Small Space Living

11 Genius Built-Ins To Consider To Save Space In Your HDB Flat

11 November 2023 | BY

Show these built-in ideas to your interior designer if you want custom space-saving furniture in your home.

genius built-ins for hdb flats

For those of us with attachment issues, it can be tough to get rid of our worldly belongings like how Marie Kondo does. To ensure that our favourite collection of towels, a backup supply of toilet paper, and all of our bags have a space in our homes; built-ins are the way to go.

These 11 genius built-in ideas serve as good inspiration for your upcoming BTO renovation. You can also show this article to your interior designer if you fail to find the word to describe your needs.

1. Murphy bed

built-in ideas - murphy bed

You might not be familiar with its name, but the odds are good you would’ve seen Murphy beds before. They are designed to fold vertically against the wall or inside a cabinet, maximising the floor area when it’s not in use. So, whenever a guest pops in and plans to stay over, you’ll always have an extra bed for them. 

When closed, the Murphy beds can turn into anything, including desks and sofas. This chameleon-like quality lets any space seamlessly transition from sleeping quarters to a living area, which is great for smaller homes like studios and 2-room flats.

Note: There are several factors to account for before getting a Murphy bed in your house, such as the ceiling height and whether there’s enough space to unfold the bed.

2. Install a trundle bed

built-in ideas - trundle bedImage credit: @sunrise_over_sea

If you don’t fancy the look of a double-decker bed, one way to still allow 2 people to sleep in the same room but on separate beds is with trundle beds. Also known as a stowaway or pull-out bed, a trundle bed is a bed hidden beneath a primary bed frame or a platform which can be pulled out for sleeping, and stowed away when the rest of the room is needed.

This allows you to make the most out of a smaller room, especially if you have 2 kids who are sharing a room. 

3. Hidden bomb shelter door storage

built-in ideas - bomb shelter storageImage credit: Mr Designer Studio

Although a bomb shelter aims to protect homeowners during an emergency, this iconic, quintessential part of HDBs and BTOs is often mocked for looking out of place compared to the rest of the home. So rather than whine and complain, some residents have gotten creative and made full use of their bomb shelters, including transforming the space into a mini-pantry or a reading nook.

One idea that shoe lovers would appreciate is adding some built-in storage to the door of the bomb shelter for the shoes that are used occasionally but are not worthy of a spot in the main shoe cabinet. A dehumidifier placed strategically would also ensure that mould doesn’t accumulate, especially when the door is closed.

4. Floor-to-ceiling TV console

built-in ideas - tv consoleImage credit: Pinterest

Most TV consoles only make use of the space below the TV, so why not maximise the extra wall area above it with a floor-to-ceiling TV console instead? From adding bookshelves or a display cabinet for your travel souvenirs, a full-height TV console that spans the width of your feature wall would be a wise decision, especially for those who want to show off all their trinkets.

5. Hidden laundry nook

built-in ideas - hidden laundry nookImage credit: Pinterest

Not all HDB flats come with a service yard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your laundry at all. If you’re struggling to find a place in the kitchen to place your washing machine and a dryer, you could incorporate a hidden laundry nook somewhere else at home that could fit it.

The whole point of a hidden laundry nook is to have it blend in with the rest of your home’s aesthetics, be it wabi-sabi or eclectic. That means the bulky look of your appliances won’t clash with your walnut cabinets as they’ll be hidden behind them instead, and this discreet setup will help keep your home clutter-free whenever guests come over.

6. Full-length bedside storage

built-in ideas - full length bedside storageImage credit: Pinterest

If you’re struggling to find space in the bedroom to keep your extra phone chargers, bedding, and other sleeping necessities, perhaps it’s time to ditch the cute bedside tables and opt for full-length bedside storage instead.

Not only can you get your interior designer to have the design of the storage match your bedframe and the rest of your house, but you’ll also have ample space to keep all your bedroom essentials in an easy-to-reach spot.

7. Built-in robo cubby hole

built-in ideas - robo vacuum cubbyImage credit: Yasno

Robot vacuums – while convenient – aren’t the most space-efficient. You have to find a spot in your home that can fit its dock, and there has to be a power socket nearby. One workaround that many homeowners have adopted is to carve out a cubby hole underneath their built-in wardrobes so their robot vacuum has a safe spot to return to after doing its duty of cleaning their homes.

One convenient spot to place this nook is near the entryway underneath your shoe cabinet, where you can slot in a stool nearby as well. You can also request your interior designer to close off the space with casement doors that hide the dock but still allow the robo vacuum to leave its safe confines. Remember to also ensure that a power socket is present where the dock will be!

8. Custom faux niche with hidden storage

built-in ideas - custom faux niche

If you’re someone who can’t stand the sight of clutter, having faux niches built into your walls as hidden storage would ensure that all the mess stays out of sight and out of mind. You can also jazz up the wall with paintings, murals, and photo galleries so that it becomes an aesthetically pleasing focal point, distracting your OCD mind from everything behind.

9. Built-in ironing board

built-in ideas - built-in ironing boardImage credit: Style curator

For all the talk about laundry machines and bulky appliances, one aspect of domestic life that often gets brushed to the side is the ironing board. For smaller homes where every piece of furniture has to fight for its own space, having a wall-mounted ironing board will free up any real estate that a traditional ironing board would otherwise take up in your storeroom or cabinets.

10. Full-wall wardrobe with walkway cut-out

built-in ideas - full-wall wardrobe with walkway cutoutImage credit: This Interiors Addict

If having a walk-in wardrobe has always been your dream but you just can’t afford the space, you can compromise by having a full-length wardrobe flushed to the wall where your bathroom is, and creating a cut-out that leads to your toilet for that “walk-in” experience. 

built-in ideas

Some homeowners have even gone to great lengths to completely conceal the door to their bathroom with a faux wardrobe door.

11. Vanity niche

built-in ideas - vanity nicheImage credit: Leibal/Eve Wilson

Not every bedroom has the luxury of space to include a wardrobe and a separate vanity corner. Instead, a vanity niche built into the wardrobe would save you a lot of space and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. It doesn’t have to be extravagant too – all you need is space for a mirror, some lights, and a socket for your beauty gadgets like a hairdryer or curler.

Built-in ideas to consider to save space in HDBs

As much as some people love to tout the freedom and flexibility of loose furniture pieces, there are so many ways that built-ins can be customised to fit into our daily routine and ensure that your house is more than a home – it’s a sanctuary. 

Just be prepared to splurge a little more during your renovation, as intricate designs and special materials would definitely rack up the bill. However, you can be certain that a high-quality built-in would last you for decades to come.

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Cover image adapted from: Lily Anne Credit, Uchify, Mr Designer Studio

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