12 small space ideas from homes worldwide to 'Kope' for your HDB flat

PHOTO: Dot Architects

Homes around the world provide a wealth of inspiration for our own HDB flats. From São Paulo to Osaka, we take a look at the ones with limited square footage to see how they make the most of their space. These ideas confirm HDB approve.

1. Shelves instead of bottom cabinets

PHOTO: A Little Design

Open shelves are commonplace in kitchens, but they are often used to replace upper cabinets. But this tiny home in Taipei uses them in lieu of bottom cabinets!

They help to visually open up the small galley kitchen, while creating a ton of easy-reach storage space.

Design: A Little Design Size: 189 sqft Location: Taipei, Taiwan Photography by: Hey! Cheese

2. Multifaceted wood structure

A curvilinear wood structure stands in the middle of the apartment in this Sao Paulo home. Not only does it serve as an architectural feature, but it also conceals elements of the home for more seamlessness.

Everything, from the entrance of the bathroom to a workstation and the TV for the living room, is squirrelled away within the structure.

Design: Mandarina Arquitetura Size: 1,184 sqft Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil Photography by: Nathalie Artaxo

3. Savvy shelving

In this home in Osaka, open shelves line the borders of a window to make the most of storage. They extend out and act as a divider between the communal and private spaces. Some of the shelf compartments contain baskets to organise and manage the items, which range from toys to work documents.

The see-through nature of the shelves ensure that light and air can still pass through the home easily, while preventing the space from feeling claustrophobic.

Design: ALTS Design Office Size: 990 sqft Location: Osaka, Japan Photography by: Kenta Kawamura

4. Workstation as divider

Instead of a conventional wall, this bedroom was segregated using a desk, which works as the homeowner’s workstation on one side, complete with book storage and drawers for office supplies, and a dressing table and closet on the other side. Curtains can be drawn across the desk for privacy.

Design: Pascali Semerdjian Arquitetos Size: 753 sqft Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil Photography by: Ricardo Bassetti

5. Wall display storage

Instead of closed cupboards, the kitchen went with open wall storage, using a plywood board and some nails. With the kitchen wares on display, the storage piece serves as a feature wall of sorts and allow for access to the supplies.

The main cooking and clean-up functions are all incorporated within a single black kitchen island.

Design: Chris Collaris Architects and Dutch Invertuals Size: 430 sqft Location: Gelderland, The Netherlands Photography by: Tim van de Velde, Dutch Invertuals and Ronald Smits

6. Hidden dining table

The dinner table is neatly concealed underneath the kitchen counter of this home in Milan. It helps to free up space in the kitchen, where the family has meals, but it can also be pulled out to allow for an additional prep zone when needed.

Design: Untitled Architecture Size: 323 sqft Location: Milan, Italy Photography by: Giovanni Emilio Galanello

7. Perforated wall divider

Dividing the living room and bedroom in this tiny flat in Sydney is a perforated metal wall divider. It gives enough privacy, without sacrificing light and ventilation. It can also be folded so that the TV, which is attached to the divider, can be seen from either the living room or the bedroom.

Design: Gurney Size: 259 sqft Location: Sydney, Australia Photography by: Katherine Lu

8. Pipes as storage

Building closed storage units would overwhelm this small home visually, which was why the designer opted to line the entire home with copper pipes instead, where things can be hung from it. Juxtaposing against the white colour scheme, they also function as a design element for the space.

Design: Ariel Claudet Size: 237 sqft Location: Paris, France Photography by: Cyrille Lallement

9. Hovering kitchen counter

In this elegant, streamlined home in Chicago, the kitchen counter juts out from the wall so that part of it can serve as a breakfast table for two.

The counter is designed to look as if it’s floating, which gives the space the illusion of being light and airy. The sides of the counter is also lined with a mirror, giving it a stylish finish.

Design: Vladimir Radutny Architects Size: 750 sqft Location: Chicago, US Photography by: Bill Zbaren

10. Glass-encased home office

This home office is encased behind glass walls and a glass door, offering privacy without visual obstruction. It prevents the person in the workstation from feeling cooped up and allows the overall home to still feel spacious.

Design: Studio 6b Design School and Maayan Zusman Size: 753 sqft Location: Tel Aviv, Israel Photography by: Itay Benit

11. Built-in sofa storage

Rather than put the space around the windows to waste, the designer opted to install a built-in sofa by the window and designed compartments by the side to maximise storage space.

The area now functions as a full-fledged cosy nook that can double as a guest bed whenever the family has overnight guests.

Design: Atelier 111 Architekti Size: 1,248 sqft Location: Prague, Czech Republic Photography by: Alexandra Timpau

12. Extra beds

In this fluid home in Beijing, bedrooms don’t have a permanent space. Beds can be pulled out by pushing out the TV wall or converting the sofa into one. This helps to maximise the rest of the space for living, creating a home that changes to fit in with the needs of its occupants.

PHOTO: Mandarina Arquitetura

This article was first published in Renonation.