Outdoor living: how to create the perfect conservatory

American actor and director Dustin Hoffman once joked that the two basic items necessary to sustaining human life were sunshine and coconut milk. While he may have been pushing it on the coconut milk, he was really on to something with the sunshine. We love it so much, most of us do all we can to bring it into our homes, and there's no better way to do so than by building a conservatory.

How to create the perfect conservatoryYou don't have to spend long shopping around to see that not all conservatories are born equal. There are endless permutations of size, shape and design. Here are the questions you should consider when creating the perfect design for your home.

What will I use it for?

In order to build the right conservatory for your home, you've got to know how you’re going to use it. Will it be a morning reading room? A space for entertaining in the evenings? Perhaps it's just a sheltered space for your most beloved plants? Whatever its purpose, you'll need to design it accordingly.

Where will it go?

If you live in a detached property, you may well have to make a choice about where to place your conservatory. This is a battle between three main considerations: sunshine, views and the flow of your home. Ideally, you'll want to strike a balance between all three.

How much sunlight do I want?

Although one of the main goals behind building a conservatory is to bring the sun into your home, it's also important to control the exposure. In the height of the summer, a hint of shade is always welcome.

There are a variety of ways to manage the amount of sunshine coming into your conservatory. Among the most popular are automatic, fitted blinds and obscured glass. Hanging some DIY flowing sails from the ceiling is another option and has both practical and aesthetic advantages.

Which style best suits my property?

There's a near limitless supply of conservatory designs out there. The key to picking the right one lies not only in taste, but in matching it intelligently to the architectural style of your home.

What plants should I add?

A big part of the appeal of a conservatory is the prospect of outdoor living. One great way to embrace this is to bring some pretty plants indoors. You'll need to pick your plants carefully as the space will act in the same way as a greenhouse. If done right, your conservatory will serve as an indoor-outdoor paradise.

At Engel & Völkers, we're experts in global luxury real estate, working in 32 countries across four continents. Visit our website today for an inside peek at our exceptional properties worldwide, as well as more handy tips on transforming your existing space.

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