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Orangery vs Conservatory: Key Differences


Conservatories and orangeries can be a fantastic way to bring some light into your home all year round, giving you a stylish space that you can really make your own. With the lines often being blurred between the two, it can be hard to know which one to choose. Keep reading to find out the differences between an orangery and a conservatory so you can find the best addition to your home.

What is an orangery?

An orangery is a brick-based structure with a solid flat roof that has a glass lantern in the centre of it. Traditionally, orangeries have large, tall windows. They are normally built out of stone or brick, tending to have full walls or brick pillars within the design, which makes for effective insulation. 

This type of structure can be either standalone, or built against the side of your house with external quality windows or a door leading into the house. You can choose from a square or rectangle shape to complement your home as you see fit, with the design generally being built in a similar style to the house. It does not require its own heating source, due to the extra insulation offered by the masonry elements.

What is a conservatory?

A conservatory is a fully glazed structure built against your house, with a door or window opening into the house. The roof is largely composed of glass, with the walls also largely being made of glass.

When it comes to shape, you can opt for a rectangular, T-shaped or P-shaped conservatory, with the design generally not looking similar to the house. This is largely due to its fully glazed frame. From a technical standpoint, it should also have a standalone heating source that is separate to your main house.

What’s the difference between a conservatory and an orangery?

The amount of glass

The main difference between an orangery and a conservatory is the amount of glass within the design. Whilst a conservatory has a fully-glazed frame, with a pitched glazed roof, an orangery has corner pillars and/or walls built out of brick, with a flat solid roof that contains a central glass lantern.

Connection to the house

Another difference between the two is that whilst an orangery can be either standalone or built against the house, a conservatory must be built against a wall of your house. In the instance that the structure is built against the side of your house, there must be an external quality door or window into the house.


When figuring out which structure you want, shape is also important; this is where the two also differ. Conservatories can either be built in a rectangular, T or P shape, whereas orangeries are either a square or rectangular shape. 


In terms of style, conservatories are a fully glazed structure that does not look similar to the house, whereas an orangery is designed to be a similar style to the house, containing brick elements. 


Traditionally, an orangery is a larger-scale addition to your home, whereas a conservatory is more minimal. It is important to consider the space you have available as part of your decision-making process. 

Insulation & heating

In terms of insulation, traditionally a conservatory must have a standalone heating source that’s separate from the main house. An orangery is generally more efficient at retaining heat due to its more solid construction, and therefore does not need a heating source.

Value added to your property 

When performed to a high standard, and in a way that is in-keeping with the property itself, most home improvements are likely to boost the value of your home. In the case of a conservatory, you would be looking at between 5 and 12% value added, whereas an orangery can actually add as much value as an extension can. 

However, this depends upon the finish used; you should also consider the design that would best match the feel and style of your property. Would it benefit from the stylish simplicity of a conservatory, or the grandeur of an orangery? 

Additionally, it’s worth considering the amount of garden space you currently have, and how much the new structure would take from it. This is because retaining garden space may be beneficial to your property value. A local estate agent can help you determine how you can get the most value out of your home.

Which one is right for my home?

Deciding on the right structure for your property depends on a variety of factors. An orangery is the best choice for you if you would like:

  • A light, sunny space that still offers a sense of privacy, and limits glare 
  • A standalone structure that could add significant property value 
  • A greater sense of climate control and the ability to use the space year-round
  • Easier maintenance due to the higher amount of masonry involved 
  • A more luxurious structure to match your more traditional property perfectly

Whereas, a conservatory is best for you if you would like:

  • An all-glass space flooded with light from both the walls and the roof
  • A place where you can enjoy the sunnier days inside, with the feeling that you’re sat outside
  • A structure that is a different style to the house and sits against it
  • A requirement for a separate heating system, due to less insulation 
  • A structure that would complement your modern build house, or Edwardian, Post-War or Victorian semi-detached house

Orangery rooflights

If you’ve decided that an orangery is the right fit for your home, we’re here to help make your dream a reality. We offer an expert range of rooflights in a variety of styles: from the chic refinement of our flat rooflight and framed flat skylights, to our contemporary yet classic Korniche or Brett Martin roof lanterns. 

Our orangery rooflights are built to last, with benefits and add-ons across the range including:

  • A strong yet slim frame design, with slim internal sight lines and low external sight lines 
  • No visible fixings to maintain a chic, tidy exterior 
  • Thermally-efficient glass for all-year-round insulation, helping you cut costs on heating
  • A beautiful introduction of natural light into your space
  • Custom-made rooflights to suit you at no extra cost, with a choice of external frame colours 
  • A reduced risk of condensation
  • Free self-clean glass as standard 
  • A 10-year warranty
  • Argon gas-filled toughened glass 
  • Option to select triple glazing for even greater energy efficiency
  • Easy installation
  • Various sizes available 

Shop our range of orangery roof lanterns to find one that matches your vision!

Conservatory rooflights

If a conservatory is the right fit for you, we stock a range of rooflights to help complement your beautiful new space. From the chic, simplistic feel of the Coxdome Flat Glass and the Fakro Centre Pivot styles to the unique look of Circular and Walk On styles – you’ll be sure to find a rooflight to open up your space.

Much like our orangery products, our conservatory rooflights are built to be durable as well as stylish. Benefits and add-ons across the range include:

  • Easy Installation 
  • A stunning introduction of natural light into your space 
  • Made-to-measure designs for bespoke fitting
  • Exceptional thermal performance and no cold bridging 
  • Argon gas-filled toughened glass 
  • High-security fixings which are hidden to maintain the chic exterior 
  • Laminated inner glass pane to prevent injuries 
  • A Price Match Guarantee for similar products  
  • Solar protection 
  • Optional privacy satin glass or frosted glass for walk-on styles 
  • Optional anti-slip sand-blasted top pane for walk-on styles 

Shop our range of conservatory rooflights and orangery rooflights or get in touch with us to find out how we can help you create the home extension of your dreams.

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Find yours today at Toughened Glass Systems.


Are orangeries better than conservatories?

Generally, orangeries are considered better due to their more long-lasting and insulated design. They are also likely to add a similar value to your home as an extension would. This is reinforced by their ability to match the design of your home, meaning that you’re more likely to retain some of the value associated with traditional or unique house styles. Their brick elements mean that they can generally be used all year round, which makes them ideal for use as home offices or living room-style spaces. They are also easier to maintain long-term due to their higher level of masonry elements. If you’d prefer a space that’s flooded with light and feels like you’re sitting outside on a sunny day, or you have a more modern house style, then a conservatory might be better for you.

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory or orangery?

The planning permission requirements differ between the two. As an orangery is classified as a single-storey extension, they generally fall under permitted development. This is only true if they are built within the permitted development guidelines. Also, if your property is a listed building, or is built on a conservation area, there may be tighter restrictions in place. 

Similarly, conservatories are viewed as permissible developments, providing they meet the requirements. For example, they must have external grade dividing doors. In the event you want to replace them, the new doors must also comply with part L of the Building Regulations, even though the actual conservatory doesn’t. If you decide you don’t want the door between the conservatory and your house, you will need to carry out a full building regulation application, meaning that the whole building needs to be compliant.

Additionally, your conservatory will need its own independent source of heating, with separate temperature controls to the main house. You also need to make sure the structure won’t cause any access issues. This could be in relation to window obstruction, or even go so far as loft access via a ladder in the event of a fire.

It’s important to note that the conservatory can’t extend past the property’s side wall; the same goes for the height of the structure. Also, a single storey extension should not extend further than between 3 and 4 metres. The size of any buildings you already have on your land, like outhouses or sheds, should also be taken out of your available space. This will help you to calculate the size of your new development effectively.

Lastly, when it comes to cladding materials: render, plastic, timber, pebble or stone cladding is not permitted on designated land.

Ultimately, you should always check with your local planning department before you get started.

What makes a room an orangery?

An orangery is defined by its full walls or pillars made of brick, with glass windows, as well as a flat solid roof with a glass lantern in the centre. They can either be built against the side of your house, or as a standalone structure, which sets them apart from other types of home extension structure, like conservatories.

Are orangeries cold in winter?

Due to their larger quantity of masonry elements (i.e. brick), and the benefits of rooflights with thermally efficient glazing, orangeries are more likely to retain heat all-year-round; even in winter. In the event that you’d like to install a separate heating source, this is unlikely to be difficult due to the solid wall elements of the design.

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Bob toploft
Bob toploft
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