Australia is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. Each year, thousands of people come from all over the world to walk along our beaches and bath in our oceans. It’s not just people coming from overseas who are drawn to the coast, though. More than 85 percent of Australia’s population lives within 50 kilometres of a coastline, according to the Bureau of Statistics.

With such a high volume of the population living near the ocean, Australian architecture firms have become well-versed in creating luxury beach house designs. But this doesn’t mean that beach houses have all become overly complicated, billion-dollar projects that rely on the use of exotic materials. Many of Australia’s best award-winning coastal homes use only a handful of basic concepts, executed with simple yet suitable materials. 

Photography: Peter Bennetts

Here are five simple principles to keep in mind when creating coastal beach house designs. 


The open-plan living trend is huge in Australia – and around the world – at the moment. A move away from multiple segregated rooms all with a singular purpose, open-plan living encourages one or several large and flexible spaces that can be used for multiple applications.

Open-plan beach house designs, when combined with other simple elements, accentuate available space, creating homes where occupants feel free to move around. 

Photography: Peter Bennetts


What’s the point of living near the beach if you can’t actually see it from your home? Glass lets us do this, especially if installed in a large-span capacity. However, large-span glass windows come with a particular set of challenges that need to be considered. Adequate window glazing is key, as this this will enable you to soak up those stunning views while keeping your home cool. It is an energy-efficient and innovative use of glass. 

Photography: Peter Bennetts


Additional window hardware – such as shutters, blinds, or louvre windows – can also protect us from the harsh sun, but have the added benefit of allowing the calming and delightful ocean breeze to permeate the space. While a dwelling by its very nature is designed to protect us from the elements, we can still feel the sea breeze in our homes. Installing louvre windows to ensure proper ventilation means that our living spaces can become oases of fresh, salty air.

Image: Modern House


When it comes to building beach houses, the weathered timber beach shack is a highly sought-after design aesthetic. Inspired by driftwood, the use of timber weatherboards or timber cladding in either an interior or exterior application adds a touch of something natural to any coastal beach house design. If you’re unsure about timber’s durability in coastal areas, consider an alternative cladding material with a timber-look finish. You’ll achieve the beach house design without compromising on durability. 

Photography: Derek Swalwell


Living near Australian beaches means being surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural environments on offer. So, make the most of it by choosing materials that will blend in with the surrounds. After all, sticking out like a sore thumb spoils the point of living so close to such a pristine environment. Architect-designed luxury beach houses can be sustainable, too. Make sure you properly assess how you’re going to make the most of your beautiful location by extensively researching the best materials to complement the area. 

Photography: Christopher Frederick Jones


The above principles apply to all coastal beach house designs, new or old. By keeping these five simple ideas in mind, you can achieve the best possible results and ensure a timeless, functional, aesthetically beautiful beach house for generations to come.