How to Design Your Own Conservatory

A conservatory can make a superb addition to a home, giving a family additional and attractive space whilst potentially adding significant value to the property.

There are many designs for the external aspects of conservatories, and it’s important to make sure that whatever is built is appropriate for the type of property. Keep in mind that the conservatory should look like a natural part of the property and not stick out like a sore thumb. A highly modernistic addition to an old house will look bad and is likely to raise eyebrows amongst the neighbours and possibly even the planning authorities!

Plenty of options are available for an exterior build. The right one will largely depend on individual taste and the budget that is available. If the conservatory is being added to improve the value of the property for a future sale, it might be worth investing in a larger one to help boost that value.

Planning permission

Before going ahead, it is wise to check up on what planning permission is needed and what local authority building regulations are in effect. There are some regulations to be aware of, but they are not too onerous because conservatories are designated as “permitted developments’”. These relate mainly to height; it cannot be taller than 4 metres and there is a stipulation that it cannot extend past the highest part of the existing roof. In addition, no balconies, verandas or raised platforms are permitted.

Deciding on the use

The interior design of a conservatory will partly come down to what it will be used for. There is a range of options, including having it purely for leisure purposes, a new dining area or a mix of office and leisure space. Materials for the floor and furnishings for window coverings are key decisions to be made, and it may also depend on the variations of climate that can be expected throughout the year.

Exterior and interior materials

Conservatories are practically all made of uPVC, although they can be made of brick or stone for those with higher budgets. There will always be a lot of glass or polycarbonate to let in as much light as possible, which is why choosing the right interior materials is crucial.

Conservatories can get very hot in warm weather and very cold in the winter. Planning the right coverings for roofs and windows will help ensure the space can be used without problems throughout the year.

Floor tiles not only look good but also are hardwearing and help provide coolness during hot weather. When it’s colder, they can be covered with attractive rugs to help with insulation. If the budget allows, underfloor heating could be a good option. Depending on the size of the space, a radiator or two linked to the house’s central heating system could also work.

 

Wooden floors also look good. There are many types that will take a lot of wear but won’t provide the same degree of cooling when it’s hot.

Window coverings

For the roof, it’s worth considering how to cover the panels, especially because they will conduct a lot of heat in warm weather. There are several types of insulation or materials that can be used to cut down glare and retain warmth, including tiles, although these would cut out a lot of overhead light. Blinds can also be effective, but they are not as good at retaining the conservatory’s heat, making it necessary to find an alternative source of heating in colder months.

Wooden window shutters are another option for covering up glass. They look stylish and can be made to fit any size and shape of window. Adjustable louvres allow users to control how much light can be let in to the space. Hardwearing and easy to clean, it’s easy to find DIY shutter guides to find the right type of shutters for the windows.

Furnishings

A comfortable sofa and chairs help make the conservatory a cosy place for relaxing, and these can be brightened up with vibrant throws and cushions. Occasional tables for putting drinks on should match the overall décor, and having a space for plants brings the garden inside when the weather is inclement.

Plan the design

It’s worth taking the time to plan a conservatory design to ensure it is fit for the purpose required. Rushing the process and not thinking it through properly can often mean that the space is not as pleasant or comfortable as it could be.

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