Glass Rooms vs Conservatories: What’s the Difference?

A conservatory or glass room is a great way to enjoy your garden in comfort. They’ll extend your living space in a way which maximises natural light and the views of your surroundings. But which of the two should you go for? Really, it comes down to the fact that a conservatory is more comparable to your living room, while a glass room is better described as an enclosed part of the garden. Here’s some more information.

 

Conservatories

PHOTO: 'CONSERVATORY' BY PAUL WILLIAMS / CC BY 2.0 

PHOTO: 'CONSERVATORY' BY PAUL WILLIAMS / CC BY 2.0 

A conservatory was once legally defined as having 50% of its side walls glazed and 75% of its roof glazed with translucent materials (commonly plastic sheeting or glass). Since conservatories must now meet the same planning regulations as any other extension the definition is a little less clear, but most still fit these specifications. They usually have a dwarf brick wall below the glazed elements.


Pros     

  • Comparatively low cost.
  • Double glazing provides higher insulation U-values.
  • Can be used nearly all year round.

Cons

  • Framed windows and wall components can restrict views.
  • Design limitations - usually restricted to predetermined shapes and sizes.
  • Can sometimes look dated.



Glass Rooms

WEINOR GLASOASE GLASS ROOM

WEINOR GLASOASE GLASS ROOM

Serving a similar function as a sunroom, the main difference between a conservatory and a glass room is the ratio of glass to other elements. A glass room will be transparent from floor to ceiling, with the walls, doors and roof all made from glass.

The supporting framework is the only opaque part and this is minimal, since the individual glazed elements are significantly larger than the windows in a conservatory.


Pros

  • Uninterrupted views of the garden.
  • Unique contemporary style.
  • Made to measure, so you’ll have complete flexibility with the design.
  • Combine tilting and sliding walls and doors for an adaptable living space. You may be able to hide the walls on a hot day, letting fresh air in.

Cons

  • A bigger initial investment.
  • Less insulated. You may want to install halogen heaters to make the space usable outside of summer.



What About Orangeries, Garden Rooms and Loggias?

Modern day glass rooms and conservatories have been inspired by these historic status symbols. The orangery became popular in Europe during the 17th century, when they were used to keep exotic fruit trees warm all year round. They were often standalone features, situated within the grounds of stately homes, country estates and castles. The trend for glass roofs begun in the early 19th century.

Garden rooms originated at the same time, but were used for more general all-purpose tasks such as doing the laundry, storing ice and growing shrubs. The definition of garden rooms and sunrooms vary nowadays. They can be anything from conservatories to brick extensions with tiled roofs and large windows, or even standalone timber constructions.

Loggias were an architectural feature invented by the Romans. They were open areas, decorated with arches or columns and only accessible from the interior of a building. Usually found on the second floor or higher, they were a kind of large balcony with a roof for shelter. Nowadays, some conservatories take loose inspiration from the traditional loggia design.


If a glass room is the living space extension you’re looking for, head on over to our overview page. Our talented designers will work with you to create an incredible bespoke installation.