WITH a rare hot summer on the way, making use of your outdoor space this year will be a priority for anyone with a garden and a bit of an itch to renovate.<br /><br />Enter the conservatory. Banish thoughts of hyacinth-filled, musty rooms belonging to ladies with cats or ageing parents. They are an increasingly sleek and ever-lovely way to expand your living space and to provide a conduit between inside and out.<br /><br />Alan Waxman, head of Landmass, a London developer, says: “Today more than ever people appreciate the importance of a lot of glass to get as much light as possible, which then magnifies the sense of space. Conservatories are becoming more and more popular.” This is largely because of advances in technology. Dual purpose glass deflects sun and glare in summer (most conservatories have a solar film added when complete) and insulates the space in winter – air conditioning and central heating regulate temperature year-round. You can also have collapsible doors so entire walls can be folded away.<br /><br />Ian Harvey, designer and surveyor at Malbrook, a Putney-based firm, says remote control of ceiling vents is another innovation making conservatories more attractive (formerly each would have to be open and closed separately).<br /><br />Harvey says most people build conservatories adjacent to their kitchens to create a dining and relaxation room. Although there are super-modern structures that can look excellent when paired with a Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian property, in general it’s a good idea for conservatories to chime with the proportions and style of the building – something any good designer will take into account.