After much research and study, paired with our expertise and knowledge of everything to do with Home Improvement, we have put together a guide on everything you need to know about conservatories.

So here we present, The Foundation of Understanding Conservatories.

What is a conservatory?

For those of you who are unaware or have heard of conservatories and want to understand what they are, you’ve come to the right place.

A conservatory is an area that was traditionally used to grow and store plants. It is usually made of glass and plastic white panes; although the colour of the panes may differ. Initially used by wealthy landowners in the 16th century who would grow lemons and oranges as a symbol of their wealth, it was made popular in the early 19th century and started to become more widely available to the public due to the increase of general wealth.

They are sometimes referred to as greenhouses but what makes them different from a greenhouse is that they can also be used as a seating area and are located as an addition attached to the main building of a house; whereas greenhouses are used only for plants and are usually located detached from the main building of a house.

Types of Conservatories

Now that we’ve explained what a conservatory is, in order to find a conservatory that best suits you, you first need to know about all the different types of conservatories.

Victorian Conservatory

The first type of conservatory we will explain is the Victorian style.

Victorian Conservatories are easy to spot by their rounded design created by their multifaceted end walls. These are the most popular type of conservatory and can be found in many different homes as they are stylish and take care and expertise to craft.


Edwardian Conservatory

There are also Edwardian Conservatories which look similar to the Victorian style, they can be identified by their more rectangular base and ridged roof. This also allows for them to be slightly more spacious than some other conservatory types.

Edwardian Gable Conservatory

Another type of Conservatory is the Edwardian Gable Conservatory. Although this looks very similar to the Edwardian Conservatory, it can be identified by its ridged roof that meets a gabled end.

This design has been created recently for use with modern homes as it complements the unique design of modern homes better.

Lean-to Conservatory

Sometimes referred to as a Mediterranean sun-room, the lean-to conservatory has the simplest design which features a single-sloped roof with the longest wall joint to the house.

This can be identified by its unique design and where its located; it is usually placed at the corner of a house as it is designed to slot nice into a corner on the outside of the house.

P, L, T or U-shaped conservatory

Another type of conservatory are four different designs which are very similar to each other and can be grouped into the same category.

They can be combined with any other conservatory design and the vast majority of options can be adjusted to suit any home.

These can also be designed so that they are detached from the home and are sometimes used as greenhouses for growing plants.


Although an orangery is not exactly a conservatory, they are both very similar in many ways.

Orangeries are usually not as big as conservatories and can be identified by the colouring of the materials used to make them; usually orange.

In this case however, size definitely does not matter as an orangery can still be used to complement a house in the best way possible.

Through ingenuity and careful planning, an orangery that may not be so large in size or as extravagant as some full scale conservatories can be made which makes a home look that much better.

Credit: Bloorie Windows

Off the Wall Conservatory

You can customise a conservatory so it’s not build as standard. One option is to make an off the wall conservatory.

These types of conservatories can be identified by their lack of walls and the fact that it is only crafted with glass and panes.

This still allows for a strong foundation as well as allowing being quite open which allows a much greater amount of natural light to be able to light up what’s inside.

Ideal for a home with a nice view, slightly tinted glass can be used which reduces the glare of the sun but allows no natural light to be lost.

Custom Conservatory

Options to create a unique custom conservatory are also available so that you can create something that is truly one of a kind.

This is of course possible through the use of architecture and best handled using the knowledge of expert architects


Types of Conservatory Roofs

Through the years architecture has evolved in many different ways. What started as one or two basic concepts or designs has branched into many different countless concepts.

In the case of Conservatory roofing, the initial roofing option used was polycarbonate due to its sturdiness and the lack of availability of other materials; due to the lack of engineering that would allow other materials to be made available for use

As time passed, the use of poor materials paired with poor instalment of the material were weathered down by the elements which caused leakage, heating and insulation problems which called for more efficient options to be used that can last through the ages; or theoretically at least a scale of time longer than a few decades.

The evolution that ensued eliminated such problems and opened up a host of new ideas which allowed designers to utilise unique options which better serve their purpose

The options that are available right now, well, we’re going to break them down for you.

Glass conservatory roofs

Now one of the most common options, we have the glass roof as the first type we will explain

Yielding a sleek finish as well as a good option for insulation yet also affordable, glass roofs are a great option.

Proven to be able to weather the elements and holding almost no issues once properly installed, glass conservatory roofs are very efficient and very ideal as a roofing choice.

Modern engineering has allowed glass that insulates yet also reflects the glare of the sun allowing you to spend time in a warm, relaxing environment; not a warm, blinding one.

Roof lanterns

Roof lanterns are another option of roofing used on conservatories.

Unlike the other options explained in this article, this option is more to do with how its designed and less to do with the materials used.

Roof lanterns are designed much like a lantern which holds a flame used for light.

They are made of mostly glass and panes but what makes them unique are the lantern shape at the top; the top curves inwards and rises slightly, usually in the middle.

This is very good for design and looks very fancy however the space kept at the top traps a lot of heat in the top arch; as heat rises, the highest point will store most of the heat.

Unlike rectangular or circular roofs that have flat edges that don’t protrude above a certain height whereby allowing heat to be distributed evenly around the conservatory, the lantern arch stores most of the heat at the top.

This is ideal for warmer climates as this roofing option allows a lot of light to enter the area but prevents too much heat building up around the area that would be used for sitting; the heat would be stored in the ceiling arch and not the sitting area on the floor.

Polycarbonate conservatory roofs

Polycarbonate is another option of material that can be used as a roof for conservatories

The word ‘Poly’ stands for many and Carbonate is the molecule that is used to produce this material. Thus, the nature of Polycarbonate means it is made up of many layers; better known as a multi-layered plastic.

The use of multiple layers means Polycarbonate is structurally strong and, as it is a plastic, it’s lightweight and durable while also very affordable.

There are many colouring options for this roofing choice which allow it to absorb heat and light better. The need for this feature is dependent on the style, position and environment your conservatory is placed in.

You could get a blue coloured Polycarbonate roof which absorbs heat which is ideal for colder climates, but for a warm climate it would only be good for baking potatoes in.

Similarly, you could get a clear coloured roof that would allow for a lot of light, but not provide as much insulation; the choice of colour is purely dependent on the environment and nature of the conservatory

Tiled Conservatory Roofs

Tiled Conservatory Roofs are also a very good option

The design of this roofing option makes it look very similar to the home that they belong to which makes the entire building look very smooth.

The tiling and design of the conservatory almost exactly matches the design of the house, it looks almost like a mini version of the main house.

In terms of design, this option is probably one that looks the most uniform and the most sleek; something about everything conforming to a single code makes it seem so much more sophisticated.

However, the removal of glass and clear materials removes the luxury of light.

Although skylights are sometimes used, the amount of light that enters compared to a standard conservatory made of glass is completely unmatched.

Roof decoration

Design and art is open to the imagination.

Many different designs are utilised, most of which would take a lot of looking to find; due to the vast amount of options which are all unique in their own way.

Experimenting with lighting, decorations, actual lanterns, use of plants etc etc can yield many different unique options that all work in their own way.

The amount of options are endless, there is no set way to do a thing, everything can be done in one’s own unique way.

And with that, we leave you with a basic article that teaches you the foundations of understanding conservatories

We hope it helped broaden your horizons and that you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it!