Interiors: How to create the perfect sunroom

From next month new building rules mean the traditional glass conservatory will be no more. Interiors editor Nicole Gray has all the tips and tricks for bringing the sunshine indoors, with her guide to creating a beautiful sunroom.

Ever considered a sunroom? Well, now might be time to do so. Not only will it transform your home’s entire atmosphere by capitalising on light, providing the perfect spot for greenery and creating a comfortable space in which to relax, but it’s set to replace the conventional glass-filled conservatory (new climate-change regulations come into force next month, reducing the amount of glass new properties and extensions are permitted to have).

Turn an awkward or boxy space into a comfortable snug with a view, where you can chat, eat and read. Add elements such as a rustic wooden table and exposed brickwork for texture and depth

But how to create a sunroom – or at least a space in your home with its aesthetic? Well, provided there is a view, a sunroom can be achieved anywhere. The key is to consider the room or space you have, not what you wish you had. If your room is long or narrow, light-coloured, streamlined furniture will create a bright vibe – think a lounge chair with slim legs as opposed to an upholstered armchair, for instance. Also consider built-in furniture, such as a bench, or something that can double as storage, such as a pouffe. Letting in as much light as possible is integral to achieving stylish sunroom status, as is positioning your furniture around your window or glass door’s view to make it the focal point.

If renovation is an option, consider installing a sun tunnel (from £164, addlite.co.uk), which diverts light from the roof via a tube, anywhere in the house where there is six metres or
less between the roof and the ceiling. Bi-fold or Crittall doors are another option but can
be expensive. Consider opting for wooden door frames that you can paint black for a similar effect (see our DIY idea below).

Where there’saview, there’s a way! Hereasunny windowsill provides an inviting spot forasunroom vibe, while natural materials such as wood and rattan bring a sense of the outdoors in. For similar chairs, try oka.com. For similar pendant light, visit ikea.com

Pastel or neutral paint shades will also help reflect light around the space and make it feel bigger. For a burst of colour, incorporate bold accent shades through accessories or painted architectural details, such as a window frame or skirting.

Plants are non-negotiable. Remember, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make
a big impact: a row of succulents or a cascading spider plant will go a long way towards breathing life into a tired shelf or windowsill, while tall rubber plants, a fiddle leaf or a bird of paradise will brighten up a quiet corner. Also faux plants now look just as good as their real counterparts – check out the selection at bloomingartificial.co.uk.

Herealight-filled spare room has been revamped into a home gym and additional storage area. The tonal paint colours help bounce the natural light around the room, while the tongue-and-groove ceiling gives character to the simple decorating scheme

The pièce de résistance? An indoor tiki bar – try wayfair.co.uk for an affordable selection, while habitat.co.uk sells a grass-style roof beach bar complete with two stools for £450.

After all, who said a sunroom can’t be a fun room, too?

BEFORE AND AFTER: THE BACKYARD SUNROOM

DIY expert and author Lisa Dawson reveals her tricks for turning her outdoor area into a year-round room

Before

Wanting to make the most of her outdoor space, Lisa decided her yard had the makings of the perfect sunroom

After

Of her new space, Lisa says: ‘It’s the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living, with constant natural daylight, whatever the weather’

Maximise the space

you have I had a backyard that was wasted as I couldn’t use it all year round, so I got a builder to attach a timber frame to its walls, to which
a glass roof was added.

Upcycle where you can

Got beautiful brickwork? Then why not sand and paint it or use it as a standout backdrop to your furnishings? Originally, I wanted to keep the patio slabs but they weren’t in great condition, so I had reclaimed terracotta tiles laid.

Think natural

A sunroom is all about bringing the outside in, so up the natural materials – for example a rattan side table or jute rug. For an affordable selection, try zara.com and laredoute.co.uk.

Go bargain hunting

Furnishing your sunroom doesn’t mean you have to buy new, so scour Ebay or second-hand shops for great finds. I searched Ebay for a ‘bamboo rattan sofa’ and found the seating of my dreams – a Corbusier-esque bamboo and cane set from a house clearance.

Bring in the greenery

A sunroom wouldn’t be complete without plants. Make every inch of space count by bringing in the biggest you have room for – yuccas, lemon trees and olives are all good choices and will make you feel as though you’re in the Mediterranean even when the weather’s chilly. Just don’t forget to water them.

DIY CHEAT: THE CRITTALL DOOR

Love the look of a grid-like door? Nicole Gray explains how you can fake the effect

YOU WILL NEED: masking tape, tape measure, spirit level primer, 1-inch wide wooden strips (try diy.com for a good selection) paint and paint brushes, epoxy glue

First, stick masking tape along the glass where it meets the door to protect it from paint.

Then prepare the surface of your doors and wooden strips by applying a coat of primer. Leave to dry for up to four hours.

Next apply two coats of paint (New Black by paintandpaperlibrary.com is perfect), in a matt finish to prevent unwanted glare, to your doors. Paint the wooden strips, too. Leave to dry for up to six hours.

Now attach the painted wooden strips. Using a tape measure and spirit level to get the positioning right, cut the strips into lengths required. You normally need three on each side of the glass per door. Attach them with epoxy glue.

Complete the Crittall look with new door handles and bolts. For a high-end finish, check out the black iron lever handles that come with black bolts from hardwareandhandles.co.uk (£24).

IMAGES: MALMO_AND_MOSS. WILLIAM WALDRON/OTTO (DESIGNED BY NOVOGRATZ). FUTURE PUBLISHING LTD, CHRIS SNOOK. INTERIORS BY IMPERFECT INTERIORS