Creating a Sun Room

Reference Number: KB-00780
Last Modified: July 20, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


I would like to design a sun room, solarium, or conservatory with skylights. What is the best way to do this?   

Sun room with several windows and furniture


A sun room features large windows and skylights to let in plenty of sunlight. Creating one is easy using the Skylight tool and the steps below. 

To create a sun room with shed roof

  1. Open the plan file in which you would like to design a sun room or select File> New Plan  from the menu to open a new, blank plan.

    In this example, a simple 30' x 40' rectangular structure is drawn, and a 9' x 12' addition will be turned into a sun room.

    40 x 30 main house with 12 x 9 room centered on outside of wall

  2. Click the Select Objects button, then click in a blank area inside the sun room to select it and click the Open Object  edit button. 

  3. In the Room Specification dialog:

    • On the Structure panel, specify the desired Ceiling Height and the desired Floor Height. 

      In this example, the Floor Height is set at -7" to create a sunken room and the Ceiling Height is set to 102 1/8". 

      Uncheck the box beside Flat Ceiling Over This Room if you would like to have a vaulted ceiling. 

    • On the Moldings panel, select any moldings that you would like in the room.  If you unchecked Flat Ceiling Over This Room, be sure to remove any Crown Molding.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your changes. 

  4. Select Build> Roof> Build Roof  from the menu.

  5. In the Build Roof dialog:

    • On the Roof panel, specify the roof Pitch. In this example, the pitch is set to 6 in 12.

    • On the Materials panel, click on Skylight Frame to select it, then click the Select Material button. 

    • In the Select Material dialog, browse the Materials library category and select a material for your skylight frames that will match your roofing as well as your window trim.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and build your roof.

  6. Select one of the side walls of the sun room and click the Open Object  edit button. 

  7. On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, select the option beside Full Gable Wall and click OK.

    Wall Specification dialog with Full Gable Wall selected on Roof panel

    Repeat this 
    step with the other side wall of the sun room to specify it as Full Gable as well. 

  8. Select the back wall that the shed roof will rest on and then click the Open Object  edit button. 

  9. On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, specify a Pitch for the shed roof plane.

    • In this example, a Pitch of 2 in 12 is used.

  10. Next, select the adjoining wall that is part of both the main structure and the sun room and Open Object  it to specification. 

    • On the Roof panel, check the Upper Pitch box and specify the upper pitch to be the same value as the lower pitch. 

      Wall Specification - Roof panel - Upper Pitch selected with 6 in 12 set for both Pitch and Upper Pitch

      If the roof does not update, select Build> Roof> Build Roof, check the box beside Auto Rebuild Roofs, and click OK.

      In Home Designer Essentials, open the Build Roof dialog and hit OK to re-build the roof.

  11. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Perspective Full Overview  from the menu to see the results so far.

    Perspective Full Overview showing Hip Roof on main house and Shed Roof over sunroom

To add a doorway

  1. Select File> Close View from the menu to return to floor plan view.

  2. Select Edit> Default Settings from the menu. In the Default Settings dialog, click on Plan, then click the Edit button.

  3. In the General Plan Defaults dialog that displays next:

    General Plan Defaults dialog with a checkmark in the box for Ignore Casing When Resizing Doors and Windows

    • Check the box beside Ignore Casing When Resizing Doors and Windows, then click OK to close the dialog.

    • Click the Done button to close the Default Settings dialog, as well.

  4. Select Build> Door> Doorway  from the menu, then click on the wall separating the sun room from the rest of the house to place a doorway at that location.

  5. Click the Select Objectsbutton, then click on the doorway to select it.

    • Click the Center Object  edit button.

    • Click inside the sun room near the wall that the doorway is placed in.

    • The door will become centered along the wall in the room.

  6. With the doorway still selected, use the end edit handles to resize it so that it fills the entire wall section.

    • You can also place a Hinged Door  instead of a doorway opening. 

    • When a Hinged Door is 48" wide or more, it automatically becomes a double door.

  7. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag to create a camera view inside the house looking towards the sun room. 

    • If you want, you can click on the casing, or trim, of the doorway to select it and then click and drag its edit handles to resize it or raise its top height up until it bumps into the ceiling height of the sun room.

      Camera view showing sunken room through doorway

It's not uncommon for skylights to be aligned with the windows in a room.

To add windows and skylights

  1. Select File> Close View from the menu to return to floor plan view.

  2. Select Build> Window> Window  from the menu, then click on an exterior wall to place a window at that location.  Continue clicking to place as many windows as you like.

    • Don't worry about placing the windows accurately now - you can move them into place in a moment.

  3. Using the Select Objects tool, click on a window to select it and use the temporary dimension lines that display as guides to move it relative to a wall corner or another window.

    Outer three walls of sunroom with two windows placed and dimensions between windows and between windows and walls

    The Center Object edit button can be used to center a window or group of windows along a wall inside a room. Select the window(s), click the Center Object edit button, then click inside the room near the wall that the windows are placed in to center them along that wall.

  4. Select Build> Roof> Skylight  from the menu, then click and drag to draw a rectangular skylight. 

    Sunroom with all windows placed and first Skylight being placed

    • Be sure that it is drawn entirely within the edges of a single roof plane. 

    • Don't worry about the exact size, shape or placement of the skylight as it is drawn: it can be edited precisely in a moment. 

    • In this example, three skylights are drawn. 

  5. Click the Select Objects button, then click on the skylight on the left to select it and display its edit handles.

    • If you select another object such as the roof plane or the room instead, click the Select Next Object  edit button or press the Tab key on your keyboard.

  6. Click and drag the edit handles of the skylight to resize it and move it into position relative to the walls and windows of the room.

    • Use the temporary dimension lines that display to help you resize and move the skylight precisely.

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with each skylight so that they are evenly spaced. 

    Sunroom with all the windows and skylights placed

  8. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow inside the house to see your work. 

    Camera View showing sunroom from inside main house showing windows and skylights

Once the structure of the sun room is designed, it's time to decorate the room using furnishings, accessories, and materials.

To decorate your sun room

  1. Select View> Library Browser  from the menu to open the Library Browser.

  2. Select furniture for your room by browsing to the Interiors and Exteriors library categories.

  3. Browse a selection of potted plant images in the Plants library category. 

  4. Select 3D> Create Camera View> Full Camera  from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow inside the house to see your work. 

  5. 3D views are a great place to experiment with different materials for floors, trim, furnishings and other objects in your plan. While in a 3D view, select 3D> Material Painter> Material Painter  from the menu.

    • In the Select Material dialog, browse the Materials library to find a material that you would like to apply to an object in your plan.

    • Select the material and click OK to return to the 3D view. Your pointer will display the Material Painter  icon.

    • Click on the surface of an object to apply the selected material to that surface.

      It's not recommended to use the Material Painter on walls as it may produce undesired results. Use the Wall Specification dialog to modify a wall's material instead.