Most Bay Area residents put sunrooms (especially the popular California room) relatively high on their list of home necessities thanks to their seamless open-air transition that melds the comforts of home with the freedom of the outdoors. But, while sunrooms, in general, aren’t an overtly uncommon home feature, many Bay Area residents are curious as to why they are seen so prevalent in their region versus others in the country or even their state.
Sunrooms are a popular home feature and addition in the Bay Area because of their versatility, the cost to profit ratio, and ability to allow Bay Area residents to fully enjoy their abnormally high percentages of sunshine without battling other common and tumultuous weather conditions, like wind and rain.
Overall, sunrooms are a superb investment for any homeowner, but if you want to live somewhere that they are found in the vast majority of homes, the Bay Area is a great choice. In this article, we’ll discuss the main reasons why sunrooms are so popular in the Bay Area and why the desire for this home feature hasn’t seemed to wane in decades.
Reasons Why Sunrooms Are Popular In Bay Area Homes
Sunrooms, surprisingly, can date their inspiration back to around 6,000 BC China and have been altered and refined to the point that they are now one of the most common and popular home additions nationwide. There are few locations where sunrooms are as sought-after and widespread as the Bay Area in San Francisco. But what is it about these nearly transparent rooms that have Bay Area residents so excited?
Sunrooms are predominantly popular in the Bay Area because it has the perfect weather for these rooms nearly year-round. This region has been described as having a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Pair that with the above-average amount of sun the region gets, and you have the perfect conditions for lounging in a sunroom.
Of course, this is only part of the occasion. The Bay Area’s amiable weather might explain why sunrooms are more common here than other locations, but there is a long list of other reasons why many Bay Area residents thoroughly enjoy these rooms. From sunrooms’ versatility to their health benefits to their functionality and more, we’ll cover all of the reasons why Bay Area sunrooms are so popular.
Escape From Tumultuous Bay Area Climate
As we mentioned previously, the factor of the Bay Area’s average climate plays a key role in why sunrooms are so popular here, especially the California room.
Bay Area residents can expect to have hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters with an average temperature of 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. This is considered a Mediterranean climate and is perfect for sunrooms because they allow residents to escape the common fall to winter rains or the windy or dry heat of the summer without sacrificing their time in the sun.
Of course, sunlight is crucial here, and the Bay Area has plenty of it. With 259 days of sunshine a year, the Bay Area exceeds the average number of 205 for the country as a whole and dominates regions like Cold Bay, Arkansas, and Washington, New Hampshire, where residents are lucky to get even 50 days of sunshine a year, rendering sunrooms relatively useless here.
Increases Natural Sunlight and Heat in the Home
Considering Bay Area residents are in a location where hours of radiant sunshine are common, it’s no wonder they want to optimize on it by having their sunrooms.
Sunrooms are built almost exclusively with windows rather than walls (depending on your sunroom’s design) which allows the room to be filled with natural light. This light can even trickle into other areas of your home, helping them feel brighter as well.
Not only is vast amounts of sunshine a great boost for your home’s general vibe, but it can also help reduce your need for artificial lights and your reliance on heating systems. This is especially helpful for Bay Area homes where the average summer high is 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average winter low is 46 degrees Fahrenheit. This might cause the rest of the home to be a bit chilly without heating, but your sunroom will be the perfect temperature, thanks to all of the natural light seeping in.
Helps a Space Feel Larger and More Open
Because of the ample amount of sunlight sunrooms let inside, in addition to other design elements, many Bay Area homeowners feel these rooms help their home, in general, feel much more spacious and open.
Having a sunroom as an additional living space already helps your home feel less cramped, but the natural light that fills this room will undoubtedly make it one of the brightest in the house. The windows themselves also help the space feel more open because you can see beyond the room’s physical boundaries to the outdoors.
This can be a great place to start your day with some morning yoga or a cup of coffee as you relax on a sunroom couch.
Many sunrooms also boast designs that make the space feel larger than it is, like vaulted ceilings to give it an extra degree of vertical height you might not have in the rest of your home’s first floor.
Allows You to Blend Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit of sunrooms that make them so popular is their ability to blend elements of the indoors and nature into one fully functional space.
Sunrooms are completely enclosed rooms connected to a person’s home, but they can also be a retreat into nature, as their many windows allow you to see outdoors from the comfort of inside. Many homeowners make sure their sunrooms face a spectacular view or are positioned where they receive the ideal amount of sunlight, so they are bright, welcoming, and relaxing havens.
Depending on where you are in the Bay Area, your sunroom could give you an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and its lining beaches, the city’s best architecture, or the lush hills and countryside that lies outside the bustling metropolitan.
In addition to the view, many Bay Area residents love their sunrooms because it allows them to create a natural oasis to appreciate right outside their home that might provide a refreshing site amidst the overwhelming concrete and gravel of the city.
Another perk of sunrooms is their versatility as a space, as well as their functionality. In most rooms of a home, the purpose is pretty set in stone; a kitchen or a bathroom can’t be used for much else than the tasks they were designed for. Comparatively, sunrooms can be used for a wide range of purposes, depending on the home owner’s tastes.
For example, sunrooms can be used as:
- a reading nook or library
- ad indoor garden
- an office
- a breakfast room
- an entertainment hub
And these are just a few of the most popular options. If you have a California room instead of a sunroom, its versatility increases exponentially. If you’re curious about what a California room is, it’s essentially a sunroom taken to the next level. Some sunrooms are essentially outdoor decks that have been enclosed in windowed walls and then decorated with simple furniture.
On the other hand, California rooms boast all of the amenities and features of an indoor space, such as kitchen appliances, fireplaces, televisions, and more, but are designed as a covered outdoor space with two or more attached walls. Some can even be enclosed with the help of movable walls and screens.
Both sunrooms and California rooms are highly versatile spaces homeowners can use and alter to suit their needs, making them an ideal addition to any residence.
Budget-Friendly Home Addition
Speaking of additions, another reason many Bay Area homeowners enjoy sunrooms is because they are one of the cheapest ways for them to install or build an addition to their home and increase its overall size.
While this isn’t a universal fact that all sunrooms are cheaper than standard home additions, most will cost $3,000-$60,000 on average, depending on the kind of sunroom you’re looking for (ex. conservatory vs. solarium vs. four-season). Comparatively, most homeowners spend somewhere between $22,500 and $74,000 for a home addition (again, depending on the size), which is significantly higher than most sunrooms.
The reason sunrooms are so much cheaper is largely due to the fact that they don’t require solid brick or insulated walls like other additions. Instead, they’re made with glass walls or tall glass windows and minimal framing. This substantially reduces the overall cost of materials, especially if you refrain from installing electrical outlets and an HVAC system in this room.
Another fact to consider is how much value having a sunroom adds to your home as a whole. On average, sunrooms hold around 72 percent return in resale value, making it a smart financial investment for homeowners interested in increasing their home value without spending as much as a standard addition.
Beneficial for Mental and Physical Health
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, sunrooms are now more important to a person’s mental and physical health than ever, and Bay Area residents are no different.
When quarantines and government shutdowns hit, sunrooms were a saving grace for many homeowners who were beginning to feel uncomfortably confined in their own homes. Not only do these bright and open spaces help them feel less claustrophobic than other rooms, but the mass amounts of sunlight that stream through sunrooms can vastly improve a person’s mental and even physical health.
Sunlight increases the brain’s production of the serotonin hormone, which promotes a feeling of calm and happiness in people. This is an effective way to combat anxiety and depression or boost someone’s sense of motivation or productivity. All of which are challenges most people face at one point or another in their lives but have been increasingly prevalent the past two years.
While sunrooms can be found in homes nationwide, they are an extremely common and sought-after feature in Bay Area homes for the reasons listed above. Most Bay Area residents love sunrooms for their ability to allow them to take full advantage of their exceptional climate and views year-round, but for some, this room is their go-to spot for its health benefits or versatility.
Regardless of why Bay Area residents want or enjoy their sunrooms, they are a home trend that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon. If you’re interested in increasing your home’s value or square footage for a reasonable price and you live in the Bay Area, consider adding a sunroom to your home over the standard addition. We promise you won’t be disappointed with its many perks.
Element Home Remodeling of Walnut Creek is a home addition contractor in The Bay Area specializing in beautiful sunrooms. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.