[box]So, you want to extend your living space, do you buy a conservatory or a garden room? This Guest Post looks at the differences.[/box]
So you’ve got a spare bit of space in your garden, but you’re not quite sure with what to fill it! Whilst a new conservatory has always been a staple favourite of home-owners wishing to extend their living space, or just to be able to admire their flowers from indoors thanks to the temperamental British weather, garden rooms are rapidly gaining popularity.
Looking at the trends for searches in Google.co.uk, nearly 10,000 people a month search for “garden rooms”, compared to roughly 30,000 searches for “conservatories”, indicating just how popular they’re becoming. How do you decide which is for you?
What will it be used for?
This is probably the most important part of the big decision, hence it’s the biggest section of this guide. Garden rooms are just that – a totally separate room to all the others in your house – think carefully about the impact this will have. If you’re planning on using the space for dining, do you really want to be running outside to go back and forth to the kitchen in the middle of winter, at night, when it’s raining?
However, the isolation of garden rooms can be a great advantage. Are you the owner of an annoying teenager obsessed with playing the drums? Are you the long-suffering husband whose wife just won’t let him play along to Black Sabbath at 3am on his guitar? In either case, I’ve a feeling that a studio in the garden is going to work out a lot better than an extension on your house.
Perhaps the common use for garden rooms is an office – as working for home becomes more popular thanks to better internet access speeds and paperless offices, more people are trying to set up a desk somewhere quiet at home. If you’re out in the garden, not only are you less likely to wander to the fridge to keep grabbing snacks all day, but you’re also less likely to accidentally end up watching day time television all day on the sofa. As students work best in libraries, having a dedicate space with no distractions forces you to focus and get stuff done.
Consider the view too – whilst either option is great for seeing your own plants, perhaps if you’ve got a larger property, a garden room situated a long way from the house would have an even better view than a conservatory looking straight onto your backyard.
You may be dreaming of the utmost in luxury, but the bottom line is that conservatories or garden rooms can both be pretty expensive. Make sure to get a few quotes and read the terms and conditions – if there is a problem because the installer hasn’t measured up correctly, who will pay to order more materials? Bear in mind that your home insurance will likely be affected to a certain extent too; finding out beforehand will prevent hair-pulling out later on. A cheap lean-to conservatory will be equally as cost-effective as a budget-priced garden room, so there is no significant difference in this area between the two types.
Garden rooms are definitely seen as cool, unlike conservatories which have fallen out of favour after one too many poorly-designed white plastic monstrosities have been stuck onto the side of an otherwise lovely house without too much forethought. Even though we currently only deal in conservatories, we’re the first to admit that they’re often considered something that only retired people decide to purchase. However, conservatories – if carefully designed – can let light flood into your home, particularly if they extend your property in an open-plan design.
Whatever you decide to go for, make sure to take your time over the decision – it’s an investment that will cost thousands of pounds. If you were shopping for a car, you’d know the sensible thing to do is to check it’s appearance, space available, performance and reliability before you commit, and a conservatory should require just as much research. Make sure that you’re getting a design customised to your home, and think carefully about how you’ll use it so that you’re much more likely to end up in a state of delight rather than dismay!