Orangery ideas – structural and aesthetic designs for your light-filled space

Enhance your home and gain valuable space with these light-filled orangery ideas to expand a kitchen, dining and living room with a garden room extension

These beautiful orangery ideas demonstrate how you can effectively enhance your home and introduce more natural light.

The orangery is increasingly being designed as an integral part of the house; a valuable addition to the ground floor living space.

Who would say no to extra space? Whether it's for a kitchen that opens out on to the garden or an entertainment hub, most people hanker after a few precious additional square metres. A sleek structure will provide extra space for a living and dining area, kitchen, office or playroom.

Orangery ideas: designs and decor

How does an orangery differ from a conservatory idea?  An orangery is predominantly made up of brickwork rather than glass.

Vale Garden Houses director Lisa Morton explains, 'It is in a combination of factors. Mainly seen in the amount of glass within the structure and the differences can be demonstrated in both the roof and the side. In the roof construction, a conservatory will generally have over 75 per cent of the roof glazed whilst an orangery will have less.'

Although the names are frequently used interchangeably, there are differences between a conservatory and an orangery. Conservatories are largely made of glass, including the roof. An orangery features more brickwork and is a flat-roofed extension with large glass windows and roof lights.

A garden room or garden summerhouse, is characterised by a solid roof and walls with generous windows.

1. Accommodate a kitchen

Conservatory with dining table and chair

(Image credit: David Salisbury)

'Whilst modern conservatories have come a long way in terms of heating and ventilation, an orangery is often the preferred choice for housing a kitchen,' explains David Salisbury (opens in new tab) creative director, Karen Bell.

'An orangery can better incorporate insulation, extraction, air conditioning etc,' – all better for accommodating a conservatory kitchen.

2. Create a cohesive space

Wood coffee table in front of grey sofa in an open plan conservatory

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

A mix of styles spanning modern country to sleek minimalism (see the Barcelona chair above in ivory leather) work beautifully together in this generous orangery thanks to the neutral colours and airiness of the space.

Traditional dark wood furnishings add areas of interest to the scheme while allowing the beautiful arched French doors to take centre stage.

3. Extend a living room set up

Open plan living room with a coffee table and two sofas facing each other

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Turn an orangery into a second living room for smart entertaining. An orangery that opens directly on to a large expanse of garden is perfect for a family, allowing people to spill outside when weather permits.

While orangeries make great sitting rooms, it can be tricky to make all that glass feel inviting. Arrange sofas facing each other for a social aspect, choosing classic conservatory furniture and a matte floor in stone or ceramic so that it's easy to clean. Maximise the outdoor feel with botanical-print blinds and house plant ideas.

4. Mix materials

Small wood frame conservatory

(Image credit: David Salisbury)

'We’re often asked whether modern glazed extensions only work on modern buildings or if a contrast with a period property can work,' says Karen Bell at David Salisbury. 'A contrast with the original building can be acceptable, as long as it does not obscure the original architectural features of the property.'

'In the case of Listed Buildings, the rules are that much tighter. But sometimes the nature of modern glazed extensions ensure the original features are often clearly visible and maintained.'

This orangery with a wooden frame and tiled roof helps to welcome a glass extension without imposing on the aesthetic of a period property.

5. Decorate with colour

Bright and modern conservatory with all glass windows and ceiling

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Liven up an airy orangery with a splash of colour. With floor-to-ceiling windows, an orangery often needs livening up with soft furnishings to prevent the space from feeling stark. Brighten up the floor with an eye-catching patterned rug and characterful cushion covers to match.

Tucked away at the rear of a property, this bespoke garden room design affords plenty of privacy, yet offers glorious views from two sides. Ensure you fit high performance glazing. Check the energy rating: A is the most efficient; G the least.

6. Make it modern

Small garden room with wooden dinning table and benches and open double french doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

An orangery is a glass structure with solid walls, but to give those walls a modern twist choose glass. A modern glass extension idea gives a contemporary twist to a traditional orangery design. The solid roof construction allows for more thoughtful light placement, from spotlights to down lighters to create ambiance and atmosphere in the additional living space.

Roof vents will help to maintain a comfortable temperature inside. Choose a type that opens and closes automatically. Select furniture that is in keeping with the overall architecture of the building.

7. Be sympathetic with the surroundings

Outside view of a glass conservatory

(Image credit: Vale Garden Rooms)

When choosing an orangery design it's good to think about how the structure will work within the plot you have. Being sympathetic to the existing house helps to make the extension an addition which enhances the look of the house, rather than stand out like a sore thumb. This Vale Garden House garden room is the perfect extension on this country cottage-style home.

The rich green frame seamlessly blends in with the lush foliage of the cottage garden beyond. The arched windows of the small conservatory feel elegant and perfectly paired for a period property with character.

8. Zone an open-plan space

Spacious and bright kitchen conservatory with table and sofa seating

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Create different zones within a larger orangery for a valuable multi-functional family space that can be used for after-school study and play as well as grown-up evening dinner parties.

A generously sized dining table is positioned directly below the apex for maximum impact. A glass roof creates an illusion of space and height which is accentuated by the use of pale furniture and neutral paint.

Run the same flooring across the two zones to create a feeling of continuity within the open-plan living room.

9. Make it fit for all seasons

Small room with blue striped sofa and a small glass coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

Create an all-year-round family space with a garden room. Make your room feel like an internal living space by using classic furniture and an abundance of cushion-filled seating – perfect for lounging on a Sunday afternoon.

Here blue fabric in mismatched patterns and textures create a contemporary feel in this light and airy orangery. This cosy spot enjoys plenty of light and wonderful views across the country landscape.

10. Create a blank canvas

White table and chairs in a white room overlooking the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Paul Massey)

Create a distressed floor as shown in this simple yet effective conservatory flooring idea. Use watered-down paint to achieve a whitewashed effect, then finish it off with a satin epoxy varnish. Hang metal pendant lights above the table to create an intimate feel for dining.

Large-scale pendant conservatory lighting is a design statement in itself. This coastal-inspired extension has a wonderfully bright feel thanks to its fresh decor in shades of white and grey. Stick to the same colour palette for a cohesive and considered look.

11. Add warmth with a wooden structure

Small conservatory with L shaped sofa and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Instil a warm welcome with double patio doors in materials that harmonise with the main building, as well as the outdoors. Conservatory blinds are a good space-saving solution when there is no room either side of a window for curtains, as shown above.

Their simple lines also give a fresh, modern feel. Sofas in a U-shape encourage guests to sit together and chat. Rattan furniture with padded seating is a classic choice for a conservatory.

12. Plump for an indoor garden

Small tropical room with a chair and plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Everard)

Turn your orangery into a tropical haven with plenty of conservatory plant ideas and reinvented veranda furniture. Though this room may not actually be in the garden, it still oozes a fanciful garden feel.

In colourful shades hot from the jungle, reinvented veranda furniture creates a haven of tropical lushness in this colourful garden room that just bursts with life. Alternatively, work a theme into your scheme – an orangery is the ideal place to experiment.

What is the difference between an orangery and a conservatory?

'The primary difference between the two is that a conservatory tends to have the majority of its roof glazed,' explains David Salisbury's creative director, Karen Bell. 'Whereas an orangery has more of a solid perimeter roof with a roof lantern or lanterns to allow light in.'

'With bespoke orangery design there is not a hard and fast rule. But we tend to go by the metrics that if there is more than 75 per cent glass in the roof, then the extension is a conservatory. Anything less than that, we categorise as an orangery.'

'Orangeries are often specified where a large extension is required but where there is a limit on height,' Karen explains. 'For example, perhaps to avoid the extension impacting the view from an upstairs window.'

How much does an orangery cost on average?

So how much does the average orangery cost? 'Homeowners can get their local building to add on something resembling an orangery for as little as £20k,' suggests David Salisbury's creative director, Karen Bell. 'But if they want beautiful proportions, designs, quality of materials and good aftercare, then they’ll need to pay more.'

'A typical David Salisbury project would start at £40k but larger projects could rise to £100k and over. It’s very much dependent on size but also design. Also what the site itself is like and the extent of any associated building works.'

'A bespoke orangery extension will add value to a property so should be viewed as an investment rather than just a one-off cost. A well-known brand will also add wow factor and therefore make the property more attractive to future buyers.'

'With a bespoke timber orangery, it’s hard to say an average as each individual design can vary massively,' explains Mervyn Montgomery, Managing Director, Hampton Conservatories. 'It’s possible for homeowners to add a glazed extension to their property on a budget. However, if they want a truly bespoke room, the cost will increase. '

'At Hampton Conservatories our orangery extension can range depending on the size, materials included, and craftsmanship involved.'

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.