Conservatories make an excellent addition to a property, adding extra space without the upheaval and expense of a full-blown extension.

Modern conservatories are stylish and come in a wide range of sizes and styles, suitable for adding to both modern and traditional properties.

Many people would consider a conservatory to be a relatively contemporary type of property extension, not appropriate for adding to older houses or ones built in a more traditional manner. However, orangeries have been used for several centuries, and were very popular as far back as the 17th century so by choosing the right design it’s possible to add a conservatory without disturbing the overall look of the home.

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Rattan conservatory furniture

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Orangeries generally tend to more closely resemble a full extension than a conservatory, but looks can be very deceiving. Although an orangery may have more brickwork, they are available in full uPVC and can be added to a property in a very similar way to a modern-looking conservatory.

Conservatories and orangeries offer a way of not just providing the property with some extra space, but a way of linking the house and the garden, creating a flow of design between the two. Rattan is a very popular choice for garden furniture because of its durability and UV resistance, but it’s also suitable for indoor use too.

These qualities make rattan the obvious choice for conservatory furniture, linking up the design of the interior and the garden seamlessly.

What to consider

Furnishing a conservatory is very different to furnishing the rest of a property as there are some specific features you need to take into account when selecting your designs.

Firstly, regardless of which style you choose, a conservatory will be exposed to lots of sunlight. You may well have blinds which can be drawn in order to avoid the harshest glares in the peak of summer, but unless you have them pulled down all year round, the room will be particularly sunny.

It is this fact which is one of the reasons why conservatories are so popular, but being such a sunny environment can be a problem for furniture. Traditional wooden furniture will quickly fade after being exposed to UV rays for prolonged periods of time, while leather furniture will get sticky and uncomfortable. Dark woods will show the quickest and most severe effects.

Faded furniture will quickly make even the most elegant of conservatories look shabby and tired, so it’s better to pick materials which can be comfortably left in the sun.

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Kingston conservatory furniture from our range

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In addition, because of the unique construction of conservatories, the temperature and conditions can be quite different to elsewhere in the house. The temperature may drop lower in the winter and in the summer the glass can make the room very warm. Air conditioning, fans and heating can all help to level out the ambient temperature.

However, the variations in the conditions in the temperature, plus any draughts can mean conservatories are more prone to getting damp or becoming humid. Not all furniture can comfortably withstand this and may get mouldy, degrade or rot.

As rattan furniture is also suitable for use outside, neither the cold nor extremes of heat are a problem. It’s also UV resistant which means that no matter how much sun your conservatory is exposed to, your rattan won’t fade or become jaded.

The tough coating means that even icy conditions won’t affect the rattan, and it’s also waterproof too.

Although rattan furniture may appear to be of a delicate woven nature, it’s actually incredibly robust and ideally suited to conditions where other types of furniture may not last.

Dimensions

It’s also important to consider the space you have available, and the room overall. This means not just looking at how the rattan furniture looks - or will look - but how the conservatory will be able to function.

For example, if there’s a large space available, you might be tempted to furnish it with as much as possible to provide plenty of seating for you and your guests. However, quite apart from over-crowding the room, you will also run the risk of blocking key exits and entrances.

Think about how you will want to use the space and make sure the furniture you have is versatile enough to accommodate this.

If you want to have both doors to the garden thrown open in the warmer months, will your furniture block the exit? If so, is there an alternative space in the room to move the chairs to when you want to have freer access to the whole garden area?

Rattan furniture is very strong and tough but what surprises some people is that it’s incredibly light too. Based on an aluminium frame, the rattan weave is light and flexible providing strength without weight. This means that even larger chairs can easily be moved around, unlike other types of wooden furniture. This allows the furniture arrangement to be far more flexible and can easily be changed on certain days if needed.

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Rattan conservatory furniture from our collection

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Style

Rattan furniture has been around for a long time but the demand for this natural-looking material is continuing to increase.

And unlike in the past when there were very few designs or types of upholstery, rattan furniture now comes in a wide variety of shapes, styles and colours.

Conservatories can be big spaces, particularly those in an orangery-type style. Conversely, they can also be very bijou, perfect for adding extra room onto smaller houses where the garden space is also limited.

Rattan furniture can be found to suit both styles of rooms, and there’s even space saving designs too, allowing you the choice of having a table where a traditional layout wouldn’t fit.

Cube furniture is particularly useful for more compact rooms because when not in use all the parts slot neatly together so you’re not left with overhanging chairs jutting out into space that’s needed. Comprising of a table and chairs - and often with a couple of extra stools too, cube seating offers the option of both comfortable chairs and a table even in the smallest of conservatories.

There are many different types of rattan table available though, including large and grand designs suitable for both dining rooms and conservatories in particular, although they can be used outside too.

The style you choose for your conservatory will depend on how you plan on using it. If it’s to be used as a formal dining area, you may want to pick a rattan dining set which is more formal and less casual. Chairs which are more upright, with higher backs can be just as comfortable thanks to the deep plush upholstery, but will instantly make the room appear sophisticated and elegant.

If you intend to use the conservatory as a day room, more formal furniture may look slightly out of place and could make it more difficult to use for your chosen purpose. Curling up with a good book, or reclining to watch a favourite film isn’t easily managed on a traditional dining chair.

rattan dining set

Rattan dining set

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In these cases, a relaxed armchair, or even a daybed if there’s enough space, can provide a far more informal appearance, as stylish as ever but more suited to casual use.

The shape of the conservatory may also play a role in the final furniture you choose. If you want to be able to move your chairs and seating around, if you have an L-shaped design, large sofas might be tricky to accommodate. You might prefer to pick more modular seating such as cubes and armchairs, as this will be a far more versatile arrangement.

Making your conservatory part of the house

A conservatory is typically a room which is added at a later date, and not built with the original house. For this reason it can sometimes seem like an afterthought, and appear to be in conflict with the rest of the property.

It doesn’t have to be this way and with clever interior design you can help the conservatory to feel part of the house, and it can also play a key role in linking up to the garden too.

Because conservatories tend to be warmer or colder than the rest of the house, there can be the temptation to furnish them differently. This is one of the main reasons why they can appear to be at odds with the rest of the house.

Rattan furniture is a good choice for conservatories, for the reasons described above, but it can also be used to excellent effect elsewhere in the house too.

By continuing the decor from the main part of the property into the conservatory, you won’t get the feeling that the house is divided in two.

If you don’t want your main sofa and chairs to be made from rattan, there’s lots of other furniture and accessories which you can incorporate into your interior decor. This will help your conservatory to blend in with the room it leads from.

Although having wooden furniture in your conservatory may not be a good idea, you can have other items which match in both rooms, in addition to the rattan. Large plants look great in most homes, and can provide an easy running theme.

Another good trick is to keep the same flooring throughout, if possible. This creates the illusion of space, and helps the rooms to appear to flow together.

How to look after your conservatory rattan furniture

Rattan furniture is tough and resilient and will last for many years looking as good as new, making it an excellent investment.

Of course, like any furniture, it may need to be cleaned from time to time but it’s surprisingly easy and quick.

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Rattan conservatory corner suite

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Dust can sometimes settle in between the weave so a quick dust over once a week can help to remove any particles. The nozzle of a vacuum cleaner is an excellent way to really get into the cracks and crevices and will ensure that all dirt is quickly and easily removed.

If there’s any spillages or dirt which can’t be removed with a vacuum cleaner or duster, a quick wipe over with a damp cloth should suffice. There’s no need to use specialist cleaning materials or abrasive detergents; sticking to these simple instructions will ensure the colours remain bright and your furniture is stain-free.

The covers to your upholstery should be machine washable for maximum convenience. To keep any rattan seating in the best possible shape for as long as possible, cushions should be turned and rotated regularly.

Think quality

Having chosen rattan furniture for your conservatory, you will want your investment to last, and to be comfortable. It’s therefore important that you pick rattan which is of the highest quality and not a cheap imitation.

Synthetic rattan is widely regarded as superior to natural rattan because it is tougher, more resilient and is resistant to both UV fading as well as stains. Synthetic rattan is also capable of handling a differing range of temperatures.

Therefore synthetic rattan should not be a reason to dismiss a product as inferior, the details are far more subtle.

The weave itself is very important as it determines the strength of the furniture and how long it is likely to last. A high quality rattan should be very durable and remain in flawless condition for many years to come.

 

Stylish high quality rattan conservatory furniture 

A flat weave or a thin, hollow rattan can both be signs that the quality is not as good as you might be able to find elsewhere. Look for a healthy round-shaped wrap and a tight and consistent weave instead.

It’s also worth checking the contents of the cushions and pads as well. Cheaper models may offer foam pads rather than the proper fibres required. This won’t give you the deep, plump comfort that sinking into a high quality rattan seat brings and is unsuitable for indoor use.

Purchase quality rattan and you’ll be surprised at how little it costs; it will be an investment which will repay itself many times over in the years to come.

Image Credits: Mark Mosher, Outdoor Lifestyle and Emma iglesias