10 Design Tricks That Will Cut Your Cleaning Time By Half
(This article was last updated on 11 Feb 2022.)
Having a home is great and all, but cleaning and maintaining it? Nah. Whether you’re busy or just plain lazy, life’s too short for spending all that time mopping and scrubbing! So, if you're the type who hates tidying up, cut your household chores by half with these design tricks for an easy-to-clean, low maintenance home.
1. Opt for Grout-less Flooring
Interior Firm: Carpenters 匠
Homogeneous tiles are a common sight in HDBs and condos, but they can be a pain to clean. Why? Grout – these small joint crevices trap dirt and stains, and can turn black easily. Worse, removing grime is equally difficult; you’ll either need a dedicated scrubber (like a Sonic Scrubber), or a strong arm and toothbrush.
Interior Firm: Habit
Instead, flooring materials that require minimal gaps or joint lines, like vinyl, parquet and wood-effect laminates provide a seamless flow that leave no room for dirt to settle. Plus, all you need to keep it clear is a broom or a damp mop. Another alternative? Cement screed with waterproof, protective sealing that makes it immune to spills.
2. Keep Your Walls Bare and Simple
Interior Firm: Authors • Interior & Styling
Detailed cornices or regal French moldings on your walls are unsurprisingly major dust collectors. With its protruding edges, they are also the perfect spot for pests like spiders to spin cobwebs on! Reduce your hassle of cleaning bumps and ends by opting for a bare wall free from those extra details instead.
3. Go Plain with Paint
Interior Firm: PRDT Interiors
If you’re clumsy (or just have kids) – you’ll soon appreciate how useful washable paints are in your life. Accidentally scribbled on your wall? Wipe and go. Unlike wallpapers or other feature wall materials like craft stone, you can liberally slap on a wet, soapy rag and rub those tough stains out in seconds.
Interior Firm: Fuse Concept
Interior Firm: Schemacraft
And don’t forget – while white walls certainly look bright and clean the first day you move in, keeping it that way will involve a lot of careful tip-toeing. Make life easier by choosing darker neutrals like greys or rich tones like navy and black to mask stray marks or dirty spots.
4. Flush Built-ins to The Walls
Interior Firm: Happe Design Atelier
Working on the same logic as ceiling cornices, the less bumps and dents you have around a space, the lesser areas dust and dander can trap themselves in. Constructing your built-ins like wardrobes, TV consoles or storage compartments flushed to the walls and floors minimises any recesses that unwanted particles can ‘hide’ in. Plus, you don’t have to get on your hands and knees to sweep underneath for stray litter – unlike loose furniture.
Interior Firm: Lemonfridge Studio
Of course, it also means opting for closed built-ins. After all, your built-in carpentry is meant to keep your stuff away from dust, not trap it! Open shelving defeats that purpose, so consider keeping everything closed off for a less stressful cleaning experience.
5. Pick Engineered Quartz/Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertops
Interior Firm: SHE Interior
Oh, engineered quartz - this material is made for the lazy at heart. Highly durable and resistant to high temperatures, scratches and stains, you can literally leave a mess on your countertop – and clear it all off without a trace of damage. Go on, put it through the grinder – natural stones like marble or soapstone may be highly sensitive to various cleaning agents, but man-made quartz will take whatever you’re having – dishwasher detergent and all.
Interior Firm: The Local INN.terior 新家室
A close runner up for the ultimate easy-clean kitchen material? Stainless steel. Impervious to stains, dirt and bacteria, steel’s smooth, slippery surface makes it dream to clean (which is also why they are commonly used in commercial kitchens). Unfortunately, this material can run the risk of scratches – though it isn’t as obvious with a brushed metal finish.
6. Conceal Your Water Pipes
Interior Firm: Prozfile Design
Being a ‘wet’ area that gets a ton of everyone’s rubbish (literally), your bathroom is the one place you’ll have to keep clean – for hygiene’s sake. But, mixing water and humidity is bound to bring the mold and algae in, especially by your water pipes. Keep moisture away by patching them up with partition boards for a clean, dry and stylish look.
7. Reduce Grout Lines with Bigger Tile Slabs... or No Tiles
Interior Firm: Artspaze
The same problem’s going to appear when you use tiles for your bathroom – which is probably the case 90% of the time. Grout lines with their porous surfaces are the perfect incubators for mould growth, and those black particles look unsightly against white sealing.
Interior Firm: Butler Interior
So, if you don’t want to spend time scrubbing away, simply go for larger tile blocks that feature less grout. Or even better, go groutless with cement screed, like this bathroom. Done.
8. If You Can… Skip The Glass Partition
Interior Firm: Starry Homestead
Glass partitions are a great way to demarcate the wet shower area away from the dry sink. But when droplets splash about while you’re washing up – they can leave tough, ugly water stains on the see-through material! You don’t need that kind of negativity (or hassle in your life); skimp on the cleaning work by skipping out on a glass partition altogether. Worried that water might get all over your bathroom? Go for a waterproof shower curtain instead.
Interior Firm: Black N White Haus
If you can't forego a partition altogether, go for rimless glass dividers instead, which help you save time on wiping – especially on the ends.
9. Use Stain-Resistant Fabrics or Materials
Interior Firm: Yang's Inspiration Design
Fabrics are notoriously difficult to clean. Its tiny fibres easily trap particles, and when you spill something? Boom - there goes your gorgeous velvet sofa as the liquid spreads like a terrible bloom. If you don’t trust yourself (and your loved ones) to be neat and careful, consider less fussy materials like leather where you can wipe and get things over and done with.
Interior Firm: ChengYi Interior Design
However, if you still prefer the cosy feel of fabric, apply stain-resistant treatment like Scotchgard on your soft furnishings, or choose stain-resistant fabrics like Ultra Suede that repel liquids from staining.
10. Lastly, Simply Declutter
Interior Firm: ARK-hitecture
Less mess, less stress. Having less stuff also means having lesser things to wipe and lower chances of grime settling into corners. We’re not asking you to become a minimalist, but decluttering once in a while could result in your home looking visually ‘cleaner’ as well.
A home you'll never have to clean? Done.
Hate cleaning? Create a home that helps you get your housekeeping work done quick - and easy! An interior designer is here to make it happen. Request for a quote here, and get matched with 5 interior firms for free, based on your budget and style.
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