Conservatories let you bring the best of outdoor living inside. They combine the comfort of the indoors while giving you a stunning view of your lawn or garden. Since they offer protection and shelter from the elements, these spaces can be used throughout the year. They add space to your home as a dining or living room, a game or family room, or another area for you to relax and enjoy.

Choosing a Conservatory Design

There are a range of conservatory designs, from classic and antique styles to more contemporary and modern structures. There are four main styles of conservatory designs - lean-ton, bay-end, rectangular and orangery. A lean-to conservatory is simple and popular option with clean lines that offer a more contemporary look. It features a roof that slopes directly from the existing property's wall. The pitch of the roof often depends on the height of the property, with a shallow pitch generally found on conservatories attached to bungalows and steeper ones on two-storey homes.

A rectangular or square conservatory is designed with a pitched roof such as a gabled or hipped roof. A gabled conservator adds sophistication and grandeur to your property. Evoking the Georgian style from the UK, the front of this type of conservatory is upright, similar to the end of a house. This style of conservatory maximizes space as well as light entering the space. Bay-end conservatories have angled corners along with a pitched roof. Many Victorian conservatories are bay-end designs, although they also have detailed ridges and a steep pitched roof. An orangery is another more traditional design. This type of conservatory typically has a more enclosed or solid roof. Similar to an atrium, the design creates a large sunroof effect at the center of the structure.

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Conservatory Materials and Decorative Details

The selection of materials for your conservatory will influence the look of the structure as well as how it blends in with its surroundings, including your home. Typical materials for a conservatory's frame include hardwood and aluminum. While hardwood offers a more rustic and country feel, aluminum or vinyl deliver low-maintenance options compared to wood. Aluminum is also a lower cost option and perfect for high humidity environments where wood can warp over time. Windows and doors are generally double glazed in order to maximize heat retention.

Decorative details can be added to your conservatory in a number of ways. From simple lines to ornate Victorian detailing, edging on roofs and other areas of your conservatory add character. Glazing is also available in a number of patterns. Decorative finials, braces and pilasters can also be incorporated to create a unique structure. This detailing can also be used to match the design of your existing property. If you are renovating your current conservatory, you can enhance or update the interior with new plants and furniture depending on how you want to use the space. You can also update your existing space with modern amenities like underfloor heating, recessed lighting or a new entertainment system.

Choosing a Conservatory Design that Works

The design of your conservatory will depend on a number of factors, including the local climate and the size of your home. It will also be influenced by how you intend to use the space. Whatever the design, you should see your conservatory as an extension of your property and not simply an add-on. The style should complement the existing property in terms of materials and architecture. Ultimately, the conservatory should connect your indoor and outdoor spaces almost seamlessly.

While some home improvement stores have pre-made conservatories that you assemble, you can also design and build your own custom structure depending on your DIY skills and experience. For novices or larger projects, you might want to consider hiring a professional contractor to design and build your conservatory. Whether you do it yourself or work with a contractor, a conservatory will change how you enjoy your property and add value.