Sun-rooms & Porches for Warming Up in Cold Weather

Screened porches and sunrooms may see the most use in warm-weather months, but they can also help extend enjoyment of indoor-outdoor living as fall and winter arrive. Depending on your climate and the room’s weatherproofing, sunrooms and screened porches featuring heat sources, cozy furniture and protection from the elements can be warm, inviting extensions of the home. If you’re lucky enough to have a covered porch or sunroom — or are thinking about adding one — take a look at these ideas for making these spaces feel extra cozy this time of year.
1. Plaids and a Roaring Fire
You can’t go wrong with the classics to bring more coziness to an indoor-outdoor room: cushy pillows to soften seats, throw blankets at the ready and a heat source to turn up the temperature on chilly days. For this three-season sunroom by Walker Babka Architecture in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the screened wall panels can be swapped for glass as the season turns. Plaids, fluffy sheepskins and a roaring fire invite anyone to snuggle with a good book on a cold day.

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2. Sophisticated Woodsy Cabin
Let this lofty screened-in dining room by Winkelman Architecture in Portland, Maine, inspire your cold-weather decorating style. Pair barn pendant lights with a trestle table for a warm, rural-inspired look. (Seasonal cut branches as a centerpiece finish the look.) Nestling the table in the corner with bench seating conserves floor space and creates the feeling of a snug nook.

A clever architectural design allows the large windows to fold up and allow warm breezes to pass through the screened panels.

3. Plush Sunroom
If the design of your sunroom or covered porch ensures a dry, warm space over winter, consider choosing furnishings and decor that are just as high-quality as what you’d choose for inside the house. Upholstered couches and armchairs, plush pillows, textiles and soft lighting all make this Minneapolis sunroom by City Homes feel like a true extension of the home — one with a front-row seat to the changing seasons.
4. Luxe Farmhouse
The extra-deep overhang of this porch built by Innovative Construction in Roswell, Georgia, provides shelter from the elements and enables use of the porch for the majority of the year. Outdoor furnishings made of durable materials like wood, synthetic rattan and outdoor fabric can withstand some exposure to the elements. Anchoring the seating around a fireplace at the far end and using a warm-colored wood for the ceiling and dining table helps make the porch feel cozier and balance the cool stone floor.
5. Airy Screened Porch
Even a modest-sized screened porch can act as a three-season or four-season bonus room, depending on your climate and porch design. This light and airy screened porch designed by MSiegel Design in Little Rock, Arkansas, is surrounded by panels of screen, which could be swapped in fall for glass to turn it into a four-season room. The gauzy curtains help capture late fall light, soften the space and provide privacy. The extra-narrow beer garden-style outdoor table and benches smartly conserve space.
6. Three-Season Sunroom
Instead of adding a screened porch to the exterior of their 1922 home in St. Paul, Minnesota, homeowners David Heide and Michael Crull opted for a screened-in pavilion. The pavilion, designed by David Heide Design Studio, afforded them better views of the garden and more flexibility for use. The design uses screen panels with canvas awnings that can be rolled down when the garden room is not in use.

Although the structure isn’t intended for use through Minnesota winters, the building could be updated to be cold-weather appropriate, if the owners wished it, by swapping the screen for glass panels and adding a space heater. The styling inside — complete with softly glowing lamps and comfortable furniture — already feels warm and inviting for the cold season.

7. Twinkle Lights
If you already have a screened porch and are looking for a quick and easy update to make it feel cozy and festive for the darker season, try hanging string lights along the porch’s perimeter. The copper string lights used in this porch by Our Town Plans outside a cabin in Pine Mountain, Georgia, look particularly decorative and cast an alluring glow.
8. Heat Sources and Comfortable Furniture
Although this expansive covered porch built by Windhill Builders outside a home in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is primarily used in spring and summer, ceiling-mounted electric heaters allow the homeowners to extend their enjoyment of the space. Ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted and freestanding outdoor heaters allow you to place heat just where you need it.
9. Easy Indoor-Outdoor Flow
The best way to encourage use of your covered porch or sunroom, even when the weather turns cooler, is to create an easy transition between the space and the home that doesn’t require going outside. French-style double doors open from the living room of this home in Spring Island, South Carolina, out into the enclosed indoor-outdoor dining room. The space feels warm, thanks to a colorful woven rug, twig lights in the corner, lanterns on the wall, string lights on the eaves and rustic wooden furniture, befitting the woodsy setting.
Innovative Construction Inc.
Tell us: Do you have a covered porch or sunroom? How do you make it feel cozy for the fall and winter seasons? Share in the Comments.

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