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How to make the most of a conservatory or orangery

Conservatories and orangeries are a great way to gain extra living space without moving to a bigger home. With a bit of outside area and some careful design and planning you can have a new dining room, bigger kitchen, a games room, office or even a home cinema or gym. But this is a big investment, so you must think carefully before you sign a contract.

You must consider first whether an extension is really the best way to invest your money. If other areas of your home are lacking a conservatory or extension may only serve to highlight the poor condition elsewhere. This is especially important if you are planning to put your house on the market soon – a brand new conservatory will not outweigh a dingy kitchen or bathroom. If selling up is an option, you must also be honest about the need for a conservatory on your type of property and whether it will really enhance the market value.

When you have satisfied yourself that an extension is a great option then you can call in the experts and begin planning. Use a reputable firm and be clear with them about what you want, and don’t want, and how you intend to use your conservatory. This will ensure that they design the perfect extension for you and your home. At this stage you should consider things such as the lighting and heating options and where you need electrical sockets. It is not easy to fit underfloor heating or new plug points at a later date.

Once the design has been finalised you simply have to wait until the project is completed. Spend this time deciding on the decoration and furniture for your conservatory, again bearing in mind how the new space will be used. It is important to get the seating arrangements and things such as blinds and heaters or fans just right to maximise the enjoyment of your conservatory or orangery.

When your conservatory is finished it is a really fun time when you can get started with the decorating and bringing in your furniture and so on. Play around with the layout and don’t be afraid to change things over the next few weeks and months – you may find that even though you wanted a new dining room it ends up becoming more of a living room or playroom for the kids.

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