Conservatories have been a popular addition to properties all over the UK since the 1970s. The modern iteration of white PVC and double-glazing has become a familiar sight in villages and towns across the country. A conservatory adds a light-filled space to a property, a particularly important addition for older homes with smaller windows.
A conservatory or single-storey extension can be built without seeking planning permission first if: It is a maximum height of 4 metres high or 3 metres high if it’s within 2 metres of a boundary. The conservatory does not cover more than half of the garden. However, all of this does raise an important question: does investing in a conservatory improve the value of your home?
At a basic level, installing a conservatory means your home has more floor space. For many homeowners, their conservatory is treated as an extra room – to be used like any other. It’s also worth noting the health benefits offered by being exposed to more natural light, particularly in autumn and winter. Natural light improves sleep, boosts vitamin D and helps to fight insidious seasonal depression (otherwise known as SAD).
Your home can become a nicer place to spend time in and you get to enjoy your garden space and views without actually having to go outside—a bonus when it’s pouring with rain outside in November.
That being said, there are some issues with traditional conservatories that won’t be covered in the brochure. Most of the benefits of a conservatory can be a double-edged sword. For one thing, the sheer amount of glass creates a greenhouse effect in the summer, making it too hot to spend time inside without opening all the windows and doors to create ventilation.
In the winter, a conservatory can be difficult to heat, since the glass makes it virtually impossible to insulate. These problems mean conservatories have something of a reputation, particularly the uPVC versions we’ve all come to recognise. Carol Peet, of West Wales Property Finders, explains that there might be better options:
“Well-constructed attractive wooden orangeries or slate roofed sunrooms appear on the wishlist of the majority of our clients. They add value as they are far more flexible and usable year-round. This is a major change from 12 years ago when a conservatory was on people’s wish list and uPVC was often favoured for its durability.”
Putting aside issues over whether it will improve the value of your property, it’s important to consider your own preferences. Should it matter if a conservatory fails to add value? It’s a bright, open space that many people all over the UK enjoy spending time in, whether it’s as a room with a specific purpose or just an oasis of calm. To some people, this is worth the investment all by itself – particularly those with busy lives.
With these considerations in mind, the decision to install a conservatory is one that requires thought and deliberation. Orangeries may prove a more popular current option, but the expense and style may not be to everyone’s taste.