Orangery or Conservatory?

“What’s the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?” is a question we’re often asked, yet still find devilishly difficult to answer.

Back in the 17th Century, when orangeries first saw the light of day, it was more straightforward. Because conservatories hadn’t yet been invented. The orangery was a new-fangled European idea for keeping wealthy homeowners’ citrus trees alive through the winter months… hence the name. I guess we’re quite fortunate that oranges and lemons were more popular than pomegranates at the time – it’s pretty hard to imagine the ‘pomegranatery’ catching on in quite the same, trip-off-the-tongue way!

Orangeries were actually designed to be warm as much as bright, whereas the less expensive conservatories they later inspired were thought of rather more as palaces of light for delicate shrubs and bushes. But the differences are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on. Orangeries traditionally had more structural brickwork than conservatories, which had full-glass roofs and, indeed, more glass all over. However the characteristic ‘lantern’ roof of the orangery has now expanded so much as to be virtually indistinguishable from many conservatory roofs. And at KLG Rutland we’ve taken this evolution a stage further with the ‘orangette’ – an orangery with a virtually fully glazed roof.

If you really want to differentiate between the two, you could describe the orangery – with its brickwork base, pillars and parapet-style roof – as a more extravagant bridging of the gap between a full-blown single-storey home extension and the uPVC-framed, 80% glazed, dwarf-walled conservatory. Bear in mind, too, that an orangery will generally be considered a permanent extension and, as such, more likely to require planning permission, whereas most conservatories don’t. But, of course, they don’t all fit neatly into those categories!

What we can say for certain is that either provides wonderful, additional, light and airy living space to your home. Both will certainly add value to your property, with an orangery perhaps just a touch more substantial and elegant, and a conservatory more generally affordable.

The difference is clear as mud! If you’d like to find out more, view our gallery pages, submit an online enquiry or visit our showrooms at The Mill, Queens Road East in Beeston or Rutland House, Nottingham Road in Ilkeston.