. The lack of energy associated with this disorder is related to the dark and dreary nature of the winter months, and finding ways to expose oneself to the occasional bright winter days can play an important part in staying positive.
A sunroom addition to your home can not only keep you happy, but is also a way to reduce your home's energy consumption. A sunroom can allow natural light to flow into your home, thus reducing your reliance on artificial lighting during the day. Furthermore, a well-designed sunroom can trap the heat from the sun during the cooler winter months, thus reducing your overall heat load.
Of course, a beautiful sunroom can increase the real estate value of your home, allow for year round gardening opportunities for homeowners with a green thumb, and add square footage to your home.
Best Sunroom Plans and Ideas
When deciding on the best sun porch ideas for your home, the first thing you will need to ask yourself is what the extra space will be used for. If the sunroom is attached to your kitchen or dining room, a sunroom can function as an “outdoor” eating area, and the size of the sun porch would be designed around the size of a large dining room table.
If you are the type of homeowner who loves to see his or her home bathed in greenery and natural foliage, a sunroom can also function almost like a greenhouse. The abundance of natural light and extra heat will significantly prolong your growing season, allowing you to feel as if you are living in a tropical paradise, even when temperatures are below freezing outside.
There are virtually thousands of innovative ideas for a sunroom can transform your home. Below, we offer five simple sunroom plans to help get your creativity flowing.
- An Outdoor Living Room Oasis: This sunroom design bends the distinction between living room and tropical jungle. An abundance of ferns and other tropical plants thrive around comfortable outdoor furniture. It almost has a “Rainforest Café” type of feel.
- A Biophilic Paradise: Biophilic architecture believes that our homes should actively “open up” to the natural world around us. This sunroom idea incorporates large, ceiling-to-floor windows that make the natural world seem as if it is part of the home.
- Outdoor Eating Area: Sunrooms don’t have to be extra-large to be functional. This small addition to a dining room area opens up more creating dining space and acts as a perfect area to enjoy your morning coffee on a cold winter morning.
- Breaking the Boundaries between Outdoors and Indoors: Sunrooms can also be connected to your yard and other outdoor living areas. This unique sunroom incorporates large windows that can open to an outdoor living area, thus allowing for more airflow during the warmer summer months while still staying warmer during the colder winter.
- Rustic Charm: Lastly, this vintage looking sunroom addition adds earth tones, beautiful wood features, and stone masonry for a more rustic feel to your outdoor living area. A stone chimney will add additional heat to the sun porch to keep it warm even during the coldest months of winter.
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