9 Design Tricks To Make Your HDB Look Bigger Than It Actually Is

16 November 2023 | BY

If you’re trying to make the most of the limited space in your HDB, these design tricks can help to make your home feel more spacious.

9 Design Tricks To Make Your HDB Look Bigger Than It Actually Is

GCBs and landed houses are what our adult dreams are made of, but most of us wake to the reality of a home that’s under 1,200sqft. The good news is that while we might not be able to afford a larger home, there’s a slew of optical tricks you can use to make your home appear significantly larger than it actually is.

Here are 9 design tips you can use to make your HDB look bigger and more spacious than the 900sqft it’s supposed to be.

1. Opt for custom carpentry to hide clutter

custom carpentry displayImage credit: D5 Studio

It’s not rocket science: a home free of clutter means more visual space and, in turn, a more spacious-looking abode. This is why planning your carpentry during the renovation phase is so critical, especially if you have hoarding tendencies.

Unlike more generic, mass-produced storage solutions you can easily pick up, custom carpentry is tailored to fit the specific dimensions and layout of your HDB so that it’ll seamlessly integrate into your home and eliminate any wasted space.

Pro tip: Opt for floor-to-ceiling cabinets that utilise vertical space efficiently to ensure that every inch of your home serves a purpose. 

2. Place mirrors strategically to double a room’s visual area


Mirrors help to double the visual space of any room due to their ability to reflect both natural and artificial light, instantly brightening up a space and creating an illusion of openness. 

To help make your home look bigger than it is, mirrors should be positioned across windows or sources of light so that they can bounce light around the room and eliminate shadows. This play of light not only contributes to a brighter atmosphere but also tricks the eye into perceiving a room as larger than its physical dimensions. 

3. Use paint to create optical illusions

ceiling paintImage credit: @honeybeeandhollie, Dulux

A common way to make a room look more spacious is through the use of light paint colours, such as white and beige, as they make the space look brighter and more prominent by reflecting light.

Another way to expand the visual space of a room is by experimenting with paint to create an optical illusion. One method to do this is by painting a wall with a statement colour of your choice and extending it to the ceiling.. This hack will help to give the illusion that the wall is much taller than it actually is.

4. Create a focal point in every room

painting and built in nichesImage credit: @curatedhem, @29creativeredesign

Besides just looking aesthetically pleasing, using such eye-capturing paintings as focal points in different rooms will also help to distract the eyes from the actual size of the room.

Pro tip: Opt for taller pieces of art to help draw the eye upwards and create visual interest without overwhelming the space.

5. Use large carpets or rugs to divide a room into zones

rugsImage credit: Pinterest

As most HDBs feature open floor plans, you can use rugs to help you define spaces and separate different zones within a room to break up space and add depth visually.

An example is using a large rug under the sofa, coffee table, and chairs to outline your living room, and a different rug for the dining area, which the dining table will sit on top of.  

The types of rugs you should be shopping for include those with light colours or patterns, such as stripes, as they’ll reflect more light and add extra visual depth. You can also leave some space between the edge of the rug and the walls, as this helps define the zone without making it feel cramped.

6. Mount appliances on walls

mounted appliances

Another way to properly take advantage of your walls to create the illusion of more space is through mounting appliances such as your TV, console table, shelves, and light fixtures on your HDB’s walls.

With this, you can say goodbye to the need for bulky, floor-standing units while giving the illusion of a larger room as the eye is naturally drawn upward, helping to create a sense of verticality, which makes the space feel much taller.  It’ll also keep your floors free from all the mess, and vacuuming will also be a whole lot easier.

7. Choose wabi-sabi roller blinds or day curtains

day curtains in living roomImage credit: The Interior Lab

Although we understand that blackout curtains and heftier shades are popular options to help cover any patches of glaring sunlight in your home, you shouldn’t drown your windows in fabric if you’re trying to make your home look bigger.

Instead, opt for lightweight mesh, cloth, or semi-sheer roller blinds or curtains to help a small space feel larger and breezier. Apart from making your HDB feel more spacious, natural lighting also helps to promote better Feng Shui with fresh and revitalising chi, so you’d be killing two birds with one stone!

Pro tip: Position the curtain hanging rod as close to the ceiling as possible to make the room appear taller.

8. Create depth with recessed alcove lighting

recessed lightingImage credit: Pinterest

Integrating recessed lighting fixtures into the ceiling of your home doesn’t only look aesthetically pleasing but also plays a part in enhancing the perception of space. Besides, do you really need a chandelier in your tiny HDB flat? The answer is no.

The gentle illumination from recessed alcove lighting also minimises shadows, creating an illusion of expansiveness in your home.

9. Use low-profile or floating furniture

floating furnitureImage credit: Pinterest

Although bulky furniture may be effective as statement pieces, they’re not the most space-efficient when you’re staying in an HDB instead of a sprawling bungalow. That is exactly why opting for furniture with a lower profile or ones that appear to float above the floor is perfect for those looking to double the visual space of their home.

Such furniture helps to create a sense of openness by exposing more floor space, allowing the eyes to travel freely across the room without any obstructions. This, in contrast to much heavier or bulkier furniture pieces, visually decompresses the available space and gives the room a bit more room without having to sacrifice any functionality.

Design tricks to make your HDB look bigger

Although HDB flats don’t offer much space due to their limited area constraints, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to make your home look bigger than it actually is.

From the strategic use of mirrors that multiply the room’s visual area to the elegance of low-profile and floating furniture that imparts a sense of spaciousness, these design tricks will help to turn your home into a space that feels larger, brighter, and undeniably more enjoyable to live in.

Read more about making the most of your HDB space:

Cover image adapted from: Pinterest, Dulux

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