Conservatory ideas: 19 looks for the design and decor of your sunroom

Our interior design expert has got you covered with the start of our series looking at ideas, design and decor for what could be the sunniest spot in your home.

Conservatories can be a welcome, light-filled addition to your home, offering extra living space and a place to soak up any moments of sunshine. From the familiar white uPVC frames to oak-beamed structures, formal orangeries or more minimal glass and aluminium designs, there’s a conservatory idea and style to suit most tastes and homes.

Whether you’ve decided to spend some money on improving your current conservatory or you’re taking the plunge and adding one as an extension, we’ve rounded up some conservatory ideas and inspiration to help you create the room of your dreams.

Plants in a conservatoryCredit: Vale Garden Houses
A profusion of plants can bring the outdoors in to your conservatory

1. Hothouse your design

Create a horticultural heaven with luscious green plants

Conservatory wicker and metal furniture with subtropical plantsCredit: Carpetright
Wicker and metal furniture pair well with lush subtropical plants

If you like spending time in your garden but don’t love the unpredictable British weather, take inspiration from the early 19th century – when early conservatories were primarily used for horticulture – and turn your conservatory into a hothouse.

With most conservatory designs featuring large expanses of glass, it’s the perfect environment for encouraging plant growth.

It’s also a chance to bring the exotics into play. Many subtropical plants are naturally equipped to deal with the change from higher daytime temperatures lower nighttime ones that can occur in a conservatory. That means they can be a colourful and exotic addition to your decor.

Choose a range of plants in varying heights, and house them in pots made of materials associated with the outside. Terracotta, clay and metal all work well.

Furniture with metal or wicker frames partnered with botanical-print upholstery and soft furnishings will complete the look.

2. Contrast with existing architecture

Be bold and adventurous for architectural effect

Traditional home with contemporary style conservatory for contrastCredit: James Price
Combine traditional and contemporary for a stand-out design

Contemporary conservatories can also be a great addition to homes that are more traditional in style, and they offer an opportunity to tell an architectural story.

Creating contrast is also a technique often favoured by planning departments, and is worth considering if you find you need to get planning permission for your conservatory.

This was my experience when I started working with an architect and planning consultant to design an extension to our Grade-II listed folly in South Wales. It soon became clear the planners at our local authority were keen to encourage building works that were radically different.

Rather than trying to mimic the stonework of the listed building, I was strongly advised to do the opposite – to use glass and aluminium so the building told the story of its use and history over time. And that’s what I did at the property, which was featured on Grand Designs.

3. Use bifolds to blur boundaries

Use windows, not walls, to make your room feel part of the garden

Bifold doors in a pavilion style conservatoryCredit: Prime Oak
Create a pavilion-style space with bifolds

If you prefer the more natural look of a traditional conservatory rather than a glass box, but still want a room that feels more outdoors than indoors, opt for bifold frames.

When used on two exterior walls, the effect is simply stunning. Bifold frames allow you to visually remove the walls and enjoy the full vista outside, and they can turn your conservatory from a room into a pavilion in the time it takes to open them.

Blend the overall look by using the same type of furniture in both exterior and interior areas, and ensure your flooring follows suit throughout. Finally, add natural materials such as wood to create a fully cohesive design.

4. Opt for an orangery

Take inspiration from royalty

Orangery made of wooden frame with lantern roof for grandeurCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Add an orangery for a sense of grandeur

With a lantern-style vaulted roof and traditional detailing, orangeries have long been associated with stately homes such as Kensington Gardens or the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.

Constructed using either an oak, hardwood or aluminium frame, they can add valuable space to your home while still retaining the sense of being outdoors. Choosing a sympathetic exterior colour, such as sage green, can also help tie them to your garden and ensure they complement the existing exterior of your home.


5. Consider your lighting

Use light layering for maximum impact

Chandelier in a conservatory makes a big statementCredit: Vale Garden Houses
Pendant lights, such as a chandelier, can make a show-stopping statement

For a more opulent look, take advantage of the vaulted ceiling in an orangery to add pendant lights such as chandeliers.

Although they may be less conspicuous during the day, at night-time pendant lights can become show-stopping statements with the dark sky providing the perfect backdrop for twinkling tiers of light.

You can add additional layers of light by installing integrated ceiling spotlights as well as floor and table lights. This will allow you to create zones and areas within the room to help take you from day into night.

“This multi-use space is an ideal place to use lighting with great effect,” says Mary Buchanan, Creative Director of Laura Ashley Lighting and Mirrors. “Watch the sun set and then switch on a table or floor lamp positioned next to your armchair, ready for a spot of crafting or reading. Wall lights can create a softer glow that’s perfect for entertaining or simply relaxing.”

6. Go modern with glass

Create the ultimate feeling of space with transparent walls and ceiling

Glass conservatory without a frame and clear view outdoorsCredit: GlasSpace
A frameless glass box will seamlessly blend the indoors and outdoors

If your aim is to blur the lines between inside and outside to maximum effect, a glass box can be a great option.

Sleek, simple and frameless, they add a strong architectural feature to your home as well as providing you with endless light, allowing you to fully embrace the outside.

An additional technique to further blur the boundaries is to use the materials both inside and out. For example, you could continue the same stone flooring from the interior out onto a patio area.

For a grander appearance, add extra height to your design.

7. Outdoor-style furniture creates a theme

Choose metal, glass and natural linen for the perfect alfresco experience

Outdoor style furniture creates an alfresco feelCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Outdoor style furniture can create an alfresco theme

To connect the different uses of your conservatory and create a wonderful sense of bringing the outdoors in, use furniture with metal frames, light-coloured fabric and glass.

As well as being made from materials associated with outdoor furniture, the thinner frames, reflective surfaces and light-coloured fabrics will make the space seem bright and airy.

This style is also the perfect blank canvas for showcasing your interior touches such as plants, artwork and shades of blue and green. It’s a great way to create an alfresco dining experience and cosy coffee spot all year round.

Conservatory decisions

When creating a conservatory look, there are key decisions to be made. Should it be an extension of your existing home style, or should you create something completely different? Is your aim to tie the inside with the outside or is the space about providing extra living space?

The key to successful design is deciding exactly what you will use the room for and then making choices based on your needs, says David Wilder, director of David Wilder Interior Design: “Know your style and use it throughout your home – that’s what makes any design work well.”

8. Fill in a corner

A conservatory doesn’t always have to reduce the size of your garden

Conservatory tucked into an empty space on the side of a propertyCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Save valuable green space and add your conservatory to an empty corner

If your home is L-shaped, the side return can often feel like a wasted space – a dumping ground for bins, bags of soil, chaos and clutter before you get to the garden proper. That’s why it’s good to consider using the natural nook created by this footprint as a potential home for your new conservatory.

Increasing the width of your home with the addition of a conservatory can provide a natural balance to the external areas, without eating into valuable green space.

A conservatory tucked neatly into a space on the side of your home, like the one pictured below, works particularly well for properties with wide, rather than long, gardens.

9. Foliage can be faux

For a low-maintenance approach, use botanical-inspired accessories

Conservatory with low-maintenance floral design wallpaperCredit: Vale Garden Houses
Add a maintenance-free floral design mural

If you’re not so green-fingered but still love the thought of visually linking your conservatory and garden, choose natural materials such as wood for flooring and furniture, and shades of putty and green for your soft furnishings, and make a strong nod to the botanical world with a statement wallpaper mural.

Potted plants that love conservatories

On his blog, horticulturist David Domoney suggests his conservatory room favourites. Here are three to get you started:

  • Ficus cyathistipula (African fig tree) – good for low light and adding sculptural style foliage.
  • Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise) – perfect for adding a touch of the tropics to your home.
  • Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls) – doesn’t need much watering, even when placed in the light

10. Complementary conservatory design

Choose similar materials for a sympathetic approach

Conservatory with roof tiles and render matching main houseCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Choose matching exterior finishes for a blended design

If space and budget are not an issue, there is a wealth of opportunity available to you in conservatory design, and nothing says luxury more than a sympathetically bespoke addition to your home.

Use matching roof tiles to ensure the new conservatory roof line feels like it naturally forms part of the house. Replicate the colour of your external walls on new render, use the same colour window frames and source the same brick stock so that the house and conservatory are unified from the chimney right down to the floor.

11. Use minimalist design for maximum impact

Be minimal with your colour palette for a striking aesthetic

Dark critter doors contrast with white furniture and a pop of colourCredit: Tile Mountain
Contrast black tiles with white furniture and a pop of colour for impact

Although we often naturally think of using lighter shades in a room that’s based on adding light, don’t be afraid to consider dark coloured materials for your conservatory interiors.

From wall paint to window frames, tiles to furniture there are no limits to your use of a darker palette.

For a wow factor, use glossy black floor tiles to create a reflective surface. Dress the room with simple white furniture, a statement rug and a pop of a bright colour, such as yellow, to punctuate the space.

12. Create a grown-up entertaining area

Use colour to create zones and fun features

Mirrors bounce light into a room and reflect the outsideCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Doors can help define the space as a proper room

If your conservatory has a dual function as a daytime play or hobby area that converts into a nighttime adult zone, use colour to identify the different spaces.

Dark blues, reds, greys and black are all colour choices that will add a luxury feel and richness, especially when contrasted with lighter sofas.

Use lights dotted around the ceiling and hang mirrors on walls to add further definition. As well as allowing natural light to bounce around the space, mirrors reflect the view outside and become a ready-made piece of artwork.

If your conservatory comes off an existing room and has no clear boundary, it can become all too easy to let the clutter of everyday life invade the space. Adding doors provides clear demarcation and the sense of it being a room in itself, rather than an add-on. Anyone for conservatory cocktails?

13. Indulge in a new hobby space

Find a new talent as you soak up the sun

An artist at work in a conservatory, a great space for hobbiesCredit: Shutterstock/RawPixel
Use your conservatory space to take up a new hobby

With the abundance of natural light, your conservatory has the potential to be a productive work or crafting space, with the added bonus of a view of the garden outside.

If you’ve ever fancied taking up a new skill such as painting, a conservatory could be the perfect space for discovering a new talent. Depending on what you choose, items such as dressmaking dummies and artists easels can also make interesting interior design displays.

Make sure you also consider storage carefully to ensure you can protect any materials and supplies from the sun. You’ll also need places to store your clutter if the room is also used for other purposes.

Window dressing for conservatories

 What’s the best choice of window dressing for conservatories?

“It depends on personal preference and position of the room,”  says Karen Bell, creative director at David Salisbury. “If shading is a requirement, we’d usually recommend blinds work best in a conservatory. French pinoleum – woodweave blinds – are a favourite, as they create a lovely. soft dappled light.

“Electric blinds can also be specified, which can be opened and closed at different times of day, all controlled by a remote.”

14. Choose blinds with options

For maximum light control, consider rollers or slats

If you do need to filter out the light for work or pleasure, our favourite choices are roller and slatted blinds.

Roller blinds and slatted blinds in garden roomsCredit: Hillarys
Choose blinds that give maximum light control

Opaque roller blinds will soften bright sunlight, but still allow it to filter through. They also have the added flexibility of control over how far they are pulled down – ideal if you want fresh air to blow through the room during warmer summer months.

Venetian blinds again allow you to control the direction of the light and let air filter through.

Alternatively, for a cosier space, add curtains in two layers – a lighter sheer covering for the summer and a heavier weight for winter.

15. Hard-flooring – an easy win

Cut the carpet for easier cleaning

Whether it’s tiles or wooden flooring, experts agree that a hard flooring choice is a must-have when it comes to designing your conservatory.

“Conservatory flooring works best as a tiled solution,” says Karen Bell. “Whether stone or porcelain or, as we are seeing in some cases, a return of terracotta, the vast majority of conservatories have a tiled floor, we find. Tiles are ideal for handling the indoor and outdoor foot traffic.”

Other options can include laminate wood flooring, which is less porous than the real thing. If you love the look of wood, however, your best option is to go for a lookalike wood-effect ceramic tile. Thanks to improvements in printing technology, the latest designs are extremely realistic, and can easily cope with the rigours of everyday life – including the muddy paws of our favourite furry friends.

16. Boost your brain with a conservatory office

A room with a view helps you to focus

Hard wooden flooring in a conservatory, easy maintenanceCredit: Westbury Garden Rooms
Opt for hard flooring for easy maintenance

Did you know working by a window could help you better concentrate on the task in hand? A 2021 study at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London found that people with a window view felt more focused and productive – which makes a conservatory the perfect spot for a home office.

Alternatively, if you don’t need an office space but you’re a keen gardener and like to plan your garden in the warmth of your home, a work table in your conservatory can provide the perfect solution for keeping a watchful eye on your houseplants and for potting up new seedlings.

Wood, metal and natural materials such as jute are all great choices to use in the space. Even if you have existing plastered walls, you can still add a realistic brick effect using wallpaper or tiles.

Use wooden shelves to house your plants and keep to a range of brown and black tones for a full-on earthy feel.

Indoor potting shed in the warmth of your homeCredit: Sisal & Seagrass
Create an indoor potting shed to tend to your blooms

17. Size to suit

Good conservatories can also come in small packages

Small, black-framed conservatory extension on side of homeCredit: Stormclad
Even smaller additions can add valuable space and design features to your home

Although it’s easy to fall in love with the grand orangeries, the bespoke glass boxes, and the oak-framed conservatories, don’t assume that all conservatories must be large in order to add value.

Any extra space you add to the footprint of your home will add value to your life – and potentially to your purse if you choose to sell. Small can also say statement if you are looking for something to set you apart from the homes around you.

Rather than opting for a traditional white design, think about using black aluminium frames to add contrast and an architectural feel. Using the same brick stock as the rest of your home and carrying through detail such as wooden flooring to match outside decking will help to integrate the space, without it feeling old-fashioned or dated.

Conservatory suppliers:

  • David Salisbury – bespoke timber-and-glass designs made to suit both traditional and contemporary homes
  • Oakwrights  – oak-and-glass-frame designs with a full service covering everything from homes to conservatories, including Passivhaus designs
  • Prime Oak – more than 20 years’ experience of supplying beautiful oak-framed structures
  • Westbury Garden Rooms – bespoke glazed and timber creations, including pool rooms
  • Vale Garden Houses – luxury timber and glass creations with an elegant and classical feel
  • Hampton Conservatories – luxury and bespoke orangeries and conservatories with experience of working with listed buildings
  • Mozolowski & Murray – for bespoke sun lounges
  • GlasSpace – for contemporary, glass-box extensions
  • Ultraframe Conservatories – if you’re considering a refit or upgrade of an existing conservatory
  • Stormclad – for aluminium designs and upgrades
  • James Price Bespoke Glazing – for bespoke residential glazing projects

18. Be bold with colour choice

Opt for darker walls and jewel-inspired tones for impact and depth

Darker walls in a cosy reading nookCredit: Snug Sofa
Dark walls help create a cosy reading nook

Feature walls are still in fashion and can be a great way to experiment with darker paint colours. Use the contrast of a dark colour against a lighter shade to help zone your conservatory room.

The use of darker paint in an alcove can define it as somewhere to sit and relax with a book or a drink. Lighter shades of furniture and contrasting wall finishes help make it cosy rather than overpowering. Add rich jewelled tones through artwork or accessories to bring a pop of brightness and depth to the overall scheme.

19. Refresh and upgrade

Pre-loved conservatories can have a new lease of life, too

Updating a consveratory can be easyCredit: Ultraframe
Bring your existing conservatory up to date

If you’ve read this article and find yourself worrying that you need to turn your white uPCV conservatory into your next project, don’t despair. Whether you’re looking to improve energy efficiency, replace the roof, change the glazing or add solar film to reduce the sun’s glare, there are plenty of options available to bring your conservatory back to life.

Make your original conservatory supplier your first point of call to check what options are suitable for your current structure. Alternatively, contact the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman to find a registered supplier near you.

Rustic sunroom enhanced with texture and colourCredit: The Monkey Puzzle Tree
Add colour and texture to enhance a rustic sunroom

Or even if you have an old sunroom attached to your home and have decided you actually want to embrace its rustic charm, then don’t be afraid to use this as the theme for your interior design.

Use natural materials from the outdoors such as cork to add texture and detail. Darker furniture will add richness, while the gloss finish of materials such as varnished wood and leather will be your friends for bouncing the maximum amount of natural light around the space.

Avoiding sun damage

The sun’s UV rays are powerful and with conservatories designed to harness this light, it’s essential to bear a few things in mind when choosing your conservatory fixtures and fittings.

Materials such as silk, cotton, leather wood are commonly found in fixtures and furnishings but are also prone to fading and discolouration. What can you do to avoid the damage?

Experts at Westbury Garden Rooms suggest some solutions:

  1. All fabrics can be treated with UV stabilisers to increase longevity. Natural fibres like cotton and silk can be sprayed with fabric protection.
  2. Leather can be maintained with protectants and conditioners to avoid drying and discolouration from natural oils evaporating. Wooden floors and furniture can be coated in varnishes, lacquers and waxes to protect them against harmful sunlight.
  3. If you’re in the early stages of planning your conservatory, combat the problem at the outset by installing solar glazing. While it won’t completely prevent UV rays entering the space, it will minimise them and has the additional benefit of reducing heat transmission, saving energy and thus cost – a welcome benefit.
  4. Let’s not forget the simple act of moving things around. Regularly turning cushions and rotating or moving furniture helps reduce the chance of fading fixtures, fittings and furnishings – whatever your choice of design.
Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

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