Did you know Oklahoma City is the seventh sunniest city within the United States? In a state that harnesses its natural gas, oil, and wind energy, why not make the most of the sunshine, too? While your first thought may be to install solar panels on your roof, there’s a better way: a sunroom.
A sunroom doesn’t have to be totally devoted to soaking up the sunshine, either: it can be a great indoor space for curling up with a good book, watching the game, or even tending to your green thumb. The layout in your sunroom is entirely up to you, as is its purpose: you can do whatever you want, but why not get a little Vitamin D while you do it?
The Truth About Sunrooms
I know what you’re thinking: but what do I do in the colder months? A little less sunshine doesn’t make your sunroom useless! As long as your sunroom is properly installed to maximize open exposure, you’ll be getting a myriad of benefits all year long.
In the winter, your sunroom can be a passive solar heat source for the rest of your home. Just because you can’t see the sunshine doesn’t mean it isn’t there: temperatures inside can still soar despite the temperatures outside. By opening connecting doors to the sunroom, the heat is able to flow into the rest of your home naturally, without increasing your utility bill. Certain design aspects of your sunroom can amplify this effect: exposed exterior brick soaks up heat, while certain heights can affect the amount of sun reaching the windows. Tile floors also are great for soaking up solar energy.
If that’s the case, does it mean it will become a sauna in the summertime? Not necessarily. Opening the windows in the summer, or even employing fans, can create a cross breeze to cool the room. Curtains and reflective shades can also be used to prevent passive solar heating. Of course, if the temperatures soar well into the hundreds, it’s probably best to seek a little cooler area.
Finally, there’s always the option of having your sunroom heated and cooled, along with the rest of your home. While this option is a little more expensive, it can come in handy in particularly finicky weather climates.
The basic design of a sunroom is the same across the board: it needs plenty of windows to ensure it lives up to its name. It’s typically added to the south or west sides of the home to maximize exposure to the sun, and it shouldn’t have too much shade cover. The size of the room will depend on your individual needs and budget; keep in mind the height of the windows may affect how much sunlight is let in. However, the rest of the design is entirely up to you!
The first thing to consider is what you’ll want to use your sunroom for: is it a place to care for your plants? To escape the day-to-day with a good book or the ballgame? An extra entertaining space for when the weather doesn’t quite cooperate? A spare playroom for the grandchildren? Once you know what you’ll be preparing for, it makes decorating and designing your sunroom easier (and much more fun)!
Keep in mind sunrooms are designed to mix the outdoors with the indoors, and blending opposites can seem difficult. Even if you don’t have quite such a green thumb, bringing in flowers and plants can really emphasize the nature-friendly aspects of your room (even when you have your big screen on the wall). Complimentary colors, or themes, are also important in your design to ensure you don’t get lost trying to decide if you’re in or out.
When it comes to designing your sunroom, the sky is the limit! Don’t get hung up on how much the weather may affect your sunroom use: if you’ve ever wanted to dance in the rain without getting wet, or enjoy the winter without the cold, the sunroom is the perfect place to do so! Make it your own favorite getaway spot by topping it off in bright colors, festive patterns, and your comfiest chair.