Luxury on a budget | Inquirer Business

Luxury on a budget

An interior shot of one of Jafta Constructions’ projects

Do you sometimes wish your home would look like those you see in magazines? Spacious bedrooms, marble counters, engineered flooring—we all dream of these luxuries. Most of the time, however, we limit ourselves due to budget constraints.

The reality is, not everyone can afford the extravagance that is often depicted in media. Yet even if our wallets are tight, that doesn’t mean we can’t get away with a little luxury in life. As AGi Architects, a designer of high-end homes, puts it, “Luxury is not in materials, nor is it in volumes; Luxury is in the air.”


Recycled opulence


Shipping containers are not exactly what one would consider high-end spaces. Though they have become recently popular in food yards, they rarely become part of permanent residences.

For one innovative entrepreneur in South Africa, these shipyard junk actually produce quality homes at an affordable price. Jafta Construction, a brainchild of the young Itumeleng Gatsby Lamola, turns shipping containers into luxurious homes. The price of each house can range from R80,000 to R410,000 (or about P303,530 to P1.5 million). The homes are all customized and furnished upon delivery.

Each house is transformed from a used container to a mini-mansion. Jafta installs fully functioning bathrooms in the retrofitted homes. They can also provide garages, balconies and other specific requests of the owner. The homes usually come as a single or double-storey residence, and offers simple elegance at a surprisingly affordable cost.

The company is slowly taking Africa by the reigns. From its local operations in Johannesburg, the business is slowly moving to the West. Jafta Construction proves that you don’t need a lot of money to build a beautiful home. Sometimes, all you need is an open mind and an awesome imagination.

Tricks of the trade

So how do you create luxury? Luxury is actually subjective. But more often than not, people usually associate hotel interiors to the concept.


Some designers offer tips to give your home a hotel-like feel without the hefty price tags.

Keep things clean. Provide fresh bedsheets, scatter scented candles and regularly organize your home. These are simple but effective ways to make your home more enticing. Manvi Drona of the Mochatini lifestyle blog says that newly laundered sheets can offer a priceless experience.

Go with minimalism. Get rid of visible clutter. Limit your decorations to quality items and sentimental objects. Void spaces imply an air of importance to a single object on display.

Choose a color scheme and stick to it. Tess Wilson, a writer for, says that a consistent color palette in a home suggests that everything looks intentional. So even if your throw pillows are cheap, if they go with your sofa, they will look good.

Jafta’s beautiful house project conceals the recycled container within.

Display sentimental pieces. Even if you have dated furniture, show them off by making them the accent piece in a room. Your grandmother’s dinner table might have seen better days, but the rich history behind it will make it a conversation starter with friends.

Choose to display select expensive items. Expensive materials such as marble and glass are often associated with luxury. If you can’t afford to have them scattered all over your home, choose a few key locations to display them. To exemplify, a marble stone tabletop often costs less than a whole set of marble counters but still elicits attention.

Embrace texture. Even with simple colors, patterns and textures can create new experiences. A silk table runner or a patterned accent wall breathes class into a simple room. Just make sure to follow your color scheme.

Make yourself happy. No matter what the magazines say, go with what suits you. Personal touches on your home would say that you have taste and that your home has character. If your home meets your needs and makes you happy, you already have luxury at its finest.

Overall, luxury is something that you can choose to attain even without much money. A luxurious home is one that creates lasting memories and  unique experiences. It is a home that makes you and your visitors happy, regardless of the price tags of the items within.

Everyone deserves a luxurious home. Go spoil yourself. Make your home something that you can be proud of whatever your state in life may be. At the end of the day, it’s you who creates luxury.

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(Sources:;;;; Terje Sollie via;;

TAGS: Business, property

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