Modern Conservatory Designs for Your Home
Having a modern conservatory isn’t just about trendy looks, it’s also about taking advantage of all the latest materials, options and energy savings features to get the most out of your conservatory extension. Which makes your conservatory look good, stay secure and be comfortable to use all year round.
In this article, we look at some of the features of modern conservatory extension design and give you a quick guide to how much a contemporary conservatory costs.
What are the latest trends in conservatory design?
We can break this down into 3 parts, firstly the overall appearance, secondly energy savings and thirdly the interior.
The trend for modern conservatory design is “clean-lines”, big doors and lots of glass. Additionally, although you can still see the use of solid pillars or walls, any solid sections tend to be full height rather than low level dwarf walling.
This approach to conservatory design has given rise to a completely new category of extensions that are referred to as “glass box” conservatories. However, glass boxes are bespoke conservatory designs at the top end of the price range.
Image credit: http://gdltd.net/products/residential-glass-extensions/
Conservatory roofs themselves are also getting the treatment. Reversing or rotating the slope angle for a lean-to conservatory is fast becoming popular. It’s amazing how doing something so basic can radically alter the whole feel of the humble lean-to design.
Flat roofing with a single large, multiple small glass lanterns are used to great effect. Solid or tiled conservatory roofing itself is also prevalent in modern conservatory design.
Conservatory doors – As we mentioned earlier, wider and larger doors are the way trends are taking designs. The advent of bifold doors has given designers a “new toy” to play with. Very often bifold patio doors will take up a whole side of the room, so that when they are opened it’s like the wall disappears. Leaving a super-wide opening to really combine the inside and outside of the room into one.
Sometimes 2 adjacent sides of the conservatory are fitted with bifold doors, which creates an even more spectacular effect when they are opened at the same time.
Coloured conservatories are also part of the latest trend. Many times strong colours are preferred over white. These days you can see more dark grey conservatories than ever before.
Timber conservatories have historically had the advantage when it comes to colour, simply because you can paint it any colour you like. But with modern RAL spray paints that are baked onto the frames during manufacture (which don’t flake, fade or peel) being available for both UPVC or Aluminium, you now have a range of up to 250 colours at your fingertips.
Not only do you have plain colours & wood grains, but how about something like these, to name but a few?
- Clotted Cream & Cotswold Biscuit,
- Painswick, Corse Lawn & Eclectic Grey,
- English, Irish, Golden or Silvered Oak.
- Number 10 Black or Rosewood
Modern conservatory frames
Being modern with your conservatory choice does not mean that a wooden conservatory is out of the running, far from it. Modern Hardwood conservatories offer just as much as other materials, and for many, you just can’t beat the “real-thing”.
You may be surprised to know that softwood is still used for building conservatories, although the timber used these days is an engineered product.
Engineered timber is basically made from a laminate of softwoods bonded together in such a way as to alter the grain direction of each laminate layer of timber. The timber is treated under pressure to preserve it, and give it a long life-span, before being machined into shape.
This wood does not expand and contract like natural softwood and because the grain is “crossed” it does not suffer from warping or distortion like natural softwood. It’s exceptionally stable and long lasting. Engineered timber is also less expensive to use for a conservatory than hardwood.
UPVC conservatories still hold a dominant position in the market, because the material continues to provide a cost effective and energy efficient solution. Designers are being as inventive as they can with the popular UPVC conservatory, reinforcing the frame profiles with galvanised steel to add strength and allow for slimmer frames. With slimmer stronger frames it means that you can achieve the “more glass, less wall” style that is currently en-vogue (in fashion).
Aluminium conservatory designers have really come into their stride of late. The natural lightness and strength of aluminium makes it perfect to create super-slim frames, and also cope with wide support spans. Some of the latest aluminium conservatory designs are really amazing.
Modern Conservatory Price comparison
There is a marked difference in cost for each type of conservatory, as you can see from this general comparison below:
|Type of conservatory||Frame||Price Guide|
|Medium size lean-to 4m x 2.5m||uPVC||£8,500 to £10,500|
|T-shape (lean to)||uPVC / Engineered timber||£15,500 to £25,000|
|Aluminium Lean- to4m x 2.5m||Aluminium||£9,500 to £12,000|
|Contemporary Orangery (4×3)||uPVC / LSL Timber / Hardwood||£25,000 to £35,000|
The most popular uses for a modern conservatory
- Around half of owners use it for extra living space.
- About 1 in 5 as a way to increase natural light.
- About 1 in 10 just to create a good impression.
- Around 1 in 7 for a dining room.
- Approximately 1 in 20 wanted a child playroom.
What that tell us is that the vast majority of homeowners build a conservatory with the sole purpose of simply enjoying the extra space around the house.
Bu to get the maximum use out of your conservatory, you need to keep it at a comfortable temperature to use.Compare Conservatory Prices
2 Energy efficient modern conservatories
Whatever your final use is for your conservatory, if it’s not comfortable to live with then you have wasted a lot of your time and money for something you can’t enjoy.
So that means ensuring the conservatory does not get too hot in summer or too cold in winter by making it energy efficient.
Starting at the top, your conservatory roof design is the first critical element in controlling internal temperature. In our humble opinion, neither a polycarbonate conservatory roof or single glazed roof is going to be up to the job. You are likely to end up with a sauna or freezer depending on the season.
- Simply put. You have 2 basic options for your conservatory roof:
A double glazed conservatory roof is going to help in 2 primary ways. First is by reducing heat & cold transfer back and forth, second is by noise reduction. Other secondary effects will include controlling condensation and an improvement in safety & security.
Modern glass technology can provide solar control to reduce harmful UV and IR light. Toughened and tempered glass boosts security and reduces the chances of personal injury in the event of breakage. It can also have coatings that make it self-cleaning, which is really useful for a glass roof.
Further improvements in energy efficiency can be made by have the sealed units filled with heavy gasses such as Argon, Krypton or Xenon (Argon is the cheapest and most popular).
To go a step further you can opt for triple glazing if that appeal to you. However triple glazing is costlier.
The sides of your conservatory should also be double glazed. The same applies to the glazed sides of your conservatory as it does to your roof. With the exception that if you have floor to ceiling glass, then it must be safety glass (toughened or tempered) to comply with UK building regulations
Once more, the use of gas filled sealed double glazed units will further increase energy efficiency. Currently the thickest and most readily available double glazing is a 28 mm unit. That comprises of 2 sheets of 4 mm float glass with a 20 mm air gap.
If you use argon filled units with warm edge spacebars, this will probably be the most energy efficient double glazed window type, other than upgrading to triple glazing.
Ventilation is an important aspect and can be addressed either by the use of trickle vents fitted to the side frames or by using roof vents. Roof vents can be hand operated or at the upper end of the scale you can find thermostatically controlled rain sensitive electrically operated vents.Compare Conservatory Prices
3 Modern conservatory interiors
The features that you want inside your conservatory are best seriously considered at outset, otherwise you might find it difficult and costly to remedy or add something once the conservatory is finished.
- Power supply – how many power outlets will you need & is your current fuse board capable of dealing with the extra demand
- Lighting – there are loads of great lighting design options around, from exposed to concealed.
- If you are going for a kitchen extension as part of your conservatory, what about water supply and draining requirements?
- Heating your conservatory has to be considered. Whilst some will be content with mobile heating devices, other will prefer some kind of fixed system. If you are thinking about hot water radiators, there also loads of designs to choose from – but how many will you need and where is the water supply coming from. Is you exiting system capable of running the extra radiators.
- Underfloor heating is a great option for a conservatory because it is inconspicuous and very efficient. There are 2 types of underfloor heating, wet or dry. Wet uses hot water circulated in pipes and dry uses electrically heated elements. Both could be retro-fitted but will have the effect of raising the floor level in the room. That increase in floor height could impact upon things like opening & closing doors.
- Conservatory blinds are an excellent way of quickly managing heat build-up as well as providing a means of privacy. Obviously conservatory blinds can be fitted afterwards to both the roof and the side windows, but you can also fit double glazed windows and doors with integral blinds. It does cost extra but it does save you the cost of buying and fitting window blinds yourself.
Last, but not least, how are you going to furnish the interior of your conservatory? If you don’t already have enough furniture to put in the room, then don’t forget to budget for the cost of buying new.Compare Conservatory Prices