Conservatories are often the most light-filled and uplifting rooms in a home, yet the sheer expanse of windows makes it difficult to maintain a consistent and comfortable temperature all year round. Cold and chilly in the winter and insufferably hot and stuffy in the summer, conservatories are often left unused for the majority of the year until climate systems align for just a few weeks of optimal weather conditions.
A conservatory can be a great way to extend the living space in your home, and can be used for many different purposes. However, it can be difficult to regulate the temperature in a conservatory since it has such large expanses of glass, so it can often become a space that is only useful for part of the year. Choosing the right furniture, accessories and blinds can help to create a year round space that feels light and airy in the spring and summer months and can easily transition to a cosy environment in winter.
Not only does a conservatory let in plenty of glorious sunlight, they can – when designed correctly – provide the ideal space you’ve been looking for. Not only do they provide an extra room for your home, the multitude of options available means you can build a conservatory that serves as anything from a sun room to an extra cosy bedroom.
Depending on your requirements, a conservatory can offer a simpler alternative to building an extension on your home. More often than not, conservatories can be cheaper, and you don’t always needs to obtain planning permission to build one – however this does depend on your property and the type of conservatory you’re looking to build.
During the summer months, when conservatories can often trap unwanted heat, the right shades can reduce the heat intake by as much as 78% and cut the sun’s glare by up to 99%.
Maintaining conservatories at a consistent and comfortable temperature in this way helps to eliminate the need for expensive air conditioning systems or electricity-hungry fans, further adding to the cost-saving benefits.
Here’s how you can enjoy your conservatory all year round:
1. Fit blinds for warmth. The heat loss through the windows in your conservatory can make it very cold in the winter, so fitting insulating blinds can help to reduce heat loss and keep the room warmer. Blinds can be coordinated with a colour scheme or made especially for you if you have found a fabric you love.
2. Reduce direct heat. In the summer time, conservatories can become unusable if the sun is beating down on them all day. Many blinds are designed to block or absorb the unwanted heat, allowing the room to remain a cool sanctuary of relaxation on a hot day.
3. Consider heating options. If you are making the most of the heating in your home, you may find a solution that works in your conservatory. Most heating options, however, will result in a great deal of wastage as heat energy is lost through the windows, so consider carefully how you will minimise this. Underfloor heating will ensure a snug atmosphere in colder seasons.
4. Make it a multi-purpose space. Whether you want to keep the conservatory as an adult sanctuary or make the space a play room, it can be a good place to include many different aspects of your lifestyle. Storage systems that are designed to maximise the space can ensure you have a useful space even when the weather makes it tricky to enjoy it for long periods of time.
5. Go for bold design. Making your conservatory a statement area that embraces bright colours or allows you to indulge your interests can be a great way to make the space individual. Don’t invest in expensive cane furniture until you try it out first. Modern cane and rattan looks good, but the chairs and sofas can be uncomfortable to sit on with oversize cushions that slide all over the place.
Years ago estate agents used to advise homeowners not to build conservatories if they intended moving within 10 years, on the basis that they would never get the value of it back. We’ve come a long way since then and these days conservatories are considered a plus, if they are well built, well proportioned and blend in well with the overall design of the house.
A good alternative to the traditional conservatory is an oak framed garden room, which falls halfway between a conservatory and an extension.
Quicker to install than an extension, it’s more solid and much warmer than a normal conservatory.
If you are installing a conservatory, make sure the conservatory fits with the style and tone of the rest of your home, don’t sacrifice too much of your garden and always get professional advice from an architect or specialist at the early planning stage.