Modern Australian house designs: 4 contemporary house designs to inspire you

Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
modern Australian house designs

Thinking of a layout for your new house can be overwhelming, especially with all the options available. But if you narrow your choices down to the most popular modern Australian house designs, you can make an easier choice in no time. These include U-shaped and I-shaped houses, as well as tiny and narrow homes.

In this blog, we’ll share the pros and cons of each type. This will help you get a clear idea of which building design is best for you and your family.

Let’s begin!

modern Australian house designs

Modern Australian house designs: U-shaped house

U-shaped layouts are common for many single-storey homes in Australia. Unlike the traditional rectangular layout, U-shaped houses feature a central courtyard, garden, swimming pool, or deck. This building design was originally seen in many Mediterranean-style homes and was later adapted for ranch-style homes.

Due to the house’s U-shape, the outdoor area can be seen or accessed from various sections of the house. Tall, floor-to-ceiling windows also let in plenty of natural light.

modern Australian house design: U-shaped floor plan

What are the benefits of a U-shaped house?

Enhanced privacy

One of the main benefits of having a U-shaped house is that the house wraps around the outdoor space. That makes it a private retreat that’s safe from the prying eyes of one’s neighbours.

Ideal for building granny flats

Another benefit of the U-shaped house is that it’s great for multi-generational living. The U-shape creates separate wings where your parents or in-laws can stay.

What are the downsides of a U-shaped house?

It may require a larger lot area

Before you set your heart on building a U-shaped house, keep in mind that this house will typically require a larger lot area than an average single-family home. That’s because you’ll need to build a courtyard and other landscaping features compared to a house with a typical rectangular or multi-storey floor plan.

Still, if you have an acreage home, then a U-shaped floor plan is quite ideal for you.

Less open floor plan

Another drawback of building a U-shaped house is that you’ll likely need to separate spaces into various rooms because the separate wings of the house create natural divisions between spaces. By comparison, a rectangular house can have a more open floor plan.

U-shaped Modern Australian house designs

1. U-shaped house with swimming pool

In modern Australian house designs, the courtyard typically includes a swimming pool. This is a great place to stay and cool down during the hot summers.

modern Australian house designs with pool

2. Modern U-shaped house

This modern U-shaped house features a small yard sandwiched between two sides of the home.

Modern Australian house designs: L-shaped house

The L-shaped layout includes one line plus another one that’s perpendicular to one end. This splits the house into private and public areas, in which the “leg” is less accessible to guests.

Note that although the L-shaped house is named as such, the “leg” of the house doesn’t have to be shorter than the main area. As long as you have two sections of the house joined together at the ends, it can be considered an L-shaped house.

L-shaped layouts work with any style of home – be it ranch-style, traditional, or contemporary. There’s no particular style or size to follow – as long as the house features two separate wings joined at a right angle, it’s considered an L-shaped house.

L-shaped house plan

What are the benefits of an L-shaped house?

Blends indoor-outdoor living

One of the reasons the L-shaped house became one of the most popular modern Australian house designs is its practicality. Like the U-shaped house, it highlights the surrounding landscape and allows people to admire nature from various sections of the house. 

Creates a private outdoor space

Same with the U-shape, an L-shape layout creates seclusion from neighbours because the house is wrapping the two sides of your yard. That way, you won’t need to put up a fence around every corner of your backyard in order to gain privacy.

Helps solve unique site issues

If your lot has a tree in the middle, you can pick this layout so that your house can “surround” the tree instead of taking its space. After all, if your lot is covered by a vegetation protection overlay, you have to acquire a special permit before you can cut down trees on your property.

Excellent layout if you want a pool area

If you’re not a fan of maintaining a huge yard, you can also opt to build a pool and a hardscape area in the middle of the L-shaped house. With this layout, you can have a view of the pool area from the living or sleeping areas. However, if you’re going with this option, it’s wise to have a lower roof line so that the sky is reflected on the pool instead of your house’s shadows.

What are the downsides of an L-shaped house?

Smaller floor area

Due to the L-shaped house’s shape, it has a smaller floor area compared to a rectangular house. Because of that, you may opt to build a second storey or a third storey, so you can maximise the available space.

You can continue to use floor-to-ceiling windows on the second or third level so that you can continue to have a stunning view of the yard, no matter which part of the house you’re staying in.

It may be more costly to build

Another drawback of the L-shaped house is that the point where two of its sections meet will require a joint in the roof. This will require additional reinforcements in order to protect your home from leaks and snowfall.

Some houses may have unpermitted extensions

In some cases, houses that were originally built as rectangular-shaped turn into L-shape when the owners decide to build an extension. When purchasing a property, make sure to ask if the leg of the L-shaped house was part of the original or if it was built as an addition. If it’s the latter, ask if the addition was built with the permission of the local council.

L-shaped Modern Australian house designs

1. L-shaped house with pool

This L-shaped house features a swimming pool in the middle. It’s surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows allowing homeowners to see the pool area from multiple sides of the house.

modern Australian house designs with large windows

2. L-shaped house with a patio

This L-shaped house with a patio features a stunning view of the outdoors. It also has an outdoor patio where homeowners can admire the view while entertaining.

modern Australian house designs with patio

Modern Australian house designs: tiny house

While the average Australian home is around 240 square metres, tiny houses are dwellings that are 37 square metres or less. They can be permanently fixed to a site or can be towed on wheels. 

Tiny houses became popular in Australia in the 2000s, led by the tiny house movement in the United States. Affordability was the main driver for people who opted to live in a tiny house – since it’s small, it only costs a fraction of a regular-sized house. Many homeowners were also attracted to the thought of downsizing, living sustainably, and simplifying their lifestyles.

What are the benefits of a tiny house?

Low-cost housing

Tiny houses are a huge hit because of the cost. Instead of forcing people to spend 30 years of their lives paying off a mortgage, some people can purchase or build a tiny home using their savings alone.

More eco-friendly

One of the most prevalent reasons to choose a tiny home is that it has a lower carbon footprint compared to an average-sized house. It requires less energy to light or power up, and it also encourages homeowners to buy fewer items due to the small space.

It forces a simple lifestyle

Another reason people love tiny homes is that it forces people to let go of clutter. The small space has limited storage, so homeowners are forced to pare their possessions down to the bare essentials.

Cleaning and maintenance are easier

Due to its small size, a tiny home requires less upkeep. Since you're only cleaning and maintaining a small space, you don’t have to worry about spending all your weekends sweeping floors or polishing countertops.

You can bring it on a vacation

If you choose to build a tiny house on wheels, you can hitch your home on a truck and drive it to a new location. That way, you can take a vacation without having to pack up suitcases or book hotels.

tiny house in outback

What are the drawbacks of a tiny house?

Limited floor area

The most obvious drawback of living in a tiny house is the size. You’ll need to be quite careful when organising your things so that your home won’t feel cluttered or uncomfortable.

Less room for entertaining

Entertaining may also be a challenge. Unless you have a large outdoor space, it would be difficult to invite a bunch of friends over to hang out at your home.

Finally,  living in a tiny house may be inconvenient for families. Since there’s limited space, you and your kids will likely be bumping into each other at home.

modern Australian house designs: tiny white house

Tiny Modern Australian house designs

1. Tiny house in the woods

This modern cabin features natural wood cladding, which blends in naturally with the surroundings.

2. Secluded lake house

This secluded lake house has an all-glass exterior, giving the homeowner an unobstructed view of the water.

modern Australian house designs: lake house

3. Off-grid craftsman-style house

This off-the-grid house features a traditional craftsman design, albeit in a tiny package.

craftsman style house in forest

Modern Australian house designs: narrow house

A narrow house is a multi-level structure that’s built on a small, uneven or strangely shaped block of land. Measuring as little as 10 metres in width, this building design aims to make the most of every inch of space available.

narrow lot houses

What are the benefits of a narrow house?

Affordable housing in an excellent location

Narrow houses have become a growing trend in major cities in Australia because they allow more houses to be built in subdivisions or small parcels of land. Thanks to this unique building design, new homeowners are able to afford houses in central locations.

Less maintenance and upkeep

Narrow houses typically have a smaller floor area, which means less space to clean. It’s also uncommon for them to have a large lawn, which means you don’t have to spend your weekends mowing grass or sweeping leaves.

Better energy efficiency

Small or narrow homes require less energy for heating and cooling. Not only will this help you lower your energy bills, but it will also be good for the environment.

What are the drawbacks of a narrow house?

Multi-level design

Narrow houses typically have two or more levels. If someone in your family has mobility issues, you might find it difficult to live in a narrow home.

Limited outdoor space

If you enjoy spending time outdoors or maintaining a yard, you might be disappointed to find that most narrow lot house designs don’t feature a huge outdoor space. People with pets may also find it difficult to find a space where their furry friends can roam and graze freely.

Strict planning and design requirements

Narrow lot houses are typically built in suburban or urban areas. That means you’ll usually need to follow strict and detailed guidelines from the local council regarding which design or style your house is supposed to be. For example, in some neighbourhoods, narrow lot houses must follow a uniform look.

Narrow modern Australian house designs

1. Narrow houses in the suburbs

This simple suburban neighbourhood in Melbourne features a row of modern narrow houses.

2. Charming housing complex

This housing complex features narrow houses with gorgeous facades that feature various materials like natural stone, wood, and metal.

modern Australian house designs for narrow lots

3. Colourful coastal homes

These coastal homes are painted in bright and cheery primary colours. The stripes give them a unique look and feel.

Frequently asked questions

How do I choose the right layout for my house?

You can choose the best layout for your house based on the following factors:

  • Budget: Narrow or tiny homes are better for those who want affordable homes. But if you have a little more room in your budget, you can go for U-shaped, L-shaped, or even the traditional rectangular layout.
  • Available lot area: If you have a huge lot area, you can pick a U-shaped or L-shaped floor plan and maximise your outdoor space.  Meanwhile, those who are building on a small lot can go for a narrow or tiny home.
  • Size of your family: As mentioned, U-shaped layouts are excellent for multi-generational living and for families with children. For smaller families or couples, living in a tiny or narrow house may give you more value for your money.
  • The desired house features: If you prefer a house with a stunning courtyard, then a U-shaped or L-shaped house can make sense. Meanwhile, if you’re not a fan of maintaining a lawn, then a narrow house might be the better choice.

How much does it cost to build a house in Australia?

In 2022, building a house costs an average of $473,000. Costs vary depending on the location, finishes chosen, and global supply chain issues.

Can I use premade house plans with the layout I like?

When you purchase L-shaped, U-shaped, narrow, or tiny house plans from the Internet, you will still need to hire a building design or drafting professional to produce site plans, which will be needed for council approval. It’s easier to commission a professional to produce custom house plans so that you can have a house that truly fits your needs and the lot that you own.

At Superdraft, we can connect you to skilled building design or drafting professionals who can make custom house plans. Register now!

Start building a modern Australian house

Modern Australian house designs can be in any shape, but most of them have U-shaped, L-shaped, tiny, and narrow floor plans. Each of these has its unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to carefully consider which layout is best for you and your family. 

If you’re ready to build a custom house, sign up for Superdraft. Using our platform, you can:

  • Find a qualified building design or drafting professional who can come up with a unique layout for your home
  • Connect with local builders that can help you bring your dream home to life
  • Understand the requirements necessary for council approval
  • Check the progress of your construction or renovation project using an all-in-one online dashboard

Get a free instant quote today!

Start planning for free

Find more articles, guides and inspiration in the planning dashboard. Save them to your dream board, and start planning your dream space today.

You may also like

Join our design community

Forgot your username or password?

Download our '5 crucial things you must know before starting any build project' guide for free today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll send a copy straight over to you

See how much you could save with a free, no-obligation quote today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll be in touch to discuss your project

  • Drop files here or

Download The Free Guide Now

Fill in the below to get instant access: