Must haves vs Lust haves

Home Designs, How To Buy

How to Buy



Like the start of a new relationship, building a new home is filled with firsts. The first time you gaze down upon your new floor plan – is that master suite really all for me? Swoon. The first time your set your sights on the waterfall kitchen of your dreams – it’s just like the one in Aaron and Daniella built on House Rules. How on-point are we! The first time you realise that you can’t afford the waterfall kitchen of your dreams. Uh, what? That wasn’t part of the plan.

Over the course of your build you are likely to make thousands of decisions, and unless you’ve just won the lotto –  in which case we say go forth with the triple sized walk-in robe and send us some picks – not all of them will be what you originally wanted.

You’ve got to pick your battles, and when there are two decision makers at the table this becomes even harder. So to cut through all the sales pitches and juxtaposing information, we sat down with three bona fide Design Smarties to get all the insider smarts, separate the lust-haves and must-haves, and get you closer to your dream home. Your ‘Dream Home’ Pinterest board that is.


Tess Godfrey, Design Consultant for Smart Homes For Living

Tess’s Must-Haves

4 Bed x 2 Bath

For me, four bedrooms and two bathrooms is a must. Even if you don’t have kids, the extra space will never go astray. Think: a place for friends after a big night, a bed for those interstate rellies that come over for Christmas, even an extra cash generator if you’re open to roommates or Airbnb.

Window Treatments

This one might seem a little out of left field, but window treatments are the bomb and for some reason are often put in the lust bucket. Such a mistake.  Once you’ve experienced living with window treatments you’ll never go back.  They’ll save you money on power bills, cut down the glare on your screens, and give a dreamy sun drenched look to the entire space. Winning.

Tess’s Lust Haves

Black Tapware

I’m going crazy for matt black tapware, and our clients are too. My favourite? Pairing black tapware with a very clean and understated palate – ideally an all-white kitchen and bathroom. Such a statement, and a modern one at that.

High Ceilings

If you’ve ever been into a home with 31c high ceilings, or more, it will simply take your breath away. It screams luxury in such an understated and beautiful way. Absolute perfection.


Sarah Bailey, Senior Pre-Start Consultant for Smart Homes For Living

Sarah’s Must-Haves

Open Living

I know. It’s a super buzz-word. But it’s popular for a reason! Open plan living feels spacious and when you’re playing with a limited block size this can make all the difference.  It also makes the shared areas of the home feel more communal and encourages family time. What’s not to love?

Double Garage

The garage is the new shed. You heard it here first! They can be spec’d out to the max with TV points, fridge points, commercial grade fluorescent lighting, internal render finishes, shelving – you name it – and they keep your car safe and protected from our hash sun. Definitely a ‘must’ for me.

Sarah’s Lust-Haves

Subway Tile Backsplash

Subway tiles are so on trend it hurts, and I love it. White tiles with a darker grout are ah-may-zing, but could easily date, so if it was for my home I would go with a classic coloured subway tile (white, charcoal or navy), and if then if you’re game, really up the design factor by placing it in a non-traditional pattern – herringbone is a favourite of mine and just sings Parisian chic.

Double Shower

As the new age saying goes, you know you’ve made it when you have a double shower! They are the height of convenience and the perfect addition to any master’s retreat. Got extra space? Why not go all in, and add in a big soaking tub. Oh, and a built in recess or two to show off your respective Aesop products.


Bronte Taton, Senior Interior Stylist at Perspective Studio

Bronte’s Must-Haves


The more you have, the less messy your home will look year-round. It sounds simple, because it is! I love filling spaces with stylish furniture, artwork and finishes so integrated storage is a must to ensure these investment pieces are the star of the show.

Tip: Some of my favourite solutions include hiding fridges behind built-ins, turning wasted space into study nooks, making shelving a feature – the opportunities are endless.

The Great Outdoors

I like to consider the garden as an extra room, one that is open, inviting and the perfect hub for entertaining and relaxing. You want to invite the greenery in and vice vera, so planning the alfresco area at the same time as the internal spaces so they flow is another ‘must’ for me.

Tip: Some of the trendiest ways to centre the outdoor space include: adding a built in kitchen, building seating around a fire pit, introducing a bar table or, my favourite, going all out and installing a vertical garden…filled with succulents! Well thought out landscaping never goes out of style.

Bronte’s Lust Haves

Stone Benchtops

Costing anywhere from 2.5k plus, stone benchtops are defiantly a lust, but one many clients are happy to splash out on. They add to the resale value of the home, are super hardy and finish of the kitchen in the most designer-esque way. My favourite style?  A subtle marble look Essastone like Carrara, which cascades waterfall style down the sides of the kitchen island. Downright perfection if you ask me.

Induction Hot Plate

This one sort of goes hand in hand with the stone benchtops; if you are splashing out on one you might as well go all out the other! Or, you could risk compromising the entire sleek look of the space, and who wants that?

Tip:  In recent years, white inductions have come onto the market. When placed on a white or light marble look benchtop you’ll *barely* notice they are there.