What Is a Lanai Room?

A lanai room is a covered outdoor living space similar to a porch, patio or balcony that is attached to a house, condo or other residential structure. The concept of the lanai porch originated in Hawaii, but it should not be confused with the remote Hawaiian island of Lana's.

The lanai room is an extension of the interior living space in many Hawaiian homes. It is often considered the Hawaiian version of the veranda, which is an outdoor living space with open size. A lanai is often furnished with seating, tables and other furniture so that residents can enjoy the views outdoors. The lanai is considered a special part of Hawaiian architecture, and many residents refuse to purchase homes without a lanai.

On beach houses, the lanai usually faces the ocean to take advantage of the beautiful views. Some homes (especially larger models) feature multiple lanais. They can either be accessed by different exterior doors or connected by covered passageways.

In some cases, lanais are screened in to protect residents from insects, high winds and other unfavorable consequences of outdoor living. However, a lanai is not the same as a sunroom. The lanai is always an outdoor space, and is surrounded by screens or porch railings instead of actual walls.