Remember a time when conservatory furniture equalled wicker chairs with tie-on seat pads in a dated (and faded!) floral pattern? In the case of genuine Ercol furniture, wicker easy chairs can look stylishly modern. Fortunately, you don’t need to splash out on vintage Ercol to have a beautiful conservatory. Nor do you need to stick to wicker! Conservatory furniture has come a long way and making the right choices will extend your living space and ensure you get maximum use from your conservatory.
Summer is the perfect time to upgrade sunroom furniture, and with a little thought, your ‘summer room’ can become a place to relax or entertain all year round.
Can you put normal furniture in a conservatory?
The short answer is — yes! Choosing normal furniture over standard garden furniture is an expected detail that turns a humdrum conservatory into a spacious summer house or an opulent orangery. The only thing to be mindful of is that some fabrics can fade in direct sunlight. To utterly transform your wilting sunroom, bear these four considerations in mind:
Drenched in honeyed light, glazed extensions and conservatories are bright, inspiring places to work or relax. Upholstery and decor truly pops when washed with bright sunlight. However, as beautiful as sunlight is, it’s harsh UV rays easily bleach fabric or wood. When it comes to the sun bleaching your beautiful, expensive upholstery, rugs, and artwork, prevention is the best cure. That’s why material should be your number one consideration when choosing conservatory furniture.
Built for sunnier climes, hardwearing rattan and wicker have historically been popular choices for conservatory sofas and chairs. Yet there are alternatives. This is one area where synthetic material shines! Natural fibres like cotton, silk, and leather are prone to sun discolouration. Silk is particularly vulnerable. Synthetic fibres on the other hand, like polyacrylonitrile fabrics, stand up to intense UV.
Fabrics can be treated with UV stabilisers to reduce their likelihood of fading. Another tip is to continually rotate seats and cushions to minimise their exposure to sunlight. Blinds or curtains will also reduce the amount of harsh sunlight spilling into your conservatory. Finally, ensure your conservatory is built with solar glazing or laminated glass which helps prevent damage to your furnishings from UV.
Knowing how you’ll use your conservatory is key to picking the right furniture.
For example, will it be a place for the whole family to relax or a romantic retreat while watching the sunset? Do you plan on a chic dining space to entertain guests or a light-filled home office? How you use the room depends on the type and shape of furniture you’ll need, as well as soft furnishings and decor.
A traditional orangery will benefit from classic furniture styles. Think Howard chairs or a statement Chesterfield. Create cohesion with quintessential designs like a William Morris pattern or a botanical print to imitate a timeless plant-filled orangery. Dark jewel tones like emerald green and navy blue will look vibrantly decadent when the sun pours in, echoing the Victorian’s love of statement colour.
Minimalist homes will come to life with slimline furniture in cool grey, black, or white. White has the added bonus of fading less in the sun! Natural wood accents, geometric shapes, and small pops of colour create impact. Using your garden room as a dining place? Sleek bar stools in bold colours add sophistication to a multi-purpose space.
What’s the main perk of a conservatory? Being able to enjoy beautiful views and feeling like you’re outdoors while enjoying the warmth and comfort of the inside! Excessively tall chairs or wide sofas can ruin this feeling by cluttering up space and obscuring the view. As a rule of thumb, more floor space creates the impression of a bigger room — and a wider view!
A sizeable conservatory can afford statement furniture, like 3-seater corner sofas. If your conservatory is on the small side, slimline pieces will open the view from the windows and help the room feel more spacious.
Conservatories can reflect your personal style as much as the rest of your home. Whether you want a multifunctional living and dining space or a bright and inspiring home office, the following ideas will help you create a garden room with personality.
Double up as a dining room
Conservatory extensions are a great way to create extra dining space. Never miss a glorious sunset with an open plan kitchen that leads to a conservatory dining room. Make a clear division between room ‘zones’ by placing a rug beneath the dining table and choosing furniture that comfortably accommodates the maximum number of guests.
We have a range of dining room options for minimal, modern dining.
Smart design choices prevent your garden room from becoming cluttered. Opt for an ottoman or sleek sideboard if you need extra storage. Keeping the floor space tidy is essential in smaller conservatories as clutter visually shrinks a room.
Our bespoke ottomans and footstools provide space-saving storage without sacrificing style.
A charming clash
Love shabby chic? Ditzy florals and different furniture styles and textures will create a layered, vintage look. An armchair with a ruffle skirt paired with preloved or upcycled pieces is a great way to emulate dainty, vintage garden parties.
It’ll be all white
All-white is a brilliantly bright look for small conservatories. Golden sunlight reflects off white furnishings to create an illusion of space. Add colour with contrasting cushions or keep the look monochromatic for a minimalistic style.
Cosy up in a corner sofa
Family time might be your priority, in which case there’s nothing wrong with letting a chunky corner sofa dominate your garden room! Corner sofas provide extra seating for guests too, and are inviting spots for an afternoon snooze! When one lounge isn’t enough, a sizeable sofa allows for comfortable overspill from the main living room.
Browse our generously sized, ultra comfortable 3-seater and 4-seater bespoke sofas.
Bright and bold
Spark joy with bright colour or deep jewel tones. Hot pink, resplendent ruby, and lime green shine as the sun spills in. Embracing green in particular echoes the nature present in your garden, harmoniously tying the look together by bringing the outside in.
Who wouldn’t feel joyous reclining on a decadent Chesterfield in this juicy shade of green?
Floral and botanical prints
Taking inspiration from the flowers in your garden might seem unoriginal, but dainty florals or bold, leafy designs create cohesion with the garden outside. You could opt for prints with citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, or limes to reference elegant European orangeries.
Browse our Fabric Studio for print inspiration!
Create a cosy book nook
Make an awkward space charming with a comfy armchair and matching footstool. Sunny rooms are ideal places to while away an afternoon reading. Make the experience luxuriant with deep-filled seats and generous armrests. Just be prepared to compete with the cat for the best sun spot!
A tranquil home office
Studies have proven the calming effects of nature. Instead of working from the cramped spare room, why not turn your spacious, light-filled conservatory into an inspiring home office? The plastic table and office chair are out; sink into a comfortable armchair instead and embrace blue-sky thinking with a peaceful view.
If you need extra inspiration, our blog post on beautiful, alternative home office furniture is the guide for you.
Remember the details
Finally, don’t forget to add texture with rugs, throws, scatter cushions. Spending extra care and attention will extend a conservatories use and means you can enjoy peaceful views and birdsong in elegance and comfort all summer and beyond.
For final touches browse our homewares and soft furnishings.
We hope our guide has given you plenty of conservatory ideas to consider! If you have more questions our FAQs below should help or get in touch! Our small team are passionate about interiors and always happy to help.
Conservatory Furniture FAQs
Can I put a normal sofa in a conservatory?
Normal sofas can be put in a conservatory and won’t fade provided you take care to minimise the upholstery’s exposure to sunlight. Turning seat covers and cushions, treating furniture with sun protection, and installing laminated glass in your conservatory can all help minimise the effects of UV damage from the sun on your upholstery.
Is rattan furniture suitable for a conservatory?
Rattan is the original conservatory furniture. Rattan is found naturally in tropical climates which makes it perfect for hot, sunny rooms.
Can you keep wooden furniture in a conservatory?
Certain types of wood warp and fade in heat and harsh sunlight unless properly treated. Rattan and cane can withstand extreme sunlight better than other types of wood. However, these materials are considered old-fashioned. Opting for synthetic upholstery is one way to minimise sun damage to your furniture because man-made fibres are more resilient to heat than natural materials.
Does leather fade in a conservatory?
UV radiation from sunlight can cause leather to fade. However, placing your sofa in a shady part of the conservatory and utilising blinds will minimise sun damage. Regularly treating the leather will also help its condition.
What is conservatory furniture made of?
Traditionally, conservatory furniture is made from hard-wearing natural materials like cane and rattan. Today garden furniture comes in a range of styles, from chic grey sofas to rustic wood dining tables.
Can I use my conservatory as a dining room?
Conservatories make beautiful light-filled dining rooms where you can gather around the table with friends or enjoy a romantic sunset. Their warmth, light, and spaciousness make conservatories excellent dining spots, whether it’s breakfast or dinner.
How do you arrange furniture in a small conservatory?
The best way to arrange furniture in a small conservatory is to be mindful of the space. Pick furniture with slim dimensions, avoid chunky sofas and tables or high-back chairs. Keep the floor free from clutter to create an impression of space and maximise the view outside.