Apart from the windows and doors which bring in that all-important sunshine to your space, sunroom furniture ideas are the most important part of creating a sunroom that's a joy to spend time in.
Sunroom ideas come as all kinds of spaces, in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing they all share in common is their reason for being. 'The purpose of the sunroom is to really just relax and unwind,' says New York-based interior designer Amy Kalikow, and no matter what furniture you choose for your design, this should be at the back of your mind.
Sunrooms can be used as overspill living rooms, a spot for dining – whether that's as a nook for breakfast or for casual dining when entertaining – or for any other number of reasons, all affecting the furniture you may choose for your space. But there are some general tips you can follow to make the most of your sunroom when it comes to layout and choosing pieces. With that in mind, we're taking a look at the best sunrooms to steal some inspiration for furniture ideas.
Sunroom furniture ideas
1. Create more uses for your sunroom with your furniture choices
Even if the general idea of a sunroom is to have a space that's for relaxing and enjoying the sun throughout the day, there are plenty of ways you can use the space to extend your home, so consider the different uses it may have when selecting furniture.
Just like an open plan kitchen, you can group furniture together into zones to meet different functions, just on a smaller scale. Including a sitting area and a table and chairs covers most bases, giving you the option for relaxing in comfort, as well as a small dining room idea to do some work or eat breakfast, for example.
2. Create a comfortable sunroom with a soft seating arrangement
To make a sunroom that you can really unwind in, getting the seating right is just as important as your living room ideas, but what sort of arrangement should you go for?
Think about the design as you'd use it as an individual, and when entertaining, plus how it relates to the layout of your house.
In a sunroom that opens up to the kitchen or living space, for example, you might want your sofa to face into the house, making it a more social spot to sit when other people are in the house.
'Everything in this space was meant to be cozy and encourage conversation and relaxation,' says interior designer Amy Kalikow of this contemporary sunroom created for a property in New York. 'We chose more organic designed furniture in soft fabrics to complement the outside elements.'
On the other hand, for a sunroom that's partitioned from the house, you'll almost certainly want the sofa to face out to make the most of the views.
'The biggest component to creating a space that fosters contentment and wonder are windows,' says South Carolina-based interior designer Kelly Ford of Ford Interiors. 'Anytime you can bring the outside in you give people a feeling of being close to nature yet with the benefits and comfort of the indoors.'
3. Mix and match furniture for an eclectic look
To make a sunroom a family or entertaining space means getting the right amount of seating in for it to be comfortably used by many people at a time. For that reason, a sunroom setting lends itself well to mixing seating styles – think sofas, armchairs, occasional chairs and even stools – incorporating a variety of styles and textiles.
'I wanted a space that would make people want to sit, linger, and wonder,' says Kelly Ford, designer of this sunroom. 'We wanted a place in the home that helps foster connection with each other without distraction.'
While a sofa and armchairs provide the core seating for the space, cozily arranged around the fireplace, a leather director's chair and foldable stools bring versatility to the sunroom, allowing the layout to change depending on how it's being used.
4. Use built-in furniture to make use of a small sunroom
Built-in furniture is not only a useful space-saver, especially for a small sunroom idea, it can become an interesting feature of a room when used in the right way.
While sunrooms don't necessarily need much in terms of storage space, incorporating some spillover storage is useful for freeing up room in the rest of the house.
This design from New York design studio General Assembly includes fitted storage drawers and also cleverly combines a built-in seat into the carpentry, providing a comfy spot that's otherwise missing in this small sunroom which also houses a dining table and chairs.
5. Try a minimalist approach for a modern sunroom look
For a super contemporary sunroom, strip down your furniture to the basics of what you want the room to be used for. The sunroom of this Hamptons beach house designed by interior designer Amy Kalikow is a great example of how a streamlined space using modern interior design could work.
This sunroom isn't necessarily for all day living, but provides a beautiful view out onto the garden with a pair of chairs positioned to make the most of it – creating the perfect spot to recharge your batteries in a blast of sunshine and drink a morning coffee.
6. Use a sunroom as a dining space
It's possible to create a relaxing space without relying on sofas or occasional chairs, including turning a sunroom into a dining area. While it may be best suited for breakfast time to make the most of the sun, this design by interior design studio General Assembly goes to show that a sunroom dining room idea can be cozy and welcoming too.
'The sunroom structure at our Bergen Street Townhouse was at odds with the existing masonry home from 1910,' explains Sarah Zames, principal at General Assembly. 'We softened the space with rugs, textiles and a mix of classic and current furniture.'
A pendant light, dropped from the glazed roof, also helps to ground the dining table in the space and provide ambient lighting when using the space in the evening.
7. Add banquette seating for the perfect spot in the sun
Choosing built-in or banquette seating is a clever sunroom furniture idea for a few reasons. First up, banquette seating is an effective use of space. It not only means you can fit more people around your table at a moment's notice, but also that your table can be closer to a wall as you don't need to pull out and push in chairs.
The second reason we love banquette seating in a sunroom is that it doubles up as a window seat idea, offering a dreamy space where you can wile away the hours in the sunlight and with a view of the garden.
In this sunroom in a Connecticut home designed by Britt Zunino of Studio DB, an outdoor fabric has been used for the banquette cushions, making it durable for all the family to use.
8. Blend indoors and outdoors with garden-style furniture
A sunroom is often a link between indoor and outdoor spaces thanks to its large windows and aspects onto the rear of the house. This makes it a perfect candidate for using furniture styles that have more of an outdoor influence.
Rattan, for example, is a great choice in capturing that easy-going garden style.
There are practical reasons for using modern outdoor furniture ideas too, especially in sunrooms with glazed roofs that receive vast amounts of natural light. UV rays in sunlight can bleach furniture, both fabric and metal, and wood. Treated garden furniture and even real rattan pieces will be more resistant to UV damage.
9. Find the perfect spot for a hanging chair
Hanging chairs aren't necessarily the most practical addition for every room in the home, but they're the perfect fit for a sunroom, where sitting and enjoying the space is more of an experience.
In this modern sunroom, created by Mulroy Architects using an internal courtyard garden idea, a hanging chair is positioned to soak up this spot of sunshine. By choosing to integrate a design supported from the ceiling during the build, they've created a more streamlined look than by opting for a freestanding hanging chair with a base.
Can I put regular furniture in a sunroom?
Furniture in a sunroom is at risk of fading and discoloration, which is irreversible.
'Using UV stabilizer treatments and minimizing the UV rays that can enter your sunroom will all contribute to keeping your home interior looking fresh and vibrant for longer,' explains Westbury Garden Rooms' Laura Mead.
Natural textiles are more prone to this, especially silk and linen, while some acrylics and other synthetic materials will last longer without fading from the sun. However, you can take steps to protect furniture against UV damage.
'All fabrics can be treated with UV stabilizers to increase longevity. Natural fibers like cotton and silk can be sprayed with fabric protection, leather can be maintained with protectants and conditioners to avoid drying and discoloration from natural oils evaporating.'
Wooden furniture should be treated with varnishes, lacquers, and waxes, or painted, which will help prevent fading and can be retreated as required.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2022.
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