Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Extending your home with a conservatory or sunroom will add vital living space and allow you to enjoy the garden no matter the weather. Take a look at these inspiring sunroom and conservatory ideas alongside our top tips for success
by Lucy Keech
6th February 2024

Looking for conservatory ideas? A conservatory can add significant space, light and value to your property, and the right conservatory design can make a great addition to your home and garden’s character.

When collecting conservatory ideas, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to create a scheme that’ll blend with your home – but stepping away from traditional structures and considering wow-factor features such as roof lanterns, frameless glazing or oak trusses can help the room to become a real focal point of your property.

The scope of a conservatory design under permitted development is quite vast, and you can apply the same rules for a rear extension to a sunroom or conservatory project – most applications won’t be complicated and the freedom can prove an exciting opportunity. It’s always best to consult your local planning authority and bring your conservatory ideas to them first, though, as rules differ depending if you’re in an area of outstanding natural beauty, or if you’re looking to extend a listed home.

From grand oak additions with glazed gables to glass box structures, take a look at this collection of inspiring sunroom and conservatory ideas that’ll add character and quality to your home.

1. Glazed Rooftop Conservatory Idea

Being clever with glazing is a great way to maximise light and space in your conservatory ideas. Connected to the house via an internal staircase and surrounded by a roof terrace, this glass box conservatory design has transformed a London mews house. 17.5m2 in total.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Photo: Rick McCallugh

It was completed by A2 Studio in 2019 under permitted development and provided the owner with a much-needed, light-filled space similar to an orangery which is connected to a roof garden and offers views of the surrounding skyline.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Photo: Rick McCallugh

Fibre cement cladding was used externally for the solid central section of this conservatory design, with slim-frame glazing forming the rest of the structure. The project cost £70,000.

Looking for reliable architects and designers to help with your conservatory project? Browse Build It’s Company Directory of established suppliers

2. Glazed Oak Frame Conservatory Design

The downstairs living spaces of this 17th-century stone home suffered from low ceilings, small windows and little natural light, so called for an addition that was able to harness as much natural light as possible while maximising the garden views.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Regional design consultant Tony Williams’ conservatory ideas comprised a 5.5m x 6m extension, using Oakwrights’ face glazing system to achieve a wow-factor, gable-end oak-and-glass conservatory design.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The simple style and natural materials were welcomed by planners and conservation officers as a sympathetic design for this listed property. The internal oak rafters reflect the home’s traditional style with tie beams and curved braces.

More Inspiration: Oak Frame Extensions: Amazing Project Ideas & Expert Advice

EXPERT VIEW Conservatory ideas: energy efficiency & planning

Zoe Grey regional design consultant at Oakwrights, discusses design, planning and energy requirements

What is the first thing to consider when putting together conservatory ideas?

Decide what you want this new room to achieve. Is it a larger kitchen to create a family space or a cosy lounge area to make the most of your views and enjoy your garden all year round. Focus on how this space would improve your everyday life and your property. Then, consider what impact it will have on your garden and look at the potential size of the addition.

What are the rules on planning permission for a conservatory extension?

Some garden rooms can be built under permitted development (PD) rights, so you don’t need to seek formal consent. However, if you live in a listed property or the extension doesn’t fall under PD, planning permission is required. Your designer or construction company may manage the application on your behalf.

What’s the best way to make a conservatory design more energy efficient?

Ideally, I recommend you have at least one well-insulated solid wall. Then, go for a fully insulated roof and use glazing for the rest of the building. Focussing on the structure’s performance will help keep long-term energy bills down. Log burners also make a very cosy addition if you have the space, and can be cheap and efficient to run.

How do we keep a conservatory cool during summer but warm in winter?

High-quality glazing, ideally with a solar control coating, is the future for extensions with lots of glass. The other main contributor to maintaining the perfect temperature in your extension is an insulated roof to moderate heat gains and losses. You can achieve a lovely light room with ample glazing and still have a cool space because of the solid roof. You could relax in it all day – even when its 38°C outside.

3. Combine Old & New in Your Conservatory Ideas

This uniquely placed garden conservatory in Sussex creates a link between the property and the original stone wall which surrounds the garden. The replacement room, from Hampton Conservatories, serves as a tranquil place for relaxation.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The replacement room, from Hampton Conservatories, serves as a tranquil place for relaxation.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

It has a simple lean-to conservatory design, painted in a soft grey to pick up the colour from the stone. Steps up to the stone wall and a matching door create a distinctive entrance from the garden.

Read More: Extending a Home Under Permitted Development: What Can I Build?

4. Oak Frame Orangery Conservatory Design

This 7.5m x 7.5m oak orangery with tiled roof and bespoke sunken lantern features full height glazing on three elevations and two sets of bifold doors.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The Prime Oak mansard orangery conservatory design increases the height of the room, creating a bright and airy living space and transforming the dynamic of this previously closed off home.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The floor-to-ceiling glazing offers stunning views of the surrounding greenery and blurs the boundaries between home and garden. Price for a standard 4m x 5m model: £40,000-£50,000 + VAT.

5. Conservatory Idea with Wow-Factor Glazing

As part of a complete renovation project, IQ Glass designed and installed this super-modern, wow-factor glass take on a traditional conservatory design. The new space replaces an obtrusive plastic construction on the side of the grade II listed property.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Separated from the home by insulated glass walls and double-glazed patio doors, it has a unique and complex peaked roof structure allowing light to flow in obstructed and maintaining a cohesive design with the property’s original features.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The structural glass is supported with slim steel junctions. Innovare doors maintain a sleek, flush glazed external appearance.

6. Gothic-Style Conservatory Design 

As part of the renovation of this listed period property in Nottinghamshire, a gothic-inspired conservatory was constructed by Vale Garden Houses for use as a sitting room, featuring decorative columns and eaves with a deep dentil mould.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Bronze casement windows sit within a mullion framework and the lead roof is crowned with decorative cresting and spire finials, with hidden ventilation in the form of a rising canopy.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

The gable’s stop chamfered relief reflects the diaper bond brickwork of the house. The structure measures 5.8m x 6.3m and is painted in Flagstone from Vale’s period paint collection to create a traditional yet practical conservatory design that complements the main home.

More Amazing Extensions: House Extension Ideas: 30 of the Most Amazing UK Home Extensions

EXPERT VIEW Conservatory decor ideas & maximising space

Lisa Morton director of Vale Garden Houses, offers some top tips to create a light-filled conservatory design

What can a conservatory or sunroom extension bring to a property?

A conservatory or sun room is a completely unique structure. Nothing compares to the atmosphere of a conservatory in providing a bright, calming and relaxing place in which to spend time. A little sunshine, whatever the season,  will flood the room with light and warmth, providing what for many people will be the most used space in their house. The garden will be enjoyed in all weathers, at all times of the year from the comfort and seclusion of the additional room.

What’s the best way to connect the conservatory design to the garden?

We all want to make more of our outdoor space. Whether your conservatory is designed with full length glazed panels and doors or a combination of glazing and masonry, you will certainly feel more connected to the outside than in any other room in the home. Folding doors will help open the home onto the garden or terrace for alfresco entertaining. Opting for a glazed roof rather than solid construction will allow you to feel at one with the outdoors.

Do you have any lighting tips for those pulling together conservatory ideas?

Clever lighting can create dramatic effects and give the room different moods at different times. Consider unwanted reflections, as without blinds any light will be mirrored back into the room. A combination of lighting can encourage the right ambience throughout the days and seasons. Chandeliers create a wow factor and low-level lighting adds atmosphere.

How can homeowners make the most of a small conservatory design?

Finding the happy balance between what suits your lifestyle and the needs of the property can be tricky. This is particularly important in towns and cities where many houses have limited living space and every square metre is valuable. A conservatory will offer precious extra living accommodation and make the most of small areas without blocking light into existing rooms. Keep the spce light and fresh, don’t over clutter and, if you can, build in good storage.

7. Traditional-Style Sunroom Extension

Requiring consent due to its conservation area status, this traditional-style sunroom from Thames Valley Windows needed to be efficient enough for the 21st century whilst improving natural light in a cottage with low ceilings.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Architectural designer Michael East suggested French doors and slim profile, flush casement double-glazed timber windows. Astral bars add definition to this conservatory design alongside black wrought iron monkey tail handles and hinges. The exterior features a white render and doors and windows painted in light green.

8. Bespoke & Elegant Conservatory Idea

Constructed in Sapele hardwood and finished in Chartwell green, this Bespoke Rutland conservatory’s roof pitch was specifically designed to mirror that of the house gable.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Solar control glass helps to maintain a comfortable temperature all year round, keeping excess warmth out in summer. An easy-clean coating has also been applied to minimise maintenance and maximise natural light.

Conservatory Ideas: Sunroom Designs & Advice for Every Kind of Home

Due to the complexity of the two different ridge heights, steel was needed within the roof to take the weight of the timber and glass.

Learn More: Solar Shading: What Are the Benefits and How Can You Get it Right?

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