It’s common knowledge that the Calgary summer is the best time to hang out in your screen room. You get all the benefits of the season, including the warmth and all the summer scents, combined with protection from all the worst parts, like the strong winds, biting bugs and harsh midday sunshine. However, many experienced screen room owners will tell you that you shouldn’t stop using your screen just because the warm weather has ended. With a few additions, it’s entirely possible to use your screen year round.
What Is A Screen Room?
If you don’t currently own a screen room, now is the time to consider giving your home an external makeover with this easy extension project. A screen room usually gets built on top of your existing deck or patio, meaning that you save on expensive earthwork projects. It’s a simple structure of post and beams with a solid roof, but instead of typical sheetrock walls, you get large mesh screens instead. These mesh screens allow you to live your best outdoor lifestyle with the sunshine and warm breezes while getting indoor protection from the harsh midday sunlight and the endless bugs of summer. In most cases, you’ll also get a partial wall up to around a third of the way up the sides that will make your screen room feel more like an indoor room than an enclosed patio area.
Using Your Screen Room in Summer
Summer is the easiest season to use your screen room because the mesh is specifically designed to keep the worst of the summer months out, while keeping you warm and shaded. The obvious way is get an outdoor seating set, such as a simple couch and armchair combo, and turn it into an additional living room. However, there are many other creative ways to use your screen room during the Calgary summer months:
- Covered dining room – another popular way to use your screen room during the summer is to turn it into an alternative dining space. You can go for an indoor outdoor hybrid space by choosing an outdoor dining set that would normally sit on your deck or patio, and this will likely survive the winter months in storage. Alternatively, you could pick out a more formal dining table and chairs which will feel more luxurious but you’ll need to think about how to cover it up when the weather starts to turn in fall.
- Shaded space for plants – if you’ve joined the house plants craze, you’ll know the importance of getting fresh air and sunshine to your plants where possible. Your screen room makes for an excellent summer greenhouse for those plants that need shade and room to grow, and you can get creative with hanging plants from the wooden beams. If you make it so that your screen room is only used for plants, you can get creative with irrigation systems as well as sunlamps for the evenings for the green darlings that need more light.
- At home spa – finally, your screen room provides a little oasis of calm and quiet in the midst of your busy summer months. Capture that peacefulness by turning your screen room into an at home spa. This could be as simple as putting a chaise longue and some comfy pillows to relax with a good face mask, or you could turn it into a private yoga studio complete with a flatscreen to stream your favorite lessons. Above all, make sure the rest of your household knows not to disturb you when you’re in your screen room!
Using Your Screen Room During The Rest Of The Year
The big keys to being able to use your screen room year round in Calgary is to think about how to keep it lit and how to keep yourselves warm. The lack of windows means that the cold Alberta wind will whip through the room, and the longer winter nights will mean that you’ll be struggling to see each other. However, these screen room ideas for use year round will keep you out there in all seasons:
- Install a heat source – if you’re feeling brave, a wood stove will complete the rustic look of your screen room. However, many people are nervous about these as screen rooms tend to be made mainly from wood, and an open fire source can be problematic. Space heaters work ok, but tend to look brutalistic and only heat part of the room. A more subtle option is to install an overhead heat source, such as an infrared heater. Not only will these be discreet, but they’re also more efficient which will help keep your electricity bills down.
- Vinyl windows – if you’re going to be out in your screen when the weather starts to get stormy, you’re going to need some extra protection against the wind. Installing vinyl window protection will buffer the wind as well as helping to insulate the room and keep the heat inside. Vinyl windows can be clear inserts that are removable dependent on the season, or permanent fixtures that still allow plenty of light through into your screen room.
- Add additional light sources – while the snow is falling or you’re enjoying the sunset through the changing trees, you’re going to want to be warm and snuggled up in your screen room. To help with this, you should install some soft lighting such as table lamps or candles in glass jars. A more magical effect can be achieved with string lights around the edges of the mesh windows. Whatever you choose, make sure you find the right balance between a comforting light and still being able to see each other.
You’ll also need to think about the furniture and soft furnishings that you have in the room. Many people have wicker sofas and chairs which won’t feel great in winter. Consider having a more couch or a futon that you can easily switch out to keep you comfortable year round in your screen room.