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Sun rooms, solariums, skylights – oh my! While the terminology can be confusing, these rooms designed to offer indoor sunbathing have similar qualities and suit any type of home environment.

If your climate doesn’t offer year-round sun, you can still enjoy the outdoors by adding a sun room or solarium addition to your space.

What’s the difference?

A sun room is a home addition made completely of windows, which offer a 360-degree view of the outdoor scenery without stepping foot outside.

The term “sun room” usually means a room made of glass, and it’s commonly interchanged with conservatory, solarium, greenhouse and atrium, among others. Technically, a sun room is any large room that allows the light to pour in through large windows or glass walls.

A solarium, on the other hand, is a more specifically designed room. To be considered a solarium, the space must also have a glass roof in addition to a wall of windows or glass.

Traditionally, solariums were built as part of hospitals to allow patients to soak up the sun without being exposed to the outdoor elements. Solariums can be attached to the home or stand as a separate structure altogether.

Check out these gorgeous sun rooms and solariums, and get inspired for a sunny space of your own.

Verdant sunlight

This sun room lets the light pour in for the plants while still maintaining a homey charm. The wooden ceiling and leafy plants complement the tranquil view outside, making it perfect for afternoon tea or family game night.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Sunny dip with a view

This palatial Sarasota, Florida, solarium houses a pool you can swim in while enjoying views of the nearby lake. The iron frame and tinted glass allow the homeowners to enjoy the sun but avoid harmful rays and heat.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Dining almost al fresco

This sun room serves as a light-drenched dining room, featuring garden views and easy patio access. Day or night, hot or cold, this multipurpose room is ideal for a quiet meal at home or an intimate gathering with friends.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Room with a view

Boasting sky-high views and traditional architecture, this solarium in Friday Harbor, Washington, shows how outside structures can flow seamlessly to the indoor space. With area rugs and overhead lighting, the solarium feels like a light and bright living room.

Photo from Zillow listing.

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Originally published March 2017. Updated June 2019.

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