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Popular conservatory designs: Contemporary and traditional styles

The conservatory is the number one home improvement in the UK, and the Victorian style is the most popular design. It has a three facet front that looks like a bay window and adds to the interesting roof structure. Victorian conservatories are more useful with a deep design with average width rather than a very wide design. The floor space in a wide design is not very functional.

The Edwardian is another traditional style. It has cleaner lines than the Victorian with a rectangle shape and a roof that slopes back to the centre of the room. It has more space than the Victorian and usually has low brick walls along the sides. Edwardian conservatories are more often used as dining or sitting rooms, and when they became popular, they changed the idea that a conservatory was primarily a glorified greenhouse.

The Georgian or hipped Edwardian conservatory is simply two Edwardian conservatories put together. It has four pitched roof sides that slop back and meet at the centre. This is a popular style for larger conservatories, especially if it is situated parallel to the host wall.

The Bay Edwardian is the Edwardian style with one corner cut off to give a rounded edge. The rounded edge can be useful to adjust to certain circumstances on the property, or it can be used just to add interest to the Edwardian design.

The lean-to is also called the Mediterranean style. It is the most common style and the easiest to install. It is popular with people who undertake DIY construction. The lean-to usually has a five degree slope from the host wall, but there are two and a half degree slopes that need to be structurally enhanced to support heavy snow. Another possible option is to have a 30 degree slope with the angles between the frame and roof closed with glass. The Lean-to style is popular with restaurants, pool side bars and entrance areas.

The Gable Ended conservatory is basically the style that was used for greenhouses in the previous centuries. It was used to grow citrus fruits, delicate flowers and other plants which is how it got the name orangery. One of its best features is the wall of glass at the end. It gives the most open feeling of all the styles, because the view is not cut by any structure. This style harmonises with almost all types of architecture, and the gable can be decorated with a sunburst, cartwheel or other design.

Several different styles can be combined to create something special and unique for different styles of homes and gardens. The T-shape adds a gabled projection to a Georgian conservatory which gives it more aesthetic appeal. A P-shape is the combination of a Victorian and lean-to style. It creates a bay window area off of the main structure. An L-shape conservatory is created to fit around the corner of a house and may have access from two doors. It can be a combination of any styles, but two lean-to or gable styles are the most commonly used. Lantern roof conservatories have a second tier of windows that are a roof on the roof which gives it a grand appearance.

Contemporary conservatories use design features from all the traditional styles. A period design may not harmonise with a modern style house. In this case, architects design conservatories with clean lines and no added detailing, so the conservatory appears like a natural projection of the original building. Contemporary design includes flat, pitched or lean-to roofs and is usually a simple rectangle.

Many people who would prefer not to have a traditional design choose an orangery. Once a sign of wealth, an orangery has a simple style with symmetrical windows and is built with brick or stone with glass. They are often used as a kitchen extension. They traditionally had flat, lead roofs, but today they use modern materials for the roof. With a solid flat roof, orangeries are suitable for roof lanterns. It would be like a glass atrium and light the room with brilliant daylight.

A bespoke conservatory is custom created using standard styles to make an original conservatory. Bespoke conservatories are usually larger than traditional style conservatories, because they combine two or three different styles. They are very popular in the commercial sector as glass structures for restaurants, schools, enclosed walkways or anywhere that maximum light is required in a weatherproof building. Sometimes they are stand-alone buildings, and there are several still standing today that were built in the nineteenth century.

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