I could not believe it. I was stunned. A friend of mine just moved, and she tapped me for a few ideas on lighting in her new sunroom. But when she sent me the pictures, I was flabbergasted. Here is her sunroom (shared with permission, of course).
Aaaaaand, here is mine…
(Should I point out that it was ideal to take a picture of the ceiling this morning, so I didn’t have to clear out the Barbies on the floor? We’ll just gloss over that a bit.)
This is actually the room that I’m planning to knock down in an upcoming renovation, once I win the lottery. Notice the faux vaulted ceiling, the slanted outer wall, and the floor-to-ceiling blinds, 4 out of 5 of which are broken?
Anywhoooo, I love my home, but this room, the least attractive in the entire house, is where we spend all of our time. Part of what makes it tough to love is the lighting situation. We’ve been dealing with it for six years, so I shared my design and practical wisdom with my friend. I figure we can’t be the only two people with this style of sunroom. Maybe these will be just the kind of ideas that you needed.
Sunroom Lighting #1:
In this wood paneled room, you are never going to have the same kind of even light that you would have in a “normal” room, because the wood sucks up so much of the light. Bring in the softer neutral tones and warm colors to lighten up the heavy feel of wooden walls. Don’t feel like you have to stay with dark woods, which will make the problem worse. White and bright cream also probably won’t be your best options, since they will stick out too much. We’ve done our room in what I like to call “French Mountain Lodge” style, with smoky blue and cream accents, along with trellis and ironwork patterns.
Sunroom Lighting #2:
Although a good electrician can make magic happen, it’s going to be very hard to bring in overhead lighting with this type of construction. Focus on bringing in enough floor, table, or sconce lighting to illuminate the areas where you lounge at night. You’ll need 3-5 light sources to make it comfortable.
Sunroom Lighting #3:
Overhead lights will help you make it across the room without bumping into furniture, but won’t help you read or see the TV remote. They are too harsh and too far away, so set your task lighting near your gathering spots, but try to make sure you have enough to have their lighting overlap a bit. Most people don’t have nearly enough lights in a room like this.
Sunroom Lighting #4:
If you like the industrial look, industrial-style lighting would work well in there. I could go crazy with recommendations, but here’s one that could work to provide affordable, ambient lighting instead of overhead lights.
Sunroom Lighting #5:
Dimmers. Dimmers. Dimmers. Choose variable lighting options if at all possible, because you’ll go from blazing sun to a black hole very quickly in a room like this.
Sunroom Lighting #6:
Treat the windows. In a room like this, the light changes constantly, and is often very harsh. Before you invest in window treatments, get a very good idea what problems you are trying to solve. Does the light stream through the skylights and block out the TV when you are trying to watch it? Do you feel like you are in a fishbowl at night, or do you have a wooded lot that allows you enough privacy? Once you have a better idea, you’ll be fixing the right lighting problem, and not just buying whatever is pretty.