Installing a new conservatory is one of the most exciting things you can do as a homeowner, but what happens next?
How should you go about decorating the interior so that you can get the best value out of your investment?
There are more factors to consider than you may at first realize. taking your time to think through all of them will help you get results that stand the test of time.
A Room for All Seasons
Many people think of the conservatory as a summer room, however, in the middle of winter it can be your garden – a fresh green space where you can enjoy the best aspects of being outside without the cold.
A well-decorated conservatory will feel as cosy in winter as it will feel spacious and bright in summer. It will let you enjoy the full splendor of the autumn leaves and will welcome in the spring.
For your conservatory to work year-round, you’ll need good insulation, good ventilation, and good light control.
Too much light can be overwhelming on bright days – including snowy ones – and can make the space extremely hot.
Blinds are not a great solution, too vulnerable to damage or getting tangled in plants, but fitting DIY shutters is easy to do and enables you to control the light while maintaining the elegance of your conservatory.
A Room to Work In
If you sometimes work from home, doing so in a place where you have lots of light and a fantastic sense of space is wonderfully freeing.
A standalone desk and chair can look great in a space like this, but they need to fit in with the overall aesthetic and not overwhelm it.
A modern desk in the same colors as the room, with simple, clean lines, can be very effective. A classic heavy wooden desk can work as a statement piece at one end of the room but is best surrounded by heavy greenery to break up its shape.
Image: SweetPea and Willow
Careful positioning of plants is also a good way to reduce screen glare on grey days when you don’t want to shut out the light.
A Room for Relaxation
Your conservatory should also be a place where you can relax, alone or with your loved ones, so it needs to have a relaxing ambiance.
Too much soft furniture can overwhelm a room like this.
A good way around the problem is to use lightly constructed wooden or wicker furniture with loose, tie-on cushions. These also make for easier cleaning.
Small, nested tables create space for food and drink, but they don’t clutter the place up the rest of the time.
A natural wood colour or wood painted white or racing green is traditional in rooms like this and mixes well with floral or striped fabrics in soft colors.
A Space for Entertaining
When you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a beautiful space, you’ll want to show it off.
Folding chairs give you the option of seating more people but don’t get in the way when guests are milling around.
Hanging plants add to the character of the room without getting in the way – for easy care try fuchsia, verbena or geranium ivy.
Strings of lights hung around the edges of the ceiling or along its beams are ideal for creating a night-time ambiance. If you want to add glamour and the ceiling is high enough to support it, consider installing a traditional French-style chandelier.
From Floor to Ceiling
Good conservatory design starts from the ground up.
When you have a lot of plants in a room, you need to be able to deal with falling flower petals, leaves and other debris. A tiled or linoleum floor is best for this, though hardwood can also work if you keep it well waxed and sealed.
You’ll have a lot of glass to clean and this inevitably means that cleaning products will come in contact with the walls from time to time so make sure you use hardwearing paint or varnish that won’t be damaged as a result.
When painting your conservatory, you’ll find that soft emulsions produce a better effect than gloss, which can produce a harsh glare in strong light.
Mirrors can work well in small rooms, increasing the sense of space, but don’t overdo them or you’ll have more light than you can handle.
Avoid single bulb pendant lights which produce ugly reflections.
The secret to designing for a space like this is to make everything look organic, interrupting symmetry and disguising hard lines. With plenty of plants – and perhaps even a small tree or two, if you have room – you can create a soothing natural space that always makes you feel refreshed.
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