Glass Sunroom Ideas: Bright and Spacious Screened Rooms

A glass sunroom can be a wonderful addition to any home. With ample natural light and beautiful views of the outdoors, glass sunrooms create bright and spacious rooms perfect for relaxation and entertaining. When designed properly, glass sunrooms can be used year-round in many climates.

Choosing the right glass, screens, heating, cooling, and shading solutions are key to creating a comfortable and usable sunroom. This article will explore glass sunroom ideas and options to build a bright and spacious screened room you’ll love spending time in.

Benefits of a Glass Sunroom

There are many advantages that make glass sunrooms a popular home addition:

  • Abundant natural light – Glass walls and ceilings flood the space with natural illumination creating a bright and cheerful ambiance. This can help reduce energy costs.
  • Brings the outdoors in – Unobstructed views of your yard, garden or outdoor landscape can make you feel more connected to the outdoors.
  • Versatile space – A glass sunroom functions as extra living space to enjoy all year long. Use it as a lounge, dining room, plant conservatory, home office or more.
  • Increased home value – Adding a sunroom can increase the value and desirability of your home. Sunrooms are attractive features for buyers.
  • Customizable – Glass sunrooms can be customized with different roof designs, window styles, sizes, locations and floorplans to match your needs and home’s architecture.

When designed properly for your climate, a glass sunroom can provide incredible views of the outdoors with the comforts of your home.

Design Considerations for Glass Sunrooms

Building a successful glass sunroom requires considering several design factors:

Glass Type

Choosing the right glass is critical for comfort and efficiency:

  • Double or triple pane – Insulated glass with low-emissivity (low-E) coatings provide improved insulation, UV protection and noise reduction compared to single pane.
  • Tempered safety glass – Stronger and safer than annealed glass, required for code compliance in many areas.
  • Laminated glass – Two panes bonded with an inner plastic layer for durability and security. Useful for windy areas.
  • Tinted, reflective or low-iron glass – Options to control glare, heat gain, and UV rays while preserving views.

Consult a glass sunroom company to select the optimal glass products for your climate and needs. High performance glass can help control temperature swings in the sunroom.


Integrating screens allows for fresh air ventilation:

  • Retractable screens – Motorized screens easily retract or descend to open or enclose the space as desired.
  • Fixed screens – Permanent framed screens provide ventilation when windows are open. Best for roof sections or lower windows.
  • Fiberglass, aluminum or stainless steel – Different screening materials each have advantages depending on view, strength, corrosion resistance and price needs.

Shading and Window Treatments

Strategic shading helps manage heat gain and glare:

  • Overhangs – Roof eaves and extending rafters help shade the sunroom from overhead sunlight.
  • Exterior shades – Awnings, louvers, shutters or roll-down shades can be installed outside to block sunlight before it enters.
  • Interior shades – Blinds, shades and curtains can filter and control incoming light. Automated systems are convenient.

East, west and south facing windows may need extra shading elements. Plants, trellises and patio covers also provide natural shading.

Heating and Cooling

Proper temperature control allows for comfortable use year-round:

  • Supplemental heating – Radiant floors, wall heaters and portable heating units can provide extra warmth in cold weather.
  • Ceiling fans – Fans circulate air and feel cooler in summer months.
  • Operable windows – Strategic window placement aids in natural ventilation on breezy days.
  • Air conditioners – Window, wall or ductless mini-split units can provide localized cooling as needed.

Ideally integrate the sunroom into your existing home HVAC system, or have a dedicated sunroom system installed.


Flooring plays a role in ambiance and performance:

  • Tile – Classic material that works well. Stone or ceramic tile holds warmth from radiant heat.
  • Laminate – Durable, affordable option that is easy to install and maintain. Handles temperature swings.
  • Bamboo – Made from renewable grass, bamboo is durable and handles moisture well. Provides a natural look.
  • Carpet – Soft and warm underfoot but may fade from UV exposure. Use UV-resistant carpet designed for sunrooms.
  • Vinyl – Relatively inexpensive and easy to clean. Sheet vinyl or vinyl planks available in many patterns.

Choose flooring suited to the expected use and your climate considerations. Integrate thermal masses like stone floors to help stabilize temperatures.

Roof Designs for Glass Sunrooms

The roof design has a big impact on the look, light and spatial feel of a glass sunroom. Consider these popular roofing options:


This single-pitch roof attaches to one side of the home. The high side is typically floor-to-ceiling glass while the other sides are shorter.

  • Provides direct southern exposure for winter solar gain.
  • Usually the most affordable roof design.
  • Can be integrated into the existing roof.
  • The footprint may be limited by home design and yard space.


The classic triangular gable roof peaks in the center of the sunroom.

  • Allows for good overhead lighting and cross ventilation.
  • Gives a roomy, vaulted ceiling interior.
  • Can extend out from the home for flexible footprint sizes.
  • Overhangs on all sides provide shade.


A hip roof has sloped sides meeting at a center ridge.

  • Allows more natural light from the sides than a gable roof.
  • The spacious feel may complement certain home styles well.
  • Overhangs provide shade on every exposure.
  • May be more complex to tie into an existing roof.

Curved Eave

A dramatic sweeping curved eave roof makes a unique statement.

  • The arched structure creates an open, soaring interior space.
  • Large overhead glass panels bathe the room in natural light.
  • Curved supports may require special engineering and materials.
  • Complement modern or contemporary home plans.

Work with an expert to determine the optimal roof design, drainage, integration with your home, and snow load capacity needed for your area.

Sunroom Shapes and Sizes

In addition to roof design, the footprint shape and size should be decided:


A sunroom extending straight out from the homes is common.

  • Easiest to tie into existing architecture.
  • Creates a defined separate space.
  • Footprint size can be tailored based on yard space.
  • Can feel removed from interior living spaces.


Wrapping around a corner of the home provides views from multiple sides.

  • Feels more connected to the home’s living spaces.
  • Offers window views in several directions.
  • A larger footprint may limit placement options.
  • More chance for shading from existing roof overhangs.


An octagonal sunroom has angled faceted sides.

  • Unique shape provides excellent multi-direction views.
  • Feels open but still intimate.
  • The unconventional shape complements modern homes.
  • Efficient use of space for smaller footprints.

Porte Cochère

Covered drive-through attachment makes a dramatic arrival space.

  • Provides shelter at the home entry.
  • Oversized windows give an airy, welcoming feel.
  • Allows views from interior rooms above.
  • Requires careful planning for driveway approach.

Select a size in proportion to your home that fits your yard space. Larger sizes may need special structural considerations.

Window Design in Glass Sunrooms

Strategic window placement and varied types let in bountiful natural light:

All-Glass Walls

Floor-to-ceiling glass walls flood the space with the most illumination.

  • Unobstructed outdoor views.
  • Creates an outdoorsy, open feel.
  • Can cause temperature and glare issues without proper shading.
  • Primarily used on one side with other walls for support and services.


High wall windows near the ceiling allow overhead light penetration.

  • Provides privacy while still allowing sunlight.
  • Position towards the sun’s seasonal track for lighting.
  • Allows higher wall space for furnishings against the walls.
  • Requires sufficient ceiling height.


Horizontal transom windows above shorter view windows maintain light.

  • Excellent option above privacy walls or shorter windows.
  • Filters bright overhead light.
  • Adds interesting architectural detail.
  • Smaller panes may cost more and require more cleaning.

Hybrid Mix

Incorporate sectional walls, single pane windows, glass panels, and screens throughout the space.

  • Tailor lighting, views, ventilation and privacy as needed in different areas.
  • Combine multiple window types for visual interest.
  • Allows flexible furniture placement.

Play with varied window sizes, shapes and elevations to create an inviting indoor/outdoor feel.

Best Plants for Glass Sunrooms

Plants are a natural way to decorate and enhance a glass sunroom. Consider these factors when selecting plants:

Lighting Conditions

Pay attention to the direction, intensity and duration of sunlight in the space.

  • South facing = very bright
  • East/West = morning or afternoon sun
  • North = low, indirect light

Choose plants suited to each area’s lighting. Rotate plants periodically for best growth.

Climate Control

Assess temperatures, humidity and airflow.

  • Desert-loving succulents prefer hot, dry and sunny spots.
  • Tropicals like warm and humid interiors.
  • Avoid plants prone to cold or heat stress.

Group plants with similar needs together in the appropriate microclimates.

Size at Maturity

Consider the plant’s eventual full-grown size, not just how it looks when purchased.

  • Small specimen trees can make bold statements.
  • Large spreading plants may overtake the space.

Pick plants that will remain in scale for the room as they grow.

Sunroom Use

Make sure plants fit with how you intend to use the space.

  • Floor plants work well around seating areas.
  • Hanging plants allow clear sightlines.
  • Fragrant herbs or flowers add sensory appeal.

Here are some excellent glass sunroom plant options to consider:

  • Succulents like Echeveria, Aloe and Jade
  • Air plants like Tillandsia
  • Orchids
  • Bromeliads like Guzmania
  • Ferns like Boston or Kimberly Queen
  • Palm trees
  • Ficus trees
  • Dracaena
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • Peperomia
  • Calathea
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Begonias
  • Impatiens
  • Wandering jew
  • Citrus trees

A thoughtful plantscape can really make your sunroom come alive. Maintain good drainage and avoid overwatering.

Creative Glass Sunroom Ideas

A glass sunroom lends itself well to many creative uses. Consider these inspiring ideas:

Spa Sunroom

Create a relaxing spa retreat with:

  • Lounge chairs for resting in the sunshine.
  • Soft throws and pillows for lounging.
  • Gentle water features like an indoor fountain or wall waterfall.
  • Plants with calming scents like lavender or jasmine.
  • Himalayan salt lamps or essential oil diffusers.
  • Peaceful artwork and neutral colors.
  • Gentle background music.

Garden Sunroom

Bring the joy of gardening indoors by filling your sunroom with plants.

  • Use built-in and freestanding shelving to display potted plants.
  • Incorporate a potting bench and gardening storage.
  • Add grow lights for starting seedlings.
  • Use decorative cachepots to elevate simple nursery pots.
  • Showcase rare tropicals and delicate garden flowers.

Arts and Crafts Sunroom

Make your sunroom a bright workspace for hobbies and crafts.

  • Use large open tables for sewing, scrapbooking or pottery painting.
  • Store materials neatly in cabinets and shelving built into the walls.
  • Good overhead and task lighting are essential.
  • Add washable flooring and surfaces for working.
  • Display finished pieces in built-in glass cabinets.

Sunrise Breakfast Nook

Create an intimate dining area to enjoy morning coffee.

  • East facing windows to enjoy the sunrise.
  • Cozy banquette or small table seating.
  • Cafeteria-style serving windows into the kitchen.
  • Cheerful breakfast-themed art and linens.
  • Bright and colorful flowers on the table.

Make the most of your glass sunroom with creative touches that enhance your hobbies or daily rituals.

Integrating a Sunroom with Your Home

To fully enjoy your sunroom, ensure it has both physical and visual connections to interior living spaces.

Physical Access

Convenient access encourages use.

  • Direct access through sliding or hinged glass doors.
  • Wide walkways without obstructions.
  • Step-free thresholds for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Nearby bathroom access for convenience.
  • Shared heating and cooling systems.


Preserve sightlines between spaces so the sunroom doesn’t feel isolated.

  • Glass doors for light penetration and views.
  • Interior windows looking into the sunroom.
  • Open floorplan concepts.
  • Consistent wall colors, finishes and lighting.
  • Aligning architecture like matching roof pitches.

Integrating the sunroom into everyday living ensures it gets enjoyed.

Energy Efficiency in Glass Sunrooms

While beautiful, all-glass sunrooms can present energy efficiency challenges. Use these strategies to reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer:

  • Specify high performance insulated glass with low-E coatings to control heat flow.
  • Optimize roof overhang sizes for shading based on location.
  • Add insulation within roof framing cavities.
  • Use insulated shades, shutters or drapes to provide additional barriers.
  • Seal and caulk around all windows and connections thoroughly.
  • Let sunlight warm spaces in winter but prevent overheating in summer with shading.
  • Keep doors and window closed in extreme weather.
  • Use solar powered ceiling fans to promote air circulation.
  • Integrate a highly efficient heating and cooling system.
  • Install radiant floor heating for comfortable warmth.
  • Use free nighttime ventilation cooling when possible.

With careful choices like energy efficient glazing, shading, and HVAC, you can reduce heat gain and loss for better comfort and savings.

Cost to Build a Sunroom

The cost of a sunroom addition depends on size, materials, complexity of design, permits, site prep work, accessories and labor. Typical price ranges:

  • Simple aluminum and polycarbonate kit sunroom – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Custom wooden sunroom addition – $15,000 to $50,000
  • High-end glass and steel sunroom – $50,000 to $250,000+

Many factors affect overall costs, including:

  • Foundation requirements
  • Roof style and tie-ins
  • Glass performance level
  • Structural enhancements
  • Heating and cooling integrations
  • Electrical and lighting additions
  • Permits and site prep needs
  • Additional accessories like ceiling fans or shades

Offset initial costs through energy savings over time. Get quotes from several sunroom contractors to compare options in your area.

Hiring a Sunroom Contractor

An experienced sunroom builder is key to a successful project:

What to Look For

  • Strong portfolio of completed sunrooms similar to your vision.
  • Knowledge of local building codes and permitting.
  • Able to customize to your needs, not just offer standard kits.
  • Offer a full-service package – design, permits, construction.
  • Responsive communication and professionalism.
  • Positive customer reviews.
  • Provide energy efficiency analysis.
  • Offer service warranty on workmanship.

Steps to Hire

  • Research local builders online and ask friends for referrals.
  • Interview at least 3 contractors. Ask questions and get design ideas.
  • Compare portfolios, experience, warranties and pricing.
  • Verify proper licensing and insurance.
  • Negotiate contract. Understand all costs and payment terms.
  • Get permits and approvals before signing final contract.
  • Schedule regular inspections as work progresses.

Investing in the right sunroom designer can lead to an enjoyable process and many years of satisfaction.

Maintaining a Glass Sunroom

While beautiful, glass sunrooms do require some regular maintenance:

  • Clean inside and outside glass surfaces.
  • Lubricate and inspect window hinges and hardware.
  • Caulk around windows and doors to maintain seals.
  • Clean window screens and replace damaged screening.
  • Check that drainage gutters and downspouts are clear.
  • Inspect glass for any cracks or damage.
  • Ensure automatic vents and climate systems are functioning properly.
  • Treat glass with anti-fog solutions to prevent frost buildup.
  • Remove snow buildup carefully using plastic sho