5 Beautiful Yet Functional Design Tips for Your Kitchen in 2017

5 Beautiful Yet Functional Design Tips for Your Kitchen in 2017

The kitchen, back in my grandparents’ era, is the most important part of the home. In the Peranakan culture, the kitchen is also known as ‘The Heart of the House’. While modern couples may not utilize the kitchen with the same frequency and enthusiasm their parents did, the kitchen still remains as one of the most important part of the home when it comes to design. You can’t get into an impromptu romantic swing dance routine in the kitchen without breaking some crockeries. But – hey – if that’s your kind of thing, I’m totally supportive of that.

The topic I’m exploring today is on 5 features you must consider when designing a beautiful yet functional kitchen for your new home in 2017.

(Picture by M3 Studio)

The kitchen island! That’s on most people’s wish list but how can we make that option feasible in a HDB kitchen? The best option would be to break down the wall between the kitchen and the dining area and have the kitchen island double up as the barrier between both rooms. The kitchen island is great for mingling with friends while having a glass of wine of if you need to prepare a quick snack.

Another interior design secret I’m going to share with you is The Work Triangle. The triangle should allow the chef to have easy access to the stove, the sink and the refrigerator without obstruction. That path forms a triangle. If you plan your kitchen design following The Work Triangle rule, you would be able to fit a spouse and a pet cat in the kitchen and work together in harmony.

So you got a beautifully designed cabinet and you marvel at your choice of material selection, then you start to unpack your groceries and grandma’s delicate Chinaware, and that’s when you realize the horror of horrors. The cabinet doors clash with adjacent doors and walls and some are even poised in angles that are accidents waiting to happen.

(Picture by M3 Studio)

When designing your kitchen, think about every door and how you’ll use them. Your concept drawings should include the geometry of appliance doors. This includes the swing of the refrigerator doors, the cabinets in their open position, and any other key operations like drawers and dishwasher door. While there will definitely be overlapping areas, the idea is to plan which doors will be operational at which part of the process.

The sink, rubbish bin and dishwasher should be situated close together. Many people may not consider this relation until its too late. The design of a kitchen should consider the convenience of cleaning up after a meal. Ideally you want to have these things out of sight but yet situated close enough to the dining area.

(Picture by M3 Studio)


And for my final and probably the most important tip – food preparation space. Never underestimate the space you require. The space you will require and the material of your kitchen top will differ with your ethnic group. Western meals generally require more surface space than oriental meals. Oriental meals, usually piping hot when served would do better with a more resilient kitchen top. Indian food, with its sauces and spice, will require even more space.

If all these points sounds really confusing, just remember one thing: Your lifestyle should determine the functionality of your kitchen, not the other way around. Come talk to your friendly designers at M3 and we would be happy to factor all these considerations in your design so you don’t have to worry.

5 Taiwan-inspired Interior to Brighten-up Your Home

5 Taiwan-inspired Interior to Brighten-up Your Home

Taiwan is one of the most progressive countries in Southeast Asia. Many people who visit the country are surprised to learn that it is a place where tradition and modern technology meet. With that being said, it is also a country not afraid to step outside the boundaries in interior design. A rising trend in Taiwan gears homes towards minimalist and zen designs. This is the main reason why it should be a no-brainer to look for Taiwan interior designs as a source of inspiration.


1. This home incorporates rustic and industrial elements into the whole design. The de-cluttered atmosphere reflects the Taiwan lifestyle where simplicity and functionality matters most. The halogen spotlight in the ceilings support the natural light coming through the glass walls.  This interior is a great set-up for younger people as pop art also plays a big part in brightening up the whole place.

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2. A more contemporary take on the first interior results to the second one. Instead of using wood and spotlighting, this interior goes for a subtler approach with cove lighting and white colors complimenting the concrete floor. This creates a spacious illusion that is relaxing and comforting for the dwellers. This design definitely utilizes more storage opportunities. With multiple shelves and even a bookshelf beside the window, it is wonderful space for anyone who has collected memorabilia throughout the years. There are also more seating options for someone who enjoys various activities from guitar playing to just chilling and watching TV.

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3. By now, anyone can see that a prominent feature of Taiwan-inspired designs is focused on organization. This modern design has thrown a splash of retro with the accent chairs. The patchwork design on the two chairs as well as the red rug bring an exciting element to the monochrome colors.

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4. This completely modern apartment is a great reflection of Taiwan embracing technology. Various modern components can be found in the interior including the side drop ceilings, edgy furniture and wall panels. At some places where wood floorings may not be available, laminate flooring as showcased in this example is a great option if you wish to have one in your home. Surprisingly, the stone wall by the fireplace adds an earthly element that keeps part of this design grounded.

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Love smart interior design? Here are 6 space saving hacks for your HDB flat.

Love smart interior design? Here are 6 space saving hacks for your HDB flat.

We know: in Singapore, your HDB may be the size of a shoebox– but the quality your HDB interior design should never be compromised. Whether you’re looking to free up more space into your living room, or to declutter your bedroom for a mess-free rest, we’ve collated 6 space saving interior design hacks.

  1. Let there be light
    Feel like your room is a little too dark and dingy? Maybe it’s your curtains. Some curtains block out a large amount of light. Avoid those and swap them out for light, material that will let in the light even when they’re drawn for privacy. Adding more light fixtures will also help in making your little home feel lighter, brighter, and more beautiful.

1 Let there be light

  1. Do double duty
    Get flexible furniture that does more. In a small home like a HDB flat, furnishings with two or more functions can be a real lifesaver. Some pieces include ottoman seats that allow you to stow away any stray items, or foldaway beds that can be concealed to make way. While these might be a little more on the pricey side, consider these costs as the price for two items. The cost savings do add up, and you just might get your home dolled up for less.

2 Do Double Duty

  1. Put up your pictures
    While you might not have room to place more décor, you can certainly hang them up. Show off your personality by adding some artwork to your small space. Best of all, some hooks can be removed cleanly, so feel free to experiment without the commitment.

3 Put up your pictures

4. Pick something distinct
In a small space, décor displayed can make you feel like your home is in a mess. Cut down on the clutter and pick out a particular piece of furniture that speaks of your personality. Maybe it’s a bright red couch, a slouchy beanbag, or maybe even an avant-garde lamp.

Related: 5 Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Home

4 Pick something Distinct

5. Don’t fear heights
Floor space is always restrictive in a small HDB interior design flat, so turn your attention upwards. Attach shelving to your walls to display any mementos and books. Or they could serve a more practical purpose like keeping Fido and Felix’s treats out of reach.

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6. Tiny spaces make for great storage
Have an odd space you don’t know what to do with? Slot a skinny spice rack in that awkward gap between the fridge and the kitchen sink. Lay a ladder against a wall to hang up your clothes. Don’t be afraid- be creative and make use of dead space that could bring your home to life.

Eco atelier interior


5 Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Home

5 Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Home

Looking to decorate your crib, but haven’t got the cash? Whether home is a swanky condominium apartment in the buzzing business district of Singapore, or a humble 3 room HDB flat in the heartlands, here are 5 ways to refresh your home with these nifty HDB interior design tricks; all guaranteed to keep you (and your wallet) happy.

  1. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Don’t knock it just because it’s cheap. Some people are simply looking to make room in their homes, and are selling their old, but high quality furniture at rock bottom prices on online platforms like Carousell or Gumtree. Should cashless transactions not be your cup of tea, you can always opt for thrift stores like the Salvation Army, or even the weekend flea markets. While often disorganised, these places are usually full of little gems that need just a little digging around. Find anything from second hand picture frames, chairs, tables, and other decorative pieces. You’ll get the chance to find if there are any pre-loved clothes that catch your fancy too. If you don’t find anything the first time, go back! Inventory in these places are always expanding and changing, so you’ll never have to look at the same things twice. It makes for a great idea for a family outing, or lovely afternoon date to discover the best bargains in town.

Flea market in Hietalahdentori, Helsinki, Finland/ Janne Hellsten

Flea market in Hietalahdentori, Helsinki, Finland/ Janne Hellsten

  1. Change it up with Spray Paint.

Consider spray paint; these unassuming cans can change the look of almost everything. Want to give a fresh coat of paint to the second hand picture frames you found at a weekend flea? Spray paint is the answer. Want to give an old chair an avant-garde twist? Spray paint it with a bunch of colours. What’s even better is that they cost only 12-15 dollars a pop, so you can experiment with a couple of colours without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for something more natural, try a wood staining project that could give your wooden furniture a subtle shift in style.

2 Spray Paint

  1. Go Green

Like going for nature walks in our green city? This one’s for you. Make yourself a mini garden. Try these common plants: Areca Palm, Dracana Corn Plant, Rubber Plant, Peace Lily and the Snake Plant. These plants are not only well suited to Singapore’s humidity, but also remove toxins from the air.

Related: Budget-Friendly Upgrades for Your Home

If you’ve got a green thumb. Why not keep a garden that grows your own food? Singapore’s climate is hot, sunny, and ideal for growing your own vegetables. Not only will this mean that you will have an abundance of healthy greens to pick from, but it’s also healthy for your wallet, too.

3 Apartment Garden

  1. Change the look of your furniture

So your throw pillows are a boring shade of grey. Cover them with bright red cushion covers. Or maybe the pictures on your wall are starting to get a little dated– swap them out for something new. Even changing your shower curtains from a transparent sheet to a happy yellow could make a cheery difference to your life-contemplation session in the shower.

If your budget is absolutely zero, simply shift your furniture for a fresh new look. This way, you’ll get two or more looks with the exact same furnishings.

bright colored minimalist living room

  1. Colour your Ceilings

You don’t have to be the next Michelangelo to paint your ceiling, so don’t ignore it. While most people paint their ceilings white on default, opt for something a little more interesting. Pale blues, lavenders, and yellows draw the eye to the ceiling, not only expanding the feel of the room, without being overly harsh.


With these 5 budget-friendly interior designer hacks, make your condo or HDB interior design stand out from the homes of your Singaporean friends. Have you got any other budget friendly ways to revamp your home? Share it with us, because we’d like to know!

5 Coolest Pink Items Every Girl Must Have

5 Coolest Pink Items Every Girl Must Have

If you do a survey among little girls to ask them their favorite color, pink would come up more often than not. Surprisingly, many adults have embraced this color as well. Pink has always been correlated to femininity. Being a color with a wide range of beautiful shades that pop out right out at you to soft tender hues, it is not surprise that it can express a wide range of emotions most girls have. So even if you’re not a pink-lover, you just might appreciate these 5 pink items that you can add for a dash of color in your room.

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  1. Pink Statement Couch

A statement couch in this color might feel a tad too much for a lot of people, but for pink lover, it’s just the right item you need to spice up your room. Various customized pink statement couches are popping up everywhere, including a pink lips couch! How cool is that? Although everyone may not have the space to put a couch in the room, you can also have the option to go for pink lips accent chairs to brighten up your desk.

  1. Pink Neon Signs

Gone were the days when neon signs are simply to let you know where the drive-thru was. Nowadays, you can use neon signs to decorate your home. Many celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Lauren Conrad have utilized modern neon signs. A word or short phrase will definitely be an eye-catcher for anyone who visits your room. Now that’s an Instagram-able room!

  1. Pink Accent Pillows

If you just need a little pink in your room, consider accent pillows. These are perfect for brightening up an earth-toned room.  This small change may be what you need if you aren’t completely ready for an entirely pink room. Furthermore, this could be a way for you to test the waters, seeing what compliments pink if you plan to incorporate more of this bright color in your home.

  1. Pink Upholstered Ottomans

Maybe you’ve never owned any upholstered or pink furniture, but if you’re thinking of doing so, you can kill two birds with one stone by getting a pink upholstered ottoman. This would be a great addition to your room in terms of color and style. You might be worried that upholstered ottomans are a bit old-fashioned but there are many modern designs that might surprise you.

  1. Pink Swatch Painting

An artistic addition to your room could be a painting above your bed. Pink paintings are one of a kind items that can brighten up your room. It doesn’t have to be a complicated one and necessarily be store bought. If you are good at art and crafts yourself, go ahead and work on pink swatches using different paints. The various hues will not only make you appreciate your room but pink as a color in itself.

4 different ways to bring some Japanese Zen to your Singaporean HDB

4 different ways to bring some Japanese Zen to your Singaporean HDB

Just like the HDB flats in Singapore, Japanese apartments tend to be small. The difference lies in their living rooms, where they are both visually spacious and functional. This brings a sense of calm, making it a great place to come home to after a long day of work and school. If you’re a new home owner, here are some HDB interior design tips you can bring over for your Singaporean home.

1) Let Nature In

In a culture where nature is greatly loved and respected, it’s no surprise that the Japanese use elements of nature in their homes. Try adding traditional Japanese plants like the Bonsai and Bamboo; these will give your home a Japanese boost. If you have difficulty finding these plants in Singapore (we’re not in Japan, after all), consider any other kind of plants like orchids or a snake plant. Though it’s not terribly typical to see colourful flowers in Japanese interior design, you can always try having plants with muted coloured flowers for a feminine touch. Otherwise, stick to plants that have simple lines and a natural green shade.

HDB interior design

2) Sliding Screens

Just like our HDB flats, Japanese homes tend to be small and pricey. This means that space is at a premium and conserving it is a major priority. Instead of doors that open into rooms like any typical Singaporean HDB flat, sliding doors are often used instead. This will not only visually enhance the look of your home, but using door dampening systems on these sliding doors will also reduce any door-nipped-at-junior’s-finger accidents if you have children at home. While authentic Japanese sliding doors are usually made of translucent paper to let natural light in, having them in modern materials is completely possible. Use frosted glass to give the same effect, without compromising on the durability. Another good idea is using mirrors on sliding closet doors for a 2-in-1 functionality and to reflect light, making your room brighter and more visually appealing.

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3) Wooden Elements

Another way to bring nature into your home is to add wooden furnishings. Invest in a pretty tatami mat, tables, chairs, walls, and doors. Some materials to consider would be bamboo, pine, or even maple for that gorgeous grain. Request these fine touches from your Interior Design firm— any Singaporean Interior Designer worth his or her salt would be happy to give you recommendations if this is suitable for the overall look of your home. The image below was a living room put together by us (M3 studio), where the walls were made of wood, giving this home a subtle Japanese Zen.

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4) Simple Style

Japanese design is simple, clean, and minimal. With their simple living culture, clutter is not a commonplace in Japanese households. To achieve this look, keep your interior design sleek and clean-lined. Forget those gigantic, fun-looking bean bags— in most circumstances, they could very well look out of place in a Japanese inspired home. Instead, try getting legless chairs. They serve the same purpose of comfortable seating on the floor, just with cleaner lines and less bulk.

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With these tips, who says that you can’t have a piece of Japan in Singapore? Go forth and transform your HDB home into a living space inspired by the calm, serene spirit of the Japanese culture. And remember, if you’re having a little hiccup with your HDB flat’s interior designs, feel free to call us up. We at M3 studio will always be happy to help!

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