top of page

How to create a luxury home on a budget


When it comes to building a home, the terms ‘luxurious’ and ‘expensive’ are often used interchangeably. However, these are two distinctly different concepts – expense is all about cost, whereas luxury is about the feeling something creates.
Being expensive does not necessarily make something luxurious. Conversely, luxury does not have to be expensive. In fact, there are many ways to achieve a luxurious finish without breaking the bank.

ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #107.jpg
Sal De Vie
French Provincial
ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #028.jpg

It starts with the land

Even in the most expensive and highly desirable areas, there is land that just will not sell. Maybe it is an awkwardly shaped block or there are restrictions on what can be built there. Whatever the issue is, it will usually come with a significant reduction in the asking price.
As such, if you can think creatively and plan carefully, you could secure a bargain. You will probably need to work with an experienced architect to come up with a suitable design. However, if you are willing to be flexible, you could secure an exclusive address for a fraction of the cost.
A word of warning here – you should always do your due diligence on any land purchase. This is particularly true if the price seems too good to be true, as there can be a catch. It is just a matter of finding restrictions or considerations that you are happy to work within.

Positioning your property

If you do choose a challenging block, how your building fits into the landscape can significantly impact your budget.
As a general rule, the more earthworks you require, the more expensive your build will be. As such, where possible, embracing traditional design techniques and raising the property off the ground could provide significant savings. This is particularly true for sloping sites, where the land is usually cut away to create a flat base.
Access is also a major consideration when planning your build. The easier it is to move machinery and materials onto your site, the lower your build budget will be. With this in mind, it is best to build close to your block’s main entry point and provide an area for materials to be stored.


ia-2016.07.25-Oswald 27 - #040.jpg
Good things in small packages


Usually, the larger a home, the more expensive it will be to build. This is because every square metre of internal space comes at a cost (e.g. flooring, roofing, etc). As such, compromising on the total footprint of your home may allow you to choose more high-end fixtures and finishes.
Obviously, your house needs to be big enough for you, your family, and how you live. However, not adding in extra space just because you can, can keep down the cost. Also, when you have fewer bedrooms and bathrooms, you can amp up the luxury in the ones you do have.
Some may worry that a smaller space will feel less luxurious, but this is not necessarily true. It is possible to trim down your floor plan without impacting the overall feel of the room. Also, as designer tiny homes show, coming up with creative ways to maximise usability will naturally feel more bespoke.
Keep in mind too that a smaller internal space allows a larger outdoor space, which feels particularly premium in urban areas. Tying your indoor and outdoor areas together increases the usability of your design and creates a resort feel. This can be done through the use of large windows and foldaway doors


Keep it simple

A minimalist aesthetic is seen by many as the height of luxury. If you are building on a budget, you can capitalise on this by keeping your design clean and sleek. The less adornment your property has, the cheaper it will be to build.
However, the less features there are in a space, the more important it is for each element to be done just right. As such, a sleek and stylish minimalist look needs to be carefully curated. You need to consider each of your design choices and make sure they work together.
Even the shape of your house can have a big impact on the cost. Straight lines are much easier to work with. As such, sticking to traditional simple shapes will keep your costs down and help create a clean, contemporary vibe.
Similarly, a flat roof or one with straight lines tend to be more cost-effective. This is because curves and angles usually require specialist trades to create them. Detailed rooflines can also delay your timeline, adding further cost to your build.
Limiting the number of different materials you use will also cut down on installation costs. This may also mean you can negotiate a cheaper price for your chosen materials, as you are buying larger quantities.



Selectively splurge


One of the easiest ways to add luxury to a room is to incorporate a single statement piece. This creates a focal point and, when carefully selected, can tie your overall design together.
For example, high-end tapware can make a standard kitchen fit out look much more refined and bespoke. And, best of all, getting a designer finish will not require a large financial outlay.  
Similarly, a statement patterned floor tile in a bathroom can create a much more sumptuous feel. Tile is particularly great for creating a luxury look because there are many budget friendly options available. You can also easily create an even more designer finish by choosing a more detailed laying pattern (like chevron or herringbone)

Choose cost-effective alternatives

Renovating on a budget has become common practice. As a result, it is now easy to find a lower-cost alternative to many of the most sought after finishes.
For example, if you like the look and feel of natural wood or stone, you could consider a laminate. No longer seen as an inferior, budget option, most modern laminates are high-quality and almost indistinguishable from the real thing. They are also available in a wide range of finishes, meaning you can get the look you love for a lot less.
Best of all, a lot of cost-conscious materials are more hardwearing and better suited to the rigours of daily life. Natural materials (like stone and wood) require regular maintenance and are prone to staining and marking. By contrast, a high-quality laminate requires minimal ongoing care and will be scratch, heat, and water resistant.


Focus on the details


Often, it is the little touches that make a space feel luxurious. Think sheer voluminous curtains that soften the lines of a room to create a sense of light and airiness. Or how plush soft furnishings (pillows, blankets, padded seating) can look luscious and expensive, even when they are not.
Lighting is a great example of how this can work. When done right, a lighting plan will set the mood and help a space adjust to its various uses throughout the day. Lighting can also be inexpensive to install and update, with a wide range of extremely affordable fittings available.
Choosing to layer on luxury through your finishing details also allows you to easily update your space as your taste evolves. If there is a new hot colour you love, add some cushions, throws, or towels in that shade. You can even upgrade materials as extra money comes available, making the space feel even more luxurious as time goes on.


Your own personal oasis

 Luxury means different things to different people. As such, you should spend some time thinking about what matters most to you. After all, it is your house, so it should be tailored to you and what you value.
There is nothing more luxurious than a purpose-driven, bespoke design. Bringing your unique flair to your home will naturally make it feel more comfortable and special. It will also help ensure you enjoy living in the space for years to come.


The Carmel Homes Difference

Carmel Homes is a price-competitive and service-focused family business, operating primarily in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to achieve a common goal: building beautiful craftsman homes that breathe quality - your dream home. Every project we undertake has a company director present, and we are always contactable.

To discuss your new home, duplex, or townhouse build, we invite you to contact us today.


1129 Toorak Road

1300 79 28 29

bottom of page