Conservatory Alternatives: Alternative home extension ideas

6 August 2020
Updated 17 March 2023

Adding a conservatory extension to a home is commonplace across the UK.

But what about an alternative to the conservatory? Something a little different.

When looking to add an extension to your home, there are a vast array of options available. You’re not limited to a conservatory.

Some conservatory alternatives include:

  • Orangery
  • Garden office, garden room,  or retreat
  • Veranda
  • Pergola or canopy

Let’s take a deeper look at the different alternatives to a conservatory that are available.


Often spoken about alongside a conservatory, an orangery is a very similar type of extension – sometimes people can’t even tell the difference!

Orangery - conservatory alternative

An orangery generally has larger windows and solid brick pillars throughout, giving it a more grandeur look and feel.

Orangeries are the perfect extension to your home if you’re looking for some that can be multi-purpose and blend in perfectly with your home, rather than looking like an add-on.

They can be just as energy efficient as a conservatory too. Double glazed windows and doors often come as standard.

Garden rooms

Garden rooms have grown in popularity more recently, partly thanks to the increase in home working (work from home or remote working).

They are ideal for creating a separate space from your home, but still within your boundaries.

Often dubbed a “garden office”, they offer a private, separate space, that can contain all of the elements your house would include, such as lighting and heating. They are great for having a separate working environment from home, so that you still feel that distinction between home and work, without actually having to travel anywhere.

Our friends at Kettell Windows recently discussed the topic of garden offices and how they create a workable living space.

Garden rooms aren’t just for working, though. In some cases, they can make a perfect garden retreat. A separate living space, whether it be for hosting guests or creating a separate space to play games, they are the ideal addition to a home with a large garden.


For a truly remarkable living space, a veranda can offer exquisite looks. With large window panes, accompanied by bifold doors, and uPVC bars to house it all, they provide a bright, open space for relaxing.

Due to their large sides, a veranda can provide a smooth transition from your home to the veranda, either with the bifold doors, or for those wanting to further maximise space, sliding doors.


If you have a patio fitted at your home, a pergola or canopy could be the ideal solution to provide an extension.

A pergola or canopy can provide a covered exterior to your home, either over your front door, the area of your driveway where you park your car (to create a carport), or over your patio area to create an open, fresh, yet covered outdoor area.

Each of the alternatives we have spoken about above will suit different types of properties.

 When choosing an extension type, try to think of the materials your home currently uses (e.g in its windows and doors), and then the type of material that could be used in the extension, including the customisation of colours, in order to keep a matching theme running throughout your home.

Conservatory or an extension?

Choosing between a conservatory a full-blown property extension can be a difficult choice to make.

Conservatories are ideal if you’re looking to create a room to relax in, entertain guests, or help connect your house to your garden. Its large glass windows and thin frames can help bring in more natural light.

House extension

If, however, you’re looking to add on an additional room to your house, for example wanting to convert your existing kitchen into a larger dining and living space, and have a separate room for a kitchen, then an extension is the better route to take.

Make your conservatory unique

Even if you’re still set on a conservatory, you don’t have to settle for standard.

In fact, there are many ways to make your conservatory unique.

For one, you could add a solid roof to your conservatory. A solid roof adds a tiled roof to your conservatory, helping it blend neatly into the rest of your home.

Tiled roof conservatory

Adding a tiled roof to a conservatory can act as a lower-cost way of adding an extension to your home, without being a full-on extension.

We have a comprehensive guide on conservatory roof prices, so you have an idea of what you would be looking at monetarily. At the same time, take a look at our conservatory cost calculator to see how much a conservatory might cost you.