What is a condo? The difference between a condo and an apartment is more prominent in Singapore than most other countries.
30 May 2022
Around the world, a ‘condo’ refers to a housing complex with multiple units that are each owned separately but share common areas (such as a laundry, outdoor area or other facility). For most countries, this term is interchangeable with any apartment complexes or residential apartment housing. However, in Singapore the term holds a bit more nuance.
A condominium in Singapore differs from HDB housing in that it is usually a private enterprise. Condos are private estates which are not planned, constructed or managed by the Housing and Development board. As a result, they have less restrictions and regulations. (Note that HDB Executive Condos exist; they are a hybrid form of public and private estate).
Owners of a private condo in Singapore have full control over the renovations and decide their own rules on tenancy. The trade-off for this freedom is that condos are much, much more expensive than HDB housing. This is because HDB housing is heavily subsidized by the government and without the subsidies a small apartment which would cost $300,000 SGD in public housing can easily climb to over a million in private retail.
The design of condos in Singapore is understandably vibrant. Without HDB regulations and renovation guidelines, owners of a condominium tend to employ an exploratory and bold approach to interior design, taking risks and embodying creativity. Considering that only 20% of the entire population of Singapore live in private housing (and of that percentage even less choose to live in condominiums), each private condo in Singapore is unique and thoughtfully designed. However, there are a few intriguing artistic themes that are emerging in modern condos across Singapore.
Flooring is one of the most popular trends in condo design to set private interiors apart from classic HDB styling. Condos also tend to have more floor space, giving the homeowner more opportunity to install an eye catching floor that serves an aesthetic as well as functional purpose. Hardwood floors with a rich, natural appearance are particularly in favour. Extravagant tiling is another popular choice, with homeowners opting for expensive high quality flooring materials such as marble or granite tile.
Another trend in condo design is the return to a Scandinavian colour palate. The Japandi design style is extremely popular in Singapore and has inspired homes around the country to redecorate with a natural focus and light colour palette. Neutral beiges and natural woods play against bright whites, pastel oranges and yellows to create a happy, open and bright environment.
On the other end of the spectrum, some are choosing to go the opposite way and lean into industrial design. A commitment to technology and raw industrial materials such as metal, brick, concrete, glass and wood creates a rough, new-age sophistication that redefines the potential of modern condo design. Exposed beams, pipes and brick as well as brass accents are becoming more popular in this design schema, which has evolved as a reaction against the cookie-cutter maximalism of many contemporary designs. For more inspiration on condo home décor and how it is reimagining interior design in Singapore, see the list below.
5. Comfort to the max
One of the best ways to style a small apartment (1 bedroom) or a dual key apartment is to emphasize comfort. Cozy design is a rising trend in Singapore and heralds the rise of maximalism; including as many items of comfort as possible in the one space. This design manages to walk the line between cozy and crowded, with a variety of luxury items added for comfort that do not clutter the space.
This is a particularly successful style for a studio apartment such as the one pictured, because it ensures that every inch of your small home will be tailored to your comfort. Features of this home include an abundance of cozy chairs and couches, a large bed, treasured personal items, plants, arts, a television, and many different areas in which you can spend your day. There is even a second bed which can be pulled out from underneath the first, proving this design to be efficient as well as cozy.
4. Sleek and contemporary
When it comes to modern interior design, grey is clearly the colour of contemporary sophistication. Monochromatic palettes are back in full swing, and grey is taking center stage in many avenues of interior design. A subtle grey wash achieved with an accent wall, furniture, bedlinens, cushions, throws, art or even floors provides a mature neutrality that promotes calmness. For a sophisticated modern look ideal in the living room or bedroom, search no further than a subtle grey touch.
3. Classic elegance
A 2 bedroom apartment is the perfect place to introduce a little extra class. The best part about elegance is that it goes hand in hand with subtlety; small additions like a lamp, lightshade, rug, or throw go a long way in enhancing the sophistication of a design. Hanging lights are one of the best ways to access classic elegance, and pendent lights and chandeliers in particular can create a tasteful atmosphere in any home.
Japandi interior design is a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian interior philosophies, two very influential styles. This particular design takes influence from nature, a common staple of Japanese design, with the inclusion of plants and wooden tones. Another characterizing aspect of Japanese design is the use of elevated structures and levels within a home.
Installing a loft is one excellent way to channel this without sacrificing space or having to make drastic structural changes to the existing structures. The Scandinavian influence in Japandi design comes through strongest in the furniture and decorative choices, with a focus on minimalism, efficiency, neutral colours, and clean lines.
1. Industrial Chic
Embodying the rough elegance of industrial design is a wonderful way to play off the luxury of a large apartment. Three bedroom apartments styled with raw materials such as concrete, glass, brick and metal show an embrace of city living epitomizing the accomplishments of human development.
For a design style with edge, consider an industrial style executive loft.
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