Conservatories are springing up all over the country and are one of the most popular additions to your home.

Offering that all important extra space and allowing gardeners a stylish, indoor space for plants without the need for building a greenhouse; a conservatory is an ideal way to extend both your garden and your living space. However, before you take the plunge and start planning the use of your added room it’s worth taking the time to read through this article and find out which conservatory is best for you and your requirements.

Originally conservatories were rather simple, glazed structures. They were originally designed, and became so popular, to house plants and allow people to sun-lounge in. Whilst that is still a traditional use of a conservatory they are frequently built as more solid, permanent structures made from bricks and glazing.

Why get a conservatory?

Firstly, let’s start with the basics – why should you invest in a conservatory? There’s lots of reasons but here are a few of the main ones…

Space

Adding a conservatory to your home is an extremely cost effective method of adding light and space to your home. The bright, airy space offered by a conservatory is perfect for all kinds of uses. It’s a perfect space to ‘get away from it all’ and relax in and can also be used as lovely, light space to entertain guests in or as a dining area.  A conservatory makes a great addition to your garden, adding extra indoor space without the need to construct a greenhouse. They’re also the perfect place to host your summer barbecues from!

Additional value

A conservatory is a fantastic way to add value to your property. They are a sought after addition to a house and the extra lighting and living / storage space that they provide are huge advantages if you ever come to put your house on the market. If you look into it you will find that building a conservatory can be an investment that is well worth making.

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Sunlight

It’s been proven time and time again, natural sunlight improves your mood. Sunlight boosts our levels of serotonin – the body’s natural ‘happy hormone’.

Being exposed to sunlight also improves our white blood cell count – which helps build up our immune system and fight infection.

Conservatories are built mainly from glass, allowing plenty of natural light into the space. So, in a nutshell, by allowing you access to more sunlight conservatories can make you healthier and happier! They can also help the bank balance too – by allowing in plenty of light to the conservatory there are no need to have any electric lights on in the daytime, cutting down on bills.

Your garden

A conservatory can become the perfect summer accessory! Even on days with summer showers, or when there is a slight chill in the air, you can still enjoy your garden from the comfort of your conservatory. Due to the light and warmth it lets in a conservatory is also a great place to house your favourite flowers or plants which need a bit extra care or aren’t quite ready to be planted out in the garden.

What kind of conservatory will suit my house?

Depending on the size, shape and age of your property here are a few things we think you need to keep in mind. There’s nothing worse than a conservatory that dwarfs your house for example…or vice versa!

Small houses

If your property is slightly on the smaller side then a conservatory to add extra space is a great addition. However, it’s worth considering the size and shape of conservatory in relation to your garden – especially if that is on the smaller size too!

Conservatories with a square or rectangular shape can be perfect for homes with alcoves as they fit in well with the shape of the property, giving an overall more uniform look.

Having a domed roof on the conservatory can be ideal for smaller gardens as they don’t dominate the garden or back of the house but can be an aesthetically pleasing enhancement to the interior space.

Modern properties

The advantage of a modern home is that almost any size, shape or type of conservatory can suit. The most popular are conservatories with more glass than brickwork – allowing lots of natural light to flood into the space. Large panes of glass are normally the basis for these builds giving a very modern, clean and minimal appearance.

Period properties

Adding a conservatory to a period property can require a little more thought that for modern homes.

For homes with original features it is probably best to avoid the more modern look of uPVC designs. A more traditional conservatory design – such as Victorian or Edwardian – may be the best option. We describe those styles later in this blog.

Which conservatory style can I choose?

There is an almost endless list of conservatory styles for you to choose from! To make your choice easier have a think about the main use your conservatory will have. Will it be a welcome addition to your garden? Allowing you to protect plants from a harsh winter and letting you sit and take in the views whatever the weather. Or perhaps you’re looking for additional space in your home, a stylish extra room to entertain or simply to relax in.

There are all kinds of conservatory styles to choose from:

  • Bespoke conservatories

  • Garden room conservatories

  • Victorian conservatories

  • Edwardian conservatories

  • Timber conservatories

It’s also important to keep in mind that the window industry regulator, Fensa defines a conservatory as;

  • Not less than 75% of the roof area is made from translucent material.

  • Not less than 50% of the wall area is made from translucent material.

  • Either unheated or heated by a system with its own (separate from the rest of the house) heating controls.

  • Must be separated from the main residence by ‘external’ doors.

Anything that does not meet Fensa’s above definition may not be classed as a conservatory and, therefore, may require planning permission to be granted for a single storey extension before building work commences. More information on planning permissions, and if they are required, can be found on the Planning Portal’s website, the UK Government’s online resource for planning and building regulations.

To help you choose the best style of conservatory for you and your property we’ve given you a brief description and ideas on how to make the most of your available space.

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Bespoke conservatories

Bespoke conservatories are, as the name suggests, innovative and created so that they are entirely specific to your needs and requirements.

Ranging from ultra modern to more traditional in style a bespoke conservatory can be designed to fit in seamlessly with your current property. Everything from the roof style – gable or lantern – to the shape and size of the conservatory can be designed to your specific needs.

When it comes to deciding on your bespoke conservatory take your time to look around and find the style that best suits your needs.

For ideas to get you started take a look at these inspirational posts from Channel 4’s online Home section.

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Garden Room Conservatories

If you’re looking for a conservatory to create additional garden space then a garden room conservatory may just be the one for you!

A garden room conservatory further blurs the lines between home and garden. They are designed to let in as much light as possible, with minimal brickwork, meaning that they are much brighter and offer you the feeling of sitting out in your garden – whatever the weather.

Conwy Valley does this, for example, by installing a conservatory that is made up of far more glass than the average conservatory.

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Victorian Conservatories

As the name suggests, Victorian conservatories are heavily influenced by the architecture of the Victorian era. When picturing a conservatory it is normally the Victorian style that springs to people’s minds first.

The Victorian style normally involves a bay front, a steep, pitched roof and ornate finishing details. They have a very classical appearance, stylish appearance and can be extremely decorative depending on your choice of finish.

One of the most popular styles of conservatory, a Victorian conservatory is also the most easily adaptable to any style of home and there is no doubt that they are extremely versatile. With large windows as standard a Victorian style build is perfect to take in garden views and let in lots of natural sunlight.

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Edwardian Conservatories

Much more simplistic in design than the Victorian style conservatories, Edwardian influenced spaces ideally suit those homeowners looking for timeless appeal and maximum space.

The more contemporary features and the symmetrical shape of the Edwardian conservatory make them ideal for modern homes. The look of their four sided roofs is timeless. Their simplistic design means they can blend in with the existing property and blur the lines between conservatory and home. Edwardian style conservatories offer optimum floor space as they have square front corners – allowing you to maximise the space on offer.

An Edwardian style conservatory is great for homes with large gardens as the front projection can be limitless.

Final thoughts

Once you’ve chosen your conservatory style it’s time for the finishing touches – or to start working on those additional plans for the interior.

Here are a few questions that we believe would be invaluable for you to start thinking about. Namely:

  • What kind of flooring would work best? This comes down to the main use of your conservatory. If you want additional garden space for plants and flowers it may not be practical to have a carpeted floor for example. It might even be worth looking at whether you need a floor drain fitted too.

  • What materials should I choose for it to be built with? Not an easy decision to make on your own. For this we recommend keeping in mind an overall look you prefer – uPVC or wood for example – but be flexible and get advice from your supplier. The materials used can make a big difference to heating for example.

  • What kind of windows and / or additional ventilation will I need? Again, think about the primary use of the space but also keep security in mind as well – too many windows or vents that can be opened may just make your home more attractive to burglars for example.

  • How can I control the ambient temperature easily? It’s best to speak to advisors about this – they’ll be able to help you find the ideal glass and finishings for your conservatory allowing you to enjoy it all year round rather than just in the summer months. There’s nothing worse than a conservatory that is too hot to enjoy comfortably in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.

  • How much is my budget? Conservatories come in all shapes and sizes and to suit most budgets so have a think about what you are planning to spend and then give Conway Valley Windows and Conservatories a call to find out how we can help you.

  • Do I want a unique look? A bespoke conservatory is ideal for innovative ideas but more simplistic features can be better on the budget!

  • How can I keep my conservatory secure? Have a chat to your supplier about all the different safety and security features you can have with your conservatory.

With over 100 years’ experience in the window and conservatory industry be sure to get in touch with with our fantastic team here at Conwy Valley for any advice and queries you may have about your conservatory plans, we are more than happy to help and assist you to make the best decision.

Our inventive and cutting-edge design team is always available for consultation and are more than happy to offer you transparent and friendly advice.