Building a conservatory will bring a host of benefits to your home, it will give you a place to relax and unwind in the sun; it can act as a second lounge or a children’s playroom, or as a nursery for plants. The conservatory will add a new dimension to your lifestyle and at the same time will add value to your property.
The choice of style is a difficult one when you first start to plan your conservatory, but is integral to the overall appearance and feel of the finished room. There are a variety of different styles you can go for, from the traditional Victorian and Edwardian conservatories, to the more modern and contemporary structures.
The style will affect the look of the entire property from the outside and it should be sympathetic to the style and the period of the property to get the most pleasing aesthetics. It will affect the amount of floor space and the way you furnish the room, and it can impact on your overall enjoyment of the conservatory when you begin to use it.
What is the Edwardian style?
The Edwardian style conservatory is designed to reflect the architecture of the period, and this style has several benefits. The typical design is a square conservatory, with a roof that hips back to a central ridge from both sides and from a sloping front. The square corners give a feeling of greater space inside the conservatory, while the lines of the roof soften the architecture and help to reflect the glare of the sun.
It is one of the most popular designs in use in the UK today as the dimensions of the room give it a feeling of volume and make it feel like another room in the house. Edwardian style conservatories are often used as functional spaces such as dining rooms or living rooms. The exterior of the Edwardian conservatory can also be decorated with ornate carvings and detail to add the traditional look.
The Edwardian style can be created with any type of structural material, the most common are hardwood and uPVC. It is sometimes suggested that traditional style conservatories look better when made with wood as it helps to promote the period feel, but they can look equally as good when constructed from uPVC.
The decision on frames will depend very much on the window frames on the existing house and on the style and period of the property. If you have a modern house with uPVC windows already installed, an Edwardian style conservatory will give a more stylish look than a basic modern structure.
It is quite common for Edwardian style conservatories to be built with a dwarf wall on one or all of the sides, but they can also be constructed with wood or uPVC panelling as a base. Full length glass is becoming more popular as more energy efficient glazing enters the market, and the uninterrupted views can give a real feeling of bringing the outdoors indoors.
The shape of the roof is one of the distinctive parts of the design of an Edwardian conservatory; almost any type of roof system can be used to suit the style. Self-cleaning glass and solar control glass are becoming more popular in conservatories as they can reduce the amount of maintenance required and crucially, reduce the heat and light from the sun.
If you are investing in an Edwardian style conservatory, think carefully about your budget and do not cut corners on the type of glazing you use for roof and windows. It will have a big impact on the enjoyment you get from the room when it is finished.
An Edwardian conservatory offers you the chance to impose your own design on the room, as the shape is usually perfectly square. This gives you the opportunity to place furniture anywhere in the room without restriction, and the high corners give you the chance to maximise all available space.
The detailing on the external frames of the conservatory can be continued inside with carved ornaments or furniture, or you could abandon the traditional look and go with a completely modern and contemporary design. The versatility of the Edwardian style is that no interior design will look out of place.
Edwardian conservatories are generally no larger than five square metres, beyond this there are structural changes which must be considered, and these will come at a premium. Traditional style conservatories can cost £750-£1000 per square metre, although this could increase if the design is particularly large or complex. By way of comparison, a simple modern conservatory is likely to cost closer to £500 per square metre.
If you are considering an Edwardian design, it is worth contacting local conservatory companies for quotes to supply and install it for you. You can compare prices and ask to see examples of installations in the local area to assess each companies work.
If they are confident in their products and services, they should have no problems giving you details of their recent work. If you are keen to save money wherever possible, you could buy a conservatory kit for roughly £3000-£5000 and arrange the installation separately, or even install it yourself.
The Edwardian design is growing in popularity in the UK as it offers something of a compromise between traditional and modern styles. It retains the ornate detail of a Victorian conservatory, but is less complex in its shape, with square walls and corners.
The roof softens the architecture as it hips back to a central ridge, giving a better appearance than a simple pitched roof. Internally, the Edwardian design gives plenty of floor space, and with the high corners gives a feeling of greater space and volume. The square shape also offers much more versatility in the placement of furniture within the room.
Although the style is likely to cost more than a simple modern conservatory, it can offer the best of both worlds; an attractive appearance from the outside, and a practical space inside.