Upgrading Your Conservatory: Our Top 10 Tips.

This article is a guest post from the experts at We Buy Any House. They’re here today to share some tips on how to upgrade your conservatory – enjoy!

Although they’re a costly investment, conservatories are a great addition to any property. They’re an effective way to add space, natural light and value to your home, and they don’t always need planning permission. In addition to being an extra place to relax in your home, conservatories are a popular extension to any home for a number of reasons. They provide a sanctuary that has more living space, a connection between nature and the indoor world, and are also a stylish, energy-efficient addition that is more cost-effective than moving house. The fact they provide a significant amount of natural light is also one of the reasons for their popularity, and recent studies have shown that extra exposure to sunlight has health benefits such as increases in happiness and productivity.

However, over time your conservatory can become prone to wear and tear. A conservatory needs to be maintained and upgraded, so if you’re looking to upgrade your conservatory, here at We Buy Any House have provided our top 10 tips to make your conservatory look and feel brand new.

Replace the Conservatory Roof

Originally, conservatories were designed to have between 75% of their roof and 50% of walls constructed using glazed materials. This was beneficial, as these structures didn’t have to comply with building regulations. However, this also meant that conservatories were unbearably cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer. In addition to this, original conservatory roofs aren’t very energy efficient, and due to the extreme change in temperature, your conservatory could be prone to damp.

If you have a conservatory that is more than 20 years old, then it’s probably time to upgrade your roof. Replacing your conservatory roof will transform not only the appearance of your conservatory but its function too. The plethora of roof material options, from glass to roof lanterns or tiled roofs, make upgrading your conservatory easier than ever. It’ll change the temperature, acoustics and use of the room completely.

A side note: you will have to check with builders and surveyors that the ground is strong enough to withstand the weight of a new roof. Some materials and designs make modern conservatory roofs much heavier than conservatory designs from 20 years ago.

Make It Open Plan

The design options when it comes to conservatories are limitless. Conservatories are a great way to connect the interior of your home to the outside world. Ideal for creating a spacious area that is beneficial for socialising or to use as a dining room, making your conservatory open plan is an effective way to upgrade the room. The concept of open-plan living is incredibly popular, and throughout modern homes is a well sought-after feature. Your conservatory can take inspiration from nature, and by opting to have an open plan conservatory you can use the exterior of your property to your advantage.

If you’re wondering how to do this, then adding bi-fold doors to your conservatory is a great way to upgrade. Bifold doors are an excellent match for all conservatories- disregarding shape or size. The doors are made up of a series of glass panels that can pull open from the centre, providing full view and access.

Change the Glass

The glass industry has advanced massively over the past few years. Improvements in glazing technology mean that the glass we installed in our homes decades ago is vastly inferior in comparison to the glass used in conservatories now. Updating the glass panels in your conservatory is a simple way to upgrade the room and will benefit your property in the long run. Fitting A-rated, modern microscopic glass helps glass retain heat whilst reflecting UV heat rays away in warmer weather- ensuring that the sun does not damage your skin or furniture during the summer months. It also ensures that conservatories are exempt from temperature fluctuations. Changing your conservatory glass is also beneficial as it improves thermal rates by up to 33%, which makes your conservatory more eco-friendly, and could ultimately reduce your energy bills.

Upgrading your conservatory

Conservatory glass is often pushed back in terms of importance, yet it’s the most dominant material. Types of conservatory glass include:

  • Toughened safety glass
  • Laminated glass
  • Heat reflective glass
  • Self-cleaning glass
  • Curved conservatory glass
  • Lead conservatory glass
  • Frosted conservatory glass
  • Georgian bars

Corner Pillars

If you want your conservatory to resemble an elegant orangery, consider adding some corner pillars (also known as super-insulators or Loggia columns).  Not only do these add style to your conservatory, but they also provide comfort due to their insulating features. The columns are five times more thermally efficient than a brick pier of equal size and are super easy to install. Credit to its Italian design roots as it was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, the columns exude a traditional charm that has adapted well in modern homes, creating a timeless aesthetic that can be installed to suit any type of property.

The columns are a great way to upgrade your conservatory and can be easily tailored to the appearance of your conservatory. The columns are thought to be more substantial than those conservatories that may feature in the sidewalls.

Underfloor Heating

Considered a designer heating system, underfloor heating is essential when upgrading your conservatory. Although you may think that upgrading your conservatory lies in the architectural structure and design, comfort is also key. A superior home with a stunning interior should also have underfloor heating, which provides an efficient and discreet way of heating your conservatory.

Electric systems such as the Loose Wire System or a StickyMat System are the designs that are thought to give a high output of heat that is required in a conservatory- especially throughout the winter months. The installation process and fee solely depends on which system you choose to use throughout your home, but on average costs around £50-£75 per m2, and including insulation, heater controls and electrician fees may add up to around £2,000. It’s a property upgrade that will also add value to your property, in addition to creating elements of cosiness in your conservatory area.

Paint Your Conservatory

Perhaps the simplest and cost-effective way to upgrade your conservatory is to repaint the whole room. Not only does a fresh coat of paint make the room feel well maintained and cared for but will also brighten the interior and make it more attractive to prospective buyers if your house is on the market.  Although most rooms can be painted with standard emulsion paint, conservatories require a little more care when it comes to painting. Opt to use either paint with a vinyl silk finish, or a specialist anti-condensation/anti-mould paint. Extra precautions need to be taken as in the UK, conservatories are prone to condensation, and the high levels of moisture can impact the paint job.

Another option is to paint the exterior of your conservatory. If you have an older style of conservatory, then chances are it is made of thick white or brown UPVC. Specialist painting teams can apply specially designed paint to go over the existing colour of your conservatory’s exterior, creating a seamless finish that looks it was the original colour.

Conservatory Lighting

The ambience of your conservatory heavily relies on the type of lighting you use. A benefit of a conservatory is that during the day, the room is flooded with natural light, therefore during the day you don’t need to worry about adding artificial light. However, when the sun sets lighting your conservatory is extremely important and are also a great way to upgrade your conservatory.  When it comes to picking your preferred style of lighting in your conservatory, there are a multitude of options including:

  1. Low-Level Lighting: If you’re going to rely on natural light as your primary source of lighting, then incorporating low-level lighting is a great option for evening lighting. Placing lamps around the conservatory enables you to have a good standard of lighting and create enough light to see.
  2. Floor Lamps: If you want a more relaxed, chilled ambience throughout your conservatory, then floor lamps are an effective addition. Floor lamps are perfect for providing concentrated light throughout the room but are strong enough to distribute light evenly.
  3. LED Strips or Spotlights: LED lighting provides a much more subtle form of lighting, and the strip LED can be applied anywhere- skirting boards, under shelves, or on the ceiling. They can also change colour to provide the perfect effect for any mood.
  4. Wire Lighting: Creating a minimalist, modern feel to your conservatory is wire lighting. It allows for multiple bulbs and can be uniquely designed to create a decorative effect.
  5. Pendant Lighting: This light feature acts as a focal point to your conservatory, as the bulb is covered by a shade meaning that you can choose something as grand or obscure as you wish. If you’re thinking about choosing this option, then you will need to ensure that an electrician can feed the required wiring to the area in a responsible and safe manner.

Upgrade the Frame

Although painting the exterior of your conservatory is an option, another option is to replace the conservatory frame entirely. Doing this can dramatically enhance your conservatory’s visual appeal, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you opt to add timber beams or dwarf brick to keep within a theme, you should also consider changing the colour of your conservatory frame.

Initially, conservatory exteriors were set to white, and now there is the option to upgrade your frame to something that compliments the exterior of your home to create a cohesive look. There is also the option to have different colours inside and outside your conservatory, so you can mix and match to suit the indoor and outdoor style of your conservatory.

Update the Interior Design

Interior design can have a massive effect on the impact of a room. Within the category of ‘updating the inside of your conservatory’ there are several things you can do, starting with:

  • A Spring Clean: It may be simple, but thoroughly cleaning your conservatory from top to bottom can make all the difference. If you have a conservatory that uses PVCu materials or aluminium or timber, then maintenance and cleaning can work wonders.
  • Furniture: Investing in new furniture can upgrade your conservatory instantly. Ensuring you have soft furnishings, such as a comfortable sofa and relaxed seating areas can make the room more inviting. Think about adding touches such as flowers, pictures, rugs and family photos on the wall.
  • New Blinds: If your conservatory has a lot of glass framed and panels, then blinds or shutters are a stylish and efficient way to add privacy to the room whilst also keeping the design on-trend.
How to upgrade a conservatory

Complete rebuild

Completely rebuilding your conservatory is also an option. Although it is going to be an expensive project that requires a lot of time, sometimes it’s the most logical and cost-effective thing to do. Replacing the entire structure entirely enables you to start from scratch- to meet your desired finish in terms of taste, needs and budget. A modern conservatory can increase the value of your property greatly, and the rebuilding can have other various advantages.

If you are looking to create additional usable space without having a larger conservatory built, you may want to consider a conservatory alternative like a Hypedome.

Alternatively, instead of spending money revamping individual features such as the roof, doors and walls- starting from scratch gives you the opportunity to convert your conservatory room into a functional space that is not trying to hide its outdated structure and interior. The average cost of replacing your conservatory entirely depends on the things you wish to change, in addition to materials, size of the room and additional fees such as installation. Due to this, the average price range to completely rebuild your conservatory is between £5,000 and £25,000.

Upgrading your conservatory can be as big or small of a task as you wish. From deciding to completely uproot the whole room and start from scratch, to editing the furniture and paint in the interior of your property, there are several ways to upgrade your conservatory, one that compliments you and your budget.


Emily Brookes
Emily Brookes

Emily Brookes is an Interior Designer based in the UK. Since graduating from the National Design Academy with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design, Emily started her successful blog, Emily May Designs, which shares ideas and inspiration on how to create a beautiful home.

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