You may be someone who considers your garden to be your pride and joy, but it’s often too cold, wet or windy in the UK to be able to properly enjoy the outside. What better solution then, to bridge outside and inside, than a large conservatory?
Once considered only suited to be used as a quiet relaxation space (that’s still a very good idea), large conservatories have become airy, outdoorsy additions with multiple uses. A conservatory can be used as an eating space, an add on to the kitchen, play room, a place to chat with friends, or even a spare room.
Conservatories, like any area of your home, work best when there is a good fit with the rest of your house. In order to explore what works for you, it is often best to determine what you want well before you go out and try and get some quotations and prices.
If you’d like to open up an old, Victorian house, uniting it with the garden but keeping the rustic feel, match your conservatory to this vision. However, if you’re looking at exposing the brick, adding a lot of raw steel, and letting in pools of light, fitting your large conservatory into this design keeps the new extension in line with the rest of your home.
If your main purpose is to allow sunshine into your home, focus on how best to go about doing this, including exploring light direction. If you intend to create an earthy space for family and friends to chat, your design should take this purpose into account.
It is often helpful to consult an expert, who may have insight into how to bring your goals or dreams to life, and who has experience with the planning process of large conservatories.
High end designs might cost as much as £35,000 – £50,000. However, a great deal of modern designs in conservatories are cost effective and you could install quite a decent conservatory for a lot less (see our price guides here)
Large conservatories can come in different shapes and there are no “best large conservatories” or “worst large conservatories”. From rectangular to dome shaped or Victorian period rooms to ultra-modern minimalist glass boxes, nothing is off limits.
People chose to add a conservatory to their home for multiple reasons, but a common denominator is that most want extra space.
The extra square footage on the property is not only valuable for lifestyle, it adds real monetary value to a property – most “experts” acknowledge that a good conservatory can add around 10% to the value of the house, plus it makes the property more attractive to a potential buyer.
So, to go-large gives you a 3 for 1 benefit. More room, more value, more desirability.
If you look at pricing for a new lean-to uPVC conservatory, the fully fitted cost of a 3000mm x3000mm sized room is going to be around £7,000 to £9,000 – but if your budget is flexible enough, you could get a 3000mm x 4000mm for just a couple of thousand pounds more (I don’t mean to be dismissive about the extra expense, I appreciate that money is hard to come by).
Given a potential rate of return on your investment of 10%, that extra cost could translate into £10’s of thousands in added valuation – without the extra bonus of enjoying a more spacious conservatory.Get Quotes
In a frequently seen conservatory style, at least 2/3rds of the side walling is made from see through materials such as glass and, more often than not, the roof is made up of either translucent poly-carbonate material or glass, although tiled roofs for conservatories are becoming more and more popular.
As a whole, double glazed conservatory roofing is more helpful for insulation, both in terms of energy efficiency and noise deadening when compared to poly-carbonate, but costlier. Glass should, however, be strong enough to ensure adequate personal safety. Single glazing is not recommended for the roof of a living area.
For convenience, self-cleaning glass can be used which enables you to enjoy the view without a constant need for getting access to the top pf the conservatory for that kind of everyday maintenance. Tinted or solar control glazing is also an option and extremely useful in helping to keep an even temperature in your conservatory all-year-around.
Whichever materials you choose, ensure that they suit your needs, and will bring the most value to your lifestyle and your home.
A medium or small conservatory can very often fit into the permitted development category for planning permission and can avoid the need to apply before construction. If you are going to go for a large conservatory, you should check beforehand with your local planning authority and establish whether the dimensions of your room mean it requires planning permission.
However, a regular bricks and mortar home extension will definitely require prior planning permission before being built – maybe you will also have to go through the neighbour consultation scheme process. You will also have to consult with an expert (maybe an architect) in order to draw up official plans for the extension.
To install a conservatory is a much less invasive process to your daily life and can very often be completed within a week to 10 days (or so), even for a large conservatory – which would be somewhat of a miracle to have an extension built from start to finish in that kind of timescale.
Extensions such as loft rooms, basement rooms, or even an extra bedroom, can be very practical, but are often disconnected from the social hub of the home. Furthermore, a conservatory connects inside to outside, enabling you to enjoy the garden anytime you like.
You have quite a bit more latitude in what you can do in terms of design when you are building a bigger conservatory, many of the more interesting designs don’t suit small rooms, but look amazing as large conservatories.
Whilst you have the “regular” styles such as Lean-to, Victorian or Edwardian which are well loved designs, variations on these such as the T-shape, P-shape, B-shape or L-shape rooms allow for a great deal of personalisation.
However, as we said before, nothing is off limits.
You could also opt for a colour variation. Modern uPVC designs can be made in up to a dozen or more main colours with the added timber-grain effect range. Aluminium can be almost any colour via the use of RAL factory bonded powder coat paints, maybe up to 200 options plus woodgrain. Clearly, timber can be painted to a colour of your choice or stained to a rich natural shade.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the bigger the conservatory, the more it is going to cost, but you also need to take into account the primary construction material will also impact pricing (upvc, timber, aluminium etc.)
You will also find that the style of the room is going to have a price impact. Victorian, Edwardian, Lean-to or bespoke rooms like P or T-shape, will all have different pricing structures.
|Bespoke Conservatory Design||Construction Material Used||General Price Guide|
|P-shaped Victorian Conservatory||various||£10,000 to £20,000|
|L-shaped Lean-to Conservatory||various||£9,000 to £15,000|
|T-shaped Edwardian Conservatory||Various – With Dwarf Wall||£15,500 to £25,000|
Another factor to consider is the type of roofing. By far, poly-carbonate will be the cheapest option, but it does come with some drawbacks, in that it’s not that clever at insulating and can get very noisy during heavy rain. Very few folks move from glass to polycarbonate, but quite a lot of owner have gone from poly-carbonate to glass or tile.
Tiled conservatory roofs will be the most expensive option, and it could be worthwhile looking at synthetic slate as it is much lighter in weight than concrete roof tiles and there are some very nice products in the market (take a look at Tapco).
Designs vary, but are most appropriate when adding to the style and structure of your home.
Large conservatories can be installed by any of the hundreds of accredited professional companies in the UK, the choice of supplier and products is huge.
Installing a conservatory means adding a social sphere to your home that is so much more than just an extended room – and as we alluded to earlier, you get the 3 in 1 effect of added value, space and desirability.