Villa design ideas, inspiration & pictures

The characteristics of a villa

It’s quite easy to refer to a residential structure, whether it’s a permanent home or a holiday hut, as a ‘villa’ – but is it always the right word to use? Historically, villas were the luxurious country estates owned by Roman noblemen where they would retreat to for weekends, holidays and any other time they felt like breaking away. Imagine a smart, stylish and spacious structure with expansive landscaping and even a vineyard – that’s what they looked like (and some still do). 

In today’s modern age, a villa most likely refers to a private, luxury residence rented or purchased as a second, seasonal holiday house. Think of it as a more exclusive and deluxe version of a bungalow. Seeking out such a private and intimate (and, of course, luxurious) space is tempting for travelers who can afford it, as a general villa is quite similar to that of a high-end hotel (including services like breakfast, concierge and cleaning help), just with a more private and personal ambiance. 

Luxurious villas can include: various bedrooms, lush and perfectly crafted gardens, a water fixture or two for added ambiance (like a pool or fountain), terraces and balconies to make the most of the supreme views, and elegant furnishings and appliances to make one’s stay as comfortable as possible. 

It’s not unique for luxury hotel brands to offer separate villas that mirror the company’s standards and values.

Different villa styles

Seeing as villas originated in the Roman history (in Mediterranean locations like Italy and Spain), they started out with your typical Tuscan-, Mediterranean- and traditional architectural styles. Today,  these styles are perfectly mimicked throughout the world by tourism companies, hotels and anybody who has the budget to treat themselves to their own, private holiday home and estate – even here in South Africa, where villas are synonymous with luxurious (depending on the company and location) accommodation units catering for holiday goers. 

Of course architectural design is perfectly versatile, meaning that super modern and ultra contemporary villas (or chateaus) can also be found, not only in South Africa, but also in the rest of the world, providing the same amount of space, style and lavishness that one would expect from a high-class summer house, albeit with a modern twist on design, both inside and out.

Cost for Villas in South Africa

It’s not surprising that holiday chateaus are some of the most expensive residential structures in South Africa, flaunting prices such as R17.4m for a design in Silverhurst Estate in Sandton, Johannesburg. And when it comes to the most expensive residential estates, the majority of the top 10 can be found in and around Johannesburg. For those looking to rent their own holiday home on a temporary basis, a neat and perfectly classy option isn’t too hard to discover, whether it’s near one of Cape Town’s beaches or located in the bushveld regions. Price-wise, villas are available at a range of costs to cater for various budgets, from R2,200 per night for 6 guests to R14,800 per night for a 2-person stay. Of course the final price is hugely dependent on various factors, such as location, design finishes, facilities, size of structure and the holiday company you’ve opted to work through, so be sure to scope out all your options before making a decision.

Pros and cons of living in villas

Think you’d be happier investing in a fantastic holiday home? First consider the pros and cons that go hand in hand with these (usually) luxurious creations. 


-Cost. Yes, acquiring a high-end manor goes hand in hand with a high-end budget, yet the return on investment is undoubtedly high. 

-Luxury. You are treated to glorious facilities and a lavish lifestyle that is not to be found in your average residential houses. 

-Freedom. Independence, freedom and lots of privacy is part and parcel of a holiday home lifestyle, which you don’t even get in the best hotel. 

-Space. More than just large lawns and big terraces, a luxurious large house provides gigantic rooms and spacious layouts throughout. 

-Serenity. Your nearest neighbors are still pretty far, as villas come equipped with spacious landscapes to add to your privacy and calm lifestyle. 


-High costs. Purchasing a country home is already expensive, yet maintaining it afterwards also requires a high budget. 

-Security issues. Safety is a concern for everyone in South Africa, and a vacation residence on a great, big yard far removed from everyone can put you in greater danger. Of course if you can afford a luxurious summer home, then the best security and surveillance systems shouldn’t be an issue. 

-Location. Villas require lots of space, which is why they are generally located on the outskirts of cities and towns. Travelling back and forth can be a nightmare. 

-General services. Seeing as your country home is located pretty far out, it can be difficult getting average services (like on-call plumbers) as soon as you require them.

Let homify help

Whether it’s an Italian villa, a beach bungalow or a guest annex in the garden, homify is chock-a-block with housing examples to cater to just about everyone’s needs. Add to that our ever-increasing list of professionals (such as architects, carpenters, gardeners and many more) to help you spruce up your abodes and yards to your personal requirements, and you are sure to find loads of inspiration and the ideal experts to help you achieve it.