For many years, we didn’t hear much of sunrooms, instead, those thinking of extending their homes have for decades been directed down the design route of the conservatory. Now, seemingly all of a sudden the sunroom appears to be having a moment. So, what’s the difference between the two types of structures and why should you step into a sunroom rather than get comfortable in a sunroom?

Strictly speaking there’s not much difference between sunrooms and conservatories. In fact, all that’s in it is a little extra (or less) glass. You may have noticed there have been a fair few TV adverts recently advertising the replacement of conservatory roofs with non-glazed alternatives that help regulate temperature a little better. This is because building regulations changed slightly in the UK over the last few years. Previously a conservatory was a room that used glazing for at least 75% of the roof and 50% of the walls and as such was exempt from certain control regulation. Now, the same percentage restriction no longer applies to the roof area, which means you can opt for something a little more substantial should you wish – cue the clambering for sunroom style additions.

Why choose a sunroom?

If you live in the UK, you may be forgiven for thinking a sunroom may seem like a strange concept – after all, we’re not exactly known for our sunny climate. We do however get a few more hours of sunshine than you may suspect, especially if you live in  sunny Ipswich, which is reportedly one of the suntraps of our fair isles. And of course, while we might not enjoy as much sunshine as some other countries it’s sensible to make the most of what we do get.

As an extension to your home, a sunroom can provide a space for many more activities than just sunning yourself too. From a dining area that links up with the kitchen and conveniently opens out onto the garden for easy entertaining through to somewhere light and airy for exercise or even a kids’ playroom. Sunrooms combine natural light with a practical structure that’s easier to enjoy all year round since it’s generally easy to moderate their temperature in comparison with all glass structures. And, if you have a great view you’d like to make more of, a sunroom can help you put it firmly in focus while retaining your comfort levels.

Tips for sunroom design

Whatever your plans for your sunroom space, there are a few general design tips you ought to apply when planning your new addition. Depending on your home’s floor plan, incorporating multiple entrances your sunroom can be a convenient way to link multiple rooms and ensure. This will create a natural flow towards your outside space.

You could opt to use single doors or maximise light flow by choosing bi-fold doors to open up the whole space. While bi-fold doors are often considered to be a modern addition it’s perfectly possible to accommodate a more traditional style extension by choosing wooden doors that complement the space, Vufold is one company that offers wood framed doors alongside the more commonly seen UPVc.

Heating and cooling of sunrooms is generally easier than in conservatories because their build is more substantial, though you might still want to consider factoring in underfloor heating to ensure your sunroom can be put to use all year round.  Bringing light into the area should also be a key focus since you won’t have as much glazed surface area to rely on. Roof lights can help brighten a space and clever decorating using light colours and use of mirrors can be employed to keep things feeling naturally fresh and airy. That said, there are so many good creative and energy efficient lighting setups available now there’s no need to let concerns for light dictate your entire décor scheme.
Feeling suitably inspired about the sunny possibilities for your home? To help you get started on your project, don’t forget to check out the most current version of the rules and regulations you should adhere to on the government’s planning portal. Along with outlining the guidelines you’ll need to adhere to when building the website also outlines how to make a planning application to your local council.


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