Living room, where the “living” happens. A space in your home that is supposed to be the one place you spend most time in, either reading by yourself, watching TV with your loved ones or hosting your friends over for afternoon tea. While it is true that people in big cities don’t tend to have house guests anymore, but with a cozy living room design, your Singapore HDB flat might just be able to turn into a best hangout spot for you and your friends!
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What’s the living room even for, anyway?
Perhaps because people today are more and more aware of personal style and interests and are spending more time effort in designing their bedrooms and kitchens, which is not a bad thing, but also not mutually exclusive with spending some time and thoughts on your living room design. After all, your living room is your home’s “first impression”. Yes, people will be impressed with your cool kitchen and the bedroom that is full of characters, but that doesn’t change the fact that living room is the first thing they see and the space in your home that they are going to spend most if not all the time in. In fact, unless you really, really like to sleep, the living room is the place YOU will first see every time you come home and also the place YOU will spend most of time your time in at home, too.
And that’s why the living room is worth some thinking and designing for.
What kind of atmosphere best suits a living room?
The answer varies from person to person, but generally, you can’t go wrong with a cozy atmosphere.
While it is cool to have a very edgy living room, let’s not forget that you probably would rather be comfortable in a space that you’re spending a great deal of time in. Something cozy will help you relax and unwind after a long day at work or a lazy Sunday at home. Not to mention the mental hugs you get when you walk into your home and the first thing you see is something warm and cozy, instead of something edgy and of strong character.
A cozy living room is also a good investment for your wallet, the more comfortable and happy you are with your living room, the more likely you’d want to spend more time in it instead of going out on Saturday night and spending big bucks for beverage and food when you know you can enjoy the very same thing at home for much less.
Does a cozy atmosphere living room mean a warm and darker color themed living room?
If you worry too much brown or darker colors would be a conflict for the rest of the design in your home or looks too dark, worry not. Although people do enjoy brown-ish colors for a cozy atmosphere, but a cozy atmosphere does not actually need brown colors and the likes. Take a look at these bright yet very cozy living rooms:
Loving how cozy those puffy white couches look? You’d love it more and get even more cozy when you switch the covers to something stain proof.
Inevitably, one of the most common concerns in living room design in Singapore is a cluttered living room. While we do always think of something puffy and bigger in size when we think of something cozy, it does not have to be the case. Here are two simple tricks to follow for you to have a cozy living room AND conquer living room clutter!
- Natural lights can fix a lot of things, including clutters.
Any space that lacks lighting looks a lot more cluttered than it actually is, if it is even cluttered! Naturally light is not only a natural photoshop for skin when you take a Instagram picture, it also does the same thing to your living room!
- Keep it simple, no, really, keep it SIMPLE.
I’m sure you have heard it all before, keeping it simple for limited space and what not, but do you really understand the idea of keeping things simple? If you already have a small living room, everything that you don’t need in there CAN be eliminated. Only keep the essentials, like a couch, coffee table? Replace it with one or two small side table instead. Also, do you really a TV stand? Mount that TV!
Finally, make sure you know that you deserve the cozy living room of your dream, don’t let the limited space stands between you, and leave that to your interior designer to deal with! (Or yourself, whichever works best for you, I’m not here to tell you what to do…)
If you’re a returning reader, by now you probably know two things: 1. We are based in Singapore, and 2. We do interior designs. Two of the most important things about us and coincidentally, two of the things we love the most.
Although we enjoy interior design and bringing you the home that you will fall in love with, we also believe that interior design is more than just looking pretty and sweeping you off your feet. Your interior design represents your character and life style, and sometimes, it does more than representing you.
You see, the human mind is an interesting and complex thing. Your environment and places of being can easily have an effect on you. If this is sounding a little too next level stuff, just take a step back and think about it; for instance, do you feel the exact same when you walk into a dark, cluttered living room and when you walk into a bright, spacious living room?
How about the same living room, but between when it’s messy and when it’s clean and tidy?
I think I can speak for most people when I say that the difference would really affect my feelings. Even just a little bit.
Now, all of which I’ve just described are just a virtual thing. Another factor in any virtual display is, you guess it, color.
Do colors really have an effect on our mood or feelings?
Once again, the answer might vary from one person to another, but in most cases, it does. Imaging being locked in a small room with all the walls, the floor and ceiling painted white, and being locked in another in red. Even in your head, you could probably already feel the difference.
And since the colors in your home do have an effect on you, your babies, tiny, but still human beings, are also getting slight effects from the colors at home, too.
What does this mean?
This means that your baby, who is less capable of expressing and analyzing feelings and mood swings (Well, sometimes we as adults can’t even master that.), are likely to receive more impacts from the colors in the nursery or their room. This is, by the way, completely scientifically researched and have been known for decades. This New York Times article from way back in the 1980’s discussed about how colors affect behaviors.
Now, let’s take at some common colors and see how that affect behaviors
Red is the color of excitement and energy. And, usually avoided for nursery or children’s room because it is also associated with aggression. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to get rid of every red things in your baby’s room. A few touch here and there is fine, painting the walls red might require a second thought.
A soft, mellow color that has a calming effect, although too much pink can lead to anxiety and agitation. Like most things in life, too much is never a great idea. Use the color in moderation for the perfect balance.
The happy color. Commonly associated with happiness and cheerfulness. Brighter shades of yellow can even stimulate memory and metabolism. However, because of its stimulating ability, painting walls yellow might over stimulate your baby’s emotions and feelings, which might result in bad temper or overly emotional babies.
The exact opposite of red is probably the first thought that comes to mind when people think of the color blue. Similarly, blue does the opposite thing in psychology as well. Blue is said to calm the mind and the body, this makes it a good color for children who have trouble sleeping or are prone to tantrums. It is also the color is associated with water and the sea. Having a good amount of blue in the room also has a cooling effect – of course, in your head, but isn’t everything?
Purple is essentially the combination of blue and red, two opposite colors. This means that it has the characteristics of either. Commonly associated with wisdom and spirituality, the darker shade of purple is also associated with wealth and royalty. This color can promote sensitivity and compassion for children.
Green symbolizes the nature and that brings a calming vibe to the space as well as a refreshing feeling to it. The color is said to reduce anxiety and promote concentration. Some studies even claim that green can improve children’s reading skills.
And remember, these are all just generalizations. Psychological responses to colors vary from one person to another. Make sure you have a few good looks at the colors and observe how your baby reacts to the colors before you make any decision. If you had the time and means, you could also always change the colors every once in a while. Ask the experts in Singapore interior design now!
Just because we don’t have a billion dollar home, doesn’t mean we can’t do a little extra something to make our home looks and feels like a little bit closer to billion dollar, that is exactly the beauty and the magic of interior design. Given proper communication, any interior designer in Singapore should be able to get their hands on a few gems to put it in your home here and there and create the luxurious vibe. This does not always mean spending big bucks to turn your home into a seventeenth century castle (Although that would be very cool and luxury guaranteed.), a few defining elements around the house can do wonders and upgrade your entire apartment when done properly. Consult with your interior designer and find out his or her access to such elements.
What are the most common defining elements used to create the luxurious feel for the apartment?
The truth is, with some clever touch, everything has the potential to be the defining luxurious element in the apartment, for example, a simple mirror.
Image source: houzz.com
Replace your boring, square mirror with something with character and elegance, and you’d be surprised how this one simple trick can turn the whole area into something with luxury in the air.
Another frequently forgotten defining element for luxury is the indoor stones.
And it works even better with a modern interior design, adding a stone wall or just a simple TV wall brings in a subtle outdoor vibe while maintaining its luxurious status.
Image source: gopret.com
And even if you’re going with a more warm-colors design, the stone-wall fits right in with a more mellow vibe, yet still says “luxury” to everyone who lays eye on it.
Image source: decoist.com
Now, back to the small decoration and accessories category, when it comes to anything luxury, the most commonly associated elements are, you know it, fur and leather. Both things sound expensive. And they could be, but worry not, just a touch of fur and leather in a modern apartment can be a game changer. Don’t believe me? See it for yourself.
Image source: lushome.com
Image source: allhomedesign.com
A small piece of leather carpet turns the living room into a billion-dollar vacation resort. And all it does is just lay there on the floor! And the fur chair, let me just say, if it looks like it’s made for a princess, it sure is meant for a princess, even when it’s just sitting in the corner of a tiny Singapore studio.
Of course, you can’t go luxurious without chandelier. In fact, the power of chandelier is so strong that it is almost impossible to walk in any apartment with a chandelier and say “Oh, what a modest home.” – And if anyone does exactly that, that’s how you know the person lies!
I mean look at this.
Image source: bmorelive.com
And this horn chandelier that fit right in of a modern design so smoothly and bringing the warmth in a stone cold kitchen? This design is telling people that “Hey, I’m a modern city living home owner, but I also have the time and luxury to enjoy the great outdoors.”
Image source: decorpad.com
And for those who is 100% not feeling the contract and the wild outdoor touch, there is always the more traditionally luxurious touch in your chandelier. Even a seemingly boring dining room does not stand a chance when it comes to the power of a chandelier, it lights up the space, both literally and figuratively.
For a country as hot as Singapore, your Singapore interior designer might have recommended a all-white and natural light rich design for your living room, which is clever, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t step up your luxurious vibe game and chandelier it, if you think it won’t work with a minimalist design, think again.
Image source: nysaan.com
See, told you!
Not into any of the mentioned above? Here’s one more trick up my sleeve:
Hang a picture/painting
Image source: freshome.com
Yes, paintings, changing the vibe of your living room since… well, since hanging paintings on the wall became a thing, which I’m sure it has been for centuries, all the wisdom and satisfied users can’t be wrong, right? Not to mention that it goes with almost all background colors, unless you have really, really colorful wall. Just remember “Less is more”, because a crowded wall can say a lot of things, but “luxury” is not one of those things.
Storage has always been a common problem people from all walks of life and backgrounds share, even interior designers in Singapore find it challenging as well. We live our life one day at a time, as the time goes by we inevitably increase our possessions. You see, there’s 365 days a year, and some of those days we’re going to come home with items that will not just disappear or dissolve itself. Unfortunately, the one thing that does not grow with the numbers of our possessions is our home space. I can get all the new shoes, new clothes, new stuffed animals that I want over the year, my apartment would still the exact same tiny one bedroom that I’ve been living in. They say life is full of uncertainties, but if there’s one thing I know for sure, it is that my apartment is certainly not growing bigger. (But hey, technology, I’m not giving up on you yet! One day someone is going to invent something amazing that will solve all the storage problems… right? )
Since our home space does not grow big over time (yet), we, as a society has made peace with that and come up with our very own solutions. Almost all of the solutions share one similar philosophy: Vertical space is key.
Let’s Get Vertical.
Take Hong Kong for example, the tiny island has attracted more people than it could take, so what happened next? The buildings got higher and higher, making Hong Kong one of Asia’s most famous concrete jungle.
And hey, if Hong Kong can do it, we can do it, too! We are probably not going to make a concrete jungle out of a home, but a little fun with vertical space never hurts anybody.
The forgotten in-between space.
Say, you’ve got way too many shoes and not enough cabinets in the house? This bad ass shoe storage solution is here to the rescue. It fully utilizes the tiny in between space that you didn’t think could be good for anything, and proudly displays your majestic collection of footwear the way they deserve to be displayed.
Image source: deringhall.com
Now that you have a taste of the greatness of vertical space utilization, let’s see what else can you vertical with your in-between space.
One place that’s got some sneaky in-between space is the bathroom. And, if I may, let’s make 2015 the time to ask yourself not what you can do for your bathroom, but what your bathroom can do for you. No more stacking up toilet papers in the garage, know that in-between space right next to the toilet that you didn’t even think it could help with storage? How about we put a skinny floor cabinet in there for toilet papers and other bathroom things?
Image source: amazon.com, Proman Products
And now, for the ultimate vertical and in-between space utilization, this amazing floor canned food organizer can frees up some serious cabinets in the kitchen using space that you barely notice it’s there.
Image source: classyclutter.net
The vertical DIY – Build your kitchen shelves as high as it needs to be.
This simple trick allows you to build your storage space way up, go ahead and buy more mason jars for your dream summer get-together at the house, you now have the perfect storage plan for them.
Image source: containerstore.com
Got a small bathroom with little to none cabinet? Tired of moving all your beauty/skin care/hair care products in and out of the bathroom? Let’s get vertical in the bathroom, too! Grab a few spice racks and put them on the wall – something I’m sure every bathroom is rich in, and give yourself all the table space in the bathroom with clean cut storage space on your wall.
Image source: apartmenttherapy.com
Now that we’ve seen all these amazing vertical space utilization that allow you to build your way up, let’s not forget that you can also go down a little. The chance is, your existing shelves haven’t even reach its full potential yet. With a little bit of help from undershelves, you might just be able to get yourself a spare cabinet in the kitchen.
Image source: containerstore.com
Of course, the power of under-shelves basket does not stop there, it is also a great tool to organize your cleaning tools and agents in the kitchen, while you’re at it, you might just be able to storage those old magazine that for whatever reason you’re keeping in there as well.
Image source: organizingmadefun.blogspot.com
With all the space saved from vertical space utilization, the apartment/home space might actually feel larger. Which is something everybody enjoys. Let’s take a look at your place and identify the vertical space with storage potential now! You can ask a talented interior designer in Singapore to help you out!
Regardless your lifestyle, home is the place you seek rest and comfort in after a long day of work, or a weekend trip away. The modern day city living makes us spend less and less time at home, but, undeniably, there is nothing like knowing “I’m home!” the moment you walk right into your own door, successfully escaped from all the chaos in the world.
But… I have a HDB flat.
Another thing about city living is that the majority of us have no choice but to settle with the most economic option for housing, and in Singapore, that is HDB. But just because you have a HDB flat, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. We have all heard the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade out of it.” Naturally, when life gives you HDB flats, you ought to make an edgy home out of it. And the good news is, you can with the trendy HDB interior designs available today.
Why should you spend time, effort and money turning your home into something that can actually sweep you off your own feet? When you wholeheartedly enjoy your own home, not only does it do wonderful things to your mood, it might also save you some money by keeping you home more! At some point in life, we all know that one person who choose to rent the cheapest housing option and spend all his time out and about, only using his “home” for sleeping. This ends up making the city living a lot more expensive, and the mentality of “Can’t relax at home because I don’t like it at all.” can get a little stressful with time.
This is really an investment for your own happiness and future savings in disguise!
Can my tiny HDB flat really be turned into something edgy?
The limited living space is something people all around the world (in big cities) have been struggling with, and when there’s a problem, there’s a solution. The most common solution for this particular situation is Minimalist Design.
What is Minimalist Design?
Lwdwig Mies van de Rohe, who is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects, famously said that “Less is more” as a precept for minimalist design and architecture. The key characteristics include the frequent use of steel and plate glass, reduction of structural frameworks, and lots of open space. Contrary to what people might think, minimal designs are more common in high fashion and the luxurious homes, the open space implies that the own can and does afford space, and the message of “I don’t need to show off everything I have, because I have everything.” , an example is high fashion stores, there are usually very few racks in the store, and a lot more open space when you compare it to the supermarket clothing section.
Wait, but how is minimalist design going to work on my tiny HDB?
The minimalist design works both way, sure, it would be a whole lot easier to work with a spacious home, but worry not, with a few tricks here and there, the minimalist design is going to make your home looks a lot bigger than it actually is.
Knock down those walls and let the lights in.
Minimize the walls in your apartment, and when there has to be wall, make sure you make a storage space out of it, too! The bright lights on the wooden floor also plays an important role of making your apartment visually bigger. Using curtain to separate your bedroom and living space without taking out all the extra space for another wall.
Image Source: lamidge.net
Move your way up… literally.
A living space and a solid bedroom is every studio living guy and gal’s deepest desire, provided you got a little space between your head and your ceiling, why not move your bed way up and give yourself the one bedroom your hardworking self deserves?
Image source: messynessychic.com
Image source: messynessychic.com
Time to DIY a one-bedroom apartment out of your studio!
Sometimes having a studio apartment has its perks, for one, it is already an open space suitable for minimalist design! With the principle of never missing a storage opportunity, you, too can DIY a one bedroom apartment out of your studio using cabinets or shelves.
Image source: messynessychic.com
No, don’t get too bummed out if you already have a real one bedroom apartment. Remember, less is more.
Image source: freshome.com
In every space, lightings play an essential part in our daily lives and it’s something that no home can do without. Not only does it illuminate our homes in times of night and darkness, lightings also help to accentuate or highlight key design features in our home, giving depth and dimension to the look. Here are the different types of lighting and their usages.
These are general lightings which help to brighten up the home during nightfall and when it is dark and cloudy. Some examples of these kind of lights would be your common ceiling mounted lights, cove lights at false ceilings and embedded PLC lights. They are meant to cover as large an area as possible and to throw light across to all corners of the space. They can be in 3 different colours, basically warm (yellow), cool-white (white & yellow mix) or white.
Ambience Lightings refer to lights that help to highlight certain key features and part of the space. They are normally more spread apart compared to general illumination and are grouped in small numbers. Once switched on without the general lightings, they are able to create a warm, cosy atmosphere which relaxes the human mind psychologically. Cove lights at carpentry items, spotlights & track-lights are some examples of these. These lights are normally warm (yellow) in colour.
Study Task Lightings
These lights are very focused to a certain specific task and they can be in any of the 3 colours depending on the preference of the home owner. For example, study lights placed at the underside of the top cabinet overlooking the study table helps the person to see and work better. Study lamps, reading lights and hanging lights are other types of task lighting.
This article is written by Montie Mahtani, Creative Director of M3 Studio Pte Ltd.
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