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Orangeries vs Conservatories: The Differences

21st September, 2016

Conservatories originated from the need to protect delicate plants from the winter weather by bringing them in from the garden. In Britain, Orangeries date from the 17th century, when wealthy families began to import orange trees from Italy and needed a way for the plants to survive in the British climate. Because they needed to be south facing, early orangeries were sometimes standalone buildings rather than being attached to a house.

Modern Differences

Today most of us are familiar with conservatories, extensions with either fully glazed sides or glazing on a low wall, and a glazed or translucent roof. A conservatory is therefore largely glass. An orangery is a little different. Orangeries use brick pillars, meaning there’s less glass at the sides, although they will still have large windows. The roof is also different – an orangery will have a solid flat roof at the edges and an atrium-type glazed roof in the centre, giving it more height and a lighter feel.

These differences give orangeries a greater feeling of space, thanks to the additional roof height. They also a little more privacy than a conservatory at ground level, thanks to the brick pillars. An orangery therefore offers something mid way between a conservatory and a traditional brick-built extension. While conservatories can be cold in winter, partly solid walls mean that an orangery offers a more inviting space all year round, making it a great addition as a dining area or home office, or as an extension to your lounge.

Of course, because of the construction techniques used, orangeries tend to be more expensive and take longer to build. A conservatory, by contrast, offers many of the same benefits but is cheaper and quicker to construct. Deciding between orangeries vs conservatories really comes down to how you want to use the space.