What’s the difference between a Conservatory and an Orangery?

22nd June 2018

This is a question that people ask themselves time and time again. Although orangeries have been around for hundreds of years situated on grand manors, they’re a relatively new addition to our homes. We are here to lay it out and tell you exactly what an orangery is and how it differs from a conservatory, but also how you can have the best of both worlds! Whether you have a period home in Fife, or a New Build in Edinburgh, there is always an option to suit your home.


What is an Orangery?

An orangery is a home extension with a glass roof typically covering less than 75% of the overall roof area, and glass walls covering less than 50% of the overall wall area.

What is a Conservatory?

A conservatory is a home extension with a glass roof often covering at least 75% of the overall roof area, and glass walls covering at least 50% of the overall wall area.


Once upon a time, these styles differentiated themselves from one another; these days, thanks to advancements in technology and the products available, the line separating a conservatory from an orangery is becoming blurred. This is making the research and buying process harder for homeowners.

Traditionally Orangeries were grand, extravagant buildings used to grow orange trees in large period homes. The solidity of the pillars sheltered the oranges, but large expanses of glass ensure the sun’s warmth cultivated the plants. Today Orangeries are seen on smaller homes and are glazed structures more like conservatories. They tend to have more solidity in the roof with the use of a lantern and flat roof or an internal pelmet around the perimeter of the ceiling and usually have pillars made from brick or a super-insulated aluminium columns which add an element of grandeur.

Traditional conservatories are usually made from glass or polycarbonate panels to bring the outside inside, but do not have the solidity or grandeur of an orangery. With high performance glass and advances in thermally efficient technology such as insulated internal pelmets and super-insulated columns, today’s conservatories look as impressive and feel just as cosy as an orangery. Design options such as colour and decorative Cornices provide options to create something unique and stylish too.

An orangery can be designed to include floor-to-ceiling glass, and brick pillars can be excluded. This means an orangery can look like a conservatory and vice-versa. This means that you, as a customer, will have complete control over the look of your new room and can ensure the finished installation looks as expected.


An orangery bridges the gap between a conservatory and a fully-loaded single-storey extension. That’s the best way to think of it. To help distinguish your options, our orangery styles include three very distinct looks: the Contemporary Orangery, the Classic Orangery and the Lantern Orangery.


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The Contemporary Orangery combines our super-insulated columns, with a decorative cornice and insulated pelmet for the ultimate orangery look. To add modern styling support wide spans of bi-fold or sliding doors with an integrated, invisible structural goalpost. A touch of contemporary glamour – perfect if you’re looking for something stylish that perhaps combines with the colour of your window frames.



The Classic Orangery, has a more traditional look with its brick piers, internal pelmet on the inside and curved cornice it exudes traditional stately-home elegance.



The Lantern Orangery is perfect for every conceivable property. Modern or traditional, it features the beautiful roof lantern. Internally it gives a deep perimeter ceiling, allowing for a flexible lighting design.


A conservatory can resemble the look of a contemporary or classic orangery. It’s worth exploring the design options available so that you can make a more informed decision. Below are just some of the benefits a new conservatory will bring.


As is the case with an orangery, conservatories can be built in a range of formats that respond to the design requirements of any home. Many of you may know Conservatories by their traditional titles such as Victorian or Edwardian, a format which is still relevant and reflected in our own website here, but the truth is that advancements in technology now mean modern conservatories are much more adaptable to your own space and tastes. Whether you live in bungalow – or any other kind of one-storey building, a semi or detached home, our talented design team can recommend multiple options to suit your environment. To help navigate the seemingly never ending options, we have devised a quick and simple system to help direct you to the right option for you:


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Offering a completely timeless aesthetic, the Classic conservatory roof system can be tailored to complement a wide range of property styles. The Classic conservatory incorporates the latest technologies in roof and glazing design and can be complemented with a range of optional extras. Choose from traditional or contemporary styles and bring your garden into your home using full height glazing and French doors. This means that it doesn’t matter if your home is modern, traditional, period or heritage, Bryant and Cairns will be able to offer you the highest standards available.


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A designer conservatory with added style and shape on the outside and a room like feel on the inside. An ideal home improvement solution for any property. On the inside, the insulating perimeter ceiling pelmet improves thermal performance, houses lights or speakers and gives a more ‘room like’ appearance with a plastered finish. Externally you can choose from a range of cornices to add style and shape to the building while hiding the gutters.



The performance conservatory features the latest super insulated column technology which is 5 times more thermally efficient than standard brick columns. The inclusion of the decorative cornice gives a sense of grandeur to the conservatory externally, and internally, the plastered columns and insulated pelmet gives a cosy room like feel.

To view the full range of options, visit our main site here and remember, our skilled team of advisors and designers are always on hand to help talk you through the details on 0131 440 2855, or email at info@bryantandcairns.co.uk