Lighting for a sunroom is a little different than for other rooms. During the day, you usually won’t need extra light because of all the windows. So lighting will most often be used when it’s cloudy or after the sun goes down.
There are a couple of factors to consider, including privacy and the enjoyment of others in the room. Privacy could be an issue because the sunroom is so full of windows it would be easy for passers-by to look into the sunroom when a lamp is on at night. If that’s an issue, a directional lamp is the best choice because it minimizes the amount of light that floods the room.
If there are other people in the house who might want to use the room at the same time, it’s a good idea to consider how everyone will use the space. If one person wants to read while someone else wants a quiet, dark space to relax in, it’s best to have the option to only light the reading space. Here again, a directional lamp would allow readers and non-readers to enjoy the room at the same time.
These suggestions are floor lamps, but the same set of criteria could be used in choosing a table lamp.
Brightech Contour Dimmable Floor Lamp
This one is great because it’s both directional and dimmable, so it can give the right amount of light in the right place.
I like this one because the shade can be aimed toward where you need the light. It also accepts either 120 watt or 60 watt bulbs, so you can have softer or stronger light depending on what you need.
Full room light
This is a more standard floor lamp with a translucent shade, so while you can position it near a reading chair, it will provide ambient light for the rest of the sunroom. It’s a good choice if you need the entire space to be lit, especially if you’ll be entertaining friends in the sunroom on gloomy days or at night.
More than 40% of wall space is glass
This is a technical point from the International Energy Conservation Code. If you’re designing a sunroom, you and your architect will determine the actual ratio of glass to enclosed wall space that will work for your room.
A sunroom is fully enclosed. A sun porch is open to the elements rather than having full windows and walls between the indoors and outdoors.
May or may not be heated or cooled
Sometimes the sunroom is fully integrated into the house and is attached to the central HVAC system. If not, it may have a separate heating or cooling unit mounted in the sunroom. If it is not meant to be heated or cooled, it will often have fully insulated doors that can close it off from the rest of the house when the temperatures are extreme outside. This option might sometimes be called a three season room.
Attached to the house
If it’s unattached, it might be called a greenhouse, conservatory or summer house.
Solarium, Conservatory, Greenhouse, Orangerie
There are a lot of names for interior sun spaces. A solarium technically has a glassed roof, as would a conservatory, greenhouse and orangerie (or limonaia). For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to be very liberal about my definition of a sunroom. Any of these would count for me, and I’d consider myself lucky to spend time in any of them!
If you’re like me, there’s no better place to enjoy a quiet moment than in the sunshine. As a landscape architect, I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to provide places for people to enjoy the sunshine in an outdoor setting, but I also like to be able to experience that light when I’m indoors. So as I think about how to bring more light into my own home, I am dreaming of a sunroom, and I thought I’d share my research and daydreams with others who have a similar love for bringing nature indoors.
I learned a long time ago that there are threes qualities to an indoor space that make it pleasant to occupy, at least for me: light, height, and airiness. The particular architectural style doesn’t matter that much to me. I can be very happy in a house that’s ultra modern, eclectic, traditional, whatever. For me, the key is to have big windows, high ceilings and lots of natural light. That makes a sunroom an ideal addition to my kind of home.
Do I have one at the moment? No, but I’m working on it.
The first sunroom I got to spend any amount of time in was at the Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville, NC. Let’s just say I was hooked. If anyone is looking for a museum to volunteer at, this is a great place to spend some time. It focuses on the local history of Asheville in the Victorian era when the house was built.
Would my own sunroom be filled with geraniums? Maybe not, but there will probably be one or two in there just for old-times sake (and a little color).
And you know, if you have to have a sunroom, why not attach it to a lovely old brick mansion? Seems like a smart decision to me. Or attach it to a mid-century rancher, or a townhouse, or a suburban split-level. Whatever floats your boat.