The Differences Between Orangeries & Extensions

Read this article to learn the key differences between an orangery and an extension and how to decide which is for you.

The difference between orangeries and extensions is that orangeries use elements from conservatories with those of an extension. Both have brick pillars, but unlike an extension which usually has a flat or tiled roof, an orangery has a glazed roof to let in more natural light. 

Keep reading to learn the details of other critical differences between orangeries and extensions, such as costs and planning permits, as well as some things to consider when deciding which is the better choice for you. 

The Main Difference Between an Orangery and an Extension

The main difference to keep in mind when deciding whether you want to build an orangery or an extension is whether you want something closer to a conservatory than a traditional extension. Orangeries are primarily windows and let in a lot of natural light and usually have a glass roof to make the space feel more open, and an extension is more like adding another room to your house. The

Difference in Cost for Orangeries and Extensions

While an orangery and extension can be the same size, the orangery will probably cost you less per square meter. However, the size and the features you want to include in either project can change the cost.

Orangeries can cost around $2,665 per square meter, whereas an extension can cost approximately $4,000 per square meter. However, other expenses come with building an extension, as you will need to submit a planning application before you can start building. 

Planning Permits for Orangeries and Extensions

Orangeries don’t usually need planning permission because they are a permitted development right. However, there are limitations to what you can include with an orangery without seeking out a planning permit. If you want to use an orangery as your new kitchen or living space, you will probably want it to seamlessly blend with your existing house, which can impact whether you need planning permission. 

Extensions, by contrast, are rarely considered permitted development, so you will most likely need to get a planning application before you can start working on it. It’s usually best to get planning permission anyway, as it ensures that you won’t run into issues after beginning the project. 

How long does it take to get planning permission?

If you decide to build an extension or need planning permission for your particular orangery, expect the application process to take eight weeks. Of course, this eight-week timeline is only after you have submitted your application and need to wait for the approval, and you will need to do other work before your application is ready. 

You will need to:

  • Research whether you need planning permission in the first place.
  • Contact your local authority’s planning department to find out whether your application has a chance of being approved.
  • Fill out your application with your local council’s planning department and go through the process of greeting your plan. 

It’s essential to keep in mind what work goes into this application process before setting your heart on your building project of choice. Make sure you have the time you need to go through all the proper stages while still being able to finish the project in time for you to enjoy it. 

Do You Need an Orangery or an Extension?

Ultimately, this decision is up to you because orangeries and extensions might have structural differences but essentially have the same function. However, if you want some help deciding, consider the following.

What will you use the space for?

Either way, you are looking to add more space to your home, but you will get different experiences depending on which one you choose. If you want to add a kitchen, living room, or dining room to your home, an orangery could add character to the space and design.

However, if you are looking to create another bedroom or space for children, you might want to go with a less open extension, and it will be easy to cover windows when you need to. 

What look are you going for?

If you want something enclosed but still feel like letting the outside into your home’s space, then an orangery would be a great choice, especially if you can build it at the back of your home leading into your backyard or other outdoor space. Orangeries tend to be a focal point for use during social gatherings. 

However, if you want something that looks more traditional and blends into the rest of your home like it’s always been there, then an extension is probably the better choice for you. Extensions also tend to have flat roofs, which could be better if you don’t want to block a window on the second floor. 

Do you want natural light?

One factor that draws people to orangeries is that they rely primarily on natural light thanks to their glass roofs and large windows. Opting for natural light could be an excellent option for you if your property gets plenty of light and you live somewhere that gets sunlight for long enough hours for you to enjoy the space.

However, if you have a property with a lot of shade, you are unlikely to get the effect you are looking for with an orangery. The same is applicable if you live somewhere, such as further north, that doesn’t get as much sunlight during the year, limiting how much time you can spend in an orangery, and you would probably benefit from an extension.

You could still build an orangery and include artificial lighting to compensate for getting less natural light in your area, but you would have to do the same for an extension. It all depends on your expectations for building and using an orangery. 

Final Thoughts

Orangeries and extensions have more similarities than differences. Still, the critical thing to keep in mind when distinguishing between the two is that orangeries usually have half walls with windows making up the rest of the space and have more of a conservatory look. They work well for kitchens and living rooms but probably aren’t suitable for bedrooms and private areas.