Updated: Sep 20, 2020
On the 3rd floor of HDB Hub, in Toa Payoh, is a dedicated show-flats gallery called My Nice Home Gallery — a great place to discover interior design ideas. I went to the gallery thrice to have better understandings on the layout of my new 2-room flat and also to get some ideas from the interior decorations.
I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts about the interior design in the gallery with would-be home-owners. However, I will like to point out that I am skeptical on many interior designs — including some of those I saw in the gallery. Be it positive or negative, what I observed help me to plan for my new home.
I will focus mainly on the interior design of the 2-room 45m² show-flat. You can go through my observations and decide if they are helpful to you. However, a visit to the show-flats gallery allows realistic feels of the actual space, which is important before getting any furniture.
Alternatively, check out HDB's My Nice Home Gallery website.
The Floor Plan
The 2-room show-flat in HDB's My Nice Home Gallery was built some years back so the showroom may be slightly different from the proposed floor plan for my new flat (see proposed layout from HDB below). With a small floor area, there will not be much space for non-essential things.
Let's look at the interior design of the 2-room show-flat in the gallery.
Living Room with Dining Area
I visited the showroom 3 times and noted the change in interior decorations in the living room on the third visit. So, I will show both designs.
The previous design (on my first 2 visits) for the living room had a black-and-white colour theme. I did not really like the "overcrowded" design, so I did not write an article about the show-flats gallery until now.
Perhaps, it was the selection of the colours and the number of items that made the living room looked "overcrowded". The thick sofa, although only a 2-seater, and overhead cabinet also made the area looked somewhat "heavy" as shown below.
Similarly, the dining area looked crowded. The dining table was part of the big open-concept shelf, which I considered to be another heavy furniture. From a maintenance perspective, open shelves allowed dust to gather and made cleaning tedious. And that lamp looks beautiful but wait till it's time to clean it!
The second design (on my 3rd visit) has two armchairs instead of the sofa. The curtains and carpet are of lighter shades. Overall, the area looks more spacey and "lighter" although item count is roughly the same.
The dining area has a bar table, with two high stools, that takes up lesser space. A smaller shelf is used and the dining area looks less cluttered. The number of small cabinets on the wall also help to make the area looks light.
However, for my height of 179cm, cabinets mounted on walls are hazards to me as I can knock my head against any of the right-angled corners, especially during sweeping or mopping the floor when the attention is on the floor.
The bar table and armchairs are actually similar to what I have in mind — which is why I agree with this new design. But I will have only a single-column rack for displaying items in the living room, not too many shelves.
Also, I will need a "work place" in the living room for a computer, so I will do away with the TV bench and setup my work table there. My computer monitor can double up as a television or get a television that can also work as the monitor.
The bedroom looks really small with a queen-size bed, a wardrobe, a bedside table, a wall shelf and television in front of the bed.
One thing I do not understand is why a television is needed in every master bedroom in the show-flats. Shouldn't the bedroom be a place to have good quality sleep instead of watching TV that disrupts sleep? And for a 2-room flat, the television in the living room is just 5 metres away.
In the photo above, the shelf extends the wall and reduces the internal space of the bedroom. This gives little space for walking across the room and increases the chances of kicking the bed frame when bare-footed (happened to me several times). A concept that I will never agree to.
The 58cm-depth wardrobe uses sliding doors due to the limited space between it and the queen-size bed. That is a good suggestion as swing-out doors need space.
For me, I will be getting either a single or super-single bed with a bedside table to have more space. There will be no additional shelf and no television in the room. My wardrobe will be similar and probably have sliding doors — just in case I need to "up size" the bed in future.
The kitchen has the shape of a long rectangle with a cut-out corner (as shown in the photo below). That corner is the housing for pipes.
Due to the small space, there is not much room to play around. A refrigerator and a long kitchen cabinet are pretty standard. For me, I will do away with overhead cabinets and big induction hob as I will not be doing a lot of cooking. Just a portable induction cooker will do nicely and can be stowed away in a drawer when not in use.
The design below is what I called a "restrictive design". It looked nice but by fixing the table to the wall, the size of the washing machine is "fixed". If the washing machine malfunctioned years later, the first consideration for getting a new washing machine will be the size that can fit that space under the table before considering other factors like more efficient functions or larger capacity.