Orangeries: How Do They Differ From Conservatories?

If you want your home to be a spacious place where you can be creative with your interior decor, there's no better way to do so than to include an orangery or conservatory onto your property. However, deciding which one of these you should choose can be a difficult decision, especially if you are not fully aware of the differences between them. Just looking at the two structures shows no particularly obvious dissimilarities, but they are actually separated by several important factors namely their design, history, and intended usage.

You might be surprised to find out that orangeries, the less popular of the two, are actually the oldest. Orangeries became prevalent throughout Europe between the 17th and 19th centuries, having originally come to prominence when used in Italian Renaissance gardens, where adding a glass room extension to a house was commonplace among upper class citizens. However, this was by no means a solely Italian idea. On the contrary, the popularity of orangeries was an international development that owed much of their design work to Dutch architects. This influence can clearly be seen in the beamed or vaulted solid roofs that give orangeries their unique structure.

Seventeenth Century orangeries were originally intended for the purpose of storing citrus trees inside of growth tubs so they will avoid harsh European winter climates. The success that orangeries provided in cultivating fruit soon led many owners to use orangeries as a means of rearing other difficult to cultivate exotic plants. As a symbol of the rich and wealthy, orangeries soon became must-have commodities across the continent. Orangeries were the crown jewel of any modern home and proud owners would show their guests around their house leaving the orangery until last. As the years passed, the classic orangery design was altered further to improve the quality of growing plant life while incorporating ever more luxurious architecture.

Among the most famous orangeries in Europe is the 1617 Orangery known as the Musee de l'Orangerie, based at the Palace of the Louvre. The largest orangery of this era is based in Versaile, where renowned designer Jules Hardouin-Mansart developed a structure grand enough to store orange trees for Louis XIV. With a dimension of 155 metres by 42 metres it remains a French landmark to this day.

A range of different orangery designs appeared during the 1800s, with greater emphasis on luxurious window designs. The architect at the forefront of this change was Joseph Paxton, who having already established himself with a number of grand European structures such as London's Crystal Palace, soon developed the great conservatory of Chatsworth House which is essentially a huge combination of an orangery and a glass house. This was an early design of the structure that we now commonly refer to as a conservatory therefore a considerable amount of conservatory design is owed to orangeries.

Conservatories replaced orangeries in terms of popularity during the 20th century and soon became a popular addition to homes for people from all backgrounds. They are regarded as a valuable addition to a house due to their providing a living space enabling easy garden access. Conservatories have been developed to compliment a home through a shape and style not dissimilar from the style and shape of a house. In contrast, modern orangery designs retain their original appearance so that they appear as more of a house extension rather than a whole additional structure. This is evident from the brick construction of orangeries which is intended to make them subtly blend in with other common house materials.

This is the key difference between orangeries and conservatories, as the latter are supposed to look different from the rest of the home to instead resemble an outside room. This means that most conservatory designs have a definite outdoor aesthetic to them, which also makes them the better option for owners who want to maintain their use of protecting plant life from harsh climates. Orangeries are now arguably the more luxurious option because their lesser contemporary usage makes them appear more exclusive.

Orangeries and conservatories are still the most stylish and practical way to improve your home. For more information visit

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