26 Stunning Conservatory Ideas for Your Home
You can do pretty much anything with a conservatory. In fact, when it comes to conservatory design, functionality and décor, the options are limitless. In other words, there is a conservatory idea for every person, property and purpose. That’s versatility, a crucial yet under-appreciated quality.
It’s a quality we must tap into to find the right conservatory idea for you and your property. So, we did our homework and compiled 26 stunning conservatory ideas to consider when building or renovating a conservatory.
Echo the Aesthetics of the Building
This is the easiest and smartest way to make the conservatory and the entire property look good. Harmony is always visually appealing. Plus, nobody likes anything that sticks out like a sore thumb. So, let your conservatory complement the main building and the rest of the property.
You can do this by matching the building material, colours, and window types. You can also replicate the architecture of the main building, but this idea is a little more complicated than the others. So, let’s discuss it as a separate conservatory design idea.
Contrast the Building
There is more than one way to create harmony between a conservatory and nearby structures. For the first conservatory idea on this list, we used replication. For this one, we will use contrast.
So, imagine a timber conservatory on a tough brick building. That’s a beautiful contrast of building material. For another example, imagine the colour contrast of a sleek black conservatory on a white house.
Consider the Structure and Architecture of the Building
This conservatory idea will make life easier for you in many ways. For example, let’s assume you want to build the conservatory on a period property, maybe a Victorian home. If you don’t consider the architectural style of that property, you could end up installing the wrong type of conservatory. Meanwhile, a Victorian conservatory would be a much better fit. Likewise, an Edwardian conservatory is the right fit for an Edwardian property.
However, this conservatory design idea isn’t only about aesthetics. So, let us look at other examples, starting with the issue of building permissions. One of the main rules of permitted development is that a conservatory can’t be taller than the main building. When that happens, you’ll have to get building permission.
Finally, there is the issue of drainage. You need gutters to protect the conservatory roof from stagnant water and mould growth. Drainage will be easier and more effective if you integrate the gutters of the conservatory into that of the main building. So, that’s another reason to consider the architecture of the main building when designing a conservatory.
Consider the Position of the Sun
We build conservatories because we want an indoor space with lots of sunlight. That has been the case since conservatories were invented in the 16th century. It’s still the case today. So, consider the position of the sun when choosing a location for your conservatory. It determines the amount of sunlight your conservatory gets.
Here is what you need to know about the UK. Between the north and south, south-facing windows generally get the most sunlight. However, between the east and west, east-facing windows get more sunlight in the morning, while west-facing ones get more in the afternoon.
This conservatory idea is a great way to save money and space. Compared to a regular type of conservatory, a lean-to conservatory is much simpler and cost-effective to design and build. It also takes up less outdoor space. So, it is a better option for gardens with limited space.
Finally, lean-to conservatories are very versatile. Their single-sloping roof makes them easy to customise for any property style and available space. Therefore, a lean-to conservatory will work with any building, modern or traditional.
There is something exquisite and luxurious about freestanding conservatories. I think it’s a magical feeling that’s unique to all freestanding structures. However, it might also be because freestanding conservatories aren’t as common as their building-mounted counterparts. So, their aesthetic is refreshing and powerful. Plus, they give you a conservatory with a full panoramic view.
There is no denying the curb appeal that a freestanding conservatory can bring to your property. The effect could be even more powerful if you have a large outdoor space. Then, you can install the conservatory far away from the main house and link it to a beautiful pathway.
You can also use this conservatory idea to beat building regulations. A freestanding conservatory is not a regular extension because it isn’t attached to a building. Therefore, the rules might be different.
However, because of this same reason, the design of a freestanding conservatory is also different. It means there is no attached building to provide structural support. So, the conservatory must now do that for itself.
In a way, a glass box is the ultimate modern conservatory. After all, most people only see conservatory frames as necessary but inconvenient features. So, what screams “contemporary” better than a frameless conservatory?
By the way, don’t take the name “frameless conservatory” literally. Glass boxes actually have frames. However, the frames are glass instead of regular conservatory building materials like metal, wood and uPVC. That’s why glass box conservatories look frameless. It’s why more and more people are falling in love with this conservatory idea.
Here is another charming and magnificent conservatory idea. Double-height conservatories are as grand as they come. They are also the perfect excuse to try tall plants indoors.
Just remember that a double-height conservatory will cost more money than a regular-sized one. You may also need planning permission if the conservatory is taller than the main building or 4 metres.
Use Flooring to Link the Conservatory to Other Spaces
Flooring choice is one of the best ways to create smooth transitions between spaces. In fact, the conservatory itself is one of the best ways to transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. So, by using flooring to link the conservatory to another space(s), you make that transition even smoother.
For example, if you want to build a kitchen conservatory, give the conservatory the same floor type as the kitchen. This will establish the link between them. Likewise, if you want to link your conservatory to your garden, let the flooring of the conservatory extend into the garden space. You can even turn this new area into a patio.
Flooring is not the only way to create these links and transitions. You can also use building materials, colours and elements (like plants).
Knock Down the Wall between the Conservatory and the House
People treat conservatories as individual spaces, but that’s not the only game in town. You can knock down the wall between your conservatory and another room to merge them. Therefore, the conservatory becomes an extension of that room instead of being a different space entirely. This is called an open-plan conservatory.
You don’t even have to knock down the wall for this to work. You can achieve a similar effect by removing the door between these spaces. This is much safer and less complicated. The original conservatory idea requires permission and complex engineering, especially if it involves a load-bearing wall. However, the result is also far more rewarding and striking.
Conservatory Roof Insulation
Long gone are the days when conservatories were at the mercy of Mother Nature. Today, the average conservatory has roof insulation. In fact, this is necessary. It’s the only way you and your plants can enjoy the conservatory throughout the year. It will also help with heating costs.
There are a variety of ways to insulate the roof of your conservatory. So, it’s easy to find a roof insulation method that suits your taste and budget. Examples include coating the existing roof, installing solar control films, thermal wadding or aluminium foil or even roof replacement.
Use a Log Burner as a Focal Point
Here is a fair warning. Log burners are from being the best way to heat a conservatory. That honour goes to underfloor heating. There are also a few more conservatory heating methods that are better than log burners. However, none of them can provide the kind of aesthetic value that a log burner offers.
So, this conservatory idea is not just about conservatory heating. It is about heating your conservatory in style. Apart from providing heating, the log burner can be a focal point for your conservatory. So, you can arrange furniture around it and other features around it.
In general, heating is crucial. Alongside insulation, it solves the biggest problem that we all have with conservatories, temperature fluctuations. So, apart from wood burners and underfloor heating, other conservatory heating methods are radiators and trench heating.
Lighting is also important. You need it to enjoy late evenings in your conservatory. Thankfully, there are lots of lighting options for different tastes and budgets. You can try standing lights, table lights, outdoor lights (shining into the conservatory), wall-mounted lights, roof-mounted lights, LED strips, spotlights, skylights and chandeliers. You can even try smart lighting solutions.
Just choose lighting that reflects your purpose for that conservatory. Then remember that your lighting choices also influence aesthetics. That’s the trick to perfecting this conservatory idea. For example, if you want your conservatory to be an office, you need cool bright lights. On the other hand, if you want the conservatory to be a romantic or relaxation spot, warm dim lighting is better.
Choose the Right Conservatory Door
People rarely discuss how something this basic can make a conservatory stand out. For example, you can create contrast by choosing a door with a colour or building material that is different from the rest of the conservatory frame. You could also install a grand French door for your traditional conservatory and a sleek bi-fold for your contemporary conservatory. Sliding and single doors are also good options.
However, no matter what type of door you choose, ensure it has a multi-point lock system and anti-jam protection.
How about a conservatory that powers itself, thus reducing your energy bills? That’s the basis of this incredible conservatory design idea. Simply install solar panels on the conservatory roof to generate electricity. They are good for the wallet and the environment.
A Conservatory with a View
One of the reasons that we build conservatories is to create indoor spaces with a good view of the outdoors. That’s why low-seating chairs are one of our favourite conservatory furniture ideas. However, this idea or (any other similar ones) only has an impact if your conservatory has a lovely view.
You will be spending most of your time there anyway. So, why not build your conservatory in a location with a great view?
Forget what you see online about the average size of a small conservatory. Those are just projections, albeit from experts. In truth, you can build a conservatory in any space, no matter how small. In fact, when it comes to limited outdoor spaces, a conservatory is a better choice than a regular extension.
Due to the lack of solid walls and the resulting influx of light, the place won’t seem as cramped. However, it also means that there will be less privacy. So, you can use our next conservatory idea or build an orangery instead to improve privacy. At the very least, a small conservatory will be much more affordable.
Window Blinds or Curtains
This conservatory idea is a great way to improve privacy and control the light entering your conservatory. It also helps with insulation. Blinds and curtains are great for shading conservatory windows. You can also use window film but this conservatory idea concerns blinds and curtains. So, let’s focus on them.
Curtains are cheaper, while blinds have more finesse and durability. Whichever one you choose, don’t forget that this is also a conservatory décor idea. So, consider the aesthetics the window blinds or curtains will add to the space.
People rarely use carpets in their conservatories and for a good reason. Other options are more durable, easier to manage, and suited to this sort of space. For instance, vinyl, the most popular conservatory flooring type, is very durable and easy to maintain. So are natural stones and tiles. Wood has its problems but is still more popular and suitable than carpet flooring.
So, why should you use carpets in your conservatory? Why have we included this conservatory idea? The answer is simple. Despite shortcomings like fading from sunlight exposure and getting dirty too quickly, carpets are still a great flooring option. They are cosy, gentle on your feet and good for insulation. Plus, new designs are more resilient to those two main shortcomings.
Conservatory cleaning is important. However, we can agree that it can be frustrating and expensive in the long run. That’s just a side effect of dealing with a glass structure. However, you can change the narrative by choosing self-cleaning glass for your conservatory.
As the name suggests, self-cleaning glass cleans itself. It uses a hydrophilic or hydrophobic process to break down organic matter that settles on it, preventing them it sticking. Therefore, you won’t have to spend as much time and money cleaning it.
Stained Glass Conservatory
While we are still on the topic of glazing choice, here is a conservatory idea for incredible aesthetic value. Stained glass windows will instantly make your conservatory stand out. In fact, all that glamorous and elegant designs will make any structure stand out. It is also better for privacy compared to plain glazing windows.
You don’t have to use stained glass for all the conservatory windows. You can mix it with plain glass and still achieve an interesting result.
uPVC might be cheaper while metal is more durable but wood will always win when it comes to aesthetics. So, if you want the frame of your conservatory to look as good as possible, use hardwood. Examples include oak, iroko, sapele and idigbo.
No other building material will offer better aesthetics. Plus, the advantages of the other building materials aren’t that big when you put things into perspective. You can still find hardwood at a reasonable price and they are pretty durable to begin with. You can also treat, stain or paint wood to increase its lifespan.
Do you know that glazed buildings like conservatories, orangeries and sunrooms used to be status symbols? Well, orangeries were the real status symbols but this doesn’t negate our point. Back then, all of these glazed structures used to be grand displays of wealth and architecture.
That’s why Edwardian and Victorian conservatories look elegant, classy and timeless. We’ve talked about them earlier. However, at the time, the idea was to build a conservatory that reflects the aesthetics of the main building. So, here is another conservatory design idea – build a traditional conservatory even if your property isn’t a period piece.
Experiment with the Colour of the Conservatory Frame
There is nothing wrong with a simple white conservatory. In fact, white is the perfect colour for a conservatory frame, at least for the interior. It works well with other colours and reflects light, making the conservatory seem bigger.
However, other colours have their own benefits too. So, use colour to bring your conservatory to life. You can even paint the interior and exterior with different colours. However, whatever you do, consider the effect of the colour(s) on other elements in the conservatory and its surroundings.
You can do almost anything with a conservatory. You can use it to build an office, gym, garden space, lounge, dining room or even a bedroom. Anything is possible. However, for this idea, we will discuss how to use a conservatory as a kitchen extension.
Conservatories have an airy and well-lit quality, making them the ideal kitchen extension. So, choose a location and build your kitchen conservatory. Then bring in the necessary kitchen furniture and accessories. You can also create a dining area if there is extra space available.
Plants are a great way to cement the link between your conservatory and your garden or outdoor space. They are also a big part of the history of conservatories. So, this is the perfect conservatory idea to end this article with.
There will be factors to consider since you are trying to grow the plants indoors. However, things will work fine because conservatories were actually designed for indoor planting. Plus, we have an entire article to help you get started with conservatory plants. Check it out. Until then, here are some of the best plants for your conservatory: echeveria, hoya, aloe vera, mandevilla, citrus fruits, jade plant and palm.
We have barely scratched the surface. As a matter of fact, we wanted to include a lot more than these 26 conservatory ideas. However, we decided that more information won’t necessarily help you choose the right conservatory idea. That will only happen if you have a clear picture of your budget, property style, available space, size of the site and intentions for that conservatory.
That final factor is the most important one of all. You must know the purpose that you want your conservatory to serve. Is it a garden room, office, gym, kitchen, living room or dining area? You must answer this question first. Then you can choose from our conservatory ideas and work with your installer to create the perfect conservatory for your needs. No matter what those needs are, there is a conservatory to satisfy them. That’s how versatile conservatories are.
Do you need planning permission to build a conservatory?
No, you don’t need planning permission unless the conservatory breaks the rules of permitted development. However, you should confirm with local authorities or have your conservatory installer do so.
What materials are used for conservatory frames?
There are three main ones, uPVC, aluminium and wood. uPVC is the cheapest but also the least durable.
What is an orangery?
An orangery is a glazed structure that is very similar to conservatories. In fact, most people can’t differentiate between them. However, the roof of an orangery is less than 75% glazed, while the walls are less than 50% glazed. Conversely, Conservatories have a minimum of 75% and 50% glazing for the roof and walls, respectively.