Conservatories are a difficult room to work with; somewhere between indoors and outdoors and never fully committed to either. In summer, they are often far too warm, and in winter they become damp and cold spaces that are neglected until the first glimpse of spring. 

Conservatories originated in the 16th century as a way to cultivate citrus fruits in the colder months or harsh climates of Northern Europe. It wasn’t until the 1970s that architects began employing the same Victorian stylings of 19th Century orangery structures into domestic extensions. 

In the 70s and 80s, building a conservatory was one of the most popular ways to add value to a home, so now homeowners are left dealing with that difficult room. If you want to make sure your conservatory is truly functional year-round, there are a few steps you will need to take to create a cool and airy room in summer and a warm and cosy space in winter. Conservatories make ideal second family rooms, reading nooks, dining rooms, home offices and playrooms. Once you’ve decided how you’d like to reclaim your conservatory, try these tips for creating a functional room for year-round use.

If the sun is a problem in summer, installing modern fitted blinds will help you to make the most of this room and regain some privacy. This will be particularly important if you’re thinking about creating an extra bedroom. Specialist blinds will also provide much-needed insulation in the winter months which will make your home much more eco-friendly. Fitted blinds are available in a variety of shades and patterns so you can make a bold statement with the decor.

If damp is a problem in your conservatory, you will need to identify the problem and solve it before decorating or adding any new furnishings. Sometimes the seals around windows may be damaged, the ground surrounding the conservatory might be waterlogged, or there may be poor air circulation to the room. To keep excess moisture at bay in winter, try using a dehumidifier to keep the air fresh.

Buying bespoke conservatory furniture is an ideal way to create the perfect cosy space that will be functional year-round. Wicker and rattan furniture is enjoying a revival at the moment as people have started to recognise the endless benefits of this durable, stylish and functional furniture.

If your glass roof just isn’t working for you, you can convert your extension into a normal room by replacing the roof with lightweight tiles. This will insulate the room and help keep it warm in winter, while the rest of the windows will still allow light to come streaming in. Any conversions of this kind will need to be carried out by a professional builder and you may need planning permission to convert your extension in this way.

Often, all that is needed to make a house a home is a few finishing touches. Adding some potted plants, ornaments, a new rug, throw pillows or framed pictures can be all you need to update your conservatory and make it a more homely. If you worry that your conservatory will be too warm in summer and too cold in winter, try using specialist rattan furniture which will be cool in summer and can be layered up with blankets and throws in winter.