When you are building a new conservatory, much of the focus is on the style and finish of the exterior, the type of materials and glazing, and the actual build process. But once the extension is complete and you are ready to use the conservatory, your thoughts will turn to finalising your ideas for the internal design and the furnishings.
The type of furniture you use is likely to be closely linked to the type of style you are trying to achieve; and along with accessories, blinds, plants and lighting it will have a considerable effect on the ambience, the look, and the feel of the room.
A conservatory can bridge the gap between house and garden, but must be furnished differently to other rooms in the house due to the practical considerations.
The temperature is likely to be much hotter in the conservatory during summer and possibly much colder during winter; the humidity will be higher, and there is much greater exposure to light.
Different materials must be used, and this gives
you the opportunity to experiment with styles and furnishings you may never have used before.
Common materials used to make wicker conservatory furniture are rattan, willow and cane, while upholstered furniture can also be used if there is a solid ceiling which reduces light exposure. Metal and glass are suitable materials for tables, as are stone and marble for table tops.
Furniture woven from these woods, or from synthetic rattan, is durable and can be bought in a variety of different colours to suit the style of your conservatory. Good quality furniture should be hand-crafted and should come with a guarantee of at least two years.
The overall style of the interior will have a big impact on the type of furnishings you use, and it is important to think about how the style will interact not only with the exterior of the conservatory, but also with the rest of the house. Some of the more typical styles are detailed below, but there are no limitations on adding your own touch of individuality.
The Victorian style conservatory is a throwback to their original use in the Victorian period as hothouses for growing tropical and seasonal plants. A variety of pots scattered around the room with plenty of plants gives the right feel, while the furniture can be of elegant ornate style to suit the finish of the conservatory. Window seats, oriental style rugs and wood carving in the furniture or ornaments will complete the look.
The typical garden room is designed to bring a taste of the outdoors to the indoors. Wicker furniture painted white, yellow or even blue will add to the impression. Indoor trellis with plants trained to grow over it will give the feel of the garden moving inside, as will using outdoor furniture such as wrought iron bistro tables or garden benches.
If your house is more modern and you have chosen a more contemporary conservatory, you may want to continue the look, by choosing sleek, modern conservatory furniture. This look can be achieved by using clean lines throughout, and using glass and metal conservatory furniture to create an urban style. Uniform blinds can be used to give a clinical and symmetrical feel.
The Mediterranean look is also very popular in conservatories, and you can use a terracotta tiled floor to create the look of a European sunroom. Linen curtains, blue pottery and chinaware, and rustic wooden and metal furniture all add to the Mediterranean feel. Natural woven furniture with soft cushions is ideal to create a relaxing and welcoming impression.
When it comes to choosing furniture it is also important not to get carried away with the style and design, and forget about the practicalities of using the room. You should think about the size of the conservatory.
How much space will the furniture take up? And is the remaining floor space enough? It pays to think about who will be using the room, and what they will use it for. What kind of furniture will be comfortable and practical?
Your budget should also play a big part in the selection of furniture. Remember that as well as tables and chairs, you may also need to buy blinds, plants and plant pots, rugs, cushions, lighting and lightshades, and pictures or ornaments to hang on the walls.
The furniture in your home requires maintenance, and so does the furniture in you conservatory; perhaps even more so due to the intense environment. If you take good care of the furniture the conservatory will look good for years to come, if it is neglected it will quickly appear tired and worn.
Regular dusting is a good way to keep woven furniture clean, a stiff brush or vacuum cleaner attachment is useful for getting in-between the weave. It is also a good idea to place felt protective pads beneath the legs of furniture on tile or stone floors; this prevents scratching and preserves the look of the flooring.
Cushions should be turned regularly and washed at least every six months. Good quality blinds will help to keep light out and stop colours of upholstery and cushions fading, although it is also possible to buy UV prohibitive cushions to avoid fading.
Furnishing a conservatory can give you a freedom of design that might be otherwise constrained when decorating interior rooms. You can embrace different styles, and use furnishings and materials which would not be appropriate for indoor rooms.
The majority of conservatory furniture is woven from woods like rattan, willow and cane, but metal, stone and marble can also be used to great effect for chairs, tables and table tops.
If your conservatory is of a traditional style, you may want to opt for more ornate furnishings to match; if it is a more modern conservatory you may wish to finish it with sleek, contemporary conservatory furniture. Ultimately the style should also be practical; bear in mind how you intend to use the room when deciding on the furniture.