How to design a gorgeous sunroom

Household 6 min read

Cats have the right idea. Any of us who’ve ever had one for a pet, or just spent some time cooing over cat videos on the web, all know that one of their favorite things is to find a sunbeam on the floor and stretch out for hours.

It’s not just a good idea for them—we’d all benefit from finding a sunbeam for at least a few minutes a day. Studies show that even a few minutes spent in the sun, getting a vital boost to our vitamin D levels, can have beneficial effects on everything from our immune system to our heart, while helping reduce risks for diseases like cancer.

But while we might have every reason to search out the sun, creating that daily luxury for ourselves can require a bit of planning. One of the best ways to get there is by giving your home the gift of a sunroom. Here are a few tips for how to design a gorgeous sunroom.

Your place in the sun

There are lots of ways to get a sunroom. Depending on the age and location of the home, many come with one as a kind of expanded entryway. Others can have them built as an added section of the home.

But if you have a spot in your home that gets good light, creating a sunroom for yourself can be a quick and easy design project that can provide you with a dedicated wellness space that can have lasting benefits.

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Fashionable minimalism

One of the best things about designing a sunroom is that there really isn’t much to it. Traditionally these rooms don’t include a lot of furniture or require a lot of fancy design tricks. The only catch is to make sure that what little you do put in really works. The remaining space is perfect for a workout, yoga, or meditation space, or for just laying out and catching some rays.

This space has minimalism down pat. With only four pieces, it makes a stylish mini statement while leaving the rest of the room to fill up with sun. But even within this tiny vignette, we see layers of pattern and color between the plant and the plant-motif pattern of the chaise. An antique side table adds a classic feel, juxtaposed with a very modern table lamp that completes the picture.

green couch in sunroom with minimalist design

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Let the sunshine in

Of course, the biggest element to have in a sunroom is the sun. That means that window treatments are a major decision. Heavy blinds and thick drapes probably aren’t what you want for a room intended to be filled with light. So instead, go with lightweight curtains that maximize the amount of sun that comes in. Not every home is sun-facing, so the less light your chosen sunroom gets, the more important it is to let in as much as possible.

For this space, translucent, white curtains are the perfect way to get the most out of a sunny day. Even when not pulled completely, these drapes do very little to impede light coming into the space. Through the window, a heavy external awning is visible, making the choice of curtains even more crucial to the success of the room.

sunroom with window and light coming in

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Accentuate the light with paint

Another way to maximize the light in your space is to give it something to bounce off of. Choosing the right wall color is a vital step in creating the best possible sunroom. Dark colors absorb the light, which is the opposite of the effect a sunroom is usually going for. For best results, go with a shade that reflects light, like a bright crisp white.

And you don’t have to abandon color altogether. If white isn’t your favorite, there are a variety of light shades to choose from. Light pinks, pale lilacs, and even light blues or grays will all give the light something to play with when it comes in. And as the light changes throughout the day, the right paint color will change with it, giving you different beautiful looks as the hours roll by.

In this sunroom, a bright white is the perfect cool contrast to the warm wood of the floor while also providing the ideal environment for getting the most out of the sun. Here, the darker, heavier curtains help to keep the light from becoming too much while providing a visual middle ground between the walls and the floor.

sunroom with curtains

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Artsy accents

The minimalist approach usually taken with sunrooms can keep them from being too heavy of a design project, but sometimes it can leave the room looking a bit bare as well. This is especially true for the walls. If you feel like there’s something missing, but don’t want to clutter the space more than necessary, art is almost always the right answer. Just as with the furniture, simple is the watchword for sunroom art. This is a place for the mind to rest, so it’s important not to overwork the eye with a massive gallery wall or layers of abstraction. For people without extensive art experience this can be a perfect place to start—just look for something simple that makes you happy.

It doesn’t get much simpler than the art in this space, but that’s why the effect is so stunning. The classic black and white color scheme fits perfectly while occupying just enough wall space to keep the room from looking barren. Paired with a few equally understated accessories atop the stylishly asymmetrical bench, the whole vignette fits together beautifully.

sunroom with art decor and bench

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Don’t forget the plants

What room in the house isn’t made better with a couple of plants? For a sunroom, which is specifically intended to give you some outdoor benefits while letting you stay inside, plants are more than a good idea, they’re an absolute must.

Adding plants to your sunroom decor does more than make it look nice. It’s one of the best ways to enhance the health benefits of the space. Plants are known to offer a plethora of health boons. A little research will help you find the plants that best suit your health goals, whether it’s relaxation from aromatherapy or from having the right smile-inducing shade of flowers. And if your thumb isn’t exactly green, don’t fret. There are a number of online services dedicated to helping you find gorgeous plants that require as much or as little care as you’re able to provide.

sunroom with green couch and plant

Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

Create a flow

The last thing to consider when designing your sunroom is how it fits in with the rest of your home. Depending on your personal aesthetic, you can make it a space all its own with a design that feels like a complete escape from the rest of the home. Or, if you enjoy the serenity of your sunroom, you might want to look for ways to extend it further into the house.  

The built-in sunroom in this home doubles as an expanded entryway, making it the first space the owner or guests encounter as they enter. The serene minimalism of the sunroom extends into the living room through the continuation of the white, brown, and blue color palette. Even as the furnishings themselves become more ornate, the shared color scheme keeps the rooms linked and feeling seamlessly connected.


Photo Credit: Chinasa Cooper

When you’re designing, building, and decorating your new sunroom, be sure to keep it protected with homeowners insurance from Progressive.

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