What is the Difference Between a Sunroom and a Solarium?

What Is the Difference Between a Sunroom and a Solarium?Although William Shakespeare never had Juliet ponder the question, it’s still worth asking: Would not a sunroom by any other name still be as bright? Sunrooms do indeed go by many other names, which makes it a little confusing for homeowners trying to sort out the distinctions between the various terms. One commonly asked question is what the difference is between a sunroom and a solarium? The short answer is that a solarium is a specific type of sunroom. But since “sunroom” is such a broad category, styles can vary significantly. To get a better understanding of what makes a solarium unique, we must first define what a sunroom is.


Structurally, a sunroom is any room physically attached to a main residence that has more than 40 percent glass on the exterior walls and roof. Other characteristics include access from inside the home (as opposed to entering through an exterior door) and having a single story. That’s about it. As you can see, this leaves lots of room for variation. Sunrooms may share a roof with the rest of the house or have their own. They may share the same floor level as the adjoining room or be a step above or below. They may be constructed on a crawl space, concrete pad, or deck. And they may be heated and cooled by the same system that services the rest of the house or have independent climate control.


A solarium’s main distinction is that it’s walls and roof are almost entirely glass. Designed to provide the maximum amount of light, solariums create a truly immersive experience for homeowners who want to feel as if they’re outside while still enjoying the comforts of an enclosed environment. Since both solariums and conservatories are mostly glass structures, some manufactures use the terms interchangeably. Generally speaking, however, solariums have a sleek, modern design that often features rounded corners, whereas conservatories usually have a more tradition, Old World design with cathedral ceilings and sometimes elaborate ornamentation.

While solariums can make wonderful additions, it’s important to keep in mind that they are more difficult to cool than other types of sunrooms and will require at least a few ceiling shades to limit glare during the brightest part of the day. They are also among the more expensive types of sunrooms.

Since 1989, Pacific Patio has been providing and installing top-of-the-line TEMO sunrooms and solariums for homeowners throughout San Diego County. If you’re thinking about investing in an exciting new addition for your home, contact us today and schedule a no-obligation, in-home meeting with one of our sunroom specialists to learn more about the products and services we offer.

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