In the IELTS speaking test, you are sometimes asked to describe a building. I have written about that before several times. However, today we’re going to look at something a little trickier. This is about a building that may not even exist! You are going to describe your ideal home.

In this article, I’ll tell you how to analyse the cue card, pick the right language, and then give a great answer that could help you to get an excellent IELTS score.

Cue Card: Describe your Ideal Home

Here is the cue card that we will examine today:

Describe your ideal home or place to live.

You should say:

  • where it would be
  • how big it would be and what it would contain
  • what features it might include

and explain why you think this would be your ideal home or place to live in.

The most important thing about this cue card is the word “ideal.” You would really need to understand this in order to answer it properly.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “ideal” means:

  • perfect, or the best possible

In other words, you are describing a home that you imagine living in one day. It may not even exist right now. It’s the best possible home for you, on a personal level, according to what you can imagine.

You should also aim to discuss the three bullet points and the idea expressed in the final line. You do not need to talk about them in order and don’t worry if you run out of time before you cover them all.

How to Describe your Ideal Home

After you have read the cue card, you should think immediately of a home to describe. It could be a house that you have seen somewhere or one that you just imagine. It’s best to get a concrete idea in your head, though, so that your description is coherent.

You can find lots of examples of dream homes on the internet. You can see various interesting house designs on Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit, as well as numerous other places. These can give you inspiration.

Of course, it can be hard to describe architecture, even in your native language. Recently, my brother told me that his house had a mezzanine and I had to look it up on Google. I’d never heard the word before!

Still, you really only need to say what is important to you, so just think of features that your house might have. Try to be descriptive.

  • A swimming pool
  • Large windows
  • An office with big bookshelves
  • A big garden
  • Views of the sea or mountains
  • Decking for barbeques
  • A big veranda
  • An open living room area
  • A huge kitchen
house vocabulary for ielts

These are just some ideas that spring to mind. Obviously, everyone will have different preferences. The important thing is to present your own ideas in the right words.

Here are some related resources:

More House Vocabulary

Now we have seen some useful vocabulary for describing houses, let’s see the names of different types of houses:

There are many types of houses to know. For example:

  • detached
  • semi-detached
  • cottage
  • lodge
  • chalet
  • apartment / flat
  • farmhouse
  • hut
  • mobile home
  • mansion
  • terrace(d)
  • condo

You don’t need to know all of these but it is worth learning ones that you might want to talk about. For example, maybe you live in a semi-detached house but used to live in a cottage and want to live in a mansion… It would be useful to know these three words.

Planning your Answer

Once you know approximately what you want to say, you can make a few notes to help you. These can be a few key words that will remind you of important points. Some people use this for vocabulary and others use it for structure. It’s really a personal choice.

I might write:

  • Seaside
  • Infinity pool
  • Terrace
  • Counter space

Do these notes mean much to you? Probably not. However, that’s ok because your notes only have to make sense to you.

Sample Band 9 Answer

My ideal home would be located near the seaside. In fact, it would be right on the beach, so I could sit and watch the waves or go for a swim any time that I wanted. It would be close enough that I could hear the sea at night from my bedroom window.

The house itself would be quite large. I would want a big, open living room that looks out on the sea, as well as a main bedroom on the second floor with a similar view. I would need an office with a built-in library, and a gym alongside several spare bedrooms. The kitchen is important because I really like to cook, so I would want a large, modern kitchen with plenty of counter space for preparing food.

I would want a large terrace for sitting out on sunny days or at night, and ideally it would have enough space to give a view of the sky on starry evenings. There should be a swimming pool as well. In particular, I would like an infinity pool because these look really nice.

Although I like the aesthetic of old buildings, I think this one would be quite new because of my requirements. However, the right designer could make it beautiful and functional. Altogether, this home would give me everything I need to have a comfortable life in a relaxing place.


Listen to my answer in this video:

Notes on the Answer

You can see that I have given a thorough answer that is very visual in its description. Although there isn’t much in the way of specialist vocabulary, it is very topic-specific. That means all my language relates to the idea of homes. This is really important for IELTS success.

Some good vocabulary from this answer includes:

  • right on the beach
  • a big, open living room
  • a built-in library
  • a large, modern kitchen
  • plenty of counter space
  • I like the aesthetic of old buildings

Note that I have used a lot of adjectives here to make it really descriptive. Because of the topic (an ideal house), you have a lot of freedom to use your imagination. That can really help you if you have a good vocabulary.