Replacing an old conservatory with an orangery or garden room

Following the pandemic, we have seen an increase in people falling back in love with their homes and opting for a 'improve, don't move' approach to investing in property. One of the improvements we get to be a part of is the conversion, replacement and installation of Orangeries and Conservatories.

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A glazed extension should be an additional room that acts as a continuation of your main home, so if you are simply making do with a uPVC conservatory leftover from the late 1980s or ’90s then you’re missing out on an opportunity to make the most of your space.

Is an orangery better than a conservatory?

You may be considering extending your home with an orangery or a conservatory and looking for inspiration. Or torn between the decorative pillars and classic proportions of an orangery, vs. the Fully glazed structure and uninterrupted garden views from a conservatory. But in terms of what is best, Orangeries tend to be the preferred glazed extension for several reasons.

The pros and cons of orangeries


  • More insulation for a steady temperature all year round
  • Suits a larger variety of home styles due to larger proportion of brickwork
  • Lantern style roof leads to a greater spaciousness
  • Can be used as a multipurpose space, such as kitchen, dining or living area
  • More seamless flow from the rest of the home
  • More cost effective than a conservatory


  • Less glazing than a conservatory and therefore less natural light comparatively

The pros and cons of conservatories


  • More glazing than an orangery and therefore flooded in natural light for all angles
  • When required, planning permission may be obtained more quickly


  • More fluctuations in temperature throughout the year due to less insulation
  • Compromised privacy due to more glazing
  • Appears more like an ‘add-on’ than a seamless extension to the rest of the home

Pictured above: The old conservatory was replaced by a modern orangery which extends the kitchen and main living space.

Can you convert A Conservatory Into An Orangery?

Yes, it is possible to convert a conservatory into an orangery. However, a conversion is not the best-advised approach.

A few of the most common reasons you may look to convert a conservatory into an orangery are if the original conservatory is old fashioned in appearance, has old glazing so feels cold in winter or too hot in the summer, or simply does not compliment the home to which it is attached.  For those reasons, by attempting a conversion of the existing structure, the results won’t be the improvement you’re hoping for, and the process can be costly.

We would always advise replacing the old structure with something that is designed to remain timeless in style and built using materials that are sourced for their durability.

Replacing an old conservatory with an orangery or garden room

Aside from the aesthetic and functional benefits of replacing a conservatory, another benefit is the ability to reuse the existing footprint of the old structure. Saving time and money on conducting groundworks. There’s also the possibility that you may not require planning permission, however, it is always good practice to check before conducting any demolition or building works.

Why consider replacing a conservatory with an orangery?

A beautifully designed and well-proportioned orangery or garden room can give you and your family more space while changing the flow of your interiors and providing an elegant addition to your property. So replacing your old conservatory with a cutting-edge extension is well worth the time and investment to give your home a complete facelift, as it will make you feel like you are living in a brand new house. Combined with a garden makeover with new hard landscaping and soft planting, this may well rekindle your enthusiasm for your existing property – and make it very attractive to potential buyers when the time comes to sell.

a direct side-by-side comparison of an old conservatory building that has been replaced by an orangery.

At the time of installation, old conservatories may well have met the aspirations and performance expectations, but these days most of them look outdated and no longer meet the demands of a modern family home. With excessive glazing, a conservatory can become stuffy during the summer months and cold in winter, making it unusable and abandoned for much of the year. Additionally, if these structures have not been maintained properly, they will almost certainly be showing signs of deterioration with yellowing uPVC.

Just like you would do with a garden designer, getting a professional to help you realise your home’s potential can really maximise on your investment when you’re embarking on a renovation project. But it’s a great idea to start with your own ideas, so get inspired with our top tips and real-life case studies:

Improved insulation

Beautiful glazed gables and a new kitchen bring a new, breath-taking aesthetic to this period property. Here, Miss B, had a garden room replace a rather uninspiring conservatory that was there before, making her property far more suitable for her cookery school business:

There was a small conservatory to the rear of the building, which was unused because of the classic ‘too hot in summer, too cold in winter’ issue that you get with conservatories. I knew I needed to adapt the house for my business and the best option was to extend the existing conservatory as it was too small for my intended use. I also didn’t feel that the conservatory in its current form complemented the style of the house.

Westbury worked solutions into the design as a matter of course, including roof vents and extractor fans to cool the room and remove cooking odours as I have induction hobs incorporated into the kitchen island.

Thinking outside the box

With their roof lanterns and beautiful timber structures, orangeries and garden rooms can look very similar to other rooms in the house, rather than a boxy, add-on conservatory. This glazed extension goes beyond the norm with its own stylish wine cellar:

We loved our property but it always felt like a boring, square building without any interesting features. For this reason, we had always planned to extend as we felt it would improve the exterior look of the house and change the way we use the house as a family. While we had already had a large living area at the back of the property leading onto the garden, it was an area we didn’t use properly so we wanted to add a new extension to create a living area that would bring the garden and terrace into the heart of the home.

As my husband has always had an interest in wine, we always dreamed of having somewhere to store his collection and envisaged that this would be part of the orangery, perhaps in the form of a wall of wine along one of the orangery walls. However, with a bespoke design, we saw the potential to think outside the box and create a slightly larger extension that would allow us to install a separate wine room within the new space.

Mrs M

Read Client Testimonial ↗

Keeping the same boundaries

For several reasons, you may find that you are required to work with the existing extension’s layout – maybe you don’t want to increase the size because it will take up too much of your garden, or you would like minimum interruption or are concerned about planning regulations.

It’s possible to simply build on the foundations that are already in place. Mr and Mrs E, in Eltham, had this beautiful orangery designed to be fitted and installed onto the original masonry base of their old conservatory extension, creating a cool and tranquil kitchen.

Small changes, big impact

While Mr and Mrs H, in West Sussex, had a new base built, this project illustrates how we helped them to transform a dull part of their home by only making some minor changes, that still greatly improved the overall floor space.

Reduce the need for maintenance

Set within a conservation area, this property had a south-facing rear which overlooked a very pleasant, rural village green. Originally the building featured a boxy flat roof extension with a small utility room and kitchen, along with an uninspiring lean-to conservatory which was used occasionally as a separate breakfast room. With two dated extensions, it was clear that the structured had been neglected and a lack of maintenance had contributed to the overall shabby appearance.

Pictured Above: an old conservatory and home extension

Mr and Mrs C wanted to completely renovate their new house by replacing their previously loved conservatories with an open-plan kitchen extension. As the back of the house was used as the main entrance, it was imperative that the new orangery would have a sense of grandeur and make a superb first impression to guests and visitors.

The orangery has a dual colour scheme, with internal joinery painted in a fresh Westbury White and the outside painted in OS White, a more neutral shade which helps the structure nestle in with its natural surroundings. As the structure is made with Accoya, a sustainable, highly durable engineered softwood, it requires very minimal maintenance and will ensure a quality finish for years to come.

Pictured Above: The conservatory has been replaced by a new orangery extension

With an orangery or garden room extension, you can completely reconfigure the space within your existing house to maximise your property’s potential, meaning that you may well fall in love with your home all over again. For more information about our bespoke orangery and garden room design services, contact our design team.