7 Considerations Before You Redo a Sunroom

By Jan Soults Walker

A window-wrapped room satisfies your craving for sunlight and casual living. Use this list to start the planning process for a sunroom that suits your style.

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Susan Fredman

1. Evaluate your needs

Determine how you want to use the sunroom, how many people will typically occupy the space, and the look you want to achieve. The answers should influence your choices. For entertaining, how can you arrange furnishings to accommodate areas for dining and conversing? Plan ample seating for everyone: That doesn't necessarily mean you need more space, but you can make plans to pull dining chairs into the after-dinner conversation area, for example.

2. Pick a palette

The colors you select help communicate style and mood. If you plan to use your sunroom primarily for relaxing, you might opt for more muted hues that create a tranquil setting. Do you love bold colors? An abundance of sunlight makes it easy to have fun with eye-catching hues.

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3. Treat windows right

All that sunlight requires an element of control and the right window treatments. Plantation shutters, for example, offer operable louvers that allow you to adjust the amount of light coming in, or you can swing them open to let in unencumbered light and views. Roller or pleated shades, as well as drapery panels, can feature blackout lining that completely blocks light when desired. Pleated shades and lined fabric panels can also provide additional insulation to preserve cooled or heated air. For privacy, pleated shades can install to rise up from the windowsill, blocking views into your home's interior. Leave the shade partially lowered to allow sunlight to enter the room from the top area of the window while maintaining your privacy.

Get ideas from these 8 Window Treatment Trends.

4. Keep it light and airy

Think about placement of electric lighting for nighttime activities. Include fixtures that provide good general illumination throughout the room, but also plan targeted lighting for tasks, such as crafts, reading, and dining. Keep in mind that while open windows can provide cross-ventilation, you may also want to include one or more ceiling fans. Operable skylights can also help vent hot air during warm months.

5. Choose fabrics wisely

The very nature of a sunroom typically makes the space sun-drenched and easily accessible to the outdoors. Select fabrics that resist fading and stains. If the room is located near a swimming pool, you'll want fabrics that stand up to wet bathing suits, too. Fabrics treated for outdoor use can withstand all these demands and now come in an unlimited array of colors and patterns.

6. Find the best flooring

Susan Fredman
If your room is an access point to the outdoors, select flooring that stands up to tracked-in dirt, sand, and moisture. Ceramic, porcelain, or stone tile are popular choices for sunrooms that can handle traffic and trauma without showing wear, and they clean up easily with mild detergent and water. Depending on which side of the house your sunroom is located, tile can also absorb rays during the day and radiate warmth into the room at night—a bonus in winter. You may also want to consider radiant heat beneath flooring to make the room more comfortable during cold weather. No matter what flooring you choose, include walk-off mats at outdoor entries to capture dirt and sand, and vacuum regularly.

Browse our guide: Flooring Materials Pros and Cons.

7. Store in style

Depending on how you plan to use the room, include storage to keep everything organized. Open shelves can be used to for reading materials and to display a few treasures, while closed storage keeps media gear and other belongings out of sight. Storage ottomans can hold extra throws and pillows for lounging (while also serving as additional impromptu seating), and cabinets let you organize board games, dishware, serving pieces, and linens.

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