Welcome to our conservatory design guide.
Choosing the right look for your extra living space can go a long way not just to improve the utility of the living area but also improve the look and overall value of your property.
Conservatories can easily last upwards of thirty years, meaning that its look will become an important element of your home’s overall design.
So, how do you go about decorating in a way that creates a statement while also taking into account your pre-existing properties outer and interior styles?
We here at Conservatory Online Prices want you to be able to enjoy your conservatory all year round as a natural continuation of your home, rather than an afterthought that you only occasionally use.
So, in order for your to do this, we have gathered together all of the information you may possibly need about designing the inside and outside of your conservatory.
When designing your conservatories appearance, how your pre-existing property looks can be a great starting point for inspiring how you want your conservatory to look.
A conservatory shouldn’t just feel tacked onto a property, it should feel like an enhancement that adds to the property and thus should be designed to complement it.
If you have a contemporary or modern property, an overly ornate or dressy conservatory could clash with the sleeker appearance of your home; matching a modern property with a modern conservatory or a traditional property with an ornate conservatory can really help the conservatory feel like a natural continuation of your property.
After you have decided on what kind of conservatory design is best for your property, you can use our free online conservatory cost calculator to put together your very own bespoke conservatory design from scratch.
Once this design is to your liking, we will then pass it along to a number of local companies who will offer you competitive quotes on your installation work, entirely free of charge and with zero obligation whatsoever.
As mentioned above, the design of your conservatory should incorporate the style of your pre-existing property.
While uPVC is an incredibly popular material for conservatories, if you have a more aluminium-based contemporary look to the rest of your property, the thick white uPVC frames may end up clashing.
If this is the case, then an aluminium frame would be a better choice. Similarly, a timber or woodgrain uPVC frame would work better for a traditional or period property.
When taking into account the design of your conservatory, take inspiration from your property’s pre-existing elements and features; for instance, if you would like to draw attention to any period features on your main property, then an understated and minimalistic conservatory design would be a better option than an ornate design that distracted away from it.
Additionally, the choice of glass for your conservatory is also a great factor in what you want to use it for.
Patterned glass is great for obscuring anyone’s view of the inside, while still allowing for natural light to enter into your property.
Clear glass, however, allows for a great view out into your garden or outdoor area; and, with slimline frames, can produce a panoramic view perfect if you are wanting to use your conservatory to entertain guests or act as a relaxation room.
The style of conservatory is typically divided into either ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’, which can be chosen through a variety of different options, including the style of conservatory, the materials it is made out of and what additional interior and exterior features you choose to complement it.
A multi-faceted Victorian conservatory shape is, along with a gable, the most ornate and traditional conservatory design; while a rectangular Edwardian conservatory is more minimalistic and modern, along with the more adaptable Lean-To design, making it a perfect addition to any contemporary home.
For window and door options, instead of getting a simple glass or solid external door, a great feature for a more modern conservatory design is a bi-folding door; featuring multiple, stackable glass panels that fold back in a concertina shape to open up an entire wall out onto your garden.
For a more traditional look, however, getting a set of French doors is a great way of bringing a classic design into the modern day, with optional ornate Georgian bars helping to break up the glass.
The design and colour of your conservatory are two major elements in the design of your new conservatory, being the difference between a bright and ornate conservatory and a more naturalistic yet minimalistic build.
Victorian – A multi-faceted, circular design with a 3-to-5 windowed bay, a Victorian conservatory is most commonly used as a sun room for the large amount of natural light that it allows in through its multiple slimline glass panels. With French doors being a popular exterior door option, it also provides a classy and ornate throughway out into your garden area.
Edwardian – Rectangular in shape, this conservatory design is often chosen by homeowners who want either an entirely new living space to use as either a dining room, living room or even a home office, or as an extension to a pre-existing kitchen, dining room or even general living space. Often utilised as a place to entertain guests and hold meals, the rectangular shape maximises the amount of floorspace available to use.
Gable – While it is arguably even more ornate than a Victorian, a Gable conservatory can be easily utilised onto a more modern property through its minimalistic and slimline design that allows in massive amounts of natural light and expansive views of your garden. This design can either be used as a conservatory in its own right, or can be attached onto another conservatory to create a grand entrance way too and from the garden.
Lean-To – Similar to an Edwardian conservatory, this affordable alternative is far more adapatable in its shape and design; able to be installed into far more tight and awkward spaces than other conservatory designs. With a slanting roof, this conservatory is also perfect for properties with limited height, such as a bungalow, or with restricted space, such as a terrace property.
P and T-Shaped – A combination between either an Edwardian and a Victorian, or two Edwardian conservatories to create the eponymous P and T shapes. This is a great option if you want to expand on a pre-existing conservatory, or are looking for a larger conservatory option to either use as a singular room or two separate living spaces connected together.
Orangery – While not technically a conservatory, an orangery is predominantly built from brick and acts as a combination between the best bits of a conservatory and an extension. Often being exempt from planning permission, orangeries originated on 17th century estates as a way of housing exotic citrus plants, meaning that is has outstanding thermal insulation.
The glass you choose for your conservatory depends on whether you want to prioritise your view or your sense of privacy.
If you would like a space to use to look out into your garden or outside area, conservatories offer a slimline frame that maximises the amount of clear glass per panel, allowing for large unbroken views of your outside area.
However, patterned glass is also available to obscure the view and prevent anyone from seeing inside, while also allowing in large amounts of natural light to still enter your property.
For a more ornate appearance for your clear glass, Georgian bars can be added to break up the glass both for a more classic aesthetic and also increased sense of security. While most conservatory glass is double glazed as standard, triple glazing is also offered, claiming to be far more thermally efficient and secure.
As well as light, your conservatory can also bring in large amounts of natural ventilation into your property through both your choice of windows and doors.
Large, openable windows can allow for cool breezes to come into your home, airing it out and preventing it from becoming stuffy during the hot summer months.
Bi-folding, French and patio doors are all great options for your conservatory external doors, opening up your home to the outside, while additional roof and skylights can also bring in ventilation through easy opening catches and switches.
If you have your heart set on a conservatory, but are unsure if your bungalow will allow for one to be installed, then you shouldn’t worry.
Lean-To conservatories are specially designed to be installed onto properties with either limited space or restricted height, including bungalows and terraces.
Lean-To’s feature a sloping roof, promoting easy rain run-off while being easily installed under low-handing eaves that may be an obstacle for other conservatory designs.
Your choice of roof is also very important for the design of your conservatory, with a solid roof providing a solid ceiling that gives your conservatory’s interior space with a room-like feel that makes it feel like a natural continuation of your property, rather than an additional afterthought.
Solid roofs come in two different options, either a solid roof that features multiple, interlocking panels that allows for large sections of glazed glass panelling, or a tiled roof that replicates your main properties roof and allows for rooflights to be installed for extra amounts of natural light.
Getting a brand new solid roof for a pre-existing conservatory is also a great way of prolonging its life and revitalising its design and usability for a new purpose.
A new roof is often the best choice for a conservatory that is beginning to show its age through loss of performance.
Solid conservatory roofs are incredibly thermally secure, especially when compared to polycarbonate and old glass roofs, helping you to keep your home warmer for longer, saving you money on your heating bills and even helping you to decrease your carbon footprint.
If you are looking for a more contemporary conservatory design for your property, the best look for a modern style is large amounts of glass with slimline frames.
Luckily, this is the standard look for a conservatory, but this can also be enhanced through the incorporation of large wall-spanning bi-folding doors that open up your entire interior space out into the garden, as well as a lantern roof that adds the illusion of extra space with its added height and large amounts of natural light.
For interior design, modern conservatories need to have furniture that matches the outer aesthetic of the conservatory.
attan furniture doesn’t fade even in direct exposure to sunlight, while soft furnishings like sofas can often fade and look old and rather tatty. For a sleek interior design, hard furniture and glass motifs are a great way to go.
One of the best things about a conservatory is that, thanks to recent changes in legislation, planning permission is now no longer required when getting a conservatory installed.
This means that, more often than not, your installation work can begin almost immediately from when you receive your initial installation quotation, and also means you don’t have to fork out for expensive planning schemes or sit through red tape.
There are, however, still certain regulations in place that may mean that your conservatory may require it, so it is recommended that you check out the government’s Planning Portal before going ahead with any installation.
For more information about whether your conservatory may need planning permission, speak to your chosen installer or contact your local council to see what regulations are in place.
To count as a permitted development, your conservatory:
– Cannot take up more than half of the original land around the house (this definition of ‘original house’ also depends on whether your property was built before or after 1948)
– Cannot be higher than the tallest part of the main properties roof
– Cannot be more than one storey tall
– Cannot be higher than four meters tall
– Cannot extend past the rear wall of the property by more than eight meters (detached) or six meters (attached)
For more information about the planning regulations in your area, check the UK government’s Planning Portal to view the regulations for common projects such as conservatories, and speak to your local council’s planning board.
If you are living within an area of outstanding natural beauty, a conservation area, national park, world heritage site or within the Broads, then there are additional regulations you need to take into consideration when planning to get a conservatory installed.
While your conservatory may still be able to qualify as a permitted development, certain allowances may have to be made depending on your agreement with the council.
For instance, you conservatory cannot extend beyond the rear of your house more than four meters, cannot be higher than one storey and cannot have any exterior classing or side extensions.
Permitted development allowances listed on the Planning Portal website is also not applicable for flats, maisonettes or converted houses, all of which may require additional regulations.
Additionally, listed buildings may also have to have additional consent before any building work can begin on your property.
Another factor on the design of your conservatory is the location and size of your planned conservatory installation.
When applying for planning permission, you often have to consider how your neighbours may react to your new installation, but even if you qualify for permitted development, taking your neighbours feelings into account can be vitally important.
A conservatory that is too big, blocks a view or badly clashes with the appearance of both your and your neighbours houses can negatively affect both your relationship with your neighbours, but also the overall value of your property itself.
When planning on the location for your conservatory, as well as how large it is going to be, it is important you think about whether it will be overlooking the neighbouring gardens or blocking out any light which could cause complaint.
Finally, the energy efficiency and thermal security of your conservatory is one of the most important factors to consider when designing your conservatory.
Because of its large amounts of glass and frames, making sure that your conservatory is thermally secure can help you save a lot of money on your heating bills.
Poorly insulated conservatories can end up costing you hundreds more in heating bills, with your central heating being lost through flaws in your conservatory.
A well-insulated conservatory helps to keep your home warmer for longer, helps decrease your overall carbon footprint and can even pay for itself over its lifespan through the amount of money it can potentially save you.