Has the Conservatory had its day?

It does not seem so long ago that the conservatory was in its halcyon days. Giving natural sunlight and a relatively cheap way to add an extra room to a property, they popped up everywhere.

Five to ten years later, and what becomes of the conservatory now? Still popular but not as they once were. Those that have conservatories give mixed reviews. It seems the future for the conservatory is changing.

The Disadvantages of having a Conservatory

It can be difficult to make the most out of a conservatory. Many people have reported that they found themselves not using it for many months of the year depending on weather conditions. Too hot in the height of summer and too cold in winter. Money is needed to be spent to ensure a conservatory has a good heating system and ventilation. Otherwise, a conservatory can be a very uncomfortable place to be.

Conservatories have also suffered as many people build them without really knowing how they want to use them. Many become an undefined space, dormant or just expensive storage space meaning they do not live up to the promise as a good investment.

People thought that by building a conservatory they were adding a room to their house and as a result, value. This is not always been the case. In fact, an ill-fitting or tacky conservatory can be an eyesore and detract from the value of a home. Potential buyers may be put off if they want to pull down an old conservatory as this is just another expense.

Conservatories have not delivered exactly what they promised. However, this does not necessarily mean that they have become redundant.

Is a Conservatory a Good Idea?

What has become evident is that a conservatory is not a quick-fix to add another room and value to a property. With the good planning and thought, though, they can be really worthwhile. The key to deciding whether a conservatory is a good idea is knowing what it will be used for and if it will make financial sense.

Those people that particularly enjoy the natural sunlight and outdoor views rarely have complaints about conservatories. A conservatory is great as it offers a unique setting and experience in your home but you need to know if it will suit you. Think carefully about how you would use a conservatory and if it would be genuinely a good idea for your lifestyle. If you are just looking to ‘add another room’ a loft or garage conversion may be a better idea. A conservatory needs to add something to your home and lifestyle; otherwise you may just fall into one of the traps mentioned above.

Is a Conservatory a Good Investment?

On the financial side, conservatories are still recommended by the experts as a way to add value to property. Phil Spencer from TV’s Location, Location, Location says on his website that a conservatory can add between 10%-20% onto the value of a house. Yet, it must be a good conservatory.

A good conservatory needs to blend in with the property and add something to it. It is worth spending a good amount (£5,000-£30,000) if you want to reap the rewards. A cheap conservatory just stuck on the back will just detract from the property. Spend more to ensure that the conservatory is a useable and defined room in all weather conditions. Good heating, insulation and ventilation are vital. In essence, it is a case of pricing up a conservatory that fulfils these requirements against the added value to the property. For the added value to be near 20% it will have to be a top line conservatory. One financial bonus is you will not need to shell out on planning permission as long as your build sticks to certain criteria. To ensure your plans fit check out this step-by-step visual guide.

The Future for the Conservatory

The conservatory still has a fruitful future for both buyers and vendors. A conservatory needs as much consideration as any home development and is not a soft option. They are now being built more to purpose and are less of a fad; hopefully bringing truly halcyon days for conservatory owners and potential house buyers alike.

By Michael Hallam

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