Building a Conservatory or Orangery

Building a conservatory or orangery: Commonly asked questions

Building a conservatory or orangery is an excellent way of gaining additional living space, one which is filled with light throughout the year and which can increase the value of your property.

These multi-functional spaces are designed with a high ratio of energy efficient glazing, allowing you to benefit from the natural light from outside and the comfort of the heat from indoors. Conservatories and orangeries are enormously versatile rooms and can be used in a variety of ways, such as a place to entertain, to read, as a music room, or as an optimal place in which to grow plants.

Furthermore, they provide homeowners with valuable additional living space. They are an affordable and achievable alternative to a costly extension that requires planning permission.

If you are tempted by the thought of adding a conservatory or orangery to your property, how do you know which is the right choice for your home? Let's start by asking some commonly asked questions about the two.

A house extension, orangery or conservatory? What's the difference?

All can be considered types of house extension, but the main difference between conservatories and orangeries with classic house extensions is the fact that extensions consist of opaque cavity walls, the digging of brick-based foundations and are generally a huge undertaking that will need the input of an architect, planning permission and possibly a project manager.

In contrast, modern conservatories and orangeries offer the same benefits of a full house extension but with much less logistical stress.
An orangery sounds like something that might be found in a stately home, but they are very popular in properties across the UK. The name reflects the fact that they originated in 15th century Italy, where the aristocracy used them as places for growing orange trees.
Here are the main differences between a conservatory and an orangery:

Conservatories traditionally have:

  • A minimal amount of brickwork;
  • A roof which is fully glazed;
  • A high number of glazed surfaces create a space with the maximum amount of natural daylight.

 

Conservatories are usually situated in the back garden, and one of their primary benefits is to allow beautiful views and easy access to the garden from within the house. Conservatories became something of an upper-middle-class status symbol in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and styles of traditional conservatories reflect these historical designs. If your house was built in the nineteenth century, building a conservatory with a traditional style could have a highly attractive and authentic appearance.

Meanwhile, a traditional orangery has:

  • A higher proportion of brickwork than a conservatory;
  • A roof lantern as opposed to a fully glazed roof;
  • More features in common with a home extension – they are typically more substantial buildings.

 

With less glazing than a conservatory, the design of a traditional orangery offers greater levels of privacy and so appeals to those wishing to use the space like a kitchen or dining room. The design can also fit more closely with the overall aesthetic of the exterior of the property.

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