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Building a conservatory or orangey 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 which 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:
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 historic 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:
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 as a kitchen or dining room. The design can also fit more closely with the overall aesthetic of the exterior of the property.
It is important to establish whether you will need conservatory planning permission at an early stage in the process. The good news is that as long as the plans meet the criteria (set out in detail on the Government’s Planning Portal website), conservatories and orangeries often don't need to be granted planning permission.
In a nutshell, as long as the property does not exceed half the existing garden plot, does not exceed more than 4 metres in height, or 3 metres near the boundary, you should be fine. However, if your home is a new build, differing regulations may have been placed by the developer.
There are many styles of orangeries and conservatories, and bespoke premium extensions, such as those by Bergson and Eaton, offer almost limitless opportunities to create a space that is truly special. However, the basic design of the majority of builds is based on just a few different conservatory styles:
This is the most popular style of the conservatory as it suits all types of properties. A Victorian-style conservatory is characterised by a ridged roof from which multifaceted roof panes are extended, giving an attractively rounded appearance.
Very similar to the Victorian conservatory, the Edwardian style features a rectangular base and a ridged roof; a simple understated style that blends harmoniously with most properties. A variation is the Edwardian gabled conservatory which has a neatly gabled end that looks effective in more modern homes.
As its name suggests, the lean-to conservatory (which is the most basic design) consists of a roof that connects directly to the wall of the house and gives the appearance that it is leaning on the existing property. It is a useful style for properties with less outdoor space or for fitting into a corner.
These are the fundamental styles; however, there are additionally many variations, such as 'P', 'T' and 'L' shaped designs.
It is impossible to give a precise figure as the cost of building a conservatory or orangery can vary greatly and depends on numerous factors, such as style and size. However, it is possible to give some brackets of price and timelines. The cost of a conservatory typically starts at only £10k and rises to £40k. The price of an orangery ranges from approximately £20k to £70k.
The conservatory building timeframe is similarly variant. The process starts with the design process during which your home will be visited and photos will be taken to ensure that the designs are exactly right for your property. A qualified surveyor will then visit to conduct a thorough survey. Regarding the construction process itself, a small conservatory may take as little as three to four weeks, while a larger project could easily take three times as long.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that adding a conservatory or orangery could increase the value of your house. However, it is important to ensure that the build is carried out to a high standard, using premium materials and provide a lot of light. Investing in floor insulation and good quality window handles, hinges and doors will all help your conservatory to provide the 'wow' factor to any prospective buyers, as well as increasing your own enjoyment of the extension.
You can use a conservatory as you please! Turn it into a stylish summer dining room, a playroom, a study or homework supervision area for older children. It could be a music room, a craft room, an artist's studio - the possibilities are endless. And, of course, it's ideal for nurturing plants and relaxing in the sun.
Orangeries have more brickwork than conservatories and are considered to retain heat in the winter more effectively.There are many different options for conservatory heating
You can choose from a range of materials, including glass, tiles, and polycarbonate. The choice depends on the effect you aim to achieve. If you want lots of light, glass panels are obviously the best option. Solid tiles look stylish and provide good levels of insulation, and can be fitted with skylights if desired. Polycarbonate offers a cheaper alternative to glass but without many of the latest benefits of the latter, such as anti-glare technology and self-cleaning products.
uPVC has been the most widely used material for conservatories since the 1980s and is now available in a range of colours, such as cream and anthracite blue, rather than the formerly ubiquitous white. uPVC can also be found in natural wood finishes for those who prefer a more rustic look.
Aluminium is another possibility and is lightweight and strong, enabling it to support large glass panels. Both uPVC and aluminium score highly in terms of energy efficiency, and uPVC also provides good levels of sound insulation.
Many customers also opt for hardwood conservatories and orangeries. Wood is a durable and robust construction material with a classic aesthetic but does require more maintenance than other materials.
Although modern conservatory maintenance is minimal, your conservatory or orangery will benefit from a bit of TLC as wear and tear over time is to be expected.Here are some things that will keep your conservatory looking good for years: