Conservatory design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Conservatories, greenhouses and outdoor rooms

Conservatories are a very popular addition for homeowners, today. There are various kinds of conservatories to choose from. The beauty about living in the South African climate is we can be exposed to as much sun and light as we could ever wish for. Sun and light is exactly what conservatories give you. And you can also moderate the related heat by locating your conservatory carefully.

Conservatories originated in countries with colder climates and short, cold days in winter. They were designed to protect plants from frost and snow. In South Africa however, while they can still display lush green plants, they are more likely to be places to relax outside of the usual confines of our indoors.

As with many additions to your home, it is necessary to check on whether you'll need planning permission for your conservatory, ensuring it is also constructed in accordance with any building regulations. People who have conservatories will tell you they can’t live without them. Humans love light and nature, that’s why conservatories are so desirable. Coupled with the opportunity to create a green garden inside, the appeal is clear.

 The South African sun burns considerably stronger so installing ample ventilation is key. Opening roof lights and windows are essential, providing through flow to extract hot air as it rises. Sliding doors can also help. Blinds are essential and can be motorised or mechanical.

Conservatories can be one of the cheapest additions to your refurbishment project. The sunroom is just a space that means different things to different families. It may be used as an expansion to your kitchen, for censored eating, a play room, a sitting room or a garden room.

The easiest place to find ideas is often online as you can do this from your own home. With homify you are able to browse hundreds of pictures of many conservatory styles. You also have the option of contacting people in the industry who can help you figure out what is best for you. Whether they are furniture designers, architects or builders, you are able to view many profiles to help find someone who is perfect for your needs.

What do I need to consider when building a conservatory or greenhouse?

The very first thing when picking a conservatory or greenhouse would be to decide its planned use. There are several kinds of conservatories to select from. It is entirely up to you what building materials you had want to use.

UPVC conservatories are becoming much more popular. You will find great advantages in selecting to construct a UPVC conservatory. Most people in SA use conservatories as a dining area, visitor room or extra living area. Others may use it for a playroom or garden space.

Your intended use will dictate the layout, size and style. When you refurbish and add more rooms to your house, you add energy prices and additional heat. With UPVC conservatories you can easily keep your power expenses down.

UPVC is a tough material that will provide durability and longevity to your conservatory. It will last longer and is easy to maintain. It does not rust, warp or rust like aluminium or wood. It's also watertight which helps maintain padding and keeping the South African thunderstorms at bay.

Aside from increasing your home’s value, it may greatly enhance your lifestyle. Should you opt for this as a guest space it could be beneficial to construct an L-shaped conservatory as they provide more privacy.

If safety is a concern, you can protect a conservatory with a cat-friendly beam via your existing alarm system. Conservatories are mostly at the back of houses, which are generally more secure but for peace of mind put Trellidors on the doors and burglar bars on the opening windows.

What does a conservatory cost?

There are many variables you need to consider when trying to work out the cost of a conservatory. For example, the type of materials you decide to use will often drastically change the price of your conservatory.

You may need to spend from R2500 to R4000/m2, depending on finishes. Aluminium, tinted glass, motorised blinds and vents with a tiled floor would take you to the top-end of that scale. For a 25m2 conservatory of that nature, you are looking at R100 000 but bear in mind it adds value to your home as it’s a great selling feature.

It could be the best investment you could make - depending on the situation with the existing doors to the garden. You will be amazed at the value and usefulness of a new conservatory. It’s worth the extension to both kitchen and lounge and is perfect for entertaining and for extended family meals, when the kids want to play somewhere else.

Being so obviously in the house and yet feeling that you are in the garden, many feel a conservatory built onto the back of a house is one of the best extensions you could invest in, and worth every cent. Picturing your family round over Christmas will convince anyone to go through with building one. It will serve as a pleasant additional entertainment area and will probably be in constant use thereafter. It’s likely to surpass expectations in terms of usefulness and therefore worth the cost.

How do I design my conservatory or greenhouse?

Conservatory and greenroom styles differ. The traditional Victorian semi-circular design is still popular in South Africa. If your home’s architecture is more modern, Squared off and angular versions are better suited, as is frameless glass that provide a good view.

Conservatories are becoming a lifestyle statement with clients using them as a gym, bathroom or entertaining area. Whether your style is classic or contemporary, indoor plants bring an air of nature and tranquillity to our homes.

Extremes of temperature and light are not great for expensive fabrics so consider keeping decoration understated and casual. Options to prevent the harsh South African sun and scorching temperatures inside your conservatory include motorised external awnings, triple glazing and wall-mounted air conditioning. 

An airy open-plan space creates a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. As conservatories are often the bridge between house and garden, You can lift the garden so it sits in line with the house, and create a deck leading to your conservatory for a welcoming flow. Traditional garden furniture, wood, aluminium or iron are thus perfect for any greenhouse. For flooring carpets are not a good idea because of braais, plants, pets and condensation. Slate or tiles are the most popular choice, which sit well with rattan or cane furniture.


What décor style is suitable for conservatories and greenhouses?

A conservatory need not be boring or an afterthought just because its outside. It is in fact the perfect room to have a little fun with.  Nature inspired colours usually work well. Alternatively for a more daring look, golds and bronzes work just as well. Fill it with plants, accessories and everything you love which is unique to your indoors and personality. It can be an extension of your indoor interiors or a completely different look and feel to the rest of the house- the choice is yours and the inspiration on homify is endless.

Creating the perfect conservatory space can be a fun task and you can find all the conservatory ideas and inspiration you need can be saved in your ideabooks. Paint colours, heating options, furniture and blinds all play an important part in planning the design and feel of your space whether its modern, eclectic, classic or rustic:


The modern theme is very popular amongst home-owners. It is an easy style to recreate and if you have the right base colours then changing accessories to keep up-to-date with the trends is easily done. Modern conservatories can create a brilliant atmosphere to spend time in as they make use of relaxing components, from comfortable armchairs to soft lighting. However, if you truly want a modern conservatory then it is worth trying to keep up with trends, which may be expensive if you intend on frequently changing your furniture.


Having the right conservatory design is extremely important for if you intend on actually spending time in the room! There are many brilliant DIY conservatory ideas around and the eclectic style is often the best to play around with as adding personality to a room means it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect. Having different colours, mismatching furniture and interesting lighting is a great way to create an eclectic feel in your home. This style is often the best option for families with small children as using colour in a room is a better way to make sure that any pristine white sofas don’t get ruined!


The use of impressive windows, bright open spaces and cream colours creates a very classic atmosphere. This means that a classic conservatory is one that is not too hard to create. Using beautiful pieces of furniture, such as antique or vintage sofas, you can make your room perfect for spending long amounts of time relaxing! This style really works well in a conservatory as it creates a chic and homely feel.


The use of wooden beams is a great way to create a rustic style conservatory. Another option is including a wood burner to add a more homely and cosy atmosphere. Patterned chairs and wooden tables also work extremely well. If you have a rustic theme running through your house then the juxtaposition of a room which is predominantly windows may also add an interesting feature for when you come to sell.