If you’re not quite sure of the key differences between a conservatory and an orangery (or, in all honesty, what an orangery actually is…) we’ve nailed down the key points for you to ensure you’re up on your knowledge and able to make the right design decisions for your home.

What Is An Orangery?

This is actually a fairly common enquiry, and so you’re not alone in any confusion that you might have. When researching a big investment, such as any type of extension to your home, it’s important to understand what you’re actually getting into. ‘Orangery’ isn’t a term that’s used in day-to-day vocabulary, and in all likelihood, it’s because it’s actually a fairly old fashioned term.

Basically, you need to think of a very elegant, extravagant greenhouse, and you’ll be close to the mark. Since as far back as the 17th Century, orangeries were the ultimate status symbol for many wealthy families, and this type of extension was primarily used for growing citrus trees in an environment where they could still thrive even in colder climates like ours. When these types of fruits became more easily available for everyone to buy, the orangery became a sort of luxury home for a multitude of exotic plants for the family instead, and over time, this has transformed into any kind of luxury extension you might imagine. From their humble beginnings in Italy, to the later developments architecturally in Holland, the orangeries we create today are grand and sophisticated in equal measure, making the perfect addition to your home.

What Is A Conservatory?

Today, the conservatory is a modern addition to the home, and it has soared in popularity in recent years. Conservatories are thought to have been created after orangeries, however, and originally might have been used to protect plants than rare fruits. The structure, including a glass ceiling, meant that the perfect amount of light could get through to ensure thriving plants and flowers in full bloom.

Conservatories were perfected by the Victorians and were proven to be a more cost-efficient way of housing plants and fruit trees in comparison to the grand orangery type structures. This is certainly true of modern day interpretations.  A like for like type, footprint and build would be less expensive as a conservatory than as an orangery due to the simpler assembly of components of a conservatory, thus making them more attractive to a wider audience.

What’s The Difference?

Conservatories tend to always be an extension to a property, whereas an orangery can also be an extension, or it can stand alone. Conservatories often tend to share similar design features of the house, complimenting the existing style and overall feel, basically just adding additional space and an extra room for functional or practical reasons. You

Orangeries do tend to differ in their construction and design. Whilst conservatories are the perfect finishing touch to a home, an orangery can offer that little bit extra in terms of class and panache. Often, it’s very different to the rest of the house, incorporating brick work and large windows to really make it stand out. Very often, this will be the star attraction of the property, perhaps even housing a swimming pool or a gym, with a beautiful glass roof.

Both are private spaces, but conservatories tend to use less brickwork, and allow for an uninterrupted view of the garden, perfect for relaxing. Orangeries really put the focus on luxury, often completely different to the rest of the house.

Of course, in this day and age, both conservatories and orangeries are not typically used for housing plants (though they do make lovely additions!). In fact, there are an abundance of uses, from dining, to leisure, and even office spaces are more.