Let the light in with a conservatory

Conservatories are increasing in popularity and are a great way to add value to your home. How can this be done?

A conservatory is a room with a transparent roof and walls attached to a house which is also used as a sun lounge or for growing delicate plants. They provide all-day sun and light, and through careful positioning, you can effectively regulate temperature.

Conservatories originated in countries with cold climates and short, chilly days in winter and were designed to protect plants from frost and snow. In South Africa, though, they are mainly intended as spaces for relaxation. Because of our warmer temperatures, adequate ventilation is essential, with skylights and windows to create a thorough draft and blinds to keep off the harsh midday sun in summer.


The first thing when considering a conservatory is to decide how it will be used. For example, will it be an extension to your kitchen, a space for casual dining, a playroom, a lounge or a garden room? Other popular uses include gyms, bathrooms and entertainment areas.

Your intended use will dictate the layout, size and style, as well as the type of building material to be used.

UPVC conservatories are becoming popular because of the material’s durability and longevity. UPVC is easy to maintain and does not rust, warp or rust – unlike aluminium and wood. It’s also watertight, which helps maintain padding and copes well with thunderstorms.

Adding more rooms to your home necessitates more energy to heat and cool the space. A UPVC conservatory will help keep power costs down.


As with most additions, you need to check whether you need planning permission from your local municipality for your conservatory. You also need to ensure the design and construction align with the latest building regulations.

If security is a concern, you can protect your conservatory with a beam linked to your existing alarm system. Most conservatories are at the back of homes, which tend to be more secure. For peace of mind, install security gates on doors and burglar bars on windows.


Conservatories come in various styles.

  • The traditional Victorian semi-circular design is still a firm favourite in South Africa.
  • Squared-off and angular styles are better suited to homes with more modern architecture.
  • A good option is frameless glass to maximise views.

Your conservatory can be an extension of your indoor interiors or a completely different look and feel to the rest of the house.

  • Understated and casual décor works well – traditional garden furniture in wood, aluminium, or iron are ideal.
  • Motorised external awnings, triple glazing and wall-mounted air conditioning, will enable you to regulate temperatures.
  • Slate or tiles are the most popular choice for flooring, which go well with rattan or cane furniture. Carpets are not suitable because condensation from plants could cause them to go mouldy.
  • Whatever décor you decide on, container plants are a must to bring nature indoors.

Adding value

A well thought out conservatory can be a cost-effective addition to your home refurbishment project. In addition to increasing your home’s value, it can greatly enhance your lifestyle.

It’s the perfect way to extend a kitchen or lounge and is ideal for entertaining and extended family meals or when the children want to play elsewhere.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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