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The Difference Between a Conservatory & an Orangery

Adding an orangery or conservatory to your home can increase the value of your house, and is a quicker way to add an extra room to your house in comparison to a home extension 

At Framemaster we’ve been installing conservatories and orangeries across Birmingham and Solihull since 2013, and get asked if there is any difference between orangeries and conservatories all the time. 

So, what’s the difference between a conservatory and an orangery? And what is an orangery used for? Find out everything you need to know today.

Orangeries vs conservatories

What is an Orangery?

An orangery is a room with a brick based structure, flat roof with a glass lantern and big windows. There are several styles of orangeries available, from traditional to modern and lantern roof orangeries, you’ll find one to suit your style. 

The history of orangeries 

Orangeries date back to 15th and 16th century Renaissance Italy. Italian nobility were inspired by Roman heritage architecture that featured growing citrus trees and other plants up the walls. 

Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges were an incredibly valuable commodity – they weren’t easy to come by. As a result, having citrus trees within the grounds of your home was a connotation of wealth, and a status symbol for nobles and wealthy merchants who were able to grow and have access to such fruits whenever they desired.

During the colder months, these citrus trees needed protection from harsh weather conditions, whilst being aesthetically pleasing.

Now, an orangery has simply become a very attractive extension to the home, offering a beautiful living space overlooking the garden and brings in floods of natural light.

What is a Conservatory?

A conservatory is a ground level room that’s less than 30 square meters in size and has its own heating system. 

To legally be classed as a conservatory, half of each side wall must be made from glass, and three-quarters of the roof needs to be made from translucent material or glass. 

The history of conservatories 

Conservatories can be traced back to 17th Century Europe, and similarly to orangeries, they too were used for gardening. 

At the height of Victorian England, there were a number of grand conservatories that were used for horticulture as large greenhouses and botanical gardens. 

The Syon House Grand Conservatory, part of Syon House is a prime example of such a conservatory. As the English middle class grew, these extensions became more common in homes. 

Now, a modern conservatory is an extremely attractive extension to homes. Whether you are interested in making better use of spare space in your garden or reinvesting in your property, a conservatory will add value to your home. A conservatory consists of a brick and mortar foundation with large glass panels and windows.

So, what’s the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

On the face of it, conservatories and orangeries sound even more alike than before. They both were originally built for horticulture and have since become a beautiful extension for the home. So what is the difference between the two?

The three main differences between conservatories and orangeries

The brickwork

An orangery consists of more brickwork, whereas conservatories do not use as much brickwork – the bricks are mostly used for the foundation. 

Orangeries have brick pillars and walls, supporting the roof rather than completely glass windows. However, conservatories are made up of mostly windows and a glass roof, with a brick base.

The roofs 

The roofs on both conservatories and orangeries differ due to design. Conservatories usually feature a fully glazed roof and sport a more traditional design with features such as turrets, eaves, and gables. 

An orangery would typically have a flatter roof, appearing more contemporary and modern. For architects and builders, the roof will be the biggest indicator whether your extension is an orangery or a conservatory.

The living space 

As a living space, an orangery offers more protection and insulation while a conservatory accesses natural light better. Either one would make a fantastic extension to your home. If you’re interested in either our conservatories or orangeries, please feel free to get in touch today or explore our conservatory or orangery selection online now.

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