AIBU to think that conservatories are a total waste of time?(113 Posts)
Misread my own title then as 'Conservatives' then... they are a waste of space too tbf but my AIBU is about the uselessness of conservatories of the glass room variety.
Went to view a house yesterday. It's perfect except for the fact that it has a conservatory. The sellers had the standard wicker type furniture in there and it looked nice enough but in my experience the space is only ever fleetingly useful in maybe spring and autumn.
My experiences of having a conservatory previously have been that it's either so hot in them that you can't sit for longer than 5 minutes without feeling like you are going to pass out, OR they are absolutely bloody freezing and any efforts to warm them with additional heating are completely fruitless as the warmth wastes zero time escaping through the glass.
What is the point?! Have I just been stuck with really shit conservatories and other people don't have these problems?
We'd like to put an offer on the house but the conservatory is bugging me already!
What do you do with yours? Do you actually use it all year?
I think I'm kind of wanting someone to tell me IABU and sell the idea that they aren't a waste of space as I really love this house!
You can get the roof changed to a solid roof and better insulated so it's much more usable. Do agree they are otherwise useless.
I hate them! Too cold in winter and too hot in summer. An extension is a much better idea!
Mine serves as a very useful holding area for a wet dog.
I love mine! We use it all year round - it has a radiator in it for winter (you need one of sufficient size for the room), spring and autumn it's perfect. In summer, because ours is North facing, it's usable for most of the day, especially with the windows open giving a light breeze. It's large, light & bright and overlooks our lovely garden. It's probably my favourite room in the house.
Our house had one already when we moved in, it's used as the children's toy room. We bought an electric radiator off amazon (cost about £100) it has a built in thermostat, it doesn't get too burny hot to touch (😂 - don't know how else to word it) and we put that on to take the chill off in the winter and just open all the windows and door in the summer.
I don't like them either. Puts me off buying a house if they have one. Better to do a proper extension and not have a glass room that is either boiling hot or Baltic!
I have an ancient, crappy one that was there when I bought the house. I'm poor so I bought a 2nd hand kitchen on Ebay and put loads of cupboards in it.
It is now used for storing bikes, junk, laundry room, and has a lemon tree in it.
It's pretty useless in the summer as it's hotter than the surface of Venus (good fro drying laundry though), and in the winter it's useful only as a buffer between the rest of the house and the freezing outdoors.
I've lived with two south facing ones and while they were completely useless for humans, they were great for drying washing all year round.
Too cold in winter. Too hot in summer. Needs to be closed off by a door otherwise it gets condensation streaming down the glass when it’s cold outside. Why would you basically want to stick a greenhouse on the side of your house? Just build a proper usable extension!
We use ours all year round! Maybe been a handful of mornings where it has just been too cold, but generally even in winter it is warm enough as we have a long radiator which goes right along the length of one wall. We use it mainly as a playroom and keeps all the toys etc out if living room
Love mine. Have heating for when it needs it. We use it as a dining room in the winter and I sleep in there in the summer with the doors open to the garden.
We have had two at two previous houses. One was south and the other north west, and they were both great. The south backing one had doors at either side to let the air flow through in summer. Both were fine in winter with a radiator, and on those in between spring and autumn seasons where the sun through glass is lovely and warm. Didn’t have wicker furniture as too uncomfortable on the arms, just got a small sofa from ikea. Had some great post work naps on that sofa in the warm sunshine.
Honest question - do the people who find them too hot in summer not... open the doors? Seems to solve that problem in five minutes for mine, and I like to have the doors open to the garden.
Ours also works as a bit of a heat bank in summer, because the rear of the house is north facing, so stays a little too cool, without the warm air moving through from the back.
In winter, it managed to get warm enough with the heater that even MIL agreed to open the door (and her thermostat is set to 28!). We use it as a dining room/seating near the garden so don't often put the heating on in there in winter.
They can be made really usable rooms. Firstly, you can get much more effective glazing these days, so that far less heat radiates out in the winter months, plus you can get really good blinds too, which will both prevent heat loss and reduce heat build up in the summer.
That coupled with good ventilation in the summer, should mean that it isn't like the Gobi Dessert!
I've had them and found them really useful rooms, as long as they were decent quality and were properly kitted out, so that they weren't the equivalent of glass lean tos, just thrown up cheaply.
I would want to find out more about the conservatory. When was it built and ideally what company built it. What kind of glazing is it fitted with? Does it currently have any blinds - if yes, will they be included in the sale? What kind of windows does it have & are there ceiling vents or windows - these are really important but again cheap ones often aren't fitted with any roof venting.
Honest question - do the people who find them too hot in summer not... open the doors?
Yes, doesn't help. Also not always possible eg if have been out.
We use ours all year. Again ours is East facing though so doesn't get much hot sun. We have an radiator in there and it's lovely and warm in the winter and our favourite room in the summer because there are so many windows to let the breeze in and you can sit looking at the garden.
My gripe is that a conservatory tends to block off the light from the room to which it is attached.
Oh, and where we live, they are called orangeries now.
We had a house with a lovely one. It was unuseable in summer because when the doors or windows were open flies, bees and wasps would come in, dozens of them, and go up high and not be able to get out,
My DPS have an east facing one and it's ace.
Their house is bloody freezing but the conservatory is nice all year round. Insulated floors and a fan to blow the warm air into the house help. We spend all day in it! It's a bit cold at night but fine in the day, we eat christmas dinner out there
Ours is actually a large porch over the back door, big enough for a table and a couple of chairs (4 at a pinch), and wide windowsills for books and flowering and scented plants. Unheated - couldn't justify on ecological grounds the use of energy to heat a poorly insulated space. It's wonderful from Feb onwards - those sunny days when it's not warm enough to sit outside, but really uplifting to the spirits to have lunch in the sunshine. Summer we use it for breakfast and late evening, then autumn is back to having all meals in there. In winter, it is a useful space to take off waterproofs and muddy boots.
In addition, we've fitted a thermostatically controlled fan so when it's sunny it blows warm air from the conservatory to heat the house.
I think one reason it is useful is that it opens off the kitchen, so it's a natural thing to have the doors open on a sunny day and just carry a cup of coffee into there. A friend's conservatory you'd have to carry your coffee across the hall and through the sitting room - it's much more of an "event" to use it. Another friend has just had hers rebuilt, with a solid roof and partial walls, and window blinds, so it's reasonable to heat it and it has become a second living room.
I have a proper roof on mine and it’s still freezing in the winter
When I visited a friend just before Christmas one year, I was impressed to see that her conservatory had been repurposed as an overspill fridge.
It kept white wine and beer perfectly chilled and her fruit and veg kept really well without taking up most of the real fridge. She even had her turkey out there, in a zip-up cool bag.
in the day, we eat christmas dinner out there Oh, that sounds lovely! Interested that there's someone else who uses a conservatory as "solar heating" for the house.
I don't see the point of them either. Our house has one that was already there when we moved in. It's more useful than most because it has electronic roof windows as well as side windows and a ceiling fan which helps get heat out and draw cooler air in.
I actually use ours as a gym (I work out first thing) as in the winter I'm quickly too sweaty to care about the cold and in the summer opening all the windows and it being early morning means it's not too hot.
But I'd never put one on a house.
I absolutely hate them l, especially the plastic white ones. I associate them with the older generation and see them as old fashioned.
Garden rooms are much nicer
I would love one. Unfortunatly I have yet to figure out how to attach it to a second floor flat!
My sister in law has one. Whenever I visit I feel jealous because I don't think they really use it as much as i would. If it was mine it would have plants and a comfy sofa and I would read and do crafts. O
My Mum uses hers as solar heating for her house MereDintofPandiculat
One of my pet hates when I’m looking at houses is where they’ve got a conservatory on the back where window/doors from the living room used to be so the living room is then very dark.
YANBU, they’re such a pointless use of space. Proper extension with skylights and glass doors is infinitely more useful.
YANBU! They are completely useless and they pretty much always look dreadful as well.
It will surely depend on various factors.
Friends of ours built a conservatory on the side of a sitting room that seemed very small given the size of the house, and was very dark.
It made an enormous difference to the light and feeling of space. It was often used as a dining room, even though they had one, plus a kitchen table big enough for 4 to eat at.
I used to agree and ours was a glorified storage room until my son began to be interested in plants and now our conservatory is used for it's proper purpose - a place to grow plants. It's great for germinating seeds in the spring and growing his collection of cacti, succulents and pitcher plants the rest of the time. OK, it isn't usable for much else now but it's really pretty.
Yanbu, some of them are really badly done yet when you're viewing a house they're introduced as a massive advantage. The worst is a badly done extension eating into an otherwise lovely garden.
We’ve just had our conservatory taken down and replaced by a proper extension , we had the conservatory for 14 yrs and it was really only properly used by the dog who is a bit of a sun worshipper . On the other hand my neighbours have a conservatory that they use practically all day everyday as their main room to sit in / read etc .
sorry peeps, am looking to move soon and if you have one you won't be on the viewing list. but for people who like them that's good, but i would dislike the attached room in gloom. someone i know has one, hardly uses it and her lounge light is on most of the day.
Oh and citrus plants too so perhaps we could call it an orangery
My parents have a huge conservatory on their bungalow and they manage to use it most of the year somehow. Mum made 20 lbs of marmalade from the oranges she grew and DS2 used some of her lemons in his GCSE food tech exam.
We had one that was a bit too hot. If we had the doors open flies would get in. We had fly doors attached but they were a hassle. I think French windows and no conservatory are the one.
irain bow that sounds like my thing i collect house plants like some people collect old socks and we all know they are loners but you don't part with them just in case
I associate them with the older generation and see them as old fashioned.
Oh God. Burn them all down then. Not the older generation. Yuk. 🙄
Used as laundry room. Orangery is different I think. Has solid walls, more of a construction.
We had a south facing one that the kids used to play in. It was always impossibly hot in summer.
Once the kids left some crayons on the table and we came back from our holiday to multicoloured puddles of wax. Scary how hot it must have got.
We had one, it was known as the washing drying room.
Be careful of wanting to change them! You have to know what your planning consent is!
We cannot put a proper roof on, nor install proper heating. It is basically a posh lean to!
We didn't hink about it when we bought... we are exploring our options, as they say!
One of our neighbours is about to have a massive one installed. When she told me she was so excited. I'm afraid all I could muster was "that's nice".
Every double glazing salesman who ever knocked on my door and tried to sell me firstly, new windows and then moved on to a conservatory got the response "in a south facing garden?". I think most of them took that as a 'no'
We use ours all year round. When the dc were small it was a playroom, then a teenage hang out, now only used occasionally. Decent ventilation and blinds help regulate the temp and in the summer we just leave the doors and windows open as much as possible.
We have one. It's North facing so not too hot in Summer at all, and we have an oil filled radiator in there to take the chill off in winter. It's the kids playroom. It's great especially in summer so we can leave doors open and they can go in and out of the house at will
whilst I drink tea . It's attached to the kitchen.
MIL has made me along the side of her house. Freezing in winter. Hotter than hell in summer. It’s mainly a walk through and dumping area. And it leaks. And she is talking about getting it replaced. With another one.
Although on talking to her she said the FIL insisted that they put proper foundations in when it was being built so she could out an extension or proper garden room on which she is thinking about.
You don't have to take a house with a consevartory if you don't like, there's no obligation. There will be plenty of other people who would like, I'd like one very much and last year would have been lovely.
Find something else that suits you.
I quite like the idea of turning it into a glorified greenhouse and growing citrus 🤔
Laundry drying benefits and fridge extension taken on board too.
Maybe need to ask more questions about it as I have no idea of the spec. It's double glazed and has a small radiator but no idea about vents etc. Don't recall seeing blinds but that might just be my poor observation skills.
I have a major aesthetic issue with them.
All those ridiculous bloody faux-antique style finials and cresting gee-gaws they finish them off with. Do the makers think people will think "ooh look a genuine Victorian upvc conservatory!" when it's clamped onto a 1990s semi in Milton Keynes?
I see people are saying that they make the room they are attached to dark, this is one of the main reasons we didn't have one, at the moment our dining room french doors open onto the garden and it would make it very dark with a conservatory attached especially one with a more solid roof
DH wanted one, our garden is south facing. Cannot think of anything worse!
I'm not a fan. As others have said, they often block the light into the room to which they are attached, and the other thing is insects. If it is the white plastic variety it gets covered in fly and spider dirt, and the flies etc bash around out of reach in the ceiling. I have also seen ones covered in black mould because the condensation hasn't been cleaned off regularly. They just seem to be high maintenance. Much prefer a garden room with a proper roof with roof lights, and then windows all round - but not if it is tacked onto a reception room. My pet hate is seeing a previously external window becoming a window between two rooms, it just looks odd.
I don't feel in any way obligated to buy it @Bluerussian. It's interesting hearing how other people make use (or not) of their conservatories.
There is no rule which states you must be a card carrying conservatory lover in order to purchase a house with one. I should think most house purchases involve some degree of compromise.
When I was house hunting it was so annoying how almost all of the houses had tiny gardens because of massive conservatories. Luckily we found our house with a good sized garden and a massive conservatory. I hate conservatories but ours has been warm in winter as it has a big radiator in there. And it's been useful with the dog, even if it has disgusting green carpet. Depending on how long we live here we might convert the roof and make it more of an extension than a conservatory
Oh and our conservatory was built onto the home office so my partners office has no natural light and ends up smelling so stuffy.
My parents love their conservatory and use it all the time - but it has stone floors, underfloor heating, air conditioning, electric blinds, comfy sofa, small breakfast table and 2 chairs! Their attached dining room is quite dark though.
Ours is fucking massive, I would have preferred a proper extension but it was already there when we bought the house. No idea why previous occupants needed such a massive space, it’s impossible to heat even with 3 radiators. Anyway we changed the roof, still a plastic one but triple layer something or other. And is very opaque rather than the godawful clear plastic it replaced. So that helps keep heat in/out depending on season. We also had a roof window added on the opposite side to the door. It REALLY helps with airflow in the summer. Just having a door open doesn’t do much but having hot air able to escape from the roof is a game changer! So now the room is usable 3 seasons out of 4.
We have lived in a house with one for 5 years and I hate it! Freezing in winter and roasting in summer. We use it as a playroom so good for storing all the kids toys (especially the huge ones) but more often than not it’s too hot/cold for them to actually play in there I didn’t use it as an overspill fridge at Christmas time though! I cannot wait to knock the bloody thing down!
Ours blocks the pantry window and the back door, so light into living spaces isn't affected at all. And it's lovely working in the kitchen with the back door wide open on sunny days in Feb and March, especially with scented jasmine or daffodils in the conservatory.
Cats approve of it too.
They’re awful things! When we viewed houses, it was always with the knowledge that if it had a conservatory, it would be coming down! We would factor this cost into the price of the house.
Depends I think. I don't have one but my friend's one has underfloor heating AND air conditioning in it. I'm so jealous of it it's embarrassing.
Not a massive fan myself but when we were househunting this house ticked all of the boxes apart from the conservatory. Thankfully its quite neat and doesn't take over the garden and we used it as a dining room originally. As ds got older we turned it into a playroom with a small heater and it seems to work quite well so far. I said if we took this house that it couldn't be a dumping ground and had to be used - i cant stand spaces left to pile up junk
bigbluebuswe are kindred spirits , 'that's nice'
I love mine OP, it's heated, huge, and we use it a lot.
Catches the evening sun, so perfect for a glass of wine at sunset.
We have a south facing one. It has been useful for:
Storing garden toys and craft stuff (crayons have to be put away in the cupboard as they will melt as pp discovered!)
Somewhere to shut the dog away-(with Windows open when hot)
I love soaking up the heat in there-like sunbathing without the skin cancer risk
Eat Christmas dinner out there
Have radiator for occasional time when it needs to be used as proper room
It’s been pretty useful. Having said that we’re about to replace it with a proper extension as it’s falling down.
Ours is north facing- built last year! No heating but we haven’t needed it... yet.
Makes a lovely playroom at the moment and is great for sitting in and watching LO play in the garden ( cos I’m miserable and would rather be indoors )
We built one about ten years ago and love it still. It’s east facing and has two roof vents which prevent it being unbearable in summer, also two large radiators for winter. Even in snowy weather it’s very comfortable. We have carpet and rugs plus two large squashy sofas and other normal furniture. It’s used just like any other room. I hate ones with hard floors and wickerwork.
My aunt put one up. She has electronic blinds all over it that help loads in regulating the temperature, and underfloor heating for the winter. I agree they are pretty useless if the temperature in there is uncomfortable. Hers does look nice, and has a lovely outlook over the garden. Personally I would rather have an extension with huge sliding doors and the dining table in a space like that than have a designated conservatory though.
My parents have an "orangery" which they use all year round but it has underfloor heating.
I 100% agreed with you until I had a tiled roof put on mine. It already had fairly high walls and not too much glass. Now it is a dream, totally useable all year round. Warm and cool at the right rather wrong times of the year.
Ours is now a lovely garden dining room rather than a freezing/boiling fish tank.
Hmm, reading this thread I'm wondering if my conservatory is even a conservatory. It's got glass walls, but is hooked up to our heating system (two radiators - more than any other room), and basically feels like part of the house. I wonder if it is just an extension with window-walls instead? Also has wired electricity and outlets and such. Is that normal? Only issues we've had is that due to the two radiators, if you close the doors in winter it can get quite hot! Not overly hot in the summer, but it is north-facing.
I absolutely love it, and am sitting in it right now listening to the icy rain pattering against the glass, all warm and cosey.
Although now I’ve read this thread I hope I never have to sell the house
They are cold in winter,hot in summer, I'd know knock it down and build a proper extension if you buy the house.
I'd have the villagers around with pitchforks and torches if we ever try and sell this place - we are old, have a white plastic conservatory that robs the living room of light, is like the surface of Venus (thanks PP) in summer and dark side of the moon in winter.
It was here when we moved in but as we liked the rest of the house we let it off, even though I accept it is a total bag of shit.
Thank flip we aren't planning on moving.
Yep a waste! We had one (until it got taken down this week!) which served as a dumping ground. It was a lovely looking conservatory but being south facing could only be used in may and September. I certainly would never choose to put one in. Building work on our extension starting next week and I can't wait to have proper usable space.
We have a big conservatory - it's the width of the house and 15ft deep. I'm sitting in it now. We have our computer desks set up in here facing the garden which we can watch all year round. Plus we have bookshelves and a table and chairs to eat out here if the weather is nice.
We love it but would want a little one.
Our house came with a large conservatory. Google Earth revealed that at some point there had been a single size, then rebuilt as a double. I was always sceptical but I'm completely converted.
In winter, our lawn is a swap, so the conservatory is a semi-outdoor space where the kids can kick balls and use larger outdoor toys. The Christmas tree goes in there, yet remains visible from the lounge. I also use it as a fridge, handy for large casserole pots that don't fit in the fridge!
It tends to be too cool Nov-March, but having had some sunny days, we've already had a few days this year where it's gone up to the high 20s and able to be opened up to warm the house through.
It can go too hot in the hottest weather, but also it means the lounge can stay shut off and comfortably cool which it wouldn't with patio doors on a south aspect.
Long term, we'll probably go for a better brick built room. Underfloor heating would extend the year of it, but it has been a fantastic family space.
They look Horrid alot of the time but nice ones do exist.
The key is to use it as a room, heaters are quite cheap but many have underfloor or integrated heating. It only a full ping ground if you let it become one, change the roof or flooring, add heating if necessary and use the space.
When upgrading the rules are quite simple unless you go do building reg routes and then it will cost alot more as it's basically classed the same as an extension.
In my old house we had one. It it a foil thing in the roof ( couldn't see it ) that helped keep heat out in summer, and heat in the winter. It also had underfloor heating . The garden wasn't overlooked and it made a great dining room.
YANBU. My auntie has one, it's either roasting hot or like the Arctic.
There is no inbetween!
@NameChangeNugget summed conservatories up very well
i thought this was about Conservatoires!
I was anti- them but we bought a house that has one as a kitchen extension with sofas etc. and it’s great. Actually isn’t cold ( albeit we have under floor heating) or at least no more than the standard kitchen extension with floor to ceilin bi- folds at the back. It is very sheltered I suppose so maybe that helps.
Sat in mine at the moment - it's my home office/craft room/woman cave/hide from the rest of the bloody family sanctuary (although the dog's commandeered the sofa in it as her dog bed to keep me company). Can keep an eye on the kids when they're playing in the garden as well while sitting watching telly and drinking coffee and ours is used all year round - we don't tend to close the doors between it and the rest of the house so the temperature stays relatively equal and I've been out in here with snow on the roof perfectly fine. Ours is fairly new (couple of years old) so the glazing on it is pretty decent I think.
MN collectively is very anti-conservatories though. I think you have to set them up quite carefully or they can become a dumping ground - before I reclaimed this one it had been infested with about a million plastic playmobil people I had to serve eviction proceedings on and had become a bit of a no-man's ground. I love it now we've got it working as a decent room though.
I have air conditioning in mine which makes the use of it fantastic but without it I totally agree.
I hate them, they look horrendous. Most of them look filthy as well, because it's rare that people got a window cleaner to do theirs at least a couple of times a month.
I much prefer to open windows in the rooms, sit either in a room or in the garden, I cannot see the point of them.
I understand when people just need space and go for a cheaper option than an extension, because that's all they can afford. I still hate them.
IMO it's better to have an extension to the home rather than a conservatory.
If you look at pictures of conservatories in homes that are for sale they usually don't have a proper purpose.
e.g. May have white goods stuck in some obscure area along with seating or study area as well.
Most don't seem to have a proper plan for their use.
We bought a house with one and got rid of it within months. The house is in lovely stone and the conservatory was an eyesore in ugly white uPVC. Despite double glazing and a radiator it was freezing all winter, and apparently no previous owners, not even the lady who had it built at great expense, had ever used it except for storage.
We have a South facing one and we use it all year with an electric radiator. It's a playroom with sofa and tv so is used in the evenings too if DH wants to watch something different.
It can get very hot in summer but we open the doors and it's fine, the brightness bothers me more than the heat! I dont enjoy sunbathing but I love soaking up the warmth sitting in the conservatory. We need the heater on in winter if it's dull but if it's a sunny day it's warm enough without. A big floor sized thick rug makes a huge difference to keeping it warm. I wouldn't want a solid roof as I'm not prepared to lose the light in to the dining room so an extension wouldn't work for me.
I'm not sure how we'll use it as the kids get older and don't need a toy room, probably just as a second sitting room.
I know a lot of people use them as play rooms and messy rooms for children.
That's the only reason I'd buy a house with one. I like the idea that they normal have easy to clean floors and the mess children make would be contained to one areas.
I didn't want a conservatory either: I thought they were light thieves. We got one with the house. I decided to use it as a proper conservatory and replaced the roof with a proper glass one (keeps cold out and heat in, and self-cleans). Filled it with plants which are thriving and now 3x the size they were when I first put them in. It's our own little indoor garden and is used all year round; easy to keep warm (less easy to keep cooler in summer) but from about April through October all our evenings are spent in there. I work in there: I find it relaxes me. It's always the setting for Christmas lunch. Great, too, to retreat to when the patio becomes too cold.
It's conservatories without plants that are travesties IMO! I wouldn't have chosen mine, but I now wouldn't want to be without it. It's my favourite room in the house.
PS. I'd love one of those open, American-style porches. Yours sounds wonderful MereDin!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.