Want to enjoy extra space, plenty of light and views of your garden from the comfort of your armchair? Build the right conservatory and make it into a room that you’ll love.
Image source: Houzz
Building a conservatory can be a low-hassle way to add an extra room to your home, in an attractive setting You might be picturing a comfy sofa, a cup of coffee and the Sunday papers, but a well designed conservatory can also be a garden dining space which you can use when sitting out would result in a chase after the napkins lost to a stiff breeze, or a kids’ playroom when rain leaves the garden out of bounds.
Follow the rules
A conservatory can be a quick way to gain more living space because generally you can construct it without the need to get planning permission. This isn’t an infallible rule, though: if your home has already been much extended, you’re planning a room with space for a crowd, or you live somewhere special, such as a conservation area, your project might need an official OK. Check out the government’s planning portal for the details.
A conservatory will also be exempt from building regulations if it’s less than 30 square metres in floor size, and has external quality walls, doors or windows between it and the house, plus its own heating system. But don’t think you can avoid all scrutiny. Glazing and electrical fittings do need to comply and any new structural opening you create between your house and swanky new conservatory must too.
It’s not just a matter of following rules because you have to either. Get your conservatory design wrong and it’ll raise your energy bills in a way that’ll make you very unhappy.
Size up your space
Image source: Everest
Sticking to the rules won’t necessarily result in a new room of proportions that complement your house – it’s the latter that should be prominent when you’re looking from the garden. If you’re blessed with a big detached home, the generous size of a P-shape conservatory with its lean-to plus faceted ‘Victorian’ elements, the T-shape with its central projection, or another capacious design could be perfect, but they would swamp a small house.
It’s also important to think about the internal space on offer. The bay front of a Victorian-style conservatory makes for an elegantly shaped sitting room in the garden but if it’s a dining space you’re thinking of, a square or rectangular design could make it easier to fit the right number of guests around the table with room for them to slide their chairs in and out.
A glass roof, a south-facing position and a sunny summer’s day can be a recipe for a room you won’t want to sit in because it’s so hot and stuffy. Look for glazing with a UV filter to keep the interior of the room cooler, think about roof vents tht you can open and go for a design with plenty of opening windows to allow good airflow.
For cooler days, underfloor heating is a viable option and won’t get in the way of the furniture.
Pick the materials
Conservatories are available in uPVC, timber and aluminium. Depending on your budget and your tastes, you can either go for a standard or bespoke design.
Image source: Alitex
Easy to care for, quality uPVC should have a long lifespan. Conservatories in this material don’t need to be white, either. Look at woodgrain finishes that might better suit your house. Those that are made from wood have a classic appearance and they can be stained or painted in any colour you choose – including shades that blend softly with surrounding planting. With regular maintenance a good timber conservatory will look fabulous for many years to come. Aluminium meanwhile, can look either sleekly modern, or elegant and traditional. It’s strong but has slim bars that will maximise the views and light. It’s low maintenance as well.
Looking for help and advice with building a conservatory? Find a local conservatory installer on Rated People and start enjoying more living space at home.