Conservatory vs. Orangery

What's the Difference?

A conservatory and an orangery are both types of glass-enclosed structures that are commonly used as extensions to homes or as standalone buildings. However, there are some key differences between the two. A conservatory is typically made entirely of glass and is designed to provide a bright and airy space for growing plants or enjoying the surrounding views. It often has a sloping glass roof and is primarily used as a greenhouse or a sunroom. On the other hand, an orangery is a more solidly constructed structure with brick or stone walls and large windows. It usually has a flat or lantern-style roof and is designed to be a more permanent and versatile living space, often used as a dining area or an additional living room. While both conservatories and orangeries offer a connection to the outdoors and an abundance of natural light, the orangery provides a more substantial and integrated living space.


Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash
DefinitionA glass-enclosed structure typically used for growing plants or as a sunroom.A type of greenhouse or garden room with large windows and a solid roof, often used as an extension of a house.
OriginDerived from the Latin word "conservatorius" meaning "a place of preservation".Derived from the Dutch word "oranje" meaning "orange tree".
FunctionMainly used as a greenhouse or for leisure purposes, such as a sunroom or additional living space.Primarily used as an extension of a house, providing additional living space and often used for entertaining.
ConstructionTypically made of glass or polycarbonate panels with a glass or solid roof.Features large windows and a solid roof, often made of brick or stone.
RoofUsually made of glass or polycarbonate panels, allowing maximum sunlight.Constructed with a solid roof, providing better insulation and privacy.
UsageCan be used year-round, as it provides a controlled environment for plants and people.Can be used year-round, but may require additional heating during colder months.
DesignOften has a more ornate and decorative design, with intricate details and curved lines.Usually has a simpler and more traditional design, blending with the existing architecture of the house.
Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to expanding your living space and bringing the outdoors in, both conservatories and orangeries are popular choices. These structures not only add value to your property but also provide a versatile space that can be used for various purposes. While conservatories and orangeries share some similarities, they also have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the key features of both conservatories and orangeries, helping you make an informed decision when considering an extension to your home.

Design and Structure

Conservatories are typically made of glass and have a more delicate appearance compared to orangeries. They often feature a fully glazed roof and large windows, allowing for ample natural light to flood the space. The glass structure creates a seamless connection between the indoors and outdoors, providing panoramic views of the surrounding environment. On the other hand, orangeries have a more solid structure with brick or stone walls and a partially glazed roof. This design offers a greater sense of privacy and can blend in seamlessly with the existing architecture of your home.


Both conservatories and orangeries can serve a variety of purposes, depending on your needs and preferences. Conservatories are commonly used as additional living spaces, dining areas, or even home offices. The abundance of natural light and the feeling of being surrounded by nature make conservatories a popular choice for relaxation and entertainment. Orangeries, on the other hand, are often used as extensions to kitchens or dining rooms. The solid structure of orangeries provides better insulation, making them suitable for year-round use. They can also be designed to accommodate plants, creating a beautiful indoor garden.

Temperature Control

One of the key differences between conservatories and orangeries lies in their temperature control capabilities. Due to their large glass surfaces, conservatories can be prone to overheating in the summer and becoming chilly in the winter. However, advancements in glazing technology have led to the development of energy-efficient glass that helps regulate temperature. Additionally, the option to install blinds or shades can provide further control over the amount of sunlight entering the space. Orangeries, with their solid walls and partially glazed roofs, offer better insulation and temperature control. This makes them more suitable for year-round use, regardless of the weather conditions.


When it comes to aesthetics, both conservatories and orangeries have their own unique charm. Conservatories, with their predominantly glass structure, create a light and airy atmosphere. They provide a modern and contemporary look that can complement a wide range of architectural styles. The transparency of conservatories also allows for uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape, making them an excellent choice for properties with beautiful gardens or scenic views. Orangeries, on the other hand, offer a more traditional and elegant appearance. The combination of brick or stone walls with glazed elements creates a timeless aesthetic that can enhance the character of older properties.

Planning Permission

Before embarking on any home extension project, it is essential to consider the planning permission requirements. In many cases, both conservatories and orangeries can be built under permitted development rights, which allow certain types of extensions without the need for planning permission. However, there are limitations on the size, height, and location of the structure. It is always advisable to consult with your local planning authority or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with regulations. Additionally, if your property is located in a conservation area or has listed status, obtaining planning permission may be necessary for both conservatories and orangeries.

Cost Considerations

The cost of building a conservatory or orangery can vary depending on several factors, including the size, design, materials used, and any additional features or customization. Generally, conservatories tend to be more cost-effective compared to orangeries due to their simpler structure and extensive use of glass. However, it is important to note that the overall cost will also depend on the quality of materials and the level of insulation and glazing chosen. Orangeries, with their more substantial structure and additional brickwork, may require a higher initial investment but can offer better long-term energy efficiency and durability.


Both conservatories and orangeries require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity and optimal performance. Conservatories, with their extensive glass surfaces, may require more frequent cleaning to keep them looking pristine. The frames and seals should also be inspected periodically to prevent any leaks or drafts. Orangeries, with their solid walls, require less maintenance in terms of cleaning. However, it is important to monitor the condition of the roof and ensure that any joints or seals remain intact. Regular maintenance, such as repointing brickwork or resealing glazing, will help prolong the lifespan of both structures.


In summary, both conservatories and orangeries offer unique attributes that can enhance your living space and bring the outdoors closer to home. Conservatories provide a light-filled and contemporary space, ideal for relaxation and entertainment. Orangeries, with their solid structure and elegant design, offer better insulation and can seamlessly blend with the existing architecture. Consider your specific needs, aesthetic preferences, and budget when deciding between a conservatory and an orangery. Regardless of your choice, both options can provide a versatile and enjoyable space that adds value to your property.

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