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3 Common Household Shelter Layouts You’ll Find in HDB Flats

November 26, 2019
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Yet another factor to think about before you renovate an HDB flat.

Whether it’s selecting a BTO flat or buying a resale HDB home in Singapore, most of us would want these boxes to be ticked: a good location, a reasonable price, and of course, enough rooms. While there’s no doubt that these considerations will factor importantly into your final decision, we propose adding one to the list – the position of the household shelter in your (to-be) new home.

Sumang Walk by The Local INN.terior
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Interior Firm: The Local INN.terior

Depending on where it’s situated, a household shelter can either be an obstruction or… slightly less of an obstacle. It’s for this reason that we’ve put together this list of homes (and floor plans!) to show you all of the possible household shelter configurations in today’s flats as well as what you can do to hide and/or design around them.

Here’s what you need to take note of:

If your household shelter is located near the main entrance:

HDB household bomb shelter
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Due to its close proximity to the main entrance and living room, this household shelter configuration will have the biggest impact on the look and feel of your home. While it ensures a convenient storage area for belongings such as shoes and bicycles, chances are, this layout will eat into adjoining living areas, and possibly cause them to appear even more cramped.

Anchorvale Road by Carpenters 匠
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Anchorvale Road by Carpenters 匠
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Interior Firm: Carpenters 匠

One simple way to make it seem less obtrusive would be to give your household shelter a coat of bold, stylish paint (accompanied by a curated selection of potted plants, if you wish) to create the impression of a cosy, intimate space instead of a confined one.

Sumang Walk by The Local INN.terior
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Sumang Walk by The Local INN.terior
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Interior Firm: The Local INN.terior

Alternatively, if you prefer to make lemonade out of lemons, you could create a private ‘foyer’ by having a row of cabinets built opposite your home’s household shelter – which makes the trade-off between extra bulk and additional privacy/extra storage space worth it!

If your household shelter is located beside/in the kitchen:

HDB household bomb shelter
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Household shelters that are located within the kitchen are the simplest to deal with as they are located in a position that’s least likely to hinder the layout and/or appearance of your home. Moreover, as they are facing inwards into the cooking area, it’s mostly an issue of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ with their ugly, plasticky-white doors.

Toa Payoh Rise by Ovon Design
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Toa Payoh Rise by Ovon Design
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Interior Firm: Ovon Design

That said, if you’re a perfectionist, you might wish to hide your shelter’s entrance by building a thin concealment door. Be warned, however, that while it won’t add much bulk to your kitchen’s walkways, this solution does require sufficient space to accommodate the door’s opening radius – which certainly matters if you intend to use the shelter as a storeroom.

SkyPeak @ Bukit Batok by Couple Abode
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SkyPeak @ Bukit Batok by Couple Abode
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Interior Firm: Couple Abode

Leaving the household shelter’s door as is and focusing on the structure’s exterior instead is another viable idea – and it’s a solution that can be accomplished by simply building a row of storage cabinets as well as a cosy alcove seat as functional add-ons.

If your household shelter is located along the hallway:

HDB household bomb shelter
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As with the rest of the configurations listed above, there are unique restrictions posed by this particular layout. In this case, due to the household shelter’s position, homeowners who wish to have a fully-open kitchen will (sadly) be unable to fulfil their dreams as it mostly limits the cooking area to a galley layout.

Circuit Road by Space Atelier
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Interior Firm: Space Atelier

Similarly, in the case of smaller homes (e.g. 2-room flexi, 3-room flats), there’s little that can be done to conceal the shelter’s entrance – short of opting for a similar colour palette – due to the limited width between the walkway’s walls.

Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 by Project Guru
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Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 by Project Guru
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Interior Firm: Project Guru

However, on the up side, with this layout, you’ll get more flexibility for your communal spaces, including the living room and dining area – just take a look at this spacious Bukit Batok home and you’ll get the idea!


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