7 unconventional HDB flats with flexible layouts

PHOTO: Three-d Conceptwerke

With an HDB flat, space is often at a premium. Going with a flexible layout can help to maximise space utilisation by making it more multipurpose and adaptable to the different needs of the occupants in the home.

If you wish to do the same in your own apartment, learn from these HDB flats that have been there, done that and scored beautifully in planning for spaces that afford flexibility in terms of how they are used.

1. Let’s Move It

The homeowners, a young couple who are both in the creative industry, wanted a configurable layout for their HDB flat, not unlike that of retail stores.

In order to create one, their designer conceived an open plan and suggested going with moveable storage units so that things could be shifted around easily to alter the layout.

PHOTO: Three-d Conceptwerke

Made from lightweight steel, these custom units were equipped with castors at the bottom to ease transitions. Other furniture in the home were similarly installed with castors for better mobility, including the dining table and the sofa.

PHOTO: Three-d Conceptwerke

Design: Three-d Conceptwerke
Location: Waterloo

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2. Changing Things Up

PHOTO: The Merry Men Interiors

An absence of boundaries is key to a flexible space. As such, this 3-room BTO flat did away with most of the walls and reconfigured the spaces from the original HDB floor plan so that it would better fit in with the occupants’ lifestyle.

PHOTO: The Merry Men Interiors

The dining area, for instance, was shifted to the original living room confines, where it doubles sometimes as a study and reading room.

The living room now sits within the spare bedroom and opens up into the master bedroom just next to it, serving as a lounging area as much as a TV room. The space leads into the service yard, which is also connected to the bathroom.

PHOTO: The Merry Men Interiors
PHOTO: The Merry Men Interiors

One of the few partitions in this open space is the sliding door in the communal space. It sits between the kitchen and the living room, closing one or the other, depending on the needs of its occupants.

Design: The Merry Men Interiors
Location: Upper Serangoon

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3. Japanese Influence

PHOTO: Chalk Architects

Home to a mixed culture family — Singaporean and Japanese — this 5-room HDB flat was crafted to cater to both cultures. It features a clean and minimalist aesthetic, dominated by warm wood surfaces and traditional Japanese design elements such as tatami mats and Shoji-like screens.

PHOTO: Chalk Architects

Walls were hacked away to create better circulation. It also created a more spacious sense of space and allowed the parents to keep a closer eye on their children as they move around the home.

PHOTO: Chalk Architects

One of the key highlights in this home is the tatami room, which can be closed off using sliding dividers made to look like traditional Shoji screens.

It functions as a guest bedroom or the children’s play area, and features a raised storage platform, hidden underneath tatami mats.

PHOTO: Chalk Architects

Design: Chalk Architects
Location: Edgedale Plains

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4. Shifting Gears

PHOTO: The Design Abode

Illustrating this home’s functionality is the raw, industrial design the designers adopted for the flat. Decked out in concrete screed flooring and rustic wood surfaces, it is the epitome of no-frills and utilitarianism.

Behind a full stretch of sliding doors in the living room lies the private quarters, a part of which can be shifted so that there’s more room in the communal area, whether for indulging in hobbies or entertaining guests.

PHOTO: The Design Abode

The dining area is connected to the kitchen counter in the open kitchen, helping to form a separation between the cooking zone and the rest of the home while facilitating convenience during mealtimes.

PHOTO: The Design Abode

Design: The Design Abode
Location: Marine Terrace

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5. No Boundaries

PHOTO: Linear Space Concepts

At the homeowner’s request for a gallery-like home, the designer removed all the walls of the flat, creating one, expansive space, where every room can be seen at a glance. Un-hackable structural pillars act as nooks and crannies for an added sense of mystery.

Without most of the walls, it catered for a fluidity in the use of space. Furnishings sit across zones and are moved around to accommodate for different uses.

PHOTO: Linear Space Concepts
PHOTO: Linear Space Concepts

The key feature in this home is the glass-encased walk-in wardrobe. Sitting in the middle of the flat, it is the perfect platform to showcase the homeowner’s collection of clothes.

Its vibrant hues adding colour (quite literally) to the neutral-hued apartment.

PHOTO: Linear Space Concepts

Design: Linear Space Concepts
Location: Holland Ave

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6. Small but Mighty

PHOTO: Produce

This condominium underwent a radical layout change in order to create a more flexible space that fitted in with the lifestyle of its occupants. For instance, by folding a series of wall panels, the living room doubles as a guest room when necessary.

In another example, the entire dining room, which leads into the open kitchen, can be concealed behind storage, so that the communal space can become more inviting for entertaining.

PHOTO: Produce
PHOTO: Produce

The two bedrooms were also combined and a portion is segregated to form the walk-in wardrobe. Access to the closet is via an alternate walkway by the balcony. The bed sits on a storage platform and instead of doors, flexible bi-fold panels provide privacy to the bedroom.

PHOTO: Produce
PHOTO: Produce

Design: Produce
Location: Flora Drive

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7. Island Life

PHOTO: The 80’s Studio

One of the few things the homeowners asked for was a movable kitchen island so that it could double as a study table whenever they work from home. Most of the time, the mobile island sits at the dry kitchen area, functioning as a prep station.

Other times, it is shifted to the living space so that the homeowners can receive more daylight while they tap away at their laptops. It also serves as a place for meals, and its mobility means that they could have dinners right in front of the TV.

PHOTO: The 80’s Studio

The bedrooms are hidden away behind a custom barn-style door, in line with the home’s rustic theme. It acts as a privacy screen from the prying eyes of guests, while helping to contain the air-conditioning so that it can work optimally when it is switched on.

PHOTO: The 80’s Studio

Design: The 80’s Studio
Location: Punggol

See more of this home here

This article was first published in Renonation.