Even as housing prices balloon, homes in Singapore only seem to be shrinking – which means every precious square metre you can free up counts. In such small confines, it’s all too easy for furniture and knick-knacks to pile up, cluttering the stylish home you’d dreamed up in your head.
Still, it’s possible to blend the best of style and storage with a little smart planning. From beds with hidden nooks to innovative shelving, here’re some interior design hacks to maximise space in your home.
In the living room
Turn your sofa into storage
Having a hidden compartment in your sofa might sound like a detective novel in the making, but it’s pretty practical too. Such multipurpose sofas can be opened up to reveal ample storage nooks beneath their cushions, transforming a bulky piece of furniture into one which saves you space instead.
It’s a neat place to conceal any clutter you don’t frequently need to use: extra cushions, old magazines, incriminating evidence… the list goes on.
For inspiration: BedandBasics’ Massimo Multifunction Sofa Bed with Storage ($499) turns space-saving design into an art form.
This sofa set packs hidden drawers under the cushions and an armrest with built-in shelves, not to mention an accompanying storage ottoman. For budget-friendly options, FortyTwo‘s range of storage sofa beds can easily be folded down for guests sleeping over too.
Double up with a room divider
If you’ve got an open-concept living area, here’s one trick to partition your space while boosting your storage options. Modular shelving units – particularly those with open, backless designs – double up as an airy room divider, setting up cosy corners while still allowing light to flow through the whole room.
Set up your divider between the living and dining space, or use it to screen off the TV area from the rest of the room.
For inspiration: To turn your storage into a statement piece, Urban Mood has just the avant-garde showstopper for you.
There’s the Cynara Modern Modular Display Shelf ($40) with its edgy rows of tilted cubes; for a pop of glamour, the gold-accented GALLERY Modern Display Shelf ($310) will draw all eyes.
In the kitchen
Get an extendable dining table
It’s the great table conundrum for folks who love entertaining at home: You need a large table to host guests, but it hogs far too much kitchen space in your day-to-day life.
Enter extendable dining tables, aka versatile tabletops with built-in extension folds. Pull them out to create more seating space for guests, then fold them back into a compact number for your everyday dinners.
For inspiration: Leave it to the Scandinavians to take minimalism to new heights. Danish Design Co offers an extensive (no pun intended) range of extendable dining tables, from sleek lacquered slabs to round tables with ingenious folds.
Or check out Spaceman for tables with telescopic extensions that can easily seat upward of ten.
Suspend your shelves
Too often, a kitchen winds up looking cluttered because there’s too much filling up the floor space – cabinets, racks, and more. To free up walkways while retaining sufficient storage space, it’s time to think vertical.
Not only do suspended shelves over your kitchen island look sophisticated, they’re a smart way to make the most of your vertical space. Seize the chance to show off your gleaming crockery and fancy wineglasses, and add a potted plant or two to up the chic factor.
For inspiration: A ceiling-mounted rack calls for installation by professionals, but here’re some ideas to get you started. This Nordic-style shelf brings together pale wood with industrial-chic iron accents, while this Sorbus pot and pan rack features hooks to organize your cookware collection.
Max out your cabinet space
There’s only so much stuff you can pile on your cabinet shelves, but throw in some hangers to create a few inches more storage space in a pinch.
Over-the-door organisers or hooks on your cabinets – both inside and out – are a simple solution to those odds and ends you’d otherwise leave laying around the counter. Think aprons, spare towels, gloves, chopping boards, and so forth.
For inspiration: Style Degree‘s handy collection of hanging organisers is set to take your storage game to new levels. Stock up on under-the-cabinet towel holders, rows of hooks for your cabinets, and even slim storage bins designed for mounting under the sink.
In the bedroom
Storage under the bed
You might already be familiar with sweeping your room clutter out of sight under the bed, but here’s a more organized way to do that.
Storage bed frames come in two kinds: you can typically lift them to reveal under-the-mattress nooks, or slide out built-in drawers within a raised platform. That extra storage space comes in handy for your bulky items, from fitness gear to spare bags.
For inspiration: A specialist in custom-made upholstered furniture, Blåfink offers storage divans and beds with customisable dimensions. There’s no beating the convenience of their Storage Bed with Lift Assist and Drawers ($1,315), which features under-mattress storage alongside easy-access drawers for your smaller essentials.
Alternatively, BedandBasics is a go-to for wallet-friendly storage beds – you’ll find everything from Japanese-style wood frames to chic velvet numbers.
Work smart with a murphy desk
Thanks to the pandemic, we’re all well-acquainted with working from home. But if you’re space-strapped or only home-bound half the time, you might not want to invest in a full-sized desk – and that’s where Murphy desks come in.
Also known as floating desks, these wall-mounted numbers can fold up when not in use, freeing up space once your work grind is done. Since they’re typically smaller and slimmer than free-standing desks, they fit neatly into unused corners too.
For inspiration: Set up your home office with a Willingham Wall Mount Folding Laptop Desk by SEI Furniture ($682).
This stylish mahogany affair packs an impressive four compartments, a drawer, as well as a corkboard, and resembles an antique case when folded up. Or go basic with this simple wood number – it’s small enough to double up as a nightstand too.
When we need display space, we typically turn to tall racks and cabinets – but these fill up your walls and leave them looking crowded. Rather than cramming your wall space, one way to keep your room feeling airy is to move the storage above eye level.
Think long wall shelves that run the perimeter of your room overhead, creating plenty of space to spread out your books, figurines, and photos while leaving your walls clear.
This article was first published in City Nomads.