Lookbox Living Issue #60
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6 Design Tricks To Steal For Your Small Apartment

How do interior designers come up with such stylish homes, even when it’s a small HDB flat or condo apartment? We picked out 6 of our favourite design tricks you can incorporate into your own home reno.

Renovating a home in Singapore can be a challenge, especially if you’re working with a small HDB flat or condo apartment. So how do Singapore interior designers come up with such stylish homes? We picked out 6 of our favourite design tricks that you can incorporate into your own home reno.

 

1. Hidden Storage Is Your New Best Friend

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Homes in Singapore are small, there’s no denying it, but there’s no reason you should live in small, crammed quarters. Built-in furniture is the key. Your interior designer or contractor should be able to measure and calculate the exact amount of storage furniture you can have in your home without eating too much into your floor space.

In this 5-room HDB, design firm Dots ‘n’ Tots turned a long stretch of wall into a series of closed-door shelves and drawers. But the designers made sure that the storage system is incorporated into the look of the home – if you aren’t looking properly, the closed shelves look like a patterned feature wall that runs from living room to dining room to the front door.

New Life by Dots ‘n’ Tots

 

2. Draw The Eyes To Create The Illusion Of Size

If you have a small space and not enough resources to come up with an exciting look or design, then here’s a trick that might interest you. Trick the eyes with clean, geometric lines strategically placed around your home. These straight lines can work wonders in making a home feel bigger, just like how horizontal stripes on your clothes can make you look bigger.

Design firm Quadwork does it especially well in this 3-room HDB BTO. Here, black lines outline the entire home, framing each wall, beam and even door. The result is a monochromatic wonder with geometric designs that frame the entirety of the home and more importantly, help the 750sqft flat appear room and spacious.

Follow the Lines by Quadwork

 

3. Sleek And Polished With Glass And Mirrors

Any homemaker will be familiar with the space-enhancing powers of mirrors: they visually double up the space in your home, making it feel larger than it actually is. That’s why you’ll find mirrored walls in almost every cafe or restaurant you step into. But mirrors – and glass – also bring a sleek, polished feel to your home. Instead of boring blocks of empty wall, get your contractor or designer to hack them away and replace them with a glass partition (either clear glass or tinted glass will work). Is there a wall you can’t knock away? Mount an oversized mirror panel on the wall to give your home a more modern slant.

Keep in mind though, too much glass and mirrors can make a home feel cold and unwelcoming. The designers from Altered Interior have a knack for finding the right balance of materials to use, as shown in this 3-bedroom apartment. The interiors look clean and sophisticated but never comes across as cold or impersonal.

Easy Elegance by Altered Interior 

 

4. A Pop Of Colour Can Brighten Up Any Room

There’s not much you can really do in a small room; once you bring in the furniture, there’s not much space left to play around with. So instead of adding new decor elements, use colour to add a design element that takes up zero space. A single standout accent colour is all you need to vitalise a room. It could be a burst of colour on your cushions, a single armchair or, if you’re more daring, an entire wall.

This bedroom by D5 Studio Image is a good example of how a simple pop of colour can instantly change the mood. This compact room is only big enough for a bed and wardrobe, so the designers don’t have any more space to bring in any other furniture. Instead, they painted the wall above the bed in a bright shade of fuchsia. It’s an unexpected addition to the otherwise straightforward design, but the results are definitely noticeable.

Baby Bonus by D5 Studio Image

 

5. Distract With Outrageous Designs

Typically, when you first step into a home, the first thing you notice is how small (or big) the space is. If you don’t want your guests’ first impression to be “Oh, your home is so… cute.” then why not create an even bigger first impression. Distract them from the fact that you have a tiny space by overwhelming their senses. Loud designs and in-your-face decor elements will be the first things that capture their attention. If you prefer to be a little more subtle, pick a statement piece of furniture that will be the first thing a person sees when they enter.

In this bedroom, Chew Interior excels at making a home that successfully overwhelms the senses with eye-catching designs. From the “pothole” windows on the walls to the flowing wraparound cocoon bed, this is a room that’s designed to impress. Smaller details like the moulding on the ceiling, wallcovering and flooring further add to the wow-factor. No one’s going to comment on the size of the room when they enter the space!

Wonder Kind by Chew Interior Design 

 

6. Keep It Clean And Uncluttered

On the other hand, you might want to keep your home simple and minimalist. Instead of attention-grabbing, over-the-top design, you can try something sleek and streamlined. Keep the colours neutral and organic and your furniture choices simple and unobtrusive. The result will be a home that is easy on the eyes.

In this HDB flat, Linear Space wanted to keep the interiors relaxed. By taking on influences from the Scandinavian, Industrial and minimalism ethos, the designers came up with an interesting mix of aesthetics that complement one another. The trick is to simplify everything: colours, textures, materials and furniture. By removing bulky additions to your space, you’ll end up with a clean, pleasant design that will leave you content.

Modern Mix by Linear Space

 

 

 


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