The Difference Between a Solarium and a Sunroom

There are definite similarities between a solarium and a sunroom. For one, they both involve glass. For another, they both optimize on the collection of natural sunlight. However, the two terms aren’t interchangeable.


Solarium is Latin for “sundial” or, literally, that which is exposed to the sun. The word originally referred to rooftop structures or terraces in Greek and Roman architecture. Now, the term is used to describe a room enclosed by glass, all glass, often built as an appendage to a home or existing structure.

Solariums come in different shapes including straight or curving walls of glass, sometimes involving tracks for the installation of shades. The entire thing is made of glass, even the roof.

The structure comes under a separate building code from sunrooms for fabricated or engineered special structures.

Solariums were sometimes used in hospitals and sanitariums as part of a patient’s therapy — being exposed to sunlight in a controlled environment could keep you healthy and preserve your sanity, presumably.


A sunroom is just that, a room with lots of sun. Sunrooms are home additions that are actually a simple patio enclosed with walls and featuring plenty of windows and doors to make use of natural light. They are a special feature of a home that let you enjoy the feeling of being outdoors — the view, the sunlight — while being shielded from extreme weather, temperature, or loud noises.

Sunrooms have a traditional roof overhead and solid frame walls and, though windows may be plentiful, the glass does not cover the entire wall.

Sunroom patio enclosures became popular in the 1960s. Our ancestors, loving the outdoors and gatherings with neighbors on the porch, finally got tired of the humidity, bug bites, wind, and dust and decided to enclose their porches, first with screen, then with panels of glass.

So, thanks to the ingenuity of our ancestors, we can now gather to enjoy the view and good company regardless of the weather. Meanwhile, you can preserve your own health and sanity in your peaceful, sunny space.

Sunshine Sunrooms is your North Texas builder with a reputation for excellence. We also do remodels and renovations. Call (972) 243-5390 today for a quote on your sunroom design.


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