‘Conservatory’ is a term most commonly used across Britain, whilst ‘Sunroom’ terminology tends to originate more from the U.S and Canada. This is probably why many people believe that they are virtually the same thing, coupled with the fact that they are becoming increasingly similar in style, design, materials and use.

Nonetheless, there are noticeable differences between the two (as well as some overlapping ones) which we have highlighted below.


  • Included in the properties architecture, a Sunroom is like any other room in the home apart from its large number of windows.
  • Considering the lack of UK sunshine (!), a British Sunroom acts as a transitional space between the home and the garden – providing homeowners with ‘the best of both worlds.’
  • Sunrooms are usually built along the side and the rear/south facing side of the home to capture the most light possible, as well as to shelter from bad weather.
  • Suitable for any type of home.
  • Offering multi-purpose capabilities, Sunrooms generally increase the properties overall value.
  • Do not require planning permission, as long as:
    – it is not higher than the existing room,
    – there are no balconies, verandas or porches,
    – does not extend beyond 6m for semi-detached or 8m for detached,
    – any side extensions are single storey with a maximum height of 4m,
    – does not exceed 30m2 of living space.
  • Sunrooms do not require additional requirements (e.g. plumbing considerations), which enables a level of cost certainty.
  • Easy to maintain.


  • Conservatories are made entirely out of glass or a large proportion is glazed.
  • Conservatories of the 1980’s era can really only be used in Springtime and Autumn months. However modern conservatories are actually very energy efficient.
  • They are generally built south facing to receive as much natural light as possible.
  • In previous years, conservatories haven’t always integrated well with the original property style in comparison to a Sunroom. Albeit, there are many elaborate conservatory designs available nowadays.
  • The official definition of a conservatory makes it exempt from Building Regulations, as long as a minimum of 75% of the roof and 50% of the walls are made from translucent materials.

Anyhow, these rules are not as strictly enforced these days, for example, you can add a solid roof to your conservatory if you wish.

For those who prefer clean, understated lines of Mediterranean Sunrooms, the lean-to conservatory is a good choice. Lean-to conservatories for homes in Swindon, Bristol and Reading from Emerald are also a great option for those with limited space, as they can be fitted with roofs with varying pitches to suit any type of house and multiple roof heights. Or if you have a larger modern home, you could utilise the innovative design of a Reverse Lean-to / Sunroom.

Have a browse through our conservatory products online or if you’re in (or near) Swindon then please visit our showroom today.

Areas we serve

Swindon-based family run double glazing installers

With a head office in Swindon, a short trip from the motorway, we are ideally located to offer our services across Wiltshire, Reading, Bath, Bristol, Marlborough, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and other surrounding locations.

Emerald provide and install home improvements in all materials – uPVC, aluminium and traditional timber. No matter what material you choose, you can be sure we’ll provide you consistent quality – our work is always finished to the highest standards, whether you’re installing 2 windows or 20!

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What our customers are saying

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Replacing patio door with a window

Emerald windows were brilliant. The patio door was removed and replaced with a window. All work was carried out from bricking up the outside to plastering the inside. Great work...

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We worried about choosing a window company. We looked at all the usual national firms but we preferred the feel of a smaller local family run business as the rep...

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Very Pleased

Very pleased with the whole process from Mark letting us see and touch the product in the showroom in Swindon (many don't!), to a transparent price breakdown, no "buy now...

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Highly Recommended

Highly recommend Emerald Windows and Doors; new Front and back doors fitted yesterday. Cannot praise Mark the Fitter enough, courteous, friendly and very helpful. Top job with attention to detail...

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Emerald Windows – A Quality Product

Emerald windows have just installed a new composite front door to our property. We are very pleased with the product and the installers were polite, professional and have carried out...

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