Have you ever gone outside feeling stressed, only to feel better once you’ve seen nature and bathed in the warm sun? If so, you’ve likely wondered how and why this happens.
The simple answer is that, according to scientists, nature has healing powers. Being in or seeing nature triggers pleasant feelings while reducing stress, anger, and fear. It may even help you live longer by lowering mortality!
However, being outdoors and enjoying nature as much as possible isn’t always doable, is it?
Well, if you have a well-designed glass sunroom, it can be. It’s one of the home additions that can benefit your health since it can increase your exposure to nature. Plus, it lets you do so from indoors, which you may have to do if the UV index is too high, it’s raining, or there’s a pollen alert.
We’ve shared some tips to help you design a sunroom that you’ll love, so read on.
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Choose the Best Location
A traditional sunroom typically attaches to one side of a primary home structure. Sliding or patio doors often separate the two, letting people enter the sunroom from inside the house. They also have external doors that provide access from outside.
Which side you choose depends on how much sun and views of nature you want to get. For example, in homes in the northern hemisphere, you’ll often find sunrooms on their southern side. After all, this side gets the most consistent sunlight throughout the day.
However, if you have an unobstructed view of the eastern sky, you may wish to put your sunroom on this side. Doing so can afford you incredible views of the sun rising. Conversely, you can place it on the west-facing side for sunset views.
What if you want views on all four sides? Then, consider a detached structure like one of these Scotts summer houses or garden rooms. You can have it placed anywhere on your property, letting you enjoy maximum views of the outdoors.
Factor in Its Would-Be Uses
One of the primary functions of a sunroom is to invite as much sunlight into a home as possible. Another is to let you bring the outdoors inside while sheltering you against rain, bugs, or allergens.
However, a sunroom can be more than just a space for relaxation; it can also double as a dining area or a quiet work nook. Or you can use it for all these activities throughout the day and even turn it into a guest room.
Either way, you must consider the sunroom’s uses, as they’ll dictate the materials and systems you need.
Add Bug and Pollen Screens
Because of their primary function, sunrooms have many large, even floor-to-ceiling glass windows. You can get a few picture windows, but there should be enough operable ones for optimal ventilation.
Opening sunroom windows for ventilation invites bugs and pollen, though. Avoiding the latter is particularly vital if you or a family member is among the 81 million people in the U.S. with seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Fortunately, you can keep those elements from entering through bug and pollen screens. Their holes are big enough to let air through but small enough to keep unwanted guests out.
Don’t Forget UV Protection
Since your sunroom will be the sunniest room in your home, it’ll also let more of the sun’s ultraviolet rays in. The problem is that prolonged UV exposure (especially to a high UV index) can cause skin and eye problems.
Glass panes typically filter UVB rays (the type that causes sunburns) but still let UVA rays in. Although less potent than UVB, UVA can still damage the skin at all levels.
Experts also say UV rays are behind up to 40% of fading damage on furnishings, including fabrics and carpets.
To enjoy natural light while avoiding overexposure to UV rays, consider getting anti-UV films for your sunroom windows. These block most UV rays while still letting in sunlight, and you can choose how light or dark you want the tint to be. With these on your windows, you can bathe in natural light and protect your skin and furnishings.
Install Adequate Insulation
Insulating a modern sunroom can help resist heat flow from outside, helping keep things inside cool. This can reduce heating and cooling costs while improving comfort.
Anti-UV films can provide insulation to your glass panes. However, you can better insulate windows by adding weather stripping to their frames. Applying caulk also helps.
When choosing window panes, consider investing in double- or triple-glazed ones. These are more insulating than single-paned windows.
Consider Climate Control
You need an HVAC system if you want to use your sunroom throughout the year. With this, you can enjoy a four-season sunroom all year round. As the term suggests, four-season sunrooms are usable in spring, summer, fall, and winter.
If you already have a central heating and cooling system, you can connect your sunroom to it. This only requires extending the ductwork and adding a vent to the sunroom.
What if you have a mini-split HVAC system? In this case, you may only have to get another indoor air handler and hook it up to the outdoor unit. The additional indoor unit then goes into your sunroom.
Alternatively, you can get a portable air conditioner and heater. You can then switch them on only as needed.
You don’t have to install an HVAC system if you don’t plan to use your sunroom well into winter. In this case, you’ll have a three-season sunroom that you can use from spring to fall. You can keep things cool in the summer by opening windows to let some breeze in.
Enjoy the Outdoors From Your Glass Sunroom
When designing a glass sunroom, consider the best location, what you’ll use it for, and how often you’ll use it. Determining these factors can help you choose the best materials and furnishings for your space. Most importantly, it will keep you comfy and safe as you spend time in this relaxing space.
Check out our other recent blog posts for more home improvement and lifestyle guides like this!