This post was updated on July 24, 2017.
As of July 2017, data from Expatistan shows that a monthly rent for a 900 sq. ft. unit in an “expensive” area costs more than SGD 3,000.
However, a 2016 study revealed that housing policies—such as income ceiling, extent of increase in rentals, and other requirements—aren’t suitable for low-income families. No wonder, some social workers feel that they’re not able to help their clients when it comes to housing.
Good thing, the Singapore government has amended its housing regulations for singles. Add to that the housing loans that POSB and DBS offer. The Housing & Development Board (HDB) also offers housing schemes for multi-generation families.
But not everyone can afford a house that would fit their entire family. The least they could do is look for an affordable unit and cramp everything in. Good thing, there are home decor and design hacks that you can do to make your home look bigger.
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Colour Your Walls with Something Light
It’s always advisable to keep things light when choosing a colour scheme for small apartment. Softer hues make everything look spacious, while darker colours make your space appear smaller.
When choosing what colour to paint your walls, Tara Mastroeni advises that you use three hues:
- Two light, bright shades to paint the majority of your apartment.
- One darker accent colour to make things visually interesting.
If you prefer bold colours like red, orange, or yellow, you can do so on one section of your apartment. Then, pick another one as an accent.
Just remember to limit your use of bold colour. Too much of it in one small space can be overwhelming.
Create Space Depth Using Mirrors
Mirrors add detail and function to a room without taking anything from it—making it ideal for apartment living. And knowing how best to place it in your room can make you get the most out of it.
Jess Kumanovski advises that you hang a decent-sized mirror at the far end of a room. This will reflect the entire space, giving the illusion that it’s twice the actual size.
You can also hang one opposite a window or in a dark corner of your home to reflect natural light. This will make your space look brighter.
Make Use of Stripes
Stripes help bring order in a space. According to Lauren Flanagan, “they have the power to reshape a room depending on how they’re used.”
The best thing about this pattern is that they mix well with solids, floral, and other patterns. These makes stripes ideal when decorating a small home.
Moreover, it helps define functional zones in the room and can hide minor wall damages like rough spots. This kind of design trick is ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms, and small kitchens.
Vertical stripes create an optical illusion that alters the width and length of the room. As a result, it can make a low ceiling feel higher. On the other hand, horizontal stripes push the wall outwards. This tricks your eye into thinking it’s bigger and feels longer.
Just make sure that your wall and furniture are colour-coordinated. Ordinary home furnishings can make any space look boring.
Hang Light-Coloured Drapes
If you want to make your window look large, the trick is on how you hang your drapes.
Install curtain rods a couple of inches below the ceiling. This will make your visitors draw their eyes upward, making your window look taller. If you want to make it look wide, hang the rods past the side of the window frame.
Another thing you can do is choose a curtain that matches the colour of the wall. The colour blending creates a continuous line, making the room appear big.
Better yet, don’t hang drapes at all. It’s the most affordable way to make your window appear big.
Choose Space-Saving Furniture
Every inch counts when you have a small space. Invest on space-saving furniture to make the most out of it.
Look for pieces that has double duty. It can be a bed that you can fold into a sofa or an ottoman that also serves as a storage.
You can also opt for transparent or acrylic furniture like a glass coffee table. According to Yuka Yuneda, transparent lines prevent visual interruption. Thus, you perceive a less cluttered space.
What’s important is to select a furniture that’s appropriate to the size of your space. Otherwise, your apartment will be cramped.
Install Wall Art
Installing wall art is usually considered an afterthought. However, having one can help provide for the entire room.
For one, wall art can give you an inspiration on what paint colour you should use on your wall. It can also serve as a focal point in the room while clearing out valuable drawer space.
Aside from paintings and picture frames, you can actually mount bookshelves on the wall. Better yet, use the shelves to showcase your collectibles. What’s important is that wall art should be coordinated with the entire room’s theme.
Mount Small Lamps on Shelves
According to Wendy Cassidy, “a small room with poor lighting will feel cave like and claustrophobic.”
A properly lit room must have three sources of light. However, this may not be possible when you live in a small flat. This is where track lights can help.
This kind of fixture is ideal for modern home, especially if you want to highlight a particular section of the room. You can replace a ceiling fixture with a monorail track light to illuminate a hallway. Meanwhile, pendant track lights are ideal for the kitchen and dining area.
In case a track light installation is off-budget, you can mount small lamps on shelves. Why? Because small lamps distribute light better.
Remember: Perfect lighting can make your interior look more appealing.
Buy Colour-Coordinated Bedding
A colour-coordinated bedding is the foundation of your bedroom’s design. Thus, it’s important to think of the colour scheme. In this case, you can choose to either have a solid colour or patterned bedding.
Solid colour bedding gives a relaxing and zen-like vibe. You can achieve this through monochromatic colour scheme. To do that, pick a main colour and then layer it with lighter or darker shades.
On the other hand, patterned bedding allows you to be flexible with your bedroom design. This means that you can add small doses of your main colour with your bedding. However, it quickly becomes outdated. Avoid boredom by choosing only one patterned piece with one or two small accents.
What’s important when decorating a bedroom is to know your style. According to Diana Hathaway Timmons:
“Before you can choose the best colours for your bedding, you need to decide what style of bedding you prefer. If you start shopping for bedding by colour, you can end up with bedding that does not work with your style at all.”
Use the “Rule of Thirds” for Your Wall
The “Rule of Thirds” is used in photography most of the time. However, you can use the same principle when designing a small apartment. Here’s how:
- Pick a wall on which to place your artwork or picture frames
- Imagine an overlay grid of two vertical and two horizontal lines dividing the wall into equal thirds
The center square will be your focal point. From here, you can place any hanging art near the lower thirds. Shelves or storage are placed close to the upper third.
Keep Your Things Organized
Storage is king when you live in a small apartment. It can be as simple as keeping your loose pennies in a piggy bank, putting your pens in a jar, or folding your clothes using the KonMari method so it won’t eat up space in your closet.
However, storage and organizing doesn’t mean filling up all the space in your home. When buying a home décor, keep the cantaloupe rule in mind. Meaning, you shouldn’t use any piece smaller than a cantaloupe.
Find the Balance Between Design and Functionality
Living is a small house, apartment, or flat has its advantages. They’re much more affordable, or has lower rent; easy to maintain, and has a cozy charm. However, limited space is a challenge when it comes to interior design.
Regardless, you shouldn’t skip that part for the sake of functionality. What’s important is finding the balance between design and functionality.
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