This post was originally published on Feb. 1, 2019 and updated on May 28, 2020.
In simple terms, the Florida room is a residential amenity living space addition built onto a home’s back or side wall with a roof. This addition to the home gets its name from its popularity in Florida.
Aside from its geographic namesake, a Florida room is also known by many aliases, including a sun room, solarium, a garden room, patio room, sun porch, winter garden and conservatory. It was originally Florida’s solution to the heat of the day before air conditioning became a household staple and provided a living space outside when it simply became too hot to be inside.
No longer resembling old-fashioned napping porches furnished with a glider, rocking chairs, jalousie windows and terrazzo floors of yesteryear, the Florida room has risen in status finding its place in homes around the globe regardless of geography and climate and enjoyed in a wide variety of decor – some classical, some contemporary and, some, a hybrid of the two.
The design and building of a Florida room typically consists of one or more glass walls and plenty of windows allowing for natural light and a maximum view of the landscape. The décor can include fully-functional outdoor kitchens – either Euro Style modular types or appliance accommodating cabinetry with plenty of storage and seating – that equally mirror their indoor counterparts.
Depending on the size of the Florida room, homeowners may opt for a cozy refuge with comfy furniture, and a variety of plants or add a dinette set allowing it to serve as an extension of the home.
Going a step further, Florida rooms can be designed to be insulated and equipped with heating/cooling units for optimal comfort, easily accommodating seasonal temperature changes and categorizing it as a Four Seasons room. The upside to building a Florida room is that it can boost the value of a home. Usually, a Florida room is left out of the total square footage – or Gross Pricing Area – when marketing a home for sale. However, by adding heating and cooling, it can then be included in the GPA.
Prefer not to add the heating and cooling elements to a Florida room? It can also remain a simple, traditional, screened-in patio that serves as an additional room free from pesky insects and yet still provides the outdoor feel. It can also serve as the perfect intermediary space to an outdoor living space where, perhaps, a pool, outdoor kitchen and sitting areas await.
Location – For the most part, Florida room additions are normally added to existing structures by placing the space on the back side of the home. This allows for a greater amount of privacy from the street while still providing the ability to enjoy the sun and maintain healthy plants. However, people sometimes choose to attach a Florida room onto the side of the home, especially if the view from that location is particularly striking.
Culinary Corner – A Florida room can be designed to include an outdoor kitchen, which provides prepping, cooking and eating areas within a sheltered area free of bugs, debris and weather. The cabinetry can accommodate a grill with an overhead exhaust hood among other appliances and amenities such as a sink, wine cooler, ice maker, mini bar and plenty of storage to eliminate frequent trips inside the house. Create a dining room to mirror the indoor version and one-up it with the amazing landscape views that your guests will love! Euro-style outdoor kitchen cabinetry like the new TECNO is right at home in a Florida room setting.
Glass Selection – In order to keep Florida rooms warm and cozy even in winter weather, it is not unusual for double-paned glass to be used in the construction. The colder temperature is absorbed by the outer set of panes, while the inner set of panes tend to absorb more of the actual room temperature. This doubling of panes does not impair the view at all and can make a huge difference when it comes to controlling the temperature within the space.
Light – Want even more light? Consider adding a skylight or two. This allows even more natural light to enter the space, enhancing the warm and cozy feel of the room. Many people find that a Florida room of this type is an ideal way to enjoy the benefits of natural sunlight even when the temperature outside is extremely cold and uninviting.
Windows to the World – Window styles make a difference and can add even more light just as clerestory-style or above eye-level ones.
Light a Fire – A pellet stove or fireplace can serve as a seasonal warming unit.
Florida Room Decorating Ideas
Once the Florida room is designed and built, it’s time to decorate. While there is no shortage of Pinterest boards or Instagram hashtags with ideas on decorating Florida rooms, we’ll still list a few ideas to amp up the excitement of having such a space.
Plant It – Want to add a conservatory feel to the Florida room? Add giant urns loaded with dried branches and ferns as accents or go full green thumb and house various species of live plants and a potting bench. The ample sunlight will help to nurture them.
Close the Curtains – Drapery panels have gained popularity in Florida rooms. Typically lined to provide additional protection from the outside and treated to resist fading from constant exposure to sunlight, climate drapes make it possible to close off the space to the outside world.
Light It Up – Create a reading nook with lanterns and oil lamps for after-dark illumination.
Cozy Up – Accent pillows and throws along with soft cushions make furniture cozy and inviting including counter stools and dinette chairs.
Whichever design you choose and however you decorate it, the Florida room is a great way to add onto an existing home or to new construction.
Interested in talking with a design professional about adding an outdoor kitchen to a Florida room?