Before & After: Palmer's Sunroom

When my husband Patrick and I bought our 1930s bungalow four and a half years ago the sunroom was bonus space that we were excited to have, but weren’t quite sure how to use. Contrary to its name, the sunroom had dark knotty pine walls, a chunky wooden shelving unit, a dark ceiling, and heavy wooden blinds covering the five windows. During the years we’ve lived here, we have painted, arranged, and rearranged the sunroom multiple times trying to get it just right. Our attempts to make the sunroom live up to its potential involve but are not limited to: desks, dining tables, chaise lounges, dog crates, white washing, and Christmas trees. It hasn’t always been pretty, but we kept trying, learning a little more after each iteration.

I firmly believe that no room is ever done done, but I think the sunroom is finally fulfilling the dreams we had for it for all these years. It’s a sunny, beautiful, and functional space that meets the needs of our family. I think three key things make the sunroom what it is today.

First, I got over the idea that the knotty pine walls should be preserved for posterity and just painted them white. This made the room so much brighter and transformed the wooden ceiling into a feature instead of an eye sore. Also, it serves as a clean canvas that makes the artwork really stand out.

Second, we finally trashed the wooden blinds and shelving unit and replaced them with light green shades and simple shelves my husband made from pipe and pine wood. Now the sun comes in more easily so we can see our collection of trinkets, books, and photos nicely displayed.

Third, we finally determined what we actually wanted to do in the space. I think sometimes it takes years of living in a space to realize how it can best serve your lifestyle. Now that we know we like to eat breakfast, read, and visit with our guests in the sunroom, we obtained the right furniture pieces and arranged them accordingly. Now we have a breakfast nook and a sitting area all in one space that we actually use.

Since making these changes this summer, it really feels like we have gained another room in our house and the sunroom finally lives up to its name.