While on one of my scrapbooking visits at a friend’s house a few years ago, I noticed the huge sunroom that had been built over the patio in her spacious backyard. But rather than use this extra square footage for any of the number of awesome ways a sunroom can be used, her family was using it for storage. It was packed wall to wall, floor to ceiling, in dusty boxes, and the space was dark and gloomy. The only time her family seemed to use the room was as a thoroughfare, through the sliding patio door in their family room to the backyard. What a waste of space! I coveted that sunroom and would daydream of the things I could turn it into.
My friend would sometimes bemoan the fact that they had six boys and only three bedrooms. For a large family, what better use could they have for the extra space of a sunroom than turning it into a bedroom or two? By using portable partitions or dividing the space with furniture, it’s possible to provide sleeping space for one or two people without adding permanent walls. In fact, another family friend did just that with the extra room they’d built over their patio: over the years, that room had been used as a dining room, living room, office, and two extra bedrooms (or a combination of these) by simply dividing the large space with bunkbeds, tall desks, and dressers. If you’d rather not relegate the space solely for bedroom use, futons or rollaway beds can be used to turn it into a living area during the day.
While growing up, I once lived in a house with a converted garage that we turned into a playroom. Ever since, I dreamed of having a house with a big extra room for my kids’ toys and games. If you want to keep your living room looking presentable, or you’d like a central space for all the toys, a sunroom can be a great place to designate as kids-only. Adding cabinets, shelves, or bins are convenient ways to store the kids’ stuff and keep a mess under control. Turning the sunroom into a TV/playroom would help on those winter days when it’s too cold for the kids to play outside, and you’d like for them to have a space of their own to entertain themselves.
I’ll admit this is what I’d use for my dream sunroom. Moms can dream too, right? Especially moms with a passion for books, crafts, and her very own space. I imagine a room lined with bookshelves, the sunlight through the windows providing the perfect amount of light for reading. Or maybe a small table in the corner for sewing and crafting. And, of course, a computer desk and shelves. Just add a mini fridge and a lock on the door and I’d be happy forever! If the kids were really good, maybe I’d turn half the space into a playroom…
Do you have a green thumb? It’s called a sun room for a reason. Sunrooms are perfect spots for plants to flourish, even in the winter. I have one friend who rescued abused parrots, and she turned her sunroom into a parrot paradise with non-toxic indoor trees for climbing and a fountain for preening. If that’s a little exotic for your tastes, decorating your room in a tropical theme with warm colors and lots of houseplants would still add warmth to a sunroom during the cold months.
This is one of the most popular uses for a sunroom, for good reason. Most people have sunrooms added to their homes so they can enjoy the extra space with their family, and to entertain guests. With the extra brightness let into the room from the wall-to-wall windows, a sunroom is the perfect place to go any time of year to enjoy a bit of extra sunshine. Add a television, a fireplace, and a small table, and the space is turned into a cheerful retreat for everyone in the family to enjoy.
It was sad to see my friend turn her large, beautiful sunroom into such a waste of space. With the right type of decorations and furnishings, a sunroom can be converted into a combination of the uses listed above. If you do a bit of dreaming and use your own sense of decorating taste and creativity, your sunroom can become your family’s favorite room in the house.