Conservatory or Orangery – which one’s right for you?

As well as breathing new life into your home and giving you precious extra space, an extension can add significant value to your property.

There’s no doubt about it, extending to the side or rear of your house makes good sense. As well as breathing new life into your home and giving you precious extra space, it can add significant value to your property. But the decision to extend can be the easy part – often, the difficult bit is knowing what type of structure to install.

While conservatories and orangeries can have similar uses, historically there were clear differences. Orangeries are said to date back to 15th-century Italy where they were used for growing citrus fruits, hence the name. A couple of centuries later, conservatories (from the Latin conservatorium) caught on in northern Europe and were largely used as fashionable greenhouses. These days, the boundaries have become less distinct – in fact, the beauty of a modern-day conservatory is that it can easily be designed to adapt to the space available.

Choosing what works for you

Conservatories come in a range of styles that are as diverse as the homes they complement, but exterior design is just one consideration. For example, if your main aim is to maximise space, the Georgian has a classic rectangular or square shape while retaining its elegant lines, while if you have an awkwardly shaped recess with walls on two or more sides, a Lean-to can prove the perfect problem solver.

For a shape that adds interest as well as beauty, P-shape and T-shape conservatories are statement pieces that cleverly merge two styles into one. If a classic aesthetic is a deciding factor, you could opt for the ornamental detailing of the multi-sided Victorian or the majestic-looking Gable with its distinctive pitched roof.

Best of both worlds

A frequently asked question is ‘What is an orangery?’ and it’s perhaps best described as being halfway between an extension and a conservatory. With its solid pillars, reduced amount of window glazing and partially glazed roof, an orangery tends to feel more integrated with the rest of the house and can therefore function as anything from a dining area to a TV room.

Given that there are endless options for customising walls, windows, doors or roofs, it’s best to invest in some expert advice. Contact your local Independent Network installer to find out more, as well as a competitive quote. 


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