The Duchess of Cambridge has built a Georgian-style orangery at their Norfolk country house whilst the recent renovations at Frogmore Cottage, now home to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, included two contemporary garden rooms. But apparently, they won’t be referred to as a conservatory, implying that an orangery is more refined.
What makes a conservatory, an ‘orangery’?
Aside from interior designers and architects avoiding the term conservatory, there are several differences between a conservatory and an orangery.
Firstly, there is a suggestion that the amount of glass in the structure is what tips an orangery into a conservatory. For an orangery, there is slightly less glass in the roof, with less than 75% of the structure glazed.
Similarly, glass walls form less than half of its structure. By comparison, a conservatory is mostly glass both in respect of a glazed roof and walls.
Type of build
Aside from the amount of glass, the build can also nudge a conservatory into becoming an orangery.
Conservatories tend to have pitched roofs that elegantly fan out from where it is connected to the main building. An orangery tends to have a flat perimeter roof with a vaulted glass insert.
And because there are fewer glazed walls, the orangery tends to have a more solid look and feel to it, usually with columns of walls.
But, as interior designers and architects point out, the flooring also plays a part. With such a solid roof and walls to support, there is a need for foundations as well as a firm base in terms of the flooring to support the structure of an orangery. With a conservatory, it’s rare to see deep excavations.
Having said that, there is no suggestion that one is of better quality than the other. There are thousands of examples of stunning conservatories that put many an orangery in the shade.
Essentially, however, an orangery is seen as bridging the gap between a full-blown extension and a conservatory, possibly one reason why @IdealHome suggests that an orangery could make a great spot for a guest bedroom.
That alone should highlight just how differently an orangery can be used. As much as you insulated a conservatory with energy-efficient glass, for example, and underfloor heating, it can rarely be described as a room that could double as a guest bedroom.
And maybe that’s why the orangery is currying favour at the moment. An effective and very usable extension to a property, it has a permanent feel to it that, along with maintenance similar to the rest of your home, will last for decades. A conservatory, even those high-quality examples, will need to be replaced at some point.
There is building work required when adding an orangery to your home but in most cases, not as expensive and time-consuming as a full-on extension. Of course, what is good for the royals, is good enough for us too…