What’s the Difference Between Orangeries and Conservatories?

By on 26th February in Home Inspiration

This question is asked time and time again as although orangeries have been around for hundreds of years situated on grand manors, they’re a relatively new addition to our homes. We’ve looked to set the record straight and tell you exactly what an orangery is and how it differs from an conservatory.

What is an Orangery?

An orangery is made up from solid brick pillars, large glazed windows, brick or stone bases, a lantern roof and a corbel gutter, creating a parapet inside the orangery. They were traditionally built for the aristocracy of the world to house exotic fruits. Many of them had stoves, underfloor heating or shutters to ensure they were warm all year round.

Warmth in the orangery throughout the year was key to their purpose, so they were often insulated with straw and would have less windows on north facing sides of the orangery.

Related: How the Sun plays a part in selecting your windows

Technology has advanced a lot since the original orangeries were first built, with various new designs being introduced, giving you many more options for how your orangery looks. The original lantern roof is fantastic at adding even more light into a room, but to take it one step further, you can get orangeries with a full glass roof.

Waters Anglian Orangery

What is a Conservatory?

A conservatory is a room made with a glass roof and walls. Like an orangery, conservatories were originally built to maintain citrus fruits and tender plants that weren’t native to the UK throughout the winter.

One big difference between an orangery and a conservatory is the amount of roof that is glazed. A conservatory tends to have 75% or more glazing on the roof, whilst it is the opposite for orangeries.

Insulated glazing is what brought the conservatory into the mainstream with architects and builders recreating Victorian style conservatories for our homes in the 1970s-80s. Now we have all sorts of styles available, from Edwardian and Elizabethan to Verandahs and lean to conservatories.

Anglian Regency Conservatory white uPVC

What are the differences between orangeries and conservatories?

An orangery tends to:

  • Have a parapet
  • Have brick built pillars
  • Have less glass in comparison to a conservatory
  • Compliment the house in tone and colour of materials used
  • Be a more extravagant extension to the house

A conservatory tends to:

  • Be mainly made of glass in structure
  • Often have dwarf walls or one solid wall, depending on Building Regulations
  • Have a full glass roof
  • Compliment the house using the same brick colour and uPVC or wood to match the windows
  • Be a room that brings the outside in, bringing you closer to your garden

Hopefully this clears up what each of these types of extension are and what the differences are.

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