How to convert your balcony into a sunroom

Phantom Screens / May 1, 2015

Blog /

Balconies on a home’s second floor are great covered outdoor spaces. However, glare from the sun or pesky bugs may prevent you from enjoying your balcony as much as you’d like. Instead of avoiding your balcony for fear of insects, convert your balcony into a three-season or sunroom. This enclosed space can be enjoyed in a variety of climates. Whether you’ll use it as a private room off the master bedroom or an intimate guest space, your balcony remodel will come in handy.

Zoning considerations

Before you go ahead with your plan to turn the balcony into a covered outdoor area, be sure the city zoning commission will approve. Most towns require that a certain amount of square footage on your property not be considered a living space. By enclosing your balcony, you could be exceeding your lot’s limit. Talk to your architect or contractor, as they will know the rules in your area. If screening your balcony is all right, proceed with drawing designs. Don’t forget to get building permits before you make any major changes.

Screen it in

Instead of fully enclosing your balcony, you can install retractable screens. Taking this step will ensure that the balconies are still outdoor living spaces. Furthermore, retractable screens can roll up into the existing architecture of your balcony to be completely out of sight when you want an unobstructed view. You can enjoy cool breezes or lower the screens to keep the bugs away from your converted balcony.

Start planning

Decide what function you want your balcony to serve. If you want to screen in your balcony to use during winter, you can add heating to use the area. A space heater or outdoor fireplace are both options. However, do note that retractable screens do let cold air in, so your heater won’t be entirely efficient. Decide on a budget before you get started. You’ll be spending money on temperature control elements, screens and decor.

Talk to professionals

If you have ambitious plans for your screened-in balcony, be sure to hire an architect. He or she will work with you to design the perfect space within your budget. Share the features you’d like to see in the final product. Once the architect has drawn up the designs, find a contractor. This is the person who will be doing the actual building. If you choose Phantom Screens to create a screened-in balcony, your installation process will be simple. The professional team matches the retractable screens to your home’s existing architecture. This is an easy, non-invasive way to convert your balcony into a sunroom.

Building ideas

Your balcony may have a railing that prevents the space from having an open ledge. If your home doesn’t have a solid panel, you may want to consider building a half-wall before installing retractable screens. Having railings defeats the purpose of closing in the space as it allows air and wind through the openings. Building a half-wall blocks the wind while the screens become the adjustable portion of the balcony. When you redesign the railing, be sure it matches the architecture of your home. Use the same materials and paint colors.

Decorate

Once you’ve swapped the railings for a half-wall and installed retractable screens, you’re set to furnish your balcony sunroom. Hang art and place potted plants to make the room feel more like the indoors. You may also want a rug, sofa, chairs and coffee table in the space. If you want to use your sunroom in the winter, bring in a space heater.

Lighting

Another important part of creating a new living space is adding lighting. Whether you’d like an overhead fixture or table lamps, the right lighting changes the mood of the room. If you’d like your new balcony to feel like an indoor space, consider a chandelier or standing lamp.