Conservatories are structures made of metal and wide glass windows that, as an extension of a home's living space, are typically designed as an enclosed patio area. They may also be used as a greenhouse due to the abundance of sunlight that filters through the glass. All conservatories generally serve the same purpose, though their appearance and style may be different. The different types available include the Lean To, Edwardian and Edwardian Double Hipped, P-Shaped, Gable End, and Victorian.
Lean To conservatories, as their name implies, are generally built so that they lean against the south-facing side of a house. This design typically allows the maximum amount of sunlight to enter, as well as offers protection from cold Northern winds. Because the construction of the Lean To style requires one less wall than other designs, it is often considered one of the most affordable to build and maintain.
Edwardian variants are usually rectangular or square shaped with high, sloping roofs, thereby allowing homeowners to maximize their available floor space. The simple, even corners of the Edwardian conservatory generally allow for the optimal placement of patio furniture or plants. Because Edwardian conservatories are typically simple in design, they are also often among the least expensive.
Double Hipped Edwardian conservatories only differ from the regular Edwardian style in the construction of the roof. This style of conservatory has a roof that slopes downwards at the rear. This construction is often preferred by those whose house windows would normally be blocked by the regular Edwardian's roof design.
P-Shaped structures combined the style of the Lean-To with that of the Victorian. This style is often called the link option, as it can be used to connect a property's rear two rooms. A P-Shaped conservatory can be only one room or split into two adjoining rooms. This design usually gives the impression of extra space.
Gable End conservatories are a variant of the Edwardian style, traditionally rectangular in shape, with a triangular front. The front windows often extend to the roof's apex. The style of a Gable End conservatory can give the impression of ample height.
Victorian conservatories are sometimes considered the most elegant and luxurious. Their curved, glass walls are usually more difficult to build and install than the flat glass walls of other styles, often making this one of the most costly conservatories to own. The Victorian style also usually calls for multiple facets to enhance appearance.
If no traditional style of conservatory suits a homeowner, many craftsmen and companies are often willing to create a custom design. Since they are specially made and custom built, they may also be fairly expensive.