Conservatory ideas

Conservatory ideas, design & inspiration for every home

It’s exciting thinking about adding a new conservatory to your home. Keep reading for a variety of conservatory ideas and designs for inspiration to consider for your home.

Conservatory ideas

Conservatory ideas & design inspiration

Conservatories were introduced to the UK after Sir Joseph Paxton built Crystal Palace in 1851. Initially built to house exotic plant collections, it wasn’t until the 1970s that domestic conservatories began to appear as we know them today.

Early conservatory ideas and designs took inspiration from the original Victorian designs to create the classic conservatory look that became so popular in the eighties.

Today conservatories extend the living space of a home and are much more than a sunroom tagged onto the side of the house. If done right, these versatile light-flooded structures can add value to your home.

We are going to show you a variety of conservatory ideas and designs for inspiration in your home.

Small Conservatory Ideas

Inspiration and design ideas for small conservatories.

Small conservatory ideas

A small conservatory can be the perfect space to read and relax in and enjoy the warm sunshine.

If you have a small garden then some consideration is needed for the size and shape of the conservatory so it doesn’t take over the outdoor space. Lean-to conservatories are a good option as they don’t dominate the space and have a small floor plan.

Small houses can be dwarfed by overly ornate structure and need the right style to keep the aesthetics of the property in balance.

Adding a domed roof to the conservatory can also create an illusion of more space inside the structure without the need to dominate the garden.

Small conservatories at the back of city townhouses can add valuable light-filled space that creates an illusion of more internal space and connecting the outside inside with limited external space.

For houses with low rooflines, we recommend Edwardian hip-back or lean-to conservatories that can attach to the house wall below the house roofline.

Conservatories are incredibly versatile in their design options so can adapt to small and awkward spaces.

Classic Conservatory Ideas

Inspiration and design ideas for classic conservatories.

Classic conservatory ideas for period properties

Classic conservatories that echo the Victorian styling of the original glass structures are impressive and beautiful - on the right property.

For period properties Victorian and Edwardian style conservatories are usually the better choice. However, some modern glass structures can complement a traditional house if done in the right way.

The biggest mistake that people make when they build a conservatory is not considering what suits the style of their property. Adding a large ornate Victorian style conservatory to a modern new-build modern will swamp the aesthetic of the house.

The first thing you should consider is creating a structure that is sympathetic and will blend with the property. Match bricks to the colour of the property, consider the colour of the frame to suit the brick colour and choose a style that suits the age of the property.

Many period properties opt for muted greens and greys that add elegance to a period home.

Tiled roofs instead of glass can help to create a seamless visual from the house to the glass structure if matched in the right colour. Orangery style central glass lanterns will also add elegance to a rear extension structure.

Modern Conservatory Ideas

Inspiration and design ideas for modern conservatories.

Modern conservatory ideas

For a contemporary property, a modern conservatory with clean sleek lines will complement the house.

A glass extension creates a space full of light that helps to bring the outside into your living area.

Bi-fold doors will also help to blend the inside and outside and make the interior of a small conservatory feel bigger.

New-build houses can be dominated by overly ornate conservatory styles and usually look best with a more simple structure. Lean-to glass extensions usually work best.

Also, consider that for a house in a built up area, a fully glazed roof will be overlooked by neighbours. A hybrid roof system or a fully tiled roof would be a better option for more privacy.

If you want a contemporary kitchen conservatory space, you might want to think about a hybrid or solid roof to manage the amount of light through the ceiling and use central lanterns to direct light onto work areas. Also, consider the condensation created by cooking and how that might impact a glazed roof.

Black or grey frames add to the modern conservatory look and introducing contemporary furnishings will finish the look.

Lean-to Conservatory Ideas

Inspiration and design ideas for lean-to conservatories.

Lean-to conservatory ideas

Lean-to conservatories are the most affordable style but this doesn’t mean they have to be ordinary.

The original sunroom conservatories were lean-to structures against the back of a property not unlike old-style kitchen garden greenhouses. This style is still popular today with so many versatile options.

Lean-to structures will fit into awkward gaps and can make stunning spaces with a contemporary feel. They also take up the least floor space and are the best option if you have a small garden.

A lean-to can be an ultra-contemporary fully glazed structure or have dwarf walls for practicality such as plug sockets and areas to place furniture.

Lean-to conservatories are highly versatile and can be styled as ultra-sleek modern or have more transitional finishes to blend with a period property.

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How to plan your perfect conservatory

It’s exciting thinking about adding a new conservatory to your home, but you need to consider a few factors to ensure that you get the right glass space for your needs.

Do you have a suitable space?

First of all, consider the size of your outdoor area. If you have limited space then you will want to add a structure that maximises the available area, but doesn’t dominate the garden/outdoor space.

If you have a large outdoor area then you need to consider how large your conservatory needs to be balanced with the size of the property.

If you have an awkward gap you can still build a glazed structure that can add valuable additional space to your home.

Don’t forget that you can’t build over a manhole and any nearby trees can cause issues with foundations.

What direction will your conservatory face?

Depending on the direction your conservatory would face can impact decisions you need to make. A north facing structure will not get much direct sun making it a cold space.

The use of energy efficient glazing will help with heat retention and you will need to consider heating. To meet building regulations the heating in a conservatory must be separate from the heating system of the main house.

If your new conservatory will be south facing then you need to consider how hot it will become in direct sunshine in the summer months. Using a low E glass can help to deflect solar gain to help with climate control. However, if you are sensitive to sun or heat, you will need to install roof blinds to fully manage the temperature.

You might also want to consider a tiled or hybrid roof for better insulation.

What style of structure will best suit your property?

As indicated above, make sure that you choose the right style of conservatory to suit the style of your property. For period houses, a badly matched structure can devalue the house so make sure your design is in keeping with the style of the house.

Choose the style of conservatory carefully and consider how you will use the space.

How do you plan to use the conservatory space?

Have you thought you might like a kitchen in your conservatory? Do you want a new living space as a family room?

Gym, home office, dining room? Or, do you want a classic conservatory as a light-filled space to relax in that bridges the gap between house and garden?

If you want a kitchen, you need to consider planning permission and building regulations. A home office or gym will need climate control. If you have close neighbours you will want more privacy than a glazed roof can offer.

A dining room would benefit from ambient lighting and a home office will want lighting for a desk.

Ensure you consider every detail of what you want to do in the space and how it will be used before you decide on the style you want to build.

Do you need planning permission for your conservatory?

A conservatory is considered a single-storey extension and follows the same regulations for planning permission. It doesn’t need planning permission if it’s built within the requirements of a permitted development.

The permitted development requirements cover the height, floor space, extension from the back of the house, distance from boundary and the percentage of the total property land area.

Always consult with your local planning authority before starting a build as local covenants can apply and if your house is in a designated area or is a listed building, additional rules apply.

At Everest, we have a specialist planning department that will manage planning permission for you.

Do you need to meet building requirements for your conservatory?

In addition to planning, building regulations also need to be considered.

For a structure to be considered a ‘conservatory’ and be exempt from Building Regulations it must be no more than 30 metres floor area, at ground level, separate from the house and have an independent heating system from the house.

For example, a modern open-plan style conservatory will require building regulations.

All glazing and any fixed electrical installation must comply with the relevant building regulations. This can be covered by an installer registered with the competent person scheme (such as Everest) then the work will automatically have approval.

Don’t forget you will also need approval from a local water authority for any drains or sewers within 3 metres of conservatory foundations.

At Everest, we have a specialist planning department that manages planning permission and building regulations for you to ensure that your new conservatory meets all requirements.

Conservatory FAQs

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    Is a conservatory cheaper than an extension?
    A basic conservatory is a cheaper and more affordable option than an extension to add more space to your home. However, a conservatory won’t add the same value to a property that a full extension will.
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    Is a conservatory a good idea?
    This really depends on why you want to add a conservatory to your property. A conservatory is a good idea if it’s constructed in keeping with the house by a quality supplier. A conservatory can add value to a house. Building a conservatory just to add value to your house or to sell your house might not be the best idea as you can’t guarantee a return on your house price. It’s a good idea, if you want additional space in your house and plan to use it to improve the quality of life at home.
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    What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?
    An Orangery is defined as a brick structure with large windows a flat roof and a glass lantern. A conservatory is a glass structure with a brick base and a pitched roof comprising of over 75% glass.

    Read more: What is the difference between a conservatory and Orangery...

Find your perfect conservatory

Lean-to Conservatory →

Reminiscent of a Mediterranean sunroom and generally an ideal choice for extra space

Victorian Conservatory →

These stunning period style conservatories can be modified to fit the shape of your garden

Edwardian Conservatory →

A focus on lightness and openness with elegant design features characteristic of the Edwardian era

Tell us about your dream conservatory and we'll make it happen

Whether you want a modern lean to conservatory or a historic Victorian conservatory design, we know what it takes to bring your dream conservatory to life. See our full range of conservatories.