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Sunroom Additions: Top Features

Published: March 26, 2010
Designing the perfect sunroom addition means thinking about windows, skylights, tile floors, and window blinds.

Sunroom additions are like a cross between a family room and backyard patio. You get an indoor room with an outdoor feel—and a brand new hangout space that´s likely to become your family´s favorite gathering spot.

But because this is hybrid of indoor and outdoor space, planning sunroom additions is different than planning, say, a family room or a master bathroom. Here are the features and options to think about as you design your project.

The basics of sunroom additions

A 200-square-foot sunroom addition, including footings and slab-on-grade foundation, post-and-beam construction that´s exposed on the interior, efficient windows, 10 operable skylights, ceiling fan, tile floor, and window shades, costs an average of $74,310, according to Remodeling Magazine´s 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report. You can expect to get about $34,100 of that investment (45.9%) back at resale, according to the study.


Since the whole point of a sunroom is to connect to the outside world, windows are a sunroom´s most important feature. A typical sunroom might have 20 windows, each costing from $250 to $1,200, depending on their style and quality. Choosing the right window type, material, and efficiency will maximize the beauty and function of your sunroom.

The ceiling

A cathedral ceiling (around $10,000) will give your sunroom a sense of spaciousness—and allow you to install skylights ($2,000 to $3,500 each, installed). These help to make the room feel like an indoor-outdoor space, especially at night, when you can watch the stars from the comfort of a rattan chair. As with windows, look for Energy Star-rated skylights to ensure that they´re efficient.

The floor

Ceramic tile makes the most durable sunroom floor because it won´t fade in the sunshine, get scratched by muddy boots, or stain where drinks spill. Plus, it´s nice and cool underfoot on hot summer day. A tiled floor costs $1,000 to $2,000 or more, depending on the tiles you choose.

If you want an area rug over the tile, today´s indoor-outdoor options are far better than the bright-green, plastic-turf style sunroom-rugs of yesteryear. You can get weatherproof carpet that´s soft and comfortable underfoot in nearly any color of the rainbow.


Window coverings control sun glare, improve the energy efficiency of the sunroom, and provide privacy at night. But traditional curtains can be too formal for a sunroom. Instead, consider pleated or cellular shades (also known as honeycomb) and wood or bamboo blinds.
You´ll pay $100 or more for wood and bamboo blinds per window opening; cloth, pleated, and cellular run $200 or more. There are even specially designed shades for skylights, which can drastically cut your air-conditioning costs.

Ceiling fans

A ceiling fan creates a gentle breeze that cools a hot sunroom—thanks to the wind-chill factor—and reduces the need for air conditioning, saving you money. Plus, it helps keep the sunroom warm in the winter, because as hot air rises, it pushes the heat back down on your family. Depending on style, ceiling fans run from $200 to $700.

Gil Rudawsky has been a reporter and an editor for 18 years, most recently at Rocky Mountain News. He lives in a house built in the 1930s, and is considering turning his backyard deck into a sunroom.

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