Service yards are notoriously cramped. Making the most out of the space is a must.
30 May 2022
BTO stands for Built To Order and refers to a housing project which will begin construction once a set percentage (usually 65-75%) of the proposed apartments have been booked. BTO service yards are typically very small areas towards the back of the kitchen that are designed to house a washing machine, dryer, and other laundry related items. The service yard is essentially a laundry room and its functionality is vital to the efficient running of your home. Service yards also may be called a service balcony or utility room.
Service yards serve primarily as a space for laundry, storage and utility. They are quite small and usually will not fit much beyond a washer/dryer and perhaps a cabinet. As such, service yards are often neglected in HDB home design because there does not seem to be a lot that one can change to make them more interesting. However, recently individuals have been making moves towards redesigning their service yards into vibrant, well-decorated areas of the house that serve aesthetic as well as practical functions.
These remodels usually follow the key principles of interior design for small spaces, employing techniques, materials and colours which make the room appear bigger. There are also some structural changes that could be made in renovating a service yard which would significantly open up the area – many choose to remove the dividing wall between the service yard and the kitchen, taking the opportunity to capitalize on some extra space.
Renovating a HDB BTO service yard is an exciting project with a lot of potential. You can DIY much of a BTO service yard design (within the HDB renovation guidelines of course). For some inspiration, here is an overview of some of the best design approaches to a BTO service yard design and other laundry room ideas.
7. Quality materials
Beautiful materials are an elegant way to reimagine a small space. Textured material with a strong colour such as natural wood provides visual interest that plays against the sleek appliances and modernity of the rest of the bathroom. Whether the inclusion of materials comes in the form of cabinets or even simply a feature wall, this is a surefire way to revamp the aesthetic of your BTO service yard. Other materials that will provide this sense of cultured individuality include tile, brick, marble, glass and even simple laminate or wallpaper.
6. Hanging plants
Plants are a great way to brighten the appearance of any room. By including hanging plants in your service yard, you are creating a happy and naturalistic environment. There are many benefits to having house plants in general, but placing plants in the laundry gives you an opportunity to spruce up the area without needing to invest in major changes or sacrifice much space. They provide a clean, happy energy that works well with natural woods and the common white colour scheme of contemporary laundry rooms.
5. Storage to the max
BTO service yards are usually very small. This actually makes them the perfect place to cram as much storage into as possible. The washing machine is already a bulky appliance, so surrounding it with cabinets and shelving is an ideal way to mask its size.
This serves an incredibly practical purpose too, as you will have a huge amount of extra space. A large storage unit like this will cut down on clutter within the home and give you the opportunity to store laundry related items without them becoming an eyesore. It’s also a great way to hide any cluttered wiring or PowerPoints. This is the best option for a large apartment such as a 4 room BTO flat as you will need all of the extra storage that you can get.
4. An organizational haven
Another way to streamline your service yard space is to develop a foolproof system. An organized laundry room means organized clothes, making your daily life that much easier. Washing your clothes will become even more efficient with a system that helps you separate delicates, lights and darks quickly. If used correctly, you will never need to sort your clothes at all – simply put them straight into this hamper once you take them off and actually washing them later will be a monumentally quick task.
3. Think vertically
One of the main interior design principles for small spaces is to emphasize the height of a room rather than the width. This is done by creating clean, vertical lines which direct the eyes upwards. Stacking your dryer on top of your washing machine is one way to create this effect. Cabinets are also a clever way to harness this, especially if you choose cabinets with a vertical inclination such as the wood grain in the cabinets above which helps to create the upward momentum of the room.
2. Glass partition
Installing a glass partition door between your service yard and kitchen is a great way to make use of the natural light flooding in through the window. This will make the kitchen feel brighter and more open during the day and helps to keep the laundry room feeling like a part of the house. Glass partitions are incredibly beautiful and will give your kitchen a sense of elegant sophistication that cannot be matched.
1. Open plan
Easily one of the best courses of action in a service yard renovation is to hack service yard wall down and incorporate the laundry into your kitchen size. This frees up an abundance of space which you can repurpose as a breakfast bar or even simply for more kitchen space.
More room for the sink and cupboards means cooking is a much easier task and especially easier for teamwork if there are multiple people in the kitchen. The washing machine fits neatly in with the colour scheme and many people choose to install the washing machine inside their cabinet so that it can be obscured at will.
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