What is an orangery extension?


If you’re considering a glass extension for your home, your choice is between an orangery and a conservatory. Orangeries are perhaps less well known than conservatories, but have benefits that could make one a better choice for your home. But what’s the difference between the two, and which is right for you?

This guide to orangeries vs conservatories will help you decide.


What is an orangery?

An orangery is a brick building featuring large glazed windows and a solid flat roof with a roof lantern in the centre. It can be a stand-alone building, or attached to your house as an extension.

Orangeries became popular in 17th-century Europe, designed to house exotic plants and citrus trees (hence their name) in large stately homes through winter. The large panes of glass worked like a greenhouse to provide them with enough light and warmth whilst sheltering them from the frost.

Because they were found in these large residences, orangeries became a status symbol for the wealthy. Today, they’re popular in many homes and can be considered to be halfway between a conservatory and a standard brick extension.

What is a conservatory?

Conservatories were adapted from orangeries in the 19th century. They’re a fully-glazed building with a low brick base wall and wall-to-wall windows that meet a pitched glass roof at the top.

While orangeries can be separate from your house, conservatories are always added as an extension.

What’s the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

Orangeries and conservatories are similar but have a few key differences in their structures.

The main difference is the amount of glass used. Conservatories feature more glass than orangeries. While an orangery has brick walls with large windows and a roof lantern, a conservatory is fully glass.

Orangeries, therefore, have more wall space than a conservatory; they look more like an extension, while a conservatory is a glass structure added onto the house.


Orangeries vs conservatories: which is best?

Both orangeries and conservatories let in lots of natural light and create a bright and airy space to socialise or dine in. But while they are similar, each has its own benefits to consider.

Orangery benefits:

  • More versatile – because orangeries are more like a standard extension, they’re more versatile and can be used for numerous functions.
  • Add more value to your home – Because they are more versatile and more expensive, orangeries generally add more value to a house.
  • Better insulated – Because they have more brick and less glass, orangeries are better insulated and have a more consistent temperature, so you can enjoy them year-round. Conservatories tend to get very hot in summer and very cold in winter.

Conservatory benefits:

  • They let in more light – As a fully glazed structure with more windows and more glass on the ceiling, conservatories let more light in than orangeries.
  • Better views – More windows also mean a generally better view of your garden and patio.
  • Cheaper – Because of the materials used, conservatories are typically a cheaper option than orangeries.


5 great uses for an orangery

Orangeries are more versatile than conservatories, and can therefore be designed to suit the space you need. Do you need another lounge area in your home, or a bigger kitchen? Here are some options you can consider:


  1. Kitchen extension

If you’d love a bigger kitchen space, adding an orangery to your home could be the perfect solution. By providing huge amounts of light and fantastic access to the garden, an orangery is perfect for dinner parties year-round and throwing barbeques in the summer. Add one on to your existing kitchen for a large, open-plan space great for entertaining.


  1. Socialising space

If your home is lacking a lounge area, an orangery can be just what you need. By letting in lot of natural light, an orangery can be a relaxing haven where you can entertain guests or wind down after a long day.


  1. Guest bedroom

An orangery can also double as an extra room for guests to sleep in. Opt for a sofa bed, and you can maximise the use you get from this space. Just be sure to install blinds or curtains!


  1. Home office

If you or your family members are working from home, an orangery also makes a great home office. Nature is proven to boost productivity, so working in plenty of natural light and so close to your garden is an enviable way to get through your 9-5.


  1. Home gym

Alternatively, you can turn your orangery into a home gym. Whether you’re doing weights or yoga, an orangery will provide ample space for a workout, and will allow you plenty of ventilation with open windows and doors.

See our orangeries in person

The best way to decide if an orangery is right for you is to come along to one of our showrooms, where you can see our products in person. Our expert team members are also on hand to offer advice and answer any further questions you might have. You can even download our free brochure to see the full specifications of our products. And for more inspiration and advice, head to the Express blog.

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