Sunroom Designs
Posted by on 23 Sep 2010 in Sunrooms | 23 comments
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Today, we’re returning to the subject of sunroom designs, but we’re looking at a different option – instead of building a sunroom addition to your house, because this is not a realistic option for everybody (e.g. maybe your house is not facing the right way, maybe there isn’t space on the sunny side of the house), we’ll be focusing on free-standing sunrooms (i.e. they are completely detached from your house).

Sunrooms are especially useful for people who live in more northerly locations – they may get plenty of sun, in summer, but it can take all day for the air to warm up enough to sit out.

However, a sunroom will trap that warmth (it’s a bit like a greenhouse for humans, really) and let you enjoy summer the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

So, what type of sunroom would be best for you?

There are three main sunroom designs that you’ll find – rectangular, oval and octagonal, each of which has their pros and cons.

Let’s start with a more traditional-looking structure, the rectangular sunroom.

Rectangular SunroomNow, one of the advantages of going for this shape is that you will have a few more options in terms of size. For example, this particular one can be more or less anywhere from 10 x 16 ft up to 14 x 28 ft, with over a dozen other sizes between these two extremes – so there’s plenty of room for your sunroom furniture.

However, you need to bear in mind that you may lose the sun slightly as it crosses the sky, as there are no windows in the corners, and the shape is certainly less interesting than the other models we’ll look at in a moment.

The model shown includes, as standard, a heavy-duty floor system, 4 inch Dutch lap vinyl siding, 40 x 60 vertical windows with screens, a six foot sliding glass door, and a cupola adorning the hip roof.

(In case you’re wondering what a hip, or hipped, roof is, then it’s a roof where all the sides slope downwards to the walls with a fairly gentle slope. This means that it has no gables or other vertical sides – it is self-bracing and therefore does not need the same amount of diagonal bracing or wind bracing that a gable roof requires. In fact, it holds up much better to high winds and heavy snow loads, which may be important to you, depending on where you live.)

Octagonal SunroomMoving on to the octagonal sunroom, then one of the advantages here is that you’ll get more light (and therefore warmth) entering the room as the sun moves round during the course of the day, compared to the rectangular sunroom we discussed above.

On the downside, the range of sizes available, with this particular model, at least, is more limited – basically, you have the option of a 12, 14 or 16 foot sunroom.

Of course, smaller may be better for some people – the smaller the room, the sooner it will get toasty warm. On the other hand, it may not be right for a larger family.

In terms of the other features, then it comes with much the same as the rectangular sunroom, except that the door is a single door that opens outwards, rather than sliding.

Oval Vinyl SunroomLast on our list is one that is somewhere between the rectangular sunroom and octagonal sunroom – the oval sunroom (although we feel hexagonal would better describe it).

This style combines the advantages of the rectangular room (e.g. more size options – anywhere from 10 x 16 ft to 12 x 24 ft, with half a dozen intermediate sizes), with the advantages of the octagonal sunroom (e.g. better light).

Other than that, the features are, once again, more or less identical to the rectangular room.

So, there you have it – three different styles, one of which we know will be right for you.

And in case you’re wondering, Rae prefers the rectangular sunrooms (she prefers the functionality and better utilisation of space afforded by these designs, not to mention the larger sizes), whereas Mark prefers the aesthetics of the octagonal sunrooms (as well as the more efficient positioning of the windows).

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23 Responses to ““Sunroom Designs”

  1. Don Hill says:

    I’m with you Mark I like the octagonal one’s as well. I know here in Midwest we could enjoy the Sun a little longer with one of these.


  2. Eva Palmer says:

    For me one of the most important things from a house is whether if it’s weel position towards the sun. I have almost always lived facing the south so I think that what you offer is a very good option for those who have houses facing the north!

  3. Hi Rae and Mark,

    What a wonderful option to have one of these beautiful stand alone sunroom designs when a building addition just isn’t possible.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  4. Dennis Perry says:

    Now these are cool! I can see alot of other uses for them as well. What a great fort for the kids when the grown-ups aren’t enjoying an afternoon tea.

    By the way, I vote for octagonal as well.

    Create The Life of Your Dreams

  5. It would be interesting to put a skylight in these sunrooms (I don’t see any in the designs) because this would provide sun exposure throughout the day.


  6. I love the thought of a sunroom, especially in January or February up here in the gray pacific northwest winter.

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES
    Corrective Exercise for Every Body

  7. i like the first photo the best and see the benefits for some people to have a separate structure from the house.

    jen battaglino
    Anxiety Treatment Specialist

  8. Kevin Hogan says:

    makes sense to have a detached structure so that you can position it correctly

    kevin hogan
    Effective Tinnitus Treatment

  9. This is an option I was not aware of. It really give you a lot of flexibility with how you position it, to optimize your view and the sunlight.

    Karen Van Ness

  10. Alec Grebis says:

    I am consistently amazed at the variations in your products of gazebos, etc.. These free standing sun rooms can really be a great idea for a home that doesn’t have the right orientation to bring the sun into the home itself

  11. Lynn says:

    I agree with Alec Grebis, I can’t believe you can have so many amazing gazebos that look so beautiful and work in so many ways.

  12. Bryan says:

    I like the idea that it can be detached…it leaves a lot of possibilities if you have kids..

    Sales Expert

  13. Nick says:

    I don’t really like the idea of standalone sunrooms – never really been my style.

  14. Plaint karris says:

    There are many fabulous sunroom designs to choose from. In fact, the choices are such that you can find a room in almost any shape and dimension.

    Have A Nice day :)

  15. Bhavin says:

    The great thing about sunroom is, it allows natural sunlight to come into your home, regardless of the season. Plus we can set up it easily and arrange it in a way to enjoy the scenery of our back yard too.

  16. Patrick Harris says:

    Hi Rae & Mark!
    I’m an landscape architecture student and I always find inspiration from your blog. The cabanas, pool houses, gazebos and those quaint lovely pieces you feature are the best I’ve seen.

  17. jimmy says:

    I love the octagonal sunroom. I think we still have space outside our home and I’d call my architect to plan one like this. :)

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