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Home Extension or Conservatory: London Builders Help to Decide

When it comes to home enhancement in London, there are plenty of choices, but several things to consider before you pick one.

If you have a considerable garden space on the rear side of your property, you have more options: you can add a conservatory or a full building extension, depending on what result you are looking for.

Both are significant home renovation projects where expert help is needed. Nu Projects London collected the pros and cons to help you make the decision.

Conservatories (Illustrations from Pinterest)

Future Use

If you plan to extend your home because you lack living space, a conservatory is probably not a good choice. However, if you intend to use the new space as a home office, a reading nook, or to have an afternoon tea with your friends, our vote is on a conservatory.

If you need significantly more space, you can get a side return, rear or wrap-around extension done. If you can't decide which one to pick, read our previous article on the topic.

Home Extension (Illustrations from Pinterest)

Either way, you have to contact a professional team of builders to execute your extension project.


When you plan an extension, you have to think about the location; which direction will the new addition face, how will the sun hit the new wing etc. These factors will affect the future use of your home, so you need to be considerate. For example, if your new conservatory faces East, you can enjoy the morning sunshine; if it's facing West, the afternoon sun.

The location of the new room/space won't be affected by the external conditions if you choose the right materials, ventilation, blinds and heating. With the right products and correct insulation, you can avoid uncomfortable temperature fluctuations throughout the seasons.

Let's talk about numbers: Budget

The cost of both options depends on many factors, and the results are heavily influenced by your budget. In general, a conservatory is cheaper than an extension, and the price is decided by the size and style.

The pricing of an extension is more complicated and depends on many factors:

  • The size of the structure

  • How complex the new structure is

  • The quality of the materials; the higher the quality, the higher the end budget

  • The soil you plan to build your extension on

  • Obtaining additional permissions and documents; the process can cause delays and additional fees.

Think about your home extension project as an investment; a conservatory can add between 4-7% to your property's value, meanwhile, a single-storey extension can add between 8-12% to the value.

Before you pick a construction company to undertake your project, ask for quotes from multiply builders.

Exterior Design

Appearance matters, especially when it comes to your home.

You can match your new addition to the overall look of the home, or you can pick a different colour or material to make it pop.

Consider adding plenty of glazing to flood the interior with natural light. Skylights can also boost the brightness of your new space, and they won't affect the façade.

Legal requirements: permissions and documents

Most of the time, conservatories are viewed as 'permitted developments' so they won't require planning permission. But if you plan to build an extension, you will likely need permission from the local authority.

We recommend working with professionals who can help you with legal requirements such as contacting the local planning authority (LPA), understanding their restrictions and permissions.

Don't make a rushed decision; consider every factor carefully! Do your research on the topic and ask the opinion of a local building company. At the end of the day, it's your home, and you will use the new space!


  1. If your home lacks space, we recommend getting an extension. However, if you want to use your new space as a nook or a place to entertain your guests, a conservatory is a good choice.

  2. The location of the new addition will affect how much natural light your interior will get.

  3. The budget is influenced by a combination of things; size, structure, foundation, quality of materials, additional documents and fees.

  4. You can match the exterior to the rest of the home or create a contrast with different materials or colours.

  5. Conservatories don't need planning permission in most cases, but home extensions do.



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