The cheapest, quickest and easiest way of adding more space to your home is to get a conservatory. Alternatively you could consider an orangery, which may be a more expensive. Available in a variety of designs, standard conservatories can be bought off the shelf and then assembled and installed within a very short space of time. Thanks to uPVC frames and polycarbonate glazing, such conservatories are also easy to maintain and will not add excessively to your heating bills.

When a standard conservatory isn’t enough

What these conservatories won’t be able to do, however, is look unique. Nor will you be guaranteed an external feature that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your home. This is particularly the case with modern properties in contemporary styles. Because the standard off-the-shelf conservatories have been designed to complement the majority of British houses, which usually lean towards a more traditional design, it is hard to find a pre-fabricated conservatory that perfectly matches contemporary house designs. Those who live in very specific kinds of period properties or listed buildings have a similar problem: the typical shapes and colouring of standard conservatory designs aren’t a close enough fit for the rest of the property.

The pros and cons of bespoke designs

The solution is to get a bespoke conservatory or orangery – a unique structure that will be designed according to your every preference and will blend seamlessly with the rest of the building. In terms of size, shape, materials and usage, there is very little that a good imagination, a competent architect and the right budget won’t be able to create. By having a say in exactly what your new conservatory will look like, and be made of, from the very beginning, you will be able to make sure that you get something that suits you and your home perfectly.

In the long run this will be of huge benefit to you in terms of the potential value of your house. Not only will you have an extra space in your home that you can enjoy for many years, but, if you ever come to sell your house, the addition of a truly unique and distinctive conservatory or orangery will likely add a considerable amount to the overall value of the property.

Naturally, having your own conservatory or orangery designed for you, and then built with materials of your choosing – hardwood or aluminium, for example – plus the longer time frame that the building project will entail, will amount to a considerably more expensive home improvement project. But for many people, a bespoke design is the only thing that will work for them, particularly as the scope for what can be achieved is almost limitless.

Orangeries explained

When it comes to bespoke designs for modern homes, and also period properties, many opt for an orangery. It may seem as though ‘orangery’ is merely a fancy name for what is in fact a conservatory, but there are significant differences between the two types of structure. To be a conservatory, the structure must be at least 75% glazed. In practice, this tends to mean that the roof and walls of the structure consist of glazed panels, while the base of the walls is made with brick (a dwarf wall) for solidity. An orangery on the other hand, uses less glazing, and is in fact more like a house extension, only with more glass. The walls are predominantly brick, although there are likely to be large glass panels, and the same is true of the roof. Unlike a house extension, however, an orangery is separated from the main property in the same way that a conservatory is.

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