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Conservatory vs Orangery: How to Decide What’s Right for You

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Mar 16, 2023
9 minutes read
  • Orangery vs conservatory differences
  • Is an orangery better than a conservatory?
  • Planning permission and cost
  • Questions to help you decide

Whether you’re in the market for a conservatory or you’d like to learn more about an orangery, you might be wondering what the differences are between the two. After all, they’re a smaller extension of your home that has various uses, so are they just individual names for the same thing? The short answer is no. Orangery vs conservatory differences run much deeper.

This article will delve into orangery vs conservatory differences so you can decide if one would suit you better than the other. It will also answer several questions about orangeries and what you should ask yourself before deciding on which one to get.

A modern orangery with a tiled roof and a skylight

Orangery vs Conservatory: How Do They Compare?

What Is a Conservatory?

The traditional conservatory is mainly a glass structure (or plastic composite alternative) that is separate from your home, usually sitting at the back or side of the house. Nowadays, conservatories can come with dwarf walls and are made of materials ranging from uPVC, glass and timber. A conservatory versus an orangery is more focussed on natural light as less brickwork is used.

How Does an Orangery Differ?

More likened to an extension, an orangery is a much grander affair than a conservatory. They are usually made from brick and feature large windows to capture as much sunlight as possible. An orangery vs a conservatory will only have a flat roof, but is much more capable of retaining heat than a conservatory.

Orangery vs Conservatory: What Is an Orangery Extension?

Orangery Icon

An orangery is more concerned with holding heat as they were originally designed as a home for exotic plants. Before conservatories came along with additional glass, orangeries were more of a status symbol, which can be seen from the glass lantern on their roof. They match the style of a home and can keep heat better because of their construction. Quite simply, brick and stone traps warmth better than glazing.

Is an Orangery Better than a Conservatory?

To determine which would suit you best, it’s important to understand how they both vary. Take a look at the table below for orangery vs conservatory differences.

One of the most important distinctions between an orangery vs a conservatory is their orientation. An orangery is designed to be south facing with a north facing wall to stave off the cold. This way, they capture as much heat from the sun as possible and maintain a warm room. A conservatory can face any direction, depending on your garden, and its temperature is usually dictated by the sun, although modern designs of conservatory have improved great fluctuations in temperature.

Orangery vs Conservatory: Does Planning Permission Come Into It?

Based on their differences alone, you’re probably wondering if orangeries would need planning permission, as they’re more solid structures. The good news is that they don’t necessarily need it, much like conservatories, but this does depend on a few factors.

An orangery vs a conservatory is exactly the same when it comes to permitted development guidelines. Orangeries are generally considered to be single storey extensions to a home, but the rules can be generous in the realms of planning permission.

Planning Permission Vector

Having said that, you will need to apply for planning permission if your orangery:

  • Will cover more than half the size of your home

  • Will be taller than four metres

  • Will be more than half the width of the home

  • Will be designed with elevated platforms

  • Will have eaves bigger than three metres

Orangery vs Conservatory Cost

Unless you’re going for an extravagant conservatory made from timber that’s a large size, an orangery will usually cost you more. You can expect to pay at least £30,000 for an orangery, whereas a conservatory, depending on the style, can be half this figure.

According to Checkatrade, the total cost of installation, supply and labour for a 4m x 4m orangery is over £32,500. You can see the average cost per metre squared in the graph below.

Cost of Orangery vs Conservatory

The cost per metre squared differs a little, as conservatories are around £1,500, while orangeries are £2,250.

These costs largely depend on the materials used, but an orangery is more impactful on your house. It can raise your home valuation much more than a conservatory and has greater energy efficiency as well, which comes at a premium.

How much do conservatories cost?

How Does This Affect Home Value?

If you’re looking for a quick fix, you can raise the value of your home by fitting a conservatory, and you can do this surprisingly cheaply. This can add perhaps 5% to your home, while an orangery has the capability of adding as much value as an extension. An orangery vs a conservatory can add as much as 15% to your home’s value.

Naturally, the amount of value you can add depends on how your permitted development is built, what size it is and what materials it is made from.

Orangery vs Conservatory: How Do I Decide?

Besides cost being a factor, there are several other questions you should ask yourself before you can decide on whether to go for a conservatory or an orangery.

Orangery vs Conservatory Home Extension Icon
  • Is this extra space needed all year round?

  • Would you prefer better control over temperature?

  • Do you want to add as much value to your home as you can?

  • Would you prefer a light room without glare?

  • Do you want a seamless addition to your house?

The bottom line is, if you answer yes to all or most of these questions, then you’d be better off with an orangery.

Is it better to replace a roof or the whole conservatory?

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