Country house design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Styles and characteristics of country homes

A typical English country house refers to a large house, mansion or manor located in the English countryside, which was often an individual’s second home, with their first residence situated in the city. A country house allowed such individual and family members to spend time in the country whenever they pleased, and the term ‘country home’ distinguished between their country and city residences.

But what does this term refer to in South Africa? Seeing as a second home is a far-fetched concept for most South Africans, the term generally refers to any residence situated in a rural setting, such as a farm house or a log cabin, for instance, in the mountains. However, a country house is not always a primary home structure inhabited by residents, for numerous holiday- and wedding companies make use of the term “country home” to describe their units and venues.

Style-wise, a country house is usually designed in the country-, colonial- or rustic architectural styles. Although a thatched roof is a common occurrence, it is not a prerequisite. However, most country houses do possess large terraces and/or balconies to provide a better view of the surroundings to residents and guests.

The pros and cons of country homes

Did you fall in love with the countryside’s wide open spaces during your previous visit there, and decided that you were going to purchase a house in that area? Yes, relocating to the countryside, whether it’s for farming purposes, retirement or just a change of scenery, does bring a certain excitement, especially when one starts to imagine all the country décor and vintage-style furnishings that can go with your new country house, but think twice – perhaps visit that area during the ‘off season’ or winter to see what it looks like then. And take the pros and cons into consideration.


· One of the main reasons for people relocating to the countryside is the rising expenses in cities. On average, one can acquire a neat countryside house (perhaps even bigger than the option you were eyeing in the city) for much less than a house in the city.

· Living in the countryside provides more opportunities to spend time with nature, such as hiking. And let’s not forget the fresh air.

· Countryside properties have more room than city-centre homes, which is ideal if you’re looking to start a family. And plenty of outdoor room is also a major bonus.


· The number one danger of living in the countryside in South Africa is the crime rate, seeing as it puts considerable distance between you and other people. This is the reason why a lot of people choose properties situated in estates and gated communities outside towns and cities instead of singular, stand-alone country residences, as a certain sense of security and community is involved. Of course the price range of country estates and complexes is also considerably higher.

· City life is all about convenience, which means that should you find yourself in need of a plumber or some milk, or just the urge to go out for a drink, for instance, quickly rushing out isn’t always an option when living in the country.

· Moving to the country can put a damper on your social life, seeing as it’s harder for you to join friends for last-minute plans in the city. On the other hand, a bigger country house presents you with more space for when it’s your turn to host gatherings.

· Unless you’re able to work from home or are retiring, you’ll need to head into the city for work, which will add time onto your daily commute.

It is also important to keep the following in mind when opting to purchase an existing country house:

· Restoration and renovation costs, if applicable.

· The risk of overpaying for a home and then being unable to sell it afterwards.

· The possibility of over-stretching your finances, for example, taking on a mortgage that you realise only afterwards you can’t afford.

The costs of country homes

When it comes to constructing a country house, there is no final price, as the costs can differ dramatically based on fixtures, fittings, finishes, locations (for example, residential construction like free-standing houses, townhouses and flats is most expensive in KwaZulu-Natal), size and the choice of building company. However, a safe price range to look at is between R6,000/m² and R7,500/m².

Compare these figures with the general costs per m² for building a flat (R8,163), a townhouse (R6,802), and a free-standing houses (R5,932).

Let homify help

Dreaming of enjoying a countryside lifestyle? homify can definitely help to inspire you, thanks to our ever-increasing range of housing examples (from free-standing homes and manor houses to prefab buildings and city-bound flats), sporting a range of different styles, sizes and designs. In addition, we also put you in contact with an amazing range of professional services (such as architects, carpenters, interior designers and much more) to help put the finishing touches on your home (and room and garden etc.).