Your conservatory, or winter garden, is the place in your home where the outside and the inside meet. This makes it one of the most enjoyable places to decorate, blending natural elements with your favourite interior design pieces. Just like your garden, your conservatory can change with the seasons and you can adapt your decoration to give a seasonal effect. Here are some ideas to get you started.
The most dramatic conservatory ideas involve changing the use of your winter garden with the time of year. The glass construction will also trap heat and make the most of any winter sunshine, meaning it can be a warm, not-quite-outdoor spot for brunch or afternoon tea or coffee breaks. Alternatively, your winter garden could be a reading nook when it’s raining outside, or even an inspiring office with a desk surrounded by nature.
A conservatory allows you to enjoy the outdoors, most especially the plants, whatever the weather. In the autumn and winter, it also gives you the option of helping some less hardy plants thrive, where they might struggle outside with frost and low temperatures. Bright plants like hibiscus and fuchsia, and their more exotic cousins like bougainvillea and orchids, can all flower during the colder months if allowed to come inside to the warmth of a conservatory.
Besides the colour brought in by plants, one of the best conservatory ideas is to play with textures and textiles, which you can set off against the glass. Will you have the back wall papered in a statement print, clad in wood or left as exposed brick? Will you choose a warm wood floor or an ornately tiled design? The textiles you bring in can also add to the texture, with classic metalwork or wicker furniture and extra-cosy soft furnishings. Some people like to leave their winter garden windows as they are, while others prefer to drape them with curtains or blinds to give a warmer effect in winter.
As with the entirety of your home and garden, lighting is key for creating atmosphere. With glass as a key design element, winter gardens are natural light traps; but as the light lessens in winter, adding your own lighting is key to making the space special. You may find you have room for a statement chandelier or hanging lamp as the centrepiece, to make your conservatory a glamorous location for entertaining guests. Alternatively, you can opt for classic lanterns or fairy lights, draped around the plants and furniture for an atmospheric glow. Strip lighting, incorporated around the glass sides of your conservatory, will create a very alternative and modern effect, brightening your whole space in the darker autumn and winter seasons.
In short, you can make the best use of your conservatory in the cooler months by considering how its function will change, creating a cosy atmosphere with plants and layered textures, and getting the lighting just so. You can also apply these conservatory ideas elsewhere in your home, to ensure a seamless transition between your winter garden and the rest of your space.