Not Your Typical HDB: 8 Unusual Ways to Modify a Flat Layout
It’s pretty much common sense at this point; every HDB comes with a kitchen, a bathroom (or two), bedrooms and a service yard. Simple. The only difference, however, is how these spaces are planned out. Be it a resale or a BTO, every HDB layout is different… and sometimes what you have may not exactly be what you need – or like.
That doesn’t mean you're stuck with your floor plan! Sometimes, working outside the lines can create a better functioning space. In fact, these 7 homes have done just that – changed up their boring HDB layouts for something fresh, seriously smart and practical:
1. Combine two bedrooms to create a 'secret' master suite
Surprise, surprise! Smartly camouflaged behind a piece of wall art, a nondescript door leads visitors into the home’s posh master suite. Combining two bedrooms, a walk-in wardrobe greets one upon stepping in, working as a corridor between the bathroom and sleeping areas. Set in dusky shades of grey and black, warm accent lights bring a touch of cosiness to this ultra-private space.
2. Turn a bedroom into an open-concept living room
Interior Designer: Free Space Intent
Find your HDB living area a tad too cramped? This charming flat might have a solution. Using the original living area to create a foyer and dining space, one of the bedrooms was hacked to make way for a semi-open concept living room. Flanking the open kitchen, it makes for a convenient spot to hang out with a large group of friends over some drinks and snacks. But if cooking smells are a concern, there are the foldable glass partitions on standby to keep odours away!
3. Create a bathing 'chamber' inside the bathroom
Interior Designer: D5 Studio Image
For those who enjoy having complete peace and solitude in the bath – here’s a unique alternative to the usual glass partitions. Enclosed on three sides, this chamber-like bathtub/shower area is the perfect den to wash those stresses away. Built on a platform, the steps double as a convenient toweling off area, keeping wet spots to a minimum for the rest of the bathroom.
4. Have a room - within a room
Interior Designer: Prozfile Design
Yep, room-ception. Despite its compact size, this home’s master bedroom manages to squeeze in an additional ‘walk-in wardrobe’ room within. Using see-through glass to create a sense of transparency and space, the mini ‘room’ acts as a vacuum to keep outside dust from settling on its exposed clothes racks.
5. Turn a bedroom into a kitchen
Interior Designer: Bowerman
It’s almost impossible to tell from first glance, but this resale’s bright, open-concept kitchen used to be – yes - the master bedroom. Is it even possible, you may ask? Totally – as long as your discharge pipes (for the sink) connecting to the main drainage pipe doesn't exceed 250cm, and if you use an electrical induction stove. As gas pipes cannot be extended from the original kitchen area, gas stoves cannot be installed in the new position.
All that sounds like a ton of a work, but this change has definitely helped to maximise this flat’s usable area, enabling the living room, dining and cooking areas to flow seamlessly.
6. Turn the service yard into a vanity/balcony area
Interior Designer: Bowerman
In the same apartment, the service yard is transformed into a posh, walk-in vanity-slash-balcony area that connects the bedroom (what used to be the kitchen) to the bathroom. Any trace of the space’s utilitarian past is gone, replaced with marble finishes, a ledge with high chairs and a jaw-dropping view to match. Who knew a place for laundry could actually be the best spot for hanging out?
7. Alternatively, turn the service yard into an extended bathroom
Interior Designer: The Interior Lab
HDB bathrooms may be known to be notoriously tiny, but that hasn’t stopped this home from creating a bigger space! Joining with the bathroom, the adjacent service yard is extended into the kitchen and combined to form an all-in-one area for washing up.
While the wet toilet/shower areas are enclosed behind a glass door, the dry area works as a ‘foyer’ of sorts, where users could either do a quick rinse by the freestanding sink or sort out laundry whilst the shower area is occupied.
Note: It's not advisable to install sanitary fittings in areas without waterproofing done to the floors (for risk of leaks). Be sure to check if your service yard floors are waterproofed before planning anything!
8. Combine the living room and bedroom together
Interior Designer: Meter Square
While most of us are probably used to having bedrooms closed up and away from oft-noisy living rooms, this small 3-room HDB is the complete opposite. Hacking the wall blocking the master bedroom from the living area, the result is a studio-style, open concept bedroom that looks straight out to the TV set outside. Really convenient if you like lying down to watch shows. And if there’s a need for privacy, the foldable, frosted glass partitions do the job.
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