Published: Sep 09, 2020 | Updated: Sep 08, 2020

Bringing Nature Into Your Home

With an indoor garden and a sunroom addition, the inside of your home can feel like a vacation!

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Could you use a bit more nature in your life? We sure could! Many of us are home a lot more than ever, so having living indoor trees or indoor plants can be a huge mood boost. 

Even better—imagine a room or even a wing of the house with plenty of big windows! Then we can see and connect with nature even while we are inside. If we need to be home most of the time, might as well make home as enjoyable, bright, and refreshing as possible.

Being inside doesn’t have to be dull and dreary if we are surrounded by lush plants and bathing in streams of glorious sunlight. It’s all the benefits of the great outdoors—and all the benefits of being inside!

A sunroom addition improves your quality of life

Sunroom windows have come a long way. Today’s windows are energy-efficient, sturdy, and gorgeous. A sunroom doesn’t have to be an afterthought. It can be the primary focal point of your home design and it can be included in your heated and cooled living space.

A luxurious sunroom, glass room, window wall, or conservatory can do a lot to chase away the feeling of confinement due to being indoors. Having more exposure to natural light can boost our mood, ease depression, improve our sleep at night, and even help us be more productive during the day!

Why should you think about a glass room or room with many windows?

There are many proven benefits to natural light and being able to see nature from indoors.

  • Mental and physical health boost
  • Makes being inside a lot more enjoyable
  • The best place for an indoor garden
  • A wonderful gathering place
  • Improves home value
  • Great office or learning space
  • A fantastic place for senior adults to maintain physical and mental wellbeing
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Sunroom addition ideas

If you’re ready to think about designing a home with a sunroom or adding one to your existing home, your options are endless! Yes, you can go the old sunroom route with a rectangular shaped room in the back of the house, a slanted glass roof, and glass walls. Or you can build a conservatory or a modern sunroom. If you prefer, you can also just design a room with glass wall panels that provide a similar effect to a sunroom but has a solid roof.

Conservatory room 

A conservatory is a glass room, often circular in shape, with a glass roof. It’s perfect for growing plants and can be used as a kitchen and eating space, a living room, a home office, a home learning space, or a painting studio.

Some conservatories are small and modest, but others are large, spacious areas with numerous tall trees, many planters, a water feature, and furniture.

Modern sunroom

Contemporary house plans often include steel windows that are amazing at making entire walls of glass with minimal steel framework. Many homeowners are interested in retractable glass walls that open the entire wall to nature and to a large deck or patio outside. On a beautiful day, your indoor world can blend into the great outdoors!

Bringing the outside in

If you want to have an entire wall open to nature in your backyard, here are some possible options for a contemporary house:

  • Retractable wall
  • Folding glass doors
  • Folding glass patio doors
  • Sliding glass wall

Room with lots of windows

Even if you don’t have a full-glass sunroom or glass roof, you can have a room with a window wall (or two… or three) and even some skylights and get a similar effect.

Glass walls

Exterior glass walls bring light flooding into the adjacent room. Think about adding some interior glass walls inside the home for sound dampening. This keeps the natural light going deep into your home. The exterior glass wall panels can then light up multiple rooms, reducing your need for electric lights during the day, and spreading the blessing of natural light through the house.

How to keep a room cool that faces the sun

One problem with sunrooms and other rooms with many windows that face the South is the extra heat and direct sunlight in the summer months. Thankfully, there are many ways to remedy this issue so that you can continue to enjoy your space without getting overheated or causing your plants to wilt.

Indoor shade options for the glass ceiling

  • Sunroom shades
  • UV film

Indoor shade options for skylights

  • Skylight shades
  • Skylight blinds
  • UV film

Indoor shade options for the vertical walls

  • Horizontal blinds
  • Vertical blinds
  • Roller blinds
  • Curtains 

Outdoor shade options

  • Trees outside
  • Bermuda shutters/Bahama shutters
  • Awnings
  • Shade sails
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Sunroom plans

First, decide what you want to use the sunroom for, primarily. Is it an entertaining spot? A living area? An office or homeschool space? Is it a dining area? Or mostly just a place to enjoy indoor gardening?

You’ve got plenty of options! Choose a pre-fab kit, a patio enclosure (a three-season room), or a four-season room, which is insulated, heated, and cooled, as a year-round living space. Or you could consider a glass solarium, a conservatory, or an interior atrium with a glass roof.

Be sure you have space in your room for a small cabinet, coffee table (with storage), or closet to store your indoor gardening supplies so they are handy.

Best furniture for a sunroom

Because sunrooms get a lot of direct sunlight, regular indoor upholstery may not be the best option. Certain fabrics can fade quickly if they are exposed to so much light. Leather can also crack and wear from the direct sunlight.

Indoor/outdoor furniture that is built to withstand weather conditions and sunlight can be an excellent option. Some people enjoy using wicker furniture with indoor/outdoor cushions. Wrought iron is another great idea for indoor furniture in a sunroom, conservatory, or three-season room.

If you plan to have meals in your sunroom, also be sure to choose fabrics and floor coverings that are easy to clean.

Best flooring for a sunroom

No matter how you use the sunroom, you’ll want flooring that won’t fade or be affected by direct sunlight or heat. Generally, tile flooring, laminate flooring, luxury vinyl tile, or concrete can make excellent choices. If you need something waterproof, avoid laminate flooring, hardwood floors, or indoor-rated carpeting.

If you want to use carpet, consider an indoor-outdoor carpet if you expect a lot of water or wear-and-tear, or if you are concerned about fading. Or go with Sisal carpeting that can stand up to sunlight and water, if needed.

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Water feature ideas

If you have a large sunroom, consider adding the soothing sounds of water.

  • A koi pond with indoor water plants.
  • An indoor waterfall.
  • A water fountain with a small pool or pond.
  • A small wall-hanging fountain.
  • An indoor mounted wall waterfall.

Sunroom Cost

Including the cost of materials and labor, here’s what you can expect to spend on various types of sunrooms. **

A basic sunroom addition kit plus labor = $9,000-$50,000

An atrium with roof (an interior existing room with glass roof) - $10,000-$35,000

A three-season room (closed in patio without insulation or HVAC) = $9,000-40,000

A custom-built four season room (insulated with HVAC for use all year round) = $20,000-80,000

A conservatory/garden room = $10,000-80,000

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Relax with your own indoor garden

A room with glass walls or even a glass roof can be like having a greenhouse in your home where plants, and people, can thrive cheerfully. A sunroom or conservatory can be an indoor gardener’s paradise!

Benefits of indoor plants *

Having a little garden, or even just a few potted plants, inside is good for the soul. And the mind. And even the body!

Here are some amazing benefits of living with plants in your home

  • May filter certain allergens like dust and mold - African violets
  • Lift your mood (especially plants with flowers)
  • Add moisture to the air in dry months - ie: spider plants
  • Add more oxygen to the air.
  • Help calm you and keep your stress hormones down.
  • Improve productivity and focus.
  • Speed recovery time from illness, surgery, or injuries.
  • Give a sense of purpose.
  • Add life to the room and bring nature indoors.

Best indoor trees

If you are considering buying some indoor trees for your home, whether it is for a sunroom, a conservatory, an atrium, or a regular room, there are some important things to consider.

Make sure you have a large enough container for the tree once it reaches its full size. Be sure your ceiling height can accommodate the tree’s potential height. Be sure the room where the tree will be and the location of the tree in the room has the right amount of light for that type of tree. 

You can also enjoy beautiful indoor plants in rooms with low light. You just have to know which plants do best in your environment and choose indoor shade plants that don’t need much sunlight.

Low light indoor trees and plants

  • Indoor palm trees like Areca palm, Lady palm, Neanthe Bella Palm, or Kentia Palm.
  • Indoor palm plants like Ponytail palm, Bamboo palm, European Fan Palm, Parlor Palm, or Cascade Palm.

 Light-loving indoor trees and plants

  • Bird of paradise (6 feet tall, needs bright sunlight and high humidity)
  • Dragon tree (up to 10 feet tall, needs medium to bright, indirect sun)
  • Norfolk Island pine (needs full sun and soil that is acidic)
  • Indoor bonsai tree (needs 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, minimum)
  • Indoor olive tree (the dwarf kind is best, grows up to 6 feet tall, needs 6-7 hours per day of direct sunlight)
  • Indoor climbing plants like Jasmine varieties, Arrowhead plant, String of Pearls, or Black-eyed Susan vines.

Plants and allergies

If someone in your home is allergic to pollen, mold, or flowers, you can still have plants in your home. You’ll just want to avoid plants that tend to get very damp and are prone to mold growth, spore producers, and plants that produce pollen or scents that bother your family member’s allergies.

Indoor plant watering system

As long as your plants get the amount of water they need to thrive, you can choose any watering system you like. You could use an old fashioned watering can, or a glass watering stake. Or you could get really fancy with an automatic drip irrigation system.

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Ready to create your own indoor paradise in the Lexington, SC area?

We’d be glad to see if we might be the perfect fit to build your luxury home complete with the sunroom of your dreams.

Please contact us today!

We are a custom builder in areas like:

Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Columbia, Blythewood, West Columbia, Forest Acres, Pinewood, the Lake Murray area, and more.


Related

What Are the Benefits of Natural Light?

10 Must-Haves for a Learning Space or Classroom at Home

Create Your Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Grilling Paradise

Porches Provide Needed Outdoor Living Space

Detached Living Spaces for Your Back Yard

Designing a Multi-Generational Custom Home


Resources

Health Benefits of Houseplants by WebMD.com *

Sunroom Costs by homeadvisor.com **

8 Best Indoor Trees that Actually Thrive in Low Light by houseplanthelp.com

17 Best Indoor Trees (and tropical plants) to Grow in Your Living Room by architecturaldigest.com

21 Plants That Are Safe for Cats and Dogs by architecturaldigest.com (find pet-friendly indoor plants safe for dogs and indoor plants safe for cats.)




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