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10 Clever Custom Carpentry Ideas for HDB Flats and Condos

A.K.A. ways to make better use of your spaces.

Although they can be quite costly to fabricate, custom carpentry built-ins are often the best solution to interior design challenges, like awkward corners or a lack of storage space, because they can be tailored to fit any room, area, or home perfectly. In some cases, these add-ons are even used to conceal a room entirely.

The possibilities are, quite frankly, endless – so long as you’ve got the budget as well as the right custom carpentry ideas! And if you’d like some inspiration, check out these problem-solving built-ins that are straight out of actual HDB flats and condos in Singapore.

1. A pull-out vanity mirror hidden inside a cabinet

Built-In Ideas Storage Carpentry Ideas Singapore
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View this project by Anhans Interior Design

While the homeowners of this California-inspired HDB flat wanted a window side dressing vanity, what they didn’t want was a large desk mirror that would prevent natural light from entering their walk-in wardrobe.

Their solution? A thin, retractable mirror panel, which can be easily stowed away in a slim compartment mounted on the back of an adjoining cabinet’s door.

Built-In Ideas Storage Carpentry Ideas Singapore
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2. A flip-up pantry table that saves space

Upper Serangoon by HOFT
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Not every house has enough room for a full-sized dining table, which is exactly why this compact 43 sqm studio apartment at Upper Serangoon has a nifty flip-up table that can be folded away when it isn’t in use.

The slim profile of the tabletop even allows it to be stored neatly in a kitchen counter recess without any corners or edges jutting out.

Upper Serangoon by HOFT
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3. Living room storage cabinets with a built-in aquarium

Bedok North by DreamCreations Interior
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View this project by DreamCreations Interior

Admittedly, not every home will need a concealed bedroom entrance/storage wall with dedicated nooks for a mini aquarium and a photocopier like this Bedok North HDB flat does.

But it’s ample proof that custom carpentry is the way to go when you need a home built-in that satisfies (very) specific storage requirements.

Bedok North by DreamCreations Interior
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View this project by DreamCreations Interior

4. A drinks fridge disguised as a regular cabinet

Petir Road by The Alchemists Design
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View this project by The Alchemists Design

With its wood-look facade, the front of this drinks fridge in this Petir Road HDB flat looks almost indistinguishable from the rest of the cabinets around it. And while it’s conceptually simple, this idea is undeniably effective at concealing appliances that stand out too much from their surroundings.

Petir Road by The Alchemists Design
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View this project by The Alchemists Design

5. Pocket door compartment that conceals a mini pantry

Soleil @ Sinaran by Prozfile Design
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View this project by Prozfile Design

Custom carpentry built-ins with pocket doors are your best friend if you need a space-saving way to conceal clutter, or in the case of this condo home at Novena, an entire pantry.

Also, it may be useful to keep this carpentry idea in mind if you plan to build a cabinet in the corner of a room OR any tight area where there isn’t enough clearance for a full swing door.

Soleil @ Sinaran by Prozfile Design
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View this project by Prozfile Design

6. Overhead kitchen cabinet equipped with a pull-down dish rack

The Tapestry by Authors • Interior & Styling
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View this project by Authors • Interior & Styling

Custom cabinets with pull-down dish racks – like this one in the kitchen of a Tampines condo – are pretty useful fixtures to have. On one hand, they’re (much) more accessible for older folks/people with back issues, and on the other, they make it easier to fully utilise a built-in cabinet, even the deeper parts.

The Tapestry by Authors • Interior & Styling
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View this project by Authors • Interior & Styling

7. Mirror cabinets that ‘double’ a walk-in wardrobe’s space

East Coast Park by Third Avenue Studio
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View this project by Third Avenue Studio

From the outside, it’s clear that this East Coast Park HDB flat’s walk-in wardrobe isn’t the biggest, but step inside, and there’s a wall-to-wall mirror wall/closet that magically ‘doubles’ the amount of space available. The result is a walkway which feels extra-wide – even though it actually isn’t.

East Coast Park by Third Avenue Studio
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8. Bookcases that function as a lift foyer privacy screen

Hillington Green by Divine & Glitz
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When installed in the right spots, bookcases can make for (surprisingly) good privacy screens. In this condo at Hillview Avenue, its owners had one placed right in front of the lift doors where it pulls double duty, both as a storage fixture and a partition between the home’s public and private zones.

Hillington Green by Divine & Glitz
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9. Household shelter door with storage shelves

Tampines GreenVerge by Le Interior Affairs
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View this project by Le Interior Affairs

HDB flat household shelters are often used for storage – because what else are you going to do with one? In this Tampines GreenVerge home, this application is taken one step further with a door-mounted shoe rack and a compact shelf that’s built just right below the shelter’s air vent.

Tampines GreenVerge by Le Interior Affairs
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View this project by Le Interior Affairs

10. A walkway ‘cabinet’ with a workstation hidden within

Depot Road by HOFT
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View this project by HOFT

As with most other ‘secret’ custom carpentry built-ins, this concealed home office in a Depot Road HDB flat looks just like a regular cabinet on the outside, but actually hides a full workstation, complete with a desk, chair, and storage shelves.

This is an idea that you’ll definitely want to steal if you’re the type who prefers keeping work and home life separate while working out of the office!

Depot Road by HOFT
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