Orangery vs. Conservatory: Key Differences & Uses

A debate as old as time exists—orangeries vs. conservatories. These elegant structures, rooted in history and tradition, have long been coveted additions to both grand estates and humble gardens. But what sets them apart? Read on to discover the key differences between an orangery and a conservatory. We’ll discuss their key differences, explore their unique uses, and ultimately help you choose which is best for your home.

Key Takeaway

Orangeries and conservatories both offer unique features and purposes. Orangeries boast solid brick or stone bases with large windows and lantern-style roofs, while conservatories are predominantly glass structures designed to seamlessly merge indoor and outdoor spaces.

What Is an Orangery?

An orangery is a sophisticated and elegant structure that originated in the 17th century, designed to house citrus trees during the winter months. Unlike traditional greenhouses, orangery buildings are characterised by their brick or stone bases, large windows, and often a lantern-style roof.

Orangery extension glass window and door

What Is the Use of an Orangery?

Modern orangeries serve as stylish extensions to homes, providing bright and airy rooms perfect for relaxation or entertaining guests. With their timeless appeal and classic design features, such as parapets and columns, orangeries add a touch of glamour to any property.

What Is a Conservatory?

A conservatory is a space that seamlessly merges the beauty of nature with the comfort of your home. These structures have been around for centuries, originally designed to protect delicate plants from harsh weather conditions.

What Can a Conservatory Be Used for?

Today, conservatories serve as versatile spaces that can be used for dining, relaxation, or even as a greenhouse for avid gardeners.

The allure of a conservatory lies in its ability to bring the outdoors inside, offering panoramic views of your surroundings while providing protection from the elements. This unique feature allows homeowners to enjoy natural light year-round and create an immersive connection with their outdoor environment.

What Is the Difference Between Conservatory and Orangery?

While both conservatories and orangeries serve as beautiful extensions to a home, there are key differences that set them apart. Let’s explore some of them below.


While an orangery may feature brick walls juxtaposed with glass ceilings for a striking contrast between solidity and transparency, a conservatory might opt for a seamless integration of wood framing with expansive windows to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. By carefully selecting materials that complement yet contrast with each other, architects can create captivating spaces that celebrate both tradition and innovation in equal measure.


Orangeries and conservatories are both elegant structures that serve distinct purposes and have unique uses. Orangeries, with their solid brick walls and tall glazed windows, were originally designed to protect delicate citrus trees during winter months in European estates. Today, they have evolved into versatile living spaces that seamlessly blend the benefits of natural light with the solidity of a traditional extension.

On the other hand, conservatories are primarily built as glass structures to maximise sunlight exposure and provide a seamless connection to the outdoors. Their transparent design creates a soothing space for relaxation or indoor gardening, making them perfect for enjoying views of the garden throughout the year. Conservatories are often referred to as sunrooms for their ability to capture sunlight effectively while providing a comfortable spot for reading or entertaining guests.

Cost comparison

When it comes to analysing the costs involved in building an orangery versus a conservatory, it’s essential to consider not only the initial construction expenses but also the long-term maintenance and energy efficiency of each structure. Orangeries typically require a higher upfront investment compared to conservatories due to their solid brick walls and substantial roofing materials. However, this initial cost can often be offset by lower maintenance expenses over time, as orangeries tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan than conservatories.


Orangeries often feature brick bases and solid roofing, requiring less frequent maintenance compared to conservatories with their predominantly glass structures. However, orangeries may need periodic re-pointing of brickwork and sealing of wood surfaces to prevent weather damage.

On the other hand, conservatories typically demand more regular cleaning due to the abundance of glass panels that can accumulate dirt and grime. Additionally, frequent inspection of seals and joints is crucial for ensuring proper insulation and functionality.

Natural light and temperature control

Orangeries typically have more walls made of solid materials, which can help in regulating the internal temperature by trapping heat or shielding from excessive sunlight. This can create a comfortable atmosphere without relying heavily on artificial lighting or heating systems.

On the other hand, conservatories with their large windows and glass roofs allow abundant natural light to flood the space, creating a bright and airy environment. While this is perfect for enjoying sunshine during the day, it may also lead to higher temperatures in summer unless proper ventilation solutions are in place. Understanding how natural light interacts with different materials can help maximise your comfort while utilising these spaces throughout the year.

Side view of a house with conservatories extension

Which Is Best: An Orangery or Conservatory?

Ultimately, whether you opt for an orangery or a conservatory depends on your personal style preferences and how you intend to utilise the space effectively throughout the seasons. Orangeries typically provide a more traditional aesthetic with solid brick walls, large windows, and a lantern roof, making them perfect for creating an elegant extension to your home that can be used all year round. On the other hand, conservatories are known for their abundance of glass panels that allow for maximum natural light, creating a bright and airy space ideal for showcasing plants or relaxing in the sun.

In terms of practicality and versatility, orangeries are suitable for use as dining rooms, home offices, or even as an additional living area. Conservatories, on the other hand, are well-suited for those looking to bring the outdoors inside without compromising natural light—a perfect spot for enjoying breakfast while admiring the garden view.

Choosing Between Orangery or Conservatory for Your Space

As a trusted windows and doors company in Chepstow, Thermotech uPVC Products Ltd prides itself on delivering top-quality products and services tailored to meet your unique needs.

Whether you’re envisioning the classic charm of orangeries or the contemporary allure of conservatories, our dedicated teams of fitters and builders are here to ensure that every installation is executed to the highest standard.

Contact Thermotech uPVC Products Ltd today, and let us help you make your home improvement dreams come true.

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