Explore the ways you can lay out your living area to its best potential yet!
A mecca for conversations and catching up with the family, a hub for entertainment and to entertain guests, the living room has to be one of the most social areas in a home. A brilliantly laid out interior doesn’t only appear aesthetically pleasing, it also ensures the efficient use of space and is user-friendly to boot. Cramped or cavernous, each room has its own set of design challenges, which is why proper planning is key. Now let’s get started on how to take on any square footage with ease – according to the homes in our heartland.
This was adapted from an article published in Key To Your Home 2018 and re-published on singaporeschild.com.sg with permission.
Expanding space… for a 3-room BTO flat
Every inch of space is precious, so owners of three-room flats have to be prudent when it comes to filling their family room with furniture pieces.
Invest in small-scale pieces rather than full-size ones. Furnishings such as petite settees and love seats work well. To further take advantage of every square foot, fill a corner with an L-shaped sectional. Coffee tables aren’t essential – a side table does the job just as effectively. It can even be stowed at the side to free up space when not in use.
Tip: Do not purchase your furniture before you acquire your place. Measurements are especially necessary in a space-constrained room.
Play hide and seek
Give false walls and ceilings a miss, as they tend to overwhelm tight spaces. Nifty ideas such as overhead beams help to conceal unsightly wiring without boxing up the entire span of ceiling, while feature walls with little hideouts boost storage options. Unless necessary, keep things off the floor. For example, invest in ceiling fans instead of standing ones to free up floor space.
Pick double duty pieces
If you strictly pare down the pieces in the living area, you’d probably have enough room to build a dining space. Pick discerningly: diner-style seats are your best bet as they are great in maximising corners. Make your chairs work harder by choosing those with storage underneath. If the layout permits, create an integrated kitchen dining area with extended countertops or a breakfast counter.
Tip: Pick furniture with built-in storage to combat clutter.
Image credit: DB Studio
Overcoming space… for the odd-shaped layout
Atypical layouts might pose its own set of challenges, but the quirks and curves give these homes character – and let you exercise creativity. Or you could just save yourself the headache by engaging an expert.
Start with the focal point
The spot where your eyes first land on when you enter a room, a focal point influences the furniture arrangement within the space. So, once you’ve identified it, build your room around it. Television feature walls are typically the focus, but it could also be a massive wall of bookcases or a striking furniture piece. As it takes the attention off the less lovely bits of the room, you don’t have to worry incessantly about those awkward nooks.
Look into nooks
Current BTO flats boast cookie-cutter layouts, but not so much the older flats. A common issue dwellers of mature residences face are tight corners that are tricky to decorate. Instead of ignoring and thus wasting the space, make it work for you with a piece of furniture or an accessory that is able to fit in snugly. Then, doll up the area with decor. Leon Luo, associate director of Free Space Intent, shares a tip: with acute corners, make use of round pieces or consider built-in features or cabinets tailored to fit the space if the freestanding pieces can’t. You could also find a purpose that this niche can serve – ask yourself if it’s possible to transform it into a mini storage spot for shoes or a showcase for your holiday mementos.
Furniture spacing and placement is key to comfort. Give a leeway of at least 3 feet of walking space around the room to be comfortable – without bumping into furniture and walls. Furniture with doors or drawers also require the same clearance to function properly. When it comes to television placement, position it where the screen faces away from the sunlight to avoid unwanted glares.
“Don’t let the shape of the house influence your decision too much because you might end up conceding to these awkward corners and curves, and thus lose out on creating a good flow within the space.” – Leon Luo, associate director, Free Space Intent
Image credit: Studio FortyFour
Assigning space… for a 4-room BTO flat
Living spaces that belong to four-room flats are big enough to comfortably accommodate the living and dining areas – both furnished with standard sized furniture. It’s a matter of what goes where.
Balance out a full-size sofa with one or two additional lounge chairs – arrange the seating units around a coffee table and facing a focal point, usually but not necessarily the television. Not only do these side chairs help with proportions, they provide additional seating when needed. To minimise visual clutter, opt for armless chairs, ottomans or stools. A complete dining set with four or six seats can also fit in the family room comfortably – place this near the kitchen to make serving meals easy.
Tip: Opt for picnic-style bench to accommodate multiple guests.
Specific storage needs
As the place that guests experience the most, your common room deserves proper storage systems. Take time to think through the things that you want to keep and those that would be on show. Think wall-mounted consoles, glass display cabinets, shoe cupboards, bookcases, floating shelves, and other types of concealed storage. It’s important to corral all media paraphernalia such as remote controls and gaming essentials in one place. You should also consider designating a landing point for keys and wallets near your home’s entryway – these are great bases for holding your essentials and come especially handy when you’re in a rush.
Image credit: Free Space Intent
Splitting Space… for a 5-room BTO flat
Due to a larger than usual communal area, a suggested study is marked out on a typical five-room BTO flat floor plan – giving homeowners the option to add a new room.
To add or not to add another room, that is the question. If you choose to leave it open, tables, bookshelves or even sideboards can serve as partitions to define zones in the sprawling area. Flatowners who prefer to enclose the space can opt for glass dividers or walls with windows for an illusion of spaciousness without sacrificing privacy.
If you have more space to play with, amp up the function factor in your family room by assigning new functional spaces to the corners and peripheral areas. For example, pick a credenza for your dining area – it makes a great landing point for laying out dishes before they reach the table. Window bay seats provide more seating options, while a foyer decked with seats and storage is both user-friendly and keeps shoes in order.
“The proportions of furniture pieces in relation to the size of the space is crucial in making a home liveable and aesthetically balanced. Coffee tables are good to have but not entirely necessary. A nice side table can serve the same function and, at the same time, keep the area uncluttered.” – Leon Luo, associate director, Free Space Intent
Image credit: Studio FortyFour