Sunroom Turned Cozy Wintry Retreat

     We have lived in our current home for three years now and never really found a use for the sunroom.  Our builder suggested we add it for resale value so we went with his advice.  It lies off the kitchen and dining room and has ended up being  a repository for spare chairs and a hangout space for our kitties.  But this fall I got the idea of turning it into usable living space, thinking it might work nicely as an overflow room for holiday gatherings.

     Long term, I am not sure how we will use the space, so I set out to cozy up this room without making any major investments in flooring, heating, lighting or  furniture.

Here’s how the room looked before its wintry makeover:

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     I had painted the plywood floors a dark brown earlier.  Most of the furniture came from a local church rummage sale – $50 for 2 sofas, 2 end tables and a coffee table.    I like the rattan and intend to slipcover the cushions when I find the right fabric.

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     In terms of functionality, this 12 x 16 space is totally unconditioned with no insulation in the walls, floor or ceiling.  On a sunny day, even in the winter, the space warms up nicely by noon.  We found that on most days, unless it is bitter cold, a small, inexpensive electric space heater extends the use of the room from mid-morning to late afternoon.  And when we have the fireplace burning in the dining room, we can push the excess heat out to the sunroom, simply by opening the kitchen windows and door.

      First up was the two sofas –  I draped one with an old wool green plaid blanket that I had.  For the other sofa, I didn’t have a blanket large enough so I used a simple 6 x 9 drop cloth that I prewashed and dried for softness.  I then layered on some pillows. Some of these I had while others I sewed up from some thrift shop sweaters (more on that later).

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We purchased the bamboo pendant light from Ikea to hang over a round table where my mother has been enjoying  puzzles in this warm sunny spot.  Tom retrofitted the light with a cord and plug that is hidden along the rafters and runs down the wall to an outlet, in lieu of doing any electrical wiring in this room.

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I softened the chairs with some Ikea faux sheepskins and a couple of pillows – the swiss army cross is from Back Home Belvidere and the black and white check is Target.

To balance the other side of the room, we hung three wicker globe lights.  I had purchased these this summer from Pier One to use outdoors.   I was pleasantly surprised how nice they looked when I hung them in the sunroom.

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On the green wicker chair, I simply wrapped the seat in some black and white buffalo check fabric from Ikea.   Eventually, I will take the time to sew it up into a  slipcover.

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I brought in a few plaid elements by sewing up a plaid pillow and shopping my basement for the plaid metal cooler by the door and the plaid picnic basket on top of the cabinet – both purchased years ago.

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I didn’t have time to repaint the blue cabinet that Tom made me for our last house.  I am still not sure what color to paint it so for now it’s staying blue  The yarn pom pom wreath and garland are from my etsy store.

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For the floor, I borrowed my Ikea cowhide from the living room to use as a temporary rug.  I really like how it looks in this room so I think it just might be staying here.

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Near the entrance to this room, we hung an old accordion style rack to provide another space for adding some cute accessories. The buffalo check stocking and gold bells are new from Target.

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I intended to sew up the wool sweater (it’s got some stains) into a stocking but ran out of time.  The leather camera case is sentimental as it was my dad’s and also picks up the brown tones in the cowhide and the leather footstool on the other side of the room.

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I love real pine garland but it just isn’t practical in the house where it dries out so quickly. But here on the porch, where temps drop below freezing at night, the natural pine garland has lasted for weeks.  We added some white lights and this space is so pretty to look at from our kitchen and dining room.

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     I really had fun layering on the details in this room  – shopping my basement for accessories and sewing up a few items like these pillows made from thrifted sweaters ….

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… and these little coffee cup cozies made from the sweater sleeves.  For more ideas for upcycling old sweaters see our earlier blog post here.

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The swiss army cross pillow, the gray and red knitted pillow, the vintage skis, and bait pail are all from Back Home Belvidere – one of my favorite local shops.  Kevin and Adrian are both so creative and I love stopping by regularly for inspiration and unique finds.

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We had this room open to the main house for our Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve family gatherings and it worked out beautifully.  It was warm and cozy and people naturally gravitated to it.

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I am so looking forward to sipping hot coffee out here, cozied up with a throw and a book and hopefully  watching the snow fall.

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Hope you all are having a restful, cozy week!

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