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How to Refresh Your 3-Room Resale Flat? Change the Layout.

January 7, 2020
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Smart tweaks that you can learn from to make your own small (and time-worn) space shine.

When it comes to renovations, you may find that resale flats are a tough nut to crack because of their age and deteriorating condition, and if it’s a 3-room home that you’re working on, things can get even harder due to limited space.

Clementi Avenue 4 by Carpenters 匠
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Interior Firm: Carpenters 匠

But trust us, when we say that all you need is some keen design sensibility coupled with strategic space planning to elevate your dated 3-room flat into a livable space. Look no further than these real-life examples for proof (and also inspiration)!


1. If you’ve been hunting for a new home or have seen the latest BTO flats, you’ll definitely find that one of the biggest differences is them and 3-room resale flats is their layout. BTOs tend to have a ‘blockier’ look, whereas 3-room resales possess a longer, narrower floor plan.

Gloucester Road by Artmuse Interior
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Interior Firm: Artmuse Interior

Gloucester Road by Artmuse Interior
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Play on this feature by going open-concept, just like this Gloucester Road apartment – both the kitchen and master bathroom walls were removed to make it feel less enclosed.

Gloucester Road by Artmuse Interior
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Gloucester Road by Artmuse Interior
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2. You might have heard that dark colours can be a challenge to work with (and they are!) but you can’t deny their appeal. One layout tip that works just as well for dark homes and also narrow ones is to have your cabinetry flushed to the walls.

Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 by Happe Design Atelier
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Interior Firm: Happe Design Atelier

Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 by Happe Design Atelier
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This Ang Mo Kio flat has a ‘larger’ look by despite sandwiched by navy blue built-ins on both sides. Taking this streamlined approach with less decorative features creates a long and open space that flows.

Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 by Happe Design Atelier
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Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9 by Happe Design Atelier
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3. Styling is key! If you plan to renovate your 3-room resale flat with a white-and-wood look in mind, consider getting wood-look/natural furniture, storage solutions and décor. This tip works because you’ll get the freedom to move your furniture anywhere you please (important for a flexible layout), without compromising on style.

Clementi Avenue 4 by Carpenters 匠
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Interior Firm: Carpenters 匠

Clementi Avenue 4 by Carpenters 匠
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Clementi Avenue 4 by Carpenters 匠
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Clementi Avenue 4 by Carpenters 匠
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4. Without hacking away at the walls, it can be hard to create a more spacious layout in your 3-room resale home. But before you grab the sledgehammer, check out this apartment at Whampoa Drive. By using mirrors, its owners managed to ‘enlarge’ the surroundings of the living room. Having integrated shelving helps too!

Whampoa Drive (Block 75) by i Chapter
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Interior Firm: i Chapter

Whampoa Drive (Block 75) by i Chapter
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Whampoa Drive (Block 75) by i Chapter
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Whampoa Drive (Block 75) by i Chapter
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5. A cramped look doesn’t necessarily translate into tight walkways. Sometimes having a top-heavy configuration for your storage solutions can also result in the same effect. So, for this reason, skip out on mounted cabinetry, even if it means less storage space as it can make your ceiling look taller.

King George's Avenue by Omni Design
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Interior Firm: Omni Design

King George's Avenue by Omni Design
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King George's Avenue by Omni Design
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King George's Avenue by Omni Design
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6. If space is an issue, one tweak you can make to your 3-room resale flat would be to convert an adjoining bedroom into a living area. Thanks to this hack, the walkways of this open-plan home in Jalan Bukit Ho Swee hardly feel cramped, plus there’s now a cosy corner for entertaining guests!

Jalan Bukit Ho Swee by Butler Interior
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Interior Firm: Butler Interior

Jalan Bukit Ho Swee by Butler Interior
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Jalan Bukit Ho Swee by Butler Interior
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Jalan Bukit Ho Swee by Butler Interior
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7. As evidenced by number 6, leaving a wall unhacked can make the difference between a narrow flat and a more spacious home. In the case of this Stirling Road apartment, its rear kitchen wall was removed, which not only creates enough space for a breakfast counter, but also allows natural light to enter unimpeded.

Stirling Road by ELPIS Interior Design
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Interior Firm: ELPIS Interior Design

Stirling Road by ELPIS Interior Design
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Stirling Road by ELPIS Interior Design
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Stirling Road by ELPIS Interior Design
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8. While it’s also a 3-room resale HDB apartment, this Cantonment Close home looks a bit different, not because of its industrial-style look, but due to its layout. Unlike its long and narrow counterparts, it’s a point block home with a unique floor plan. Just take a look at its sleeping area, which will show you how to make the most of a non-rectangular room.

Cantonment Close by The Interior Lab
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Interior Firm: The Interior Lab

Cantonment Close by The Interior Lab
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Cantonment Close by The Interior Lab
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Cantonment Close by The Interior Lab
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Give your resale unit the refresh it needs!

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