Let the Sun Shine In: Sunroom Makeover

With its soothing color palette and ample windows, this sunroom is a prime example of a relaxing retreat.

Homeowners Sue and Rick Sparks converted their old one-car garage into a sunroom that complemented the style of their breezy beach cottage and made the best of their garden view. They spend many hours there reading, relaxing together or even napping—so much so that they lovingly refer to it as the nest. “The nest is the perfect place to chill out, listen to music or curl up with a good book,” Sue says. “I love opening up the windows to get the breeze from the garden before settling in.” Consider the following ideas to create a solarium of your own:


Boost your Vitamin D intake naturally with plenty of windows and a few strategically placed skylights. The key is to forgo the window treatments in favor of direct sunlight.


When Rick and Sue planned the décor, they knew proper furniture—not the usual patio or garden furniture—was the best route for them. They chose cushy upholstered chairs in classic silhouettes, an elegant side table with a painted laurel motif to bring in the garden theme and classic accessories and light fixtures to ­complete the look.

Architectural elements

Traditional sunrooms originated with farmhouses and urban row houses around the turn of the 20th century to the 1950s. They were simple structures designed to allow home dwellers to enjoy the outdoors during inclement or hot weather in the comfort of an indoor room. Modern sunrooms are typically constructed of aluminum ­framing and tempered glass. To get this living-room look, consider painted wainscoting or bead board on the walls for a cottage look. Use wood trim and molding around windows and baseboards for an even more complete look.


The sunroom is part indoor haven, part outdoor hideaway. The one element that bridges the design between both styles is the floor. What looks like tile is actually painted squares, a design suggested by the architect who helped remodel the rest of the cottage. The design imparts a rustic element and brings in a pop of garden color to add a bit of whimsy to the room’s classical design.

By Jickie Torres
photo by Jaimee Itagaki

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