10 ways to make your conservatory look expensive on a budget

Give your garden room a makeover without breaking the bank

Lean-to conservatory with wooden floors, neutral blinds and layered lighting
(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you've had your conservatory for a while, or have just moved into a house with a tired garden room, chances are you'd be happier if you could make your conservatory look expensive - without costing the earth.

Finding the budget for such a project can take a while - or perhaps you simply don't use the space enough to warrant a full-scale reno of your conservatory ideas. After all, it happens to the best of us; one minute we’re lounging with a cuppa as the morning sun streams through the windows and the next our eyes land on some worn out paint, a faded cushion and soon we’re planning the most epic makeover, preferably minus an epic bill!

Make your conservatory look expensive on a budget

Whether you’re a conservatory connoisseur or a bit of a novice when it comes to how to style a sun-soaked sanctuary, the first step is always deciding exactly what you want from the space.

Do you want to revamp your conservatory to house an office as well as a sitting area? A dining room and a chill out zone? A playroom and a boot room? Get clear on what you're looking for and then read on to see what the design experts suggest.

1. Go for customisable lighting

Lean-to conservatory with wooden floors, neutral blinds and layered lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jody Stewart)

Conservatory lighting ideas are often overlooked because by nature these spaces are primarily used during the day. But as Julian Page, head of design at BHS says ‘When night falls there’s nothing cosier than a beautifully-lit conservatory.’ The right lighting can make the conservatory addition to your house a year-long, 24/7 usable room.  

‘When it comes to lighting these unique areas of your home, we’d recommend lighting the perimeter of your room with a modern track light. Along the track, adjustable spotlight heads can be customised to your liking, allowing you to switch the lighting in your room easily,’ Julian explains. 

And don’t forget lamps, candles or solar/fairy lights for when it’s time to snuggle in and get cosy.

2. Match flooring inside and out

Modern conservatory with indoor-outdoor floor iles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Changing the flooring in your conservatory isn’t the most cost-effective of all the revamp options, but it is one of the most impactful. However, don’t be tempted to use the same wood or carpet that’s inside the home – conservatory conditions can wreak havoc on both, instead consider tile used inside the sun room and just outside to create cohesion.

'Porcelain tiles are durable enough to be used both within the home and in gardens,’ Mike Whitfield, interiors expert at Lusso tells us. 

And using the same tile both inside and out onto your patio or stairs to the garden will, ‘help to make a room feel bigger and airier, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor living. Creating the illusion of more space will immediately make your conservatory feel more luxurious,’ he adds. 

Thankfully for the budget conscious amongst us, porcelain tile is often cheaper than hardwood, so there is a saving to be had there.

3. Don’t shy away from colour

Modern conservatory with graphic floor tiles, rattan sofa, glass coffee tables and large houseplants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Don't feel like you have to stick to neutrals – whether that's the actual frame of your conservatory, the furnriture you use or the accessories that adorn the space.

‘One of the simplest ways to make an old conservatory look good is by embracing colour,' says Caron Grant, brand manager at Bridgman. ‘Look to the vivid magentas, dark forest greens and rich navy blues that have proven so popular in recent years to enrich your space with a new sense of wealth and warmth.’

4. Choose sleek window dressings

Corner of green-framed conservatory with woven blinds and two dining chairs by round table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

If you’re looking for conservatory blind ideas on a budget, do shop around but don’t skimp. Steal from the budget elsewhere to get the best blinds you can afford otherwise your conservatory will be too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and too bright to ever sit in.

Ellie Kennedy, interior design expert at 247 Blinds suggests opting for, ‘Blinds that are made to measure and fit onto the window frame like perfect fit and stick fit styles attached flush to the window frame to create a seamless look.'

‘Having these properly fitted blinds will make the space appear more expensive and bespoke,' continues Ellie. 'Perfect fit shutters for example will elevate the look of your conservatory and are one, quick change to your room that will create a timeless aesthetic.'

5. Choose clever storage

Lean-to conservatory with white sofa and armchair surrounding wooden trunk coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Cluttered conservatories don’t exactly ooze luxury, instead they look jumbled and busy. Smart storage solutions keep things sleek by ensuring there is a place for everything. So make your furniture work harder by combining comfort with functionality.

Replace a couple of dining chairs with an upholstered storage bench and the coffee table with a chest to store books and blankets – utilise the space by making each piece as multi-functional as possible.

6. Go modular

Green-framed conservatory with wicker u-shaped sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC)

For optimal versatility without compromising a high-end look, furniture pieces that can be reconfigured are the perfect conservatory addition. ‘Explore modular, multi-functional furniture options to maximise the space in your conservatory,' advises TV presenter and ambassador for Conservatory Insulations Anna Ryder Richardson.

'Experiment with furniture arrangements, and consider moving pieces around to create a new layout tailored to the season.' Think dining tables that collapse to form a sideboard and couches that can turn from L-shape to two-seater with coffee table/footstool in minutes. This works especially well if you’re looking for small conservatory ideas.

7. Add varying textures

White conservatory with wooden floor and dining table surrounded by rattan chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Another way to make your conservatory look expensive is to layer different materials. ‘Instantly infuse your conservatory with contemporary style by introducing organic materials and textures,' advises Caron from Bridgman.

'Introduce wood, stone, cane and fur to provide depth and contrast with any plain white windows or doors.’ The most budget-friendly way to achieve this is through varying textures of throws, rugs, cushions and artwork. 

8. Fill it with plants

Conservatory filled with artwork and plants as seen from doorway

(Image credit: Future PLC)

To really nail the indoor/outdoor living vibe, plants are vital. ‘We recommend introducing plenty of leafy houseplants to your conservatory to blur the line between your indoor and outdoor living spaces and lean into that fresh, biophilic trend that’s all the rage too,’ says Dani Burroughs, head of product at Snug.

Think about hanging plants from the roof, adding window boxes and placing tall trees in the corners to nail the look of a super luxe orangery on a budget. 

9. Be inspired by garden prints

White conservatory with botanical printed armchair, cushions and blines

(Image credit: Future PLC)

It’s not just living plants that help blur the lines between the garden and the conservatory prints do too. ‘Embrace the trend of bringing the outdoors in by incorporating plant/palm prints into your home decor,' says Anna.

'Not only do these prints add a touch of nature to your space, but they enhance the look of the space and create a more tranquil environment.' The addition of artwork inspired by plants as well as soft furnishings is a cheap and easy way to make a big impact. 

10. Add a cosy feel with rugs

Tiles may be practical, but it doesn’t exactly scream cosy, which is where rugs come in. ‘A thoughtfully chosen rug can work wonders in bringing together the blossoming outdoors with the cosy indoors,' says Kirsty Barton, brand storytelling manager at Alternative Flooring.

'Not only do they enhance comfort underfoot, but they also help to elevate the overall scheme,' Think a cosy rug for the seating area and a durable rug near the door that can withstand heavy foot traffic.


How do I upgrade my existing conservatory?

An important part of revamping your conservatory is streamlining what’s already in it. The first step is really considering the purpose of the space – it is fulfilling its potential? Could you move around the sitting room furniture to also add a small breakfasting table, giving you somewhere bright and light to have your morning coffee? 

Once you’re clear on the room’s function, strip back what isn’t needed – chintz and all – and add some new soft furnishings such as cushions and rugs to introduce a new colour scheme.

‘Start with a declutter, clear out items you no longer need or use in your conservatory, and create space to allow for a fresh, quiet luxury, look,’ says Anna Ryder Richardson.  

How do you modernise a conservatory on a budget?

Paint it! Conservatories typically contain a lot of exposed uPVC and depending on your colour and interior design scheme, the stark, shiny white can at times be distracting. But fear not, there are plenty of paints on the market specifically designed to not only paint uPVC but mattify it in the process, making it appear more like wood framing whilst also giving you a plethora of colour options.

Another modern conservatory idea is to paint old radiators with heat-proof paint, instantly giving them a new lease of life too.