A trans­par­ent choice

Con­ser­va­to­ries are a great way to in­crease your space and bring the out­side in

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home - Ju­lia Gray

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Con­ser­va­to­ries can be used as sit­ting rooms, play­rooms, din­ing rooms, dens or multi-func­tional spa­ces, and can be cheaper than build­ing an ex­ten­sion.

The prob­lem is that con­ser­va­to­ries are of­ten boil­ing when it’s hot, and freez­ing when it’s cold, but it is pos­si­ble to make them suit­able for all sea­sons. Some con­ser­va­to­ries have low brick walls with glaz­ing above, but if you’d pre­fer a gar­den room to a con­ser­va­tory, you can have more brick walls and per­haps a tiled or semi-tiled roof, which makes it eas­ier to in­su­late.

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Con­ser­va­to­ries are usu­ally lo­cated at the back of the house, but if there’s a sunny spot at the side, you may pre­fer to put yours there. Its po­si­tion can make a big dif­fer­ence to how us­able it is, so con­sider how the sun moves across the gar­den dur­ing the day.

An east-fac­ing con­ser­va­tory will only get morn­ing sun, while a west­fac­ing one will be cooler in the morn­ing and hot­ter in the af­ter­noon and evening.

Con­ser­va­to­ries that face north may get an­gled sun first and last thing and so won’t over­heat on hot days, but they can be re­ally cold. A south-fac­ing con­ser­va­tory makes the best sun trap and will get ex­tremely hot when it’s warm.

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It is, of course, a shame to spend all that money on a con­ser­va­tory and only be able to use it when the weather al­lows, so ef­fi­cient heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems are a must.

Ex­tend­ing the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem into the con­ser­va­tory may not be cheap, but pow­er­ful ra­di­a­tors are a good way to counter all that glass when it’s cold. Un­der­floor heat­ing can be an even bet­ter so­lu­tion, as it pro­vides a nice warm floor and an even warmth that ra­di­ates up­wards. It’s also ideal if there’s lit­tle or no space for ra­di­a­tors.

Blinds help to in­su­late a con­ser­va­tory in win­ter, as well as keep­ing it cool in sum­mer. They also pro­vide pri­vacy, re­duce glare and should stop soft fur­nish­ings fading in the sun.

Wall-to-ceil­ing con­ser­va­tory blinds tend to be ex­pen­sive, but can make a big dif­fer­ence to the us­abil­ity of the room.

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Like any­thing, there are dif­fer­ent styles of con­ser­va­tory, from more or­nate pe­riod-style ones to plainer, more con­tem­po­rary ones.

UPVC con­ser­va­to­ries are typ­i­cally white or wood ef­fect – they’re rel­a­tively af­ford­able and re­quire lit­tle main­te­nance. Con­ser­va­to­ries made of alu­minium are re­ally strong, durable and ver­sa­tile, but ex­pen­sive. Wooden con­ser­va­to­ries are also ex­pen­sive and re­quire more main­te­nance than UPVC and alu­minium, but they are nat­u­ral and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly (as long as the wood is sus­tain­ably sourced). The best con­ser­va­tory is one that matches the pe­riod and style of your home so it doesn’t look out of place.

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You of­ten don’t re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion to put up a con­ser­va­tory – adding one to a house is usu­ally con­sid­ered per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment (PD), pro­vid­ing you com­ply with the PD rules and reg­u­la­tions.

White or wood, you have plenty of op­tions for a con­ser­va­tory Blinds should stop soft fur­nish­ings fading in the sun

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