What Makes a Conservatory Different from a Sunroom?

Modern Conservatory

by Tom Clark for B Modern ‘Conservatory’, ‘Sunroom’, ‘Solarium’, ‘Patio’…. each of these words has been used interchangeably today, though they are different from each other. This article tries to point out the basic differences between them. Before discussing the differences, let us first understand what they are. Conservatory

  • A conservatory is a small room built on side of the house with different materials such as wood, bricks, PVC, glass, etc.
  • The term ‘conservatory’ is widely used in United Kingdom, especially in England.
  • Construction of conservatories as part of the home was started in 16th century.
  • Conservatories are also called greenhouses.
  • The idea of conservatory comes from gardening, a popular hobby in England. To protect plants from strong breezes, wind and extreme cold weather, which are quite common in England, plants were grown indoors in these special rooms. They are designed in such a way that the plants get exposed to enough sunlight.
  • To facilitate sunshine, conservatories are built with 50% and 75% of glass on the walls and roof respectively.


  • ‘Sunroom’ is a term used in countries such as USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and some European countries.
  • Like a conservatory, a sunroom is also an extension to the house on one side.
  • Sunroom is also known as solarium or patio.
  • Solarium and sunroom/patio differ in materials they are built from.
  • As the name suggests, a solarium is much brighter and warmer because it has glass roof and glass walls around. In contrast, a sunroom has an opaque roof and walls may or may not have glasses. Likewise, patios do not have much access to sunlight.
  • The basic purpose of the sunroom is to use it as a living room.

Conservatory Vs. Sunroom

  • A conservatory differs from a sunroom in the purpose it is built for. Conservatories are used for horticulture, whereas sunrooms are used for recreation.
  • The roof of a conservatory is built with transparent materials like glass, plastic, etc. whereas the roof of a sunroom is built with opaque materials.
  • A sunroom is called conservatory when it has ample access to sunlight. A sunroom may or may not have as much access as a conservatory does.

Modern conservatories and sunrooms became popular since 19th century as an extra room or extension to houses. Today, these glass extensions are used as living rooms, storage rooms, etc. It has become a trend now-a-days to the people to make sure that the sunrooms or conservatories look attractive as it brings the beauty to the house. Get more ideas for your outdoor living space from Atlanta Home Improvement.

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