What Makes a Luxury Home?
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
As custom home builders, we have seen first hand just how subjective the concept of luxury is. For some homeowners, it is all about the quality – and often the cost – of the materials used. For others, it is more a matter of how the home supports their lifestyle and makes them feel.
That said, in our experience, there are a few key features that the majority of luxury homes include. Here we explore what these are and share our advice on working them into your new home design.
Location and neighbourhood
Design preferences and expected inclusions may change, but a great location will always be considered luxurious. This is because it is the one characteristic of a home that you cannot replicate or change. As such, it is the definition of unique and exclusive, and can really set a home apart from similar properties.
Exactly what makes a location great depends on the area. For example, in coastal areas, proximity to beaches and water views are highly sought after. Whereas in urban areas, access to a range of local amenities, transport links, and green space are more highly valued.
The demographics of the surrounding area can also add to the sense of luxury a location provides. We see this most clearly in inner city locations, where certain suburbs and neighbourhoods are considered more aspirational. These tend to be the areas that are popular with young families and have significantly higher than average household incomes.
As vacant land is generally quite scarce in the most highly prized locations, the opportunities to build new are limited. However, being willing to knockdown and rebuild should make it easier to secure a suitable site in your preferred area. It also allows you to start from scratch and design and build a home with all the luxury features you love.
Scale and style of a luxury home
While luxury homes come in all shapes and sizes, most have a sense of opulence and grandeur. Often, this can be seen from the street, thanks to an impressive façade and the overall size of the structure. This is usually matched with an expansive floor plan that features generously proportioned rooms and an easy flow between different zones.
To further accentuate the feeling of space, living areas tend to be open-plan and enjoy ample natural light. This is generally achieved through the use of large windows and glass sliding doors, which also increase the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. Significant thought is also usually given to natural airflow, with windows and doors positioned to create cross-breezes and allow ventilation.
Although almost any architectural style can be made to feel high-end, certain designs are more popular within the luxury market. For example, French Provincial homes have the grand scale and sense of relaxed refinement that luxury properties are known for. Similarly, there is a sleekness to a modern home design that works well with luxury finishes and inclusions.
Whatever your preferred design style, it is the finishing touches that can make a home feel more luxurious. For example, if you are planning a French Provincial home, it is the ornamental details that can elevate the design. Whereas, for modern home designs, it is more a matter of keeping the look minimal while adding layers of comfort.
Luxury Home's fixtures and finishes
Building on the previous point, a lot of the feeling of luxury comes from the little details. Individually, these features can create small moments of connection and add a sense of comfort to a space. And when viewed together, they set the style for the home, combining to create the overall look.
Importantly, these smaller design elements are the ones that you will see, touch, and interact with every day. From flooring and benchtops to tapware and light switches, these fixtures need to be both practical and beautiful. However, getting this balance right can be difficult – which is where a good custom home builder can really help.
It is important to note here that, when it comes to fixtures and finishes, expensive does not necessarily mean luxurious. In fact, if your budget is limited, you can still create the feeling of luxury using more cost-effective materials. You just need to get creative – for example, you can:
Use intricate patterns: Complex laying patterns (herringbone, chevron, basket weave, etc.) are a great way to make budget-friendly tiles look more luxurious. Similarly, parquetry flooring can add a touch of class to a space without adding significant cost to the build budget.
Customising standard products: It is possible to make off-the-shelf products feel more designer by using them in new and interesting ways. For example, we are increasingly seeing flooring being used on walls and wallpaper on ceilings to create a bespoke look.
Focus on key areas: As the old saying goes, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, so they should be where you focus your spending. Choosing to upgrade the finishes in these spaces should elevate your home’s design, even if other rooms are kept quite modest. That said, you should still aim to have a sense of consistency (e.g. similar colours and textures) throughout the whole home.
Technology and automation of a luxury home
On a more practical level, comfort and ease of use are critical components of luxury. As such, luxury properties are increasingly featuring in-built technologies designed to improve the overall liveability of the home. These solutions are generally set up to specifically support the homeowner’s daily routine and make their life easier.
For example, automated blinds and voice-controlled lighting are now common inclusions in new luxury homes. As are heating and cooling systems that can be programmed to come on automatically at set times or controlled remotely.
Many of the most popular technologies for luxury homes also have a strong focus on managing safety and privacy. For example, many high-end properties have internet-enabled security systems that feature a combination of different cameras and alarms. Most of these systems also have smartphone apps that allow homeowners to monitor their property and provide visitors with access remotely.
Sustainability is also an increasing consideration in luxury home design, with many homeowners looking to reduce their environmental footprint. As a result, rooftop solar systems, battery storage, and rainwater tanks are now standard features in most luxury homes. Many also have systems that allow homeowners to better monitor and manage their energy production and consumption.
Unique inclusions and features of a luxury home
No luxury home is complete without a few specialised spaces, fancy features, and indulgent inclusions. As these added extras usually reflect the homeowner’s interests and lifestyle, they tend to vary from property to property. That said, some of the most common choices include:
Dedicated office space: With most people now working remotely at least some of the time, a home office is an absolute must. This provides a place to take calls, attend virtual meetings, and answer emails without disturbing the rest of the house. It also allows all work material to be kept together, making it easier to keep personal and professional lives separate.
Home gym: Being able to work out at home can be a real time saver, particularly for those who train regularly. There is no need to travel to and from the gym or to wait around while others finish with equipment. Having easy access to the required equipment also makes it much easier to commit to a structured training program.
Cinema room: Movie nights have become a tradition for many households and are a great way to bring the whole family together. Having a dedicated space where everyone can stretch out and be comfortable makes these nights even more special. And an extra large screen, professional projection equipment, cinema seating, and a popcorn machine complete the movie theatre experience.
Butler’s pantry: While many new builds now include some form of a butler’s pantry, luxury homes take this to the next level. Structured more like a second kitchen, these spaces often feature a sink, extra ovens, and a range of appliances. Best of all, they can easily be closed off, making it even easier to tidy away dinner party dishes.
Outdoor kitchen: For those who like to entertain, a fully stocked outdoor kitchen helps increase the functionality of their home. These generally have water, gas, and electricity connected and are fitted with a grill, burners, sink, and fridge. Often, they are also paired with an outdoor dining and lounge space, usually complete with a television and sound system.
Architectural landscaping: Most luxury home designers understand that a well-structured garden helps ground a property and settles it into its landscape. As such, new home designs usually come with detailed landscaping plans that help accentuate the look and feel of the property. These generally break the outdoor area into multiple zones and can feature everything from ornamental grasses to swimming pools.
Want to discuss this further?
If you are planning a new home and would like to amp up the luxury, Carmel Homes can help. For over 30 years, we have been working with clients to design and build beautiful, functional, luxurious bespoke homes. Contact our friendly team today to discuss your plans and set up your free design consultation session.