Most Singaporeans stay in HDB flats – About 80% of the population, in fact. However, these humbler, government-subsidized dwellings don’t usually come to mind when we think of experimenting with interior design, for reasons such as the flats being too small/cramped, or being only a temporary housing for owners looking to buy a condo or EC in the future, or too old and costly to renovate, and the list goes on.
Nonetheless, just because a living space is small, looks slightly run-down on the outside, or is only a temporary housing for its owner, it doesn’t mean that its interior can’t be transformed into something awesome. If you live in a HDB flat, or are getting a HDB flat soon, read on for 5 tips for sprucing up (smaller) homes!
- Use a wallpaper/tapestry to create a feature wall
Feature wall created using pictures/artworks (Source: Pinterest)
See any bare walls or white spaces around the house that you have no idea what to do with? Consider “dressing up” a part of the wall, by creating a background that serves as a feature wall!
A feature wall is an accent or statement wall that breaks the monotonous pattern and arrangement of the other plain walls around the home – In essence, it is a space for experimentation, to create different patterns and designs that add a refreshing twist to the overall design of the interior. A feature wall can range from a bold coloured wall, brick/wood panels, or the use of graphic wallpapers and tapestries – the possibilities are endless!
Feature wall created using wallpaper (Source: Pinterest)
Usually, people designate a feature wall as the first visible wall which when visitors walk into the room, to be able to visually balance the dimension and sense of space of the room. As a general rule of thumb, feature walls are commonly used with hanging TVs, paintings or even as bed heads – However, there is nothing stopping you from getting creative and making your feature wall your own to express your personality and display trinkets and collectibles!
However, a word of caution would be to not overdo the feature wall – Since these walls have added colours and textures to stand out, you don’t want it to look too gaudy either. Instead, try to keep it to one wall per room, or even one wall in the entire house to create an impactful focal point!
- Use Marble for an “Atas” look
Marble walls in Bedroom (Source: Pinterest)
Using a glossy marble or granite finish to your walls, tiles and flooring gives off a sense of luxury in your home, akin to that of a 5-star hotel. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re staying in a luxury apartment all year round?!
Although some HDB flats may face space constraints to have extensive marble furnishing and, it is still entirely possible to have some parts of the house covered in marble – For example, in the bathroom, living room or bedroom where most of our time is spent.
Marble flooring in Bathroom (Source: Pinterest)
In addition, using marble flooring and tiles has its plus points – It may be tedious to polish scratches and cracks on surfaces around the house (especially if you’re a perfectionist that freaks out at that kind of thing), and materials such as brick, wood and parquet floorings and tiles are especially prone to such damage! Instead, marbles, laminates and granite are more resistant to scratches, making them suitable for long-term use. Definitely a great option for a classier interior!
- Natural light FTW!
Natural light in Bedroom (Source: Pinterest)
Sometimes, artificial lighting can make your house look dingy and dark (Especially if they’re not LED lights). To brighten up your flat, don’t worry about buying plenty of LED lights to keep your house looking like a lighthouse all day long – Natural lighting would do just the trick to make your house more vibrant and refreshing, and create a spacious and airy feel in your home!
Natural lighting can be used to create depth, by replacing curtains around the house with translucent blinds or inserting glass partitions to brighten up dark corners of the apartment where the light does not reach easily. On the other hand, certain kinds of artificial lighting tend to create shadows, highlights corners, and create the perception that a space appears smaller than what it actually is, making your (possibly already small) HDB flat look even more cramped and cluttered.
However, this is not to say that artificial lighting is always bad or unwanted – If certain lighting fixtures prove difficult or inconvenient to remove, or if you prefer artificial light anyways, there are always other option available!
For artificial lighting, try not to use lights that are too orange or too light - We recommend warm white lighting for your interior to create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere that will definitely cheer you up after a long day. Warm white LED lights that range between 2700-3200 Kelvins are suitable for bedrooms, living rooms or dining rooms, while Cool white lighting can be used for open areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, or outdoor lighting in your home workspaces.
- Play with colours (But don’t go overboard!)
Earthy Colour Palette concept in living room (Source: Pinterest)
There are so many design ideas that stem from the use of colour – adding a bright colour in one wall of your home will really make a difference to the overall aesthetic! Instead of accepting your plain white walls as they are, you can also experiment with different types of colours and shades by creating a colour palette, to brighten up your living space!
Adding colours to a particular wall in a room can change the focal point and space balance of the area, brightening up the place instantly. It is also less of a hassle to paint the walls with a coat of new paint instead of making it into a major renovation or interior design effort, which would definitely appeal to those of us who may lead a hectic lifestyle and have little time to partake in a massive makeover.
Using a carpet to add a splash of colour to the floor!(Source: homeanddecor.com.sg)
Also – It’s not just the walls that can have different colours! You can also add a splash of colour to your floor, using colourful rugs or mats under tables and chairs to add colour and texture to a room. These coloured additions can be on top of hardwood flooring, painted floors, or carpet. An interesting pattern or contrast colour that fits the theme of your overall room aesthetic would definitely wow any visitors that step into your home!
- Track systems to organize your home
Track system with shelves and racks (Source: Retailers Market)
Too much junk and clutter around the house? A track system to organize your items and display them neatly would do just the trick in neatening up your living space!
Although track systems have been around for a while, they've only recently gained popularity for home use. Slot in as many rows of shelves, hooks, or even racks as you like (also depending on the height of the tracks) to organize the items and accessories around your house!
Not only can track systems create a tidier, even minimalistic aesthetic in your home, they also provide flexibility and allow you to move your shelves and furniture around to suit your needs, so you’ll have less hassle in moving or changing your furniture and won’t have to change your fixtures as frequently.
Track systems are also great for a variety of design concepts – Scandinavian, minimalistic, mid-century modern, or even a transitional look! They’re great for exploring different styles throughout the course of your stay in your home, making sure that your interior design style is never outdated.
After reading this article, do you now have a better idea on how to use different ways to spruce up a smaller living space or apartment? Remember, just because a living space is small, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room to experiment and meet your interior design goals – All it takes is a little creativity! Also, if you have any other ways to spruce up your home, do feel free to share with us in the comments section below!