Orangeries and Conservatories – What are the Differences?

Orangeries, conservatories and garden rooms; these three very different types of extensions all have their own distinct qualities. It can be confusing to know which is which, let alone deciding which one is right for your home, so we’ve made it easy with our expert guide.

We are often asked, what is the difference between a Conservatory and an Orangery? The purpose of a glazed extension is to bring the outside into your home, instantly transforming the space that you live in by creating a bright and airy interior and establishing a coherent connection between your house and your garden. But what is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery, and how is an orangery different from a garden room? How do you know which one is right for your home? Essentially they can all be classed as ‘garden room extensions’, but they are ultimately defined by the proportions of glazing, timber, and masonry materials used in the architectural design.

Let’s explore the different extension types in more detail…

What is a conservatory?

Conservatories were a hugely popular type of glazed extension during the 1980s. Commonly associated with uPVC construction materials and rattan furniture, they will typically have fully glazed walls and a glazed roof set on a brick foundation. Homeowners loved the idea of easily adding additional space to their properties, which could be used as a bright and spacious formal lounge or dining room that offered close-up views of their gardens.

Where a conservatory is predominantly made from glazing, it allows for the extended space to be filled with as much natural light as possible. Unfortunately, traditional conservatories earned a reputation for feeling hot and stuffy in the summer and cold in the winter. The uPVC also had a tendency to date and turn yellow; not exactly a desirable look. As people started to realise that their expensive conservatories were an investment that could only be used for half the year when the weather was mild, they began to fall out of style.

This is a shame, as a quality conservatory traditionally crafted with timber can be a beautiful addition to any home. There are certainly ways to overcome the common temperature problems, such as roof vents which help to improve circulation, underfloor heating and solar control glazing to limit the amount of warmth coming in from the sun.


What is an orangery?

An orangery is a building or room with a glass roof and many glazed windows and door. They are typically made of brick or stone. The roof is often flat, with a central lantern or skylight to allow in natural light which made them ideal for growing citrus trees or other plants that are sensitive to cold weather.

Orangeries were first built in the 17th century in Europe, they were a symbol of wealth and prestige among the elite; Reaching the height of popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Orangeries are often located in the garden or on the grounds of a large house. The aristocracy adored these beautiful rooms and felt that they gave their mansions a sense of splendour and opulence, with their elegant architectural lines and timeless style.

The conservatory’s decline in popularity in recent years has led to a huge rise in homeowners opting for contemporary orangeries instead. Combining balanced design with flawless functionality, a garden room or orangery extension is still the height of luxury and carries an air of sumptuous elegance.



What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

The main difference between an orangery and a conservatory is the roof and percentage of glazing. An orangery typically has a solid roof – that helps to insulate the space – with a glazed parapet, while a conservatory has a fully glazed roof. In addition, an orangery will often feature a dwarf wall or columns that provide insulation, where as a conservatory has less insulation and more glazing. Which means that orangeries are also typically warmer than conservatories in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Orangeries and conservatories are both popular choices for people who want to add an extension to their home that is filled with natural light. They can also be used as a place to relax, entertain guests, or grow plants. 


What is a garden room?

A garden room is similar to an orangery with semi-glazed walls, but with a roof made entirely from tiles instead of a roof lantern. A garden room is more likely to look like a part of the building it’s adjoined to rather than an additional add-on, with matching tiles, brickwork and other details.


Garden rooms will typically have a high roofline and a dramatic glazed gable which looks spectacular and fills the space with plenty of natural light.


No matter what style you choose, ultimately a luxurious garden room should be an investment that will add to your property’s value and change the way you use the space within your home, so quality is vital to keep it looking good for years to come. The key to building a long-lasting extension is to choose a superior, premium product that has been expertly designed and built with a luxury finish.  

Find out more about orangeries and conservatories