A passion for creating beautiful interiors for an orangery or conservatory


We all like the thought of improving our homes and adding extra square footage, and conservatories and orangeries can be one of the easiest and most cost effective ways of doing just that!

They can be super stylish and very flexible spaces – no longer just for lazing about in a wicker chair in the summer! We now see them integrated into the kitchen to create the family kitchen / diner, a dining room, a study, a playroom or a gym, the conservatory is now being used for many functions.

According to the company AMA Research, in 2011 the conservatory and orangery market was estimated to be worth around £564m representing around 93,600 conservatories.

An expanding range of design, materials and colours from suppliers has brought more choice to the consumer helping to increase demand. Coupled with the recent trend to improve the home rather than move house, has resulted in the market continuing to grow year-on-year.

So, before we look at interior design advice and tips, what exactly is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

Louie Watts from the Anglian Home Improvements explains the difference is all in the walls;

‘A conservatory may have a dwarf wall, but the majority of the walls are made up of double glazed units. An orangery has brick built pillars and a parapet bordering the roof of the orangery. They can come with two different roofing styles: a classic design with a lantern roof or our new design, which is a full glass roof.’

Orangery with a lantern roofAnglian Orangery with a lantern roof

Anglian orangery with a full glass roofAnglian Orangery with a full glass roof

Anglian timber conservatoryAnglian timber conservatory

The most common use for a conservatory and orangery is as an additional reception room, with a lounge or dining room the most popular options. Warm, soft shades are very popular to enhance the calming and light atmosphere, with the option of using statement accent colours to create a contemporary look.

‘Despite the belief that wicker is the only option for conservatory furniture, there is so much more you can do with a garden room.’ says Emma Rackley, Director of Merchandising for Furniture Village.

‘From a vintage country theme using neutral tones and furniture made of fabric and wood, to summer brights by colour blocking with lighter shades, match your theme to the purpose of the conservatory. The key is to avoid clutter, so focus on compact pieces that do the job without taking up too much space such as simple tables, accents or snuggler chairs.’

 Ercol Pinto LifestyleErcol Pinto Lifestyle and Lollipop Lifestyle (below) by Furniture Village

Lollipop Lifestyle

Interior designer Davina Merola, MD of Space Alchemy Ltd, agrees, ‘In terms of furnishings, don’t overdo it and clutter it up with objects people have to walk round constantly as they pass through to the garden. ‘

‘I prefer to keep furnishings light, adding pops of colour with stylish accessories, decorative lighting or artwork. Lighter colours are less likely to fade in strong light – it’s always important to check that fabrics, and even leather, are fade resistant. This should also be a consideration for precious artwork.’

‘Hard flooring works best in these areas and we always try to include under-floor heating to ensure the space is snug in colder months.’

If you are planning on having a conservatory, do talk to your supplier and / or builder about appropriate heating for the winter and ventilation for the summer, so your new addition can be an all-year room.

As conservatories are usually bathed in light, many can accommodate a feature wall of strong colour or distinct wallpaper, or a strong accent colour. Why not pick a colour and/or pattern that features within the rest of your house, creating an integrated feel and flow through into the conservatory?

Hillary's blindsHillarys blinds

Conservatories often have large bi-fold or patio doors leading out into the garden, create flow and continuity between the indoors and outdoors by using the same colour or materials for the flooring for both, such as grey slate. And if you have a deck, there are more colours in decking stain on the market than you may think – it’s not just brown anymore!

Red Hillary blinds

Plants and small trees can look amazing and help to bring the outdoors, indoors, but remember that plants can dry out quicker than you think in a conservatory, so regular watering is a must!

Babbington furniture setImage above sourced from Lloyd Loom of Spalding.

Windows are so integral to the successful interior design of a conservatory, dressing them to their full potential is as important as colour and furniture. There are so many choices on the market, your main problem will be choosing!

‘Without blinds, conservatories can suffer from the ‘goldfish bowl’ effect leaving you feeling rather exposed.’ says Sarah Quilliam, Head of Product Design at Hillarys.

‘It can also get too hot in summer and rather chilly during cooler weather. By adding blinds you can provide much needed protection from the heat of the sun, reduce glare and, of course, help to give it that all important wow factor.’

Conservatory blinds


Hillary's blinds in a darkwood conservatory

‘When choosing an interior design for your conservatory windows, consider some of the following elements. Think about using a darker colour and /or a more opaque fabric to reduce glare in a TV room, lounge or home office. If your conservatory is spacious, motorised roof blinds such as Motopleat by Hillarys is a great remote control option.’

‘Always go for one blind per glazing panel wherever possible, ‘ Sarah continues, ‘ smaller blinds will last longer, plus the design of the roof is maintained.‘

‘Roof blinds will often look lighter than blinds at the side window as the light filters in at different angles. Go for a complete contrast to eliminate this effect.

‘Finally, if you’re after a sleek and contemporary look in your conservatory where the blinds fit flush to the window, allowing windows and doors to be opened with ease, opt for a pleated or venetian blind in a PerfectFit frame.’

Blue blinds from Hillary Blue blinds from Hillarys

Cream Apollo blindsCream – Apollo Blinds

So, go and enjoy your conservatory, and don’t forget to tweet or email A Passion for Homes your interior design ideas!
Jo Ridout