What’s the Difference Between a Conservatory and an Orangery?

It’s a common question that most people don’t know the answer to: what exactly is the difference between a conservatory and an orangery? They are both extremely popular ways to extend a property, but is there any difference at all as they have evolved so much over the decades? Can we just call any extension a conservatory now? Is an orangery just like a greenhouse to solely grow oranges?

The experts here at Prior Products have heard this question so many times that we’ve decided to dedicate a blog post to it. Let’s separate fact from fiction and find out what the differences are, if any, and how you can make the right choice for your home.

When were they both invented?

The orangery came first, and became fashionable in the 17th century as a place to grow citrus fruits – hence the name! Conservatories are thought to have been developed after orangeries, when people were no longer interested in growing lime and orange trees but still needed to protect plants during the winter months.

Is there a difference?

Yes, there is one rather large difference between an orangery and a conservatory. An orangery is rather like a typical home extension, with some extra glass thrown in for a natural light boost. A conservatory, on the other hand, is typically made of all glass panes with PVC or aluminium framework. Therefore, the only thing that makes an orangery an orangery is the brickwork. As the difference is mainly structural, most people wouldn’t be able to tell if they were sitting in a conservatory or an orangery!

Which one should I go for?

Although there is only a subtle difference between the two, it can make a big impact on your decision. Conservatories are easier and quicker to install, but they do have limitations on size and style. Building an orangery you’ll have the same freedom as building a typical home extension; it will be totally bespoke so you’ll be able to pick and choose where the features go.

It also depends what you’ll be using the room for. Will it be an extra dining room or living space, a garden room or home office? Will you need to use it all year round? If you want a fully functioning all-season room, you’ll probably be best choosing an orangery as it will be easier to heat.

Both conservatories and orangeries are stylish additions to any home. Take a look at our galleries and if you have any more questions about them, just speak to our expert installers.