When conservatories first became popular in this country, it was thought they would aid the energy efficiency of a property by acting as a heat store and releasing the heat into the home. The principle may work in theory, but it is based upon using the conservatory only during the summer months. In reality, we spend time in our conservatories all year round and they are increasingly considered as an extra room.
Modern conservatories are becoming much more energy efficient to reflect this prolonged use, the designs are becoming more functional to offer usable and practical spaces. Architecture in general has become much less ‘fussy’ in modern times, modern conservatories tend to have clean smooth lines rather than the ornate detail that you would associate with traditional styles.
However, the designs have not become less spectacular, and the combination of different styles to create larger conservatories with more complex shapes makes the modern conservatory an increasingly popular choice.
Modern conservatory design
A typical standard modern conservatory will usually have a square or rectangular shape and a flat or single pitched roof. They can be made with hardwood or uPVC, and usually have smooth frames to highlight the clean lines of the structure. They can be installed with any type of door system, any form of glazing and any type of roofing system. They are highly versatile and are cheaper to buy and install than more complex traditional designs.
Combination of styles
In recent years it has become more popular for designers to incorporate more than one style into a design, to give much more flexibility to what can be installed. If you have an unusual shape to the house or garden, a conservatory which includes different styles might help to maximise the use of space and create a larger conservatory.
The P shaped conservatory is so-called because it resembles the shape of a P when viewed from above. It consists of a lean-to style conservatory along a side wall of the house, with a Victorian style conservatory attached to create the spur. Although the Victorian style conservatory gives the natural P shape, it is also popular to create this type of conservatory with an Edwardian or gable fronted conservatory.
The T shaped conservatory was designed not only to increase space, but also to improve the look of the conservatory. It consists of a hipped lean-to style which is built along the wall of the house, and an extension which is added in the centre to provide the T shape, and to break up the simple structure. A gable fronted extension is often used as the centre piece, and can make a relatively bland structure much more aesthetically pleasing.
The gable fronted design is a throwback to the original design used for glass house to grow plants. These conservatories are square or rectangular in shape, with a roof that pitches steeply from either side to a central ridge. The front of the roof is flat to the front of the conservatory and is not pitched. The steep pitch gives the impression of greater height and volume, the walls are often built slightly higher to accentuate the feeling.
If no particular style of conservatory is quite right for your property, you might consider having a bespoke conservatory designed around your house. There are plenty of conservatory companies who offer a bespoke service and they will visit the property to asses it and take you through each step of the design stage.
You can be as involved in the process as you like, you may want to take on much of the design yourself, or simply sit back and leave it to the professionals.
The advantage of building a bespoke conservatory and taking an active role in the design process is that you can specify exactly the size and the shape required to suit your home. You can decide what materials are used during construction, what type of heating and insulation is used and what type of glazing is used for the windows and the roof.
Although it will be more expensive than installing a standard design, it may be the only way to get the conservatory you truly desire.
Energy efficient glazing
As modern conservatories are being increasingly used as extra rooms in our houses, they are becoming much more energy efficient. In your home, the roof and the windows are the biggest culprits for heat loss and the conservatory is no different. In fact, due to the amount of glass in a typical conservatory, they can lose heat at up to ten times the rate of a room in the house.
Energy efficient double glazing is now being designed and produced specifically for conservatories. Special coatings are applied to the external pane of glass which help to reduce the amount of the sun’s heat and light, which can enter the room. This can make the conservatory much more bearable on particularly hot days. Meanwhile, coatings are also applied to the internal pane of glass which improve the insulating qualities of the glass and help to retain heat during colder spells.
If you intend to spend a good amount of time in your conservatory and will treat it as an extra room rather than a sunroom, good quality glazing is a must. It will improve the usability of the room making it more accessible all year round and will also help to reduce heating bills.
The modern conservatory covers a multitude of different designs, there are almost limitless options in the styles and shape you can have built. The typical basic modern conservatory is a simple rectangular shape with a pitched or flat roof, designed to be reasonably priced and practical.
More complex designs are becoming much more popular with homeowners however and designers are incorporating more than one style into their designs to create very visually impressive conservatories which suit almost any shape and size of house.