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Choosing a style of conservatory
You’ve just decided that you want to build a conservatory – but, having searched online for different conservatory styles, have been confronted with a bewildering array of design choices.
Knowing where to start isn’t easy, especially if you are unfamiliar with industry terminology.
What exactly is a lean-to conservatory – and how does it differ from the Victorian or Edwardian style? Which is better, a traditional or modern conservatory?
Even after you’ve found some conservatory styles that work, you’ll need to think about the design implications. This includes choosing the right type of glass and selecting a roof that ties in best with your particular architectural choices.
It’s just as likely, of course, that you already have an extension that is quite old and now starting to look a little dilapidated.
For this reason, you may have decided to put in place a conservatory refurbishment plan that will save you money when compared to the alternative: tearing down your existing structure and starting again.
Cost is another important factor; how much does a conservatory cost and is it cheaper than building an orangery or a conservatory? How are these definitions different and what are their respective differences?
We can provide free conservatory quotes if you would like some initial guideline prices. Otherwise, read on for some initial guidance that’ll help you get started.
Homeowners with one-storey dwellings, or who have limited garden space, often choose lean-to conservatories over other designs. In its classical form, a lean-to conservatory will comprise of a dwarf wall – which is of brick construction and about approximately 600mm high – that can form the entire perimeter of the structure if needed.
If you want a modern conservatory, don’t despair; a lean-to conservatory can be built using floor-to-ceiling glass – making it more analogous to a loggia. (We will discuss conservatory styles from a design perspective in more detail later).
In terms of their shape, lean-to conservatories are great space savers. That’s because they are designed in either a square or rectangular format that ensures no square inch is compromised. This will provide you with plenty of room for things such as bookcases, tables and chairs (dependant on your requirements).
If you have been researching conservatory styles, you may already know that the Victorian design is not dissimilar to the lean-to conservatory; because it can be designed in a square or rectangular format, it is also a great choice if you need to create some much-needed extra space (especially if you are thinking of moving – which can be a more expensive option than building a conservatory).
The Victorian conservatory is like the lean-to in another way too, in that it can conform to either a dwarf brick wall or fully glazed design. Crucially, though, you can choose to opt for either a 3- or 5-faceted design; and these edges can be contoured to create a softening effect.
Conservatory styles like the Victorian and lean-to work can also be conjoined to create a P-shape that can be divided in two distinct spaces – the thinner section for dining, as an example, and the squarer portion for the children to play in.
A traditional orangery is typically of brick construction. It will normally conform to a 75%/25% brick to glass ratio – and its design will tie-in stylistically with the architectural style of the property. This makes it feel like part and parcel of its design. Contrastingly, a contemporary orangery may use a glass roof and bi-folding doors to create an bright and open space that’s more like a conservatory.
There are lots of other conservatory styles too explore. You can find most of them on our website.
Bi-folding doors in conservatories
A conservatory door can be a gateway to your garden or a connecting portal that joins together two otherwise distinct spaces in your home. Each of these designs have their own unique benefits – but not all of them will suit your design needs from an aesthetic or practical point of view.
If you have been looking for small conservatory ideas, don’t discount bi-folding doors. Although they can look impressive when incorporated into a larger build, they can also help to compensate in situations where space is limited. That’s because they peel back in a concertina shape from the centre to form a queue of stacked panels that’ll provide an uninterrupted vista of your garden.
Bi-folding doors also let in lots of light, which can help to create the illusion of space and join together two different spaces (this might work really well if you have decided that a kitchen extension is the best way to go).
Kitchen extensions may be part of your current orbit of thinking. These days, the distinction between conservatories, orangeries and extensions is rapidly eroding – because, as long as you adhere to 2017 building regulations, there are plenty of clever ways to join your kitchen to your conservatory without your structure being flagged up as non-compliant.
When considering different conservatory styles, think about opening up the space between these two areas by using a sliding or bi-folding door. This would still create a light and airy space – whilst at the same time creating a sense of connection between the two areas that might be lost if you used one French patio door.
You could also remove part of the wall and do away with doors entirely; but you would need to check your plans with your chosen installer to ensure they met the minimum planning and building regulatory requirement.
If you have an old or tired looking conservatory, then conservatory refurbishment could be an ideal option – especially if you no longer use your conservatory.
Transforming your invested space into a habitable room you can use all round, seems a much better option than:
A.) Not using your conservatory at all. Or B.) Paying for a full on replacement.
There are many ways you can update your existing conservatory. Replacement doors, conservatory roofs, underfloor heating – the list of options goes on.
Replacement Conservatory Roof
Replace just the conservatory roof. This is the part of a conservatory that deteriorates fastest. If you purchased an energy-inefficient polycarbonate roof ten years ago, for example, then it may already be prone to leaking and won’t be retaining heat very well.
A replacement glass conservatory roof would improve the thermal efficiency of your extension and block out unwanted noise. It would also let in more light and cost you less than an aluminium conservatory roof.
Solid roofs are recommended but you will need to compensate for the loss of light by perhaps installing floor-to-ceiling glass and opening up the space between your kitchen and conservatory.
UPVC or Aluminium Conservatories?
Conservatory styles only work if you choose the right type of material. Although you may be working according to some strict cost constraints, you can actually save money in the longer-term by investing in more durable and energy-efficient products in the early stages.
If you need to save money, but don’t want to compromise on style, uPVC should be your first choice when looking in to different conservatory styles. It is easy to clean, durable and can be colour-coded to suit the design choices you’ve already made. For example, there is a wood grain effect available that would create a timber look – but without you having to pay 30% more for the privilege.
If you are willing to stretch your budget a little, then aluminium is a wise choice – most especially for modern conservatories. It is light in weight, which means it’s more likely to pass muster from a building regulations perspective if you just want to replace your conservatory roof (as it won’t place undue stress on the foundations).
Because it is a more malleable material, aluminium can be rolled to form thinner shapes that will occupy less glass space; this will provide you with better outside views, which will be especially beneficial if you want to create a sense of space by letting in more light.
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