If you’re lucky enough to have a conservatory on your home, now is the time to make the most of it – so you can bring the outdoors indoors, where it’s warm and dry.
But if your conservatory isn’t quite as attractive as it once was because it’s old, or old fashioned, you might need to spruce it up. And while some conservatory modernisation ideas will cost a lot, others just involve a few easy tweaks which will leave your room looking much brighter, fresher and more appealing.
Jane Stevens of Konservatory.co.uk, which offers design inspiration for conservatories and has just created a Conservatory Calculator (www.konservatory.co.uk/calculate-the-cost-of-a-conservatory) to help people work out how much it’ll cost to build a conservatory, says: “Although it may feel like a challenge to take your nice but boring and outdated conservatory into the modern age, there are ways you can do it – not all of them costly. There are some you can do in a day or two, and others that require investment and hiring professional tradespeople.”
Here, Stevens outlines 10 ideas to brighten up your old conservatory.
1. Gorgeous greenery
Conservatory plants are a great way to bring new life and a modern touch to your conservatory – and bigger plants can cover a multitude of sins. Plants have never been more in trend – even some of the most popular fashion brands are now stocking decorative planters to suit all tastes. Filling your conservatory with flora brightens the space and keeps you very much in vogue. If you don’t think you have space, create some using macrame baskets. Think brightening up empty and darkened corners with tall plants, and don’t be afraid to stretch as far as the ceiling.
2. Botanical blur
Blur the lines between the interior and exterior by using botanical-inspired prints with lots of green leaves and a variety of white shades. This will give it a very natural and light look. Botanical prints are in and it looks like they are here to stay. What’s more fitting for your conservatory that neighbours your garden than bringing the outdoor theme in? These prints aren’t limited to traditional floral colours, you can even find fabrics in monochrome. The background of these fabrics are typically quite muted so you can easily fit these in with your current room without being overpowering.
3. Transform your dining table
If you’ve got a dining table in your conservatory, use it as a focal point for the whole room with colourful and seasonal tableware and tablecloths. You can help emphasise it more by keeping everything else subtle, or matching just one colour.
4. Go tropical
For an exotic and spicy look, source a fabric with an outlandish leafy motif for the table runner, blinds and cushion covers and introduce a lot of lemon yellow, or add bold prints of orchids in different colours.
5. Brighten up windows
People often overlook how much of an asset a window can be, and your conservatory is full of them. Statement blinds tie in colour schemes and add extra pizzazz, and bay windows provide the perfect opportunity for custom seating. Matching scatter cushions and blinds really make an impact with minimal effort.
6. Be open to new doors
A little secret that can change everything? Doors! Standard conservatory doors can look dated quite quickly, but bifold doors instantly transform a room. The change is almost unbelievable and really helps to make the room the hub of summer parties by effortlessly connecting your home and garden. Remember, if you’re changing the colour scheme too, you need to find doors in a similar colour or tone that will work with the new main colours.
7. Think French country
You can add some pleasant French touches here and there such as street signs in French, as well as painting any brick walls in clean, crisp and brilliant white gloss. Add bright and smart white furniture with gentle accents of blue and perhaps a floral centrepiece to really make it feel European.
8. Convert into a trendy orangery
Traditionally, orangeries were grand buildings used to grow orange trees in large period homes, and they’re currently very trendy, as many homeowners like the privacy and luxury they get from a more orangery-inspired construction. There are many similarities between conservatories and orangeries, but instead of the corner posts seen in conservatories, orangeries have brick columns or pilasters, which sheltered the orange trees that used to be grown in them, a deep pelmet partially supporting the roof, and a larger gutter. They also tend to be larger (and more expensive) than conservatories.
9. Replace the roof
Conservatory roof replacements are easier than you might think, and are one of the most popular forms of conservatory alteration. You can modernise your conservatory virtually overnight just by switching out the polycarbonate roof, if it has one, for a glass one. Polycarbonate was more trendy in the 1980s and 1990s, and it may be less expensive, but it’s also not nearly as effective as glass. Glass, especially double-glazed conservatory roofs, helps to improve the use and investment of your conservatory in various ways including reduced heat loss, and self-cleaning glass, which uses the sun’s rays to remove debris and dust.
10. Get real
Alternatively, you could opt for a real, solid roof installation, which adds a touch of elegance and helps to bridge the gap between your conservatory and the main house, as well as improving the heat retention and energy efficiency of the space. The perfect solution for how to make a conservatory into a room.