Villas: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Important things to know about villas

The word ‘villa’ evokes images of opulence, vastness and pure relaxation. Functionalities like fully equipped kitchens, spacious rooms, easy access to the ocean or pools and open spaces for exercise and the like complete the picture. But what is the actual definition of a villa?

Then and now

Initially, villas were luxurious homes in Rome’s countryside exclusively for the privileged class. Those who could afford it used these homes as places to unwind and take a break from everyday life. The term has since evolved into something quite different. One can even go as far to say that the definition of the word largely depends on where in the world you find yourself! But in a nutshell, at least in the modern sense of the word, a villa is a private dwelling mainly used for holidays and shorter getaways.

What are villas used for?

There are two main reasons people build and inhabit villas. These dwellings are either used as holiday accommodation or it’s a single family home bought with the intention of becoming a permanent residence, the former being the more popular option.

Where would you find a villa?

Villas are dotted all over, but are especially prevalent in the Maldives, the USA, Dubai, Thailand, Hawaii, Bali and Italy, to name but a few places. These types of houses are found in China too, and are often bought as investments.   

What are the different types of villas?

When it comes to villas for vacations, opulence is key. In Bali in Indonesia, for example, the most common luxury villas are traditional Balinese villas where natural materials from the island are used; traditional Javanese villas with roofs in the shape of trapezoids and modern villas with a contemporary feel.

Can you give me some tips when choosing a villa as holiday home?

Whereas the different types of Bali villas are mainly characterised by the design and materials used, Italian villas are placed into different categories based on things like location, access to tourist destinations and levels of comfort. Yet, the big distinction is between private villas (mostly used by families) and shared villas (often used by friends who like to share with the option of some privacy). Villas are not the most common holiday option in Hong Kong. People opt for apartments, but be aware, they don’t come cheap, especially those in or close to the city.   

Are villas in Hong Kong used as permanent homes?

As mentioned above, these dwelling types are purchased with long-term plans in mind – namely, investing. And while some homeowners may occupy their acquisitions, vacant villas are not a strange phenomenon in China on the whole. Those with money in their pockets often purchase these types of properties with the plan to make more money. This does not necessarily mean that tenants will occupy the place, just that a good profit is made when they decide to resell. And with no property tax being implemented on a national scale (at least not in 2017), there is nothing to deter investors from investing. But what if, instead of buying, you’d like to create your very own villa from scratch?    

How do I go about building a villa?

It’s obvious that building a villa from scratch is no joke. However, with planning and dedication, it can be achieved.

Firstly, decide on a budget (and stick to it). There’s no point planning if you don’t know the parameters you have to work in. Then, find the right location. As villas are often used as an escape from the bustling city, you’re more likely to find the perfect spot in the countryside. Decide on the design then hand it over to the professionals. Make sure that you give a comprehensive brief to the architect of your choice. Next, work out a timeline. You’ll need to practise patience here, as building a villa is a long-term project and won’t happen overnight. Last, but not least, ensure that the correct materials are used. Safeguard your home as far as possible and consider floods, earthquakes, grassland fires, typhoons and the like, when choosing building materials. Remember, should your villa collapse, it is illegal to rebuild it on the same site without permission. Even though you’ll rely on professionals with regards to the detail, it’s important to remain the overseer or hand the job to someone you trust. 

Who can I contact professional assistance?

Speaking of people you trust, you can choose from a variety of professionals to help you build your dream home. Architects, kitchen planners and roofers – we’ve got you covered. Should you wish to tackle a different type of project like renovating an existing house, you can take your pick from expert interior designers, plumbers and painters.

I’m stuck - what now?

If your creative juices are dripping rather than flowing, do not fear. Browse the site for top-quality visual inspiration. Once you start clicking, you wouldn’t want to stop! We also offer loads of tips and professional advice on a range of topics – from renovations to the perfect items to buy for your outdoor space. With help from the homify experts your ideas bucket will be overflowing in no time.