What is an Orangery?

In its earliest form an orangery was a large glass building attached to wealthy homes or sitting in the grounds, and in which fruit trees were planted. Fast forward 200 hundred years and today’s orangeries tend to be used as offices, a playroom for the kids, or an extension at the back of our homes.

Attached or stand-alone, thankfully orangeries are also a lot smaller than their monster-sized predecessors of yesteryear. They also tend to have either double or triple glazing instead of single glazing, making them far more thermally efficient and far more likely to get Building Standards approval.

In fact, today’s orangeries can be likened more to a home extension. Some suggest they are like conservatories – although we don’t believe that’s the case. This is because an orangery has bricks – usually matching those in the main home – as well as either a tiled composite Equinox Roof or a handy Solar Reflective self-cleaning glass variety. A conservatory’s main role is to bring in light. The downside is that due to its large windows, lack of bricks and large pointed ceiling a conservatory won’t be as warm as an orangery in winter.

Roof and base

But the difference between a conservatory and orangery doesn’t end there. An orangery roof tends to be flat with a glass centre, whereas a conservatory’s is more than likely to be pitched roof. You’ll also find that where a conservatory typically has French doors, you can expect to see the sliding variety or bi-fold doors in an orangery. And, in fact, you can tell an orangery right away – especially if it’s stand-alone. That’s because conservatories are nearly always attached to one wall of the house.

An orangery and conservatory also differ in terms of the materials used to build each. The frame of a conservatory is usually made from uPVC whereas orangeries tend to come in ‘classier-looking’ wood. The frame is also shorter in an orangery. We’ve seen orangeries built using aluminium but they always have a smarter-looking material to cover the silver poles.

The materials used will obviously also influence the cost of each extension. Your typical conservatory in the UK today will cost in the region of £10,000 whereas an orangery will set you back almost double that amount.


It’s pretty simple to fit downlighters or other forms of artificial lighting to the flat roof of an orangery (not so with the pitched conservatory variety). The fact it has more glass than a house extension means an orangery gets lighter than the former. It also results in the orangery performing in a similar fashion to a greenhouse during the winter months, ie where it can store solar heat. A skylight window means you can admit air if it is too hot during the summer months. Today it’s also possible to buy glass which will lessen the solar effects of the sun during the typically warmer summer months of July and August.

Call us today!

Fancy your own customised orangery for your family home? Then get in touch with the Sovereign Home Improvements team today. We’d be happy to chat through your ideas and perhaps suggest others. Tel: 01277 810 910 or see sovereignhome.co.uk.