Twenty years ago they were a middle-class staple for families in need of additional space and light.
But now it looks like the humble conservatory is falling out of favour – with experts claiming they can knock as much as £15,000 off the value of a property.
By the end of the 2000s, close to one in five homes had a conservatory, according to figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The glass add-ons were cheaper to install than a full-blown extension.
According to comparison site Checkatrade, a typical Victorian house could expect to pay between £12,000 and £17,000 for a three and half metre-squared conservatory.
But mounting concerns over their poor energy efficiency and a growing perception that they look dated has seen their popularity nosedive.
Analysis from property site Rightmove show the number of house buyers searching for conservatories plummeted between 2012 and 2022.
Some even refused to view homes with a conservatory, the website’s analysis said.
Meanwhile, fewer homes are being sold with conservatories already installed.
Rightmove recorded a drop of 52pc of homes with conservatories coming onto the market in the same period.
Andy Bayes, of the House Buyers Bureau, said the conservatory was showing signs of becoming a fad of the past.
He said: “Trends come and go and this definitely seems to be one that’s on the wane with no signs of recovery. It’s a generational thing. Younger families value more useable space. If you’re a family you’re going to want more garden space.
“I think the cost is the primary reason why people are turning away from them. People are much more energy efficient now and with a conservatory, you’re wrestling with a space that isn’t useable for half the year.”
While more modern attractive conservatories or orangeries can increase a house’s value by 5pc, older, low-quality conservatories, can have the opposite effect and cost as much as £2,000 to demolish.
The decline in interest from buyers means a conservatory could slash the value of a house by as much as £15,000, the Bureau calculated.
Would-be buyers are also put off properties with 70s-style décor.
Around a quarter of respondents in a previous survey from M&S Bank said an avocado-coloured bathroom suite would be a “complete turn-off”, while 17pc said they would not buy a house with pebbledash walls.
Buyers are also put off by frosted glass windows, artex ceilings, stripped pine floors, and bidets, the research found.
Experts said buyers were also turned off conservatories as they often suffer from poor energy efficiency and are typically poorly insulated.
According to Homebuilding & Renovating, a specialist publication, a five-by-four-metre conservatory with a plastic roof costs a typical household with a gas boiler £170 annually, regardless of whether the conservatory uses radiators or underfloor heating.
Regulations introduced last year have also made it more difficult for new properties to build conservatories. New properties now face strict limits on window sizing and must pass complex modelling tests to prove they will not overheat in the summer.
The rules limit window size to a specific percentage relating to the floor area of a room and house, depending on the direction they face and how at risk the home is to overheating.
Aside from tougher regulation and energy efficiency concerns, younger house buyers consider conservatories to be “a bit naff”, said Mr Bayes, who has a conservatory himself.
“Construction has moved on so much since the early 2000s,” he added. “If I’d had my time again I’d look to install something we could use all year round.”
More homeowners today are installing orangeries, in place of conservatories, to boost the value of their homes.
Orangeries typically have less glass and a shallow roof pitch. Conservatories usually have more than three-quarters of the roof glazed, which contributes to their high energy costs.
A survey by Strutt and Parker property consultants found house buyers were lukewarm to the idea of a conservatory extension.
When asked what their most sought-after outdoor spaces were, just 27pc said they would want a conservatory, while roughly half said they would prefer a private garden.