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How to Make HDB Interiors Look like First-Class Housing (Demo)



In Singapore, living in HDB housing means living in a house that has been awarded by the government; in other words, public housing. But unlike typical housing projects in other countries, HDB homes are not low cost shanties with little or even no provision for appliances, electricity, water, and all the other factors that should be considered basic in a home these days. For Singaporeans, HDB housing means quality housing, something that families could actually be proud of and flaunt to their foreigner friends, if any.

But sometimes, coming up with HDB design ideas can be as tricky as when buying or renting more expensive flats. But the good thing about HDB homes is that homeowners and renters here are accorded more freedom in tweaking their interior designs as compared to beneficiaries of public housing in other countries. So yes, an HDB homeowner or renter can actually hire an interior designer to enhance their HDB design. But for the majority who actually sought HDB housing for the main purpose of lack of extra funding, this article filled with HDB design ideas should help.

What HDB Homeowners Need Before Renovating

When coming up with HDB design ideas, it is important to consider the rules that go with it. For one, because it is public housing, the owner or the tenant should always consider that they have to abide by certain government requirements and restrictions. These are as follows:

  • A permit must be secured in order to renovate the flat. To get a renovation permit, one will need to secure the keys to the house, pay the insurance, and set up a SP Services, otherwise known as a Utilities Account, which is for the house to have supply of electricity and water.


  • Try to hire only those interior designers or contractors that the Housing Development Board has accredited. That is because they already know what is allowed and what is not in HDB flats. A list of all accredited contractors is available at the HDB website.



  • As much as possible, what was in the flat when the homeowner or renter steps in should stay in it. That is because HDB always keeps their flats’ construction attuned to certain government systems such as waterproofing membranes on the flooring and the walls to avoid water from leaking to other flats. Many of the features in an HDB home also usually come with a warranty. Whatever HDB design ideas the homeowner wants to employ that will require variation in the original flat design should always necessitate approval from the housing authority.


  • If by chance a homeowner wants drastic HDB design ideas implemented and he has already secured a permit for each renovation, he will need to display all these outside the flat, in a place where the public can see them, at least three days before the actual renovation work starts. Take note also that there is a rule that mandates contractors to limit hand held power tools to only two and to conduct renovation works on weekdays only, from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon.


Some HDB Design Ideas for Steals

The cardinal rule in HDB design ideas is to keep everything simple and not so extravagant. That is, unless there is house help whose job is basically to keep everything spic and span. Now, if not, then they would have to do away with minimalist yet elegant HDB design ideas such as the following tips:


  • For those who want to change the look of the floors, do not bother with smooth, clean cut laminated finishes that will make them look polished as marble. With HDB flats, these will just warp and turn uneven because water has the tendency to seep in. What can be installed instead are those with textured finishes such as those that resemble broken rocks or marble, so grime does not make the homeowners as fussy. For the kitchen, opt for dark colors in matte shades. It is a trick to kitchen floors that look spic and span, even when they are truly not.


  • Opt for light-colored curtains always. These are not just to make the area look more spacious, but also because the interiors are normally darker than the average homes. Dark colored drapes would only aggravate the situation.


  • When decorating walls, avoid those with stick-on patches, because they tend to cause splotches on the wall, which just might become an issue with the HDB. Opt instead for décor with brackets, stands, or mounts. Anyway, there are options which look stylish and can add an extra amount of flair to the HDB design.


  • As a general rule, just do not use wallpaper. They will just turn runny over time. Better experiment with airbrush painting or actually painting artwork. But of course, always check first with HDB or with a HDB accredited contractor or designer for any plans of tweaking or renovating on the walls, because walls are actually a really big issue to them.


  • Another thing when designing walls: Examine all of them first. Sometimes, it is best to just put decorations on those areas with uneven paint or build in order to hide them.


  • For ventilation, opt for a ceiling fan or an air conditioning unit. These are more practical and cost-effective because they make ventilation in an area centralized already. Resist the urge to follow the trend of using tower fans. They typically only cool up a certain area, and they have to be moved around a lot.


  • As with any home design, too much furniture in an HDB flat is a no-no. They would simply spell clutter around the house! Opt for double or multipurpose furniture and try to live a simpler life. Better yet, look for suppliers who can customize furniture pieces to fit the HDB flat in question. That way, most of the items in the home would be kept organized and always hidden from view, and the space would always look clean and organized.