Types of Conservatories | Which One Is Right For YOUR Home?

Types of conservatories

Thinking about a conservatory as a great way to add a bunch more space and value to your home?

Whilst it might be the fastest and most effective way to expand without moving house, it’s not a simple decision. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the different type of conservatories available to you today.

Who doesn’t want to add some extra flair to their house?

People often do it, some by repainting their house, some by installing sauna rooms, some by adding an extension, and much more.

A new trend that is catching on quickly is building a conservatory.

In simple words, this is a small room attached to your primary mansion with the aim of providing a good amount of ventilation and letting in natural light.

Such a substantial structure also comes with a high cost. Thus, before you start to consider getting one at your place, you should know about all the different kinds of conservatories and what they have to offer.

Let’s get started.

Types of conservatory design

People started building conservatories in the early 17th century. They first used to be a status symbol for the wealthy, where they used to grow citrus fruits.

Decades of development and advancements have given rise to many different types of conservatories (see also ‘What Is A Conservatory?‘).

The Edwardian conservatory

This design features a flat frontal area along with square walls. The roof of an Edwardian conservatory is generally higher than other types, which opens an avenue for a wide range of decor options to fit in.

These are also easy to build and can go with a wide variety of houses. If you are looking to add a touch of luxury, you can also get a few crestings, decorative finials, and finishes as per your liking.

Lean-to conservatory

Because of its minimalistic appeal, this conservatory is also known as the Mediterranean conservatory. This makes this option ideal for anyone having a medium-sized house.

They are linked to the house via one long side and have a rectangular shape. The roof is sloped towards one side, making space for additional storage beneath it.

Summing up, with little maintenance and low installation expenses, this is an excellent alternative for those on a small budget and want a good amount of natural light to enter the room.

P/L/T/U-shaped conservatory

Starting with the P-type conservatory, it is an excellent choice if you want to fit both a dining room and a lounge area all under one roof. The name is due to its round and rectangular shape combo.

As for an L-shaped conservatory, it combines the design features of a lean-to and Edwardian-style conservatory. It usually goes along with a garage or an extension and acts as a small storeroom for most houses.

If you have ample space available in your backyard, you can go with a T-shaped conservatory. Thanks to the central projection, you can easily house a dining room or a cozy snug, which extends effortlessly into your backyard.

A U-shaped conservatory utilises sub-structure support and usually requires a lot of space for its construction. They might also require planning permission due to the large size.

Victorian Conservatories

This is a timeless design that also happens to be one of the most popular among house owners.

A board bayfront, a carved ridge, and a steep roof are what characterise a Victorian conservatory.

They are further divided into two sub-categories:

First, with three large-sized windows and an angled facade.

Second, with five large windows. Although the latter is often more costly, it has become a trendy choice among fashionistas.

Victorian conservatories feature a front bay window that will give you a good look over your garden, making it a perfect place to relax in winter. They are usually topped with a glass roof with additional detailing on them.

Modern Orangery

Unlike conservatories or extensions, orangeries are made out of a solid structure of pillars, walls, and glass.

When they first surfaced in the 17th century, orangeries used to have solid roofs, but now you will find most of them with a central glazed lantern. This brick-based structure soon became popular due to its opulent and posh feel.

Here are a few characteristic features of an orangery :

  • Tall windows on either side
  • Brick or stone walls
  • The roof is typically flat and has a glass lantern at the centre
  • A heating source
  • Shuttered windows which allow for heat retention during the night

Off the wall Conservatory

This type of conservatory is common in cold countries.

You may pick the material for the bottom portion of your conservatory. Alternatively, you may erect a low wall to protect the glass panels from the ground, generally made of the same material as the adjacent wall.

Conservatory construction basics

The material you choose for your conservatory will not only affect its looks but will also determine how easy it is to maintain.

To make the right decision, you should know what you want to use your conservatory for – for example, a garden room, an extended living area, etc.

Conservatory walls

If you want to enjoy the view of your garden, then go with glass walls that extend from the floor to the ceiling. That said, full glass walls radiate a lot of heat and thus make it difficult to control the temperature inside.

Brickwork on a conservatory makes it seem like a part of the house.

Some owners also like dwarf walls of 600mm height, whereas some prefer to have at least one solid wall. Keep in mind that brickwork should always be insulated to keep your conservatory at a comfortable temperature.

Conservatory roof

Roof typeCharacteristic
GRP warm roof●      Long-lasting


●      Secure

●      Thermally efficient

●      Plastered ceilings

Glass roof●      Lightweight


●      Long lifespan

●      Affordable

●      Self cleaning

Solid panel roof●      Lightweight


●      Thermally efficient

●      Downlighting

●      Long lasting

Solid tiled roof●      Plastered ceiling


●      Secure

●      Downlighting

Polycarbonate roof●      Inexpensive


●      Lightweight

●      Long lifespan

Polycarbonate roofs are the most popular due to their lightweight and cheap installation costs. The only downside to them is that they are not thermally efficient.

Modern glass roofs, on the other hand, are pretty thermally efficient and also have self-cleaning qualities. A GRP Warm Roof is another alternative; these roofs are long-lasting and highly energy-efficient.

This sort of roof is custom-made to suit your conservatory and is constructed on-site. You can even use flat skylights as focal points to bring in more light and make the space seem more spacious.

Type of glass

Modern glass roofs use less energy because of the wide variety of glass types available.

Anti-reflective glass

If your conservatory is in an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight, you can go with tinted glass. It lessens the sun’s glare and avoids excessive heat buildup.

Self-cleaning glass

This glass features a coating on the outer side which causes dirt to break down. The accumulated dirt then falls when rain falls on it.

Thermally efficient glass

This glass has a special coating that prevents heat from escaping and also avoids excessive heat buildup outside.

These double-glazed units filled with Argon or Krypton gas are quite popular in contemporary conservatories.

Conservatory door and window frames

uPVC is the most preferred material for the frames and doors of conservatories. It’s not surprising that this is the case since it’s relatively low-maintenance compared to aluminium and wood and needs minimal dusting from time to time.

Next, we have aluminium.

Aluminium frames are more durable than uPVC, allowing modern conservatories to have slimmer frames and let in more natural light. You can go with timber if you want an antique look but mind you; the upkeep is quite a lot.

Frequently asked questions

What size of the conservatory should I go with?

For this, you can consider how many people you would like to sit with within the conservatory. In most cases, the size of a conservatory is governed by the space available. In limited space, going with a rectangular-shaped conservatory is the best idea.

The smallest available size is usually 8’x8’whereas the most popular side is 10′ x 8′.

Large-sized conservatories (10’x20′) can also double as a dining area or a lounge. You will also need a minimum of 400mm of clearance from all sides to ease all future repairs and maintenance.

Are conservatories suitable for DIY assemblies?

Whilst this might be a rewarding experience, we would only recommend assembling a PVCu conservatory yourself if you have some serious experience of DIY!

Even then, it pays to get an expert to make substantial changes like this to your house.

Do I need planning permission to install a conservatory?

Whilst some smaller conservatories do not need planning permission, it’s always advisable to check with your local authority for the relevant permissions before starting any work.

Aside from height, there are several other factors can also affect the need for permissions, such as for any conservatory that is closer to a public roadway than the original residence, conservatories with an eaves height of 3.0m or over (8’2″) that are within two meters of a boundary.

Thanks for reading!

We hope this breakdown of the different types of conservatory options helps with your decision making!

As always, reach out to a trusted local specialist for advice, as well as requesting quotes from multiple companies to ensure you’re getting the best deal!

Looking for other ways to upgrade your house? Check out guide to the French patio doors, or simply how to clean UPVC windows better!  

Matt James
Matt James

Hi, Matt here! I started out almost 20 years ago as a teenager working in the family business fitting doors, windows and conservatories. I now run this website to share the best tips and advice for anyone looking to get a good deal on double glazing.

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