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8 Best Ways To Hide Your Unsightly HDB Structural Beams That Can’t Be Hacked

12 June 2024 | BY

There’s no denying that HDB structural beams stick out like a sore thumb. Here’s how to make them look more presentable.

structural beams - cover

HDB flats are generally quite customisable: This is apparent in the many creative renovations we’ve featured, from serene mini zen gardens to lights that mimic skylight windows. However, there are some aspects of HDB flats that are difficult to change, like the HDB structural beams that are a compulsory part of some older flats.

Most of these beams stick out like a sore thumb and they are also illegal to remove, so interior designers often have to design around them. While it isn’t possible to demolish them fully, they can still be creatively integrated into your design. Here are 8 ways to incorporate them into your home.

How to identify “unhackable” structural beams in your HDB floor plan

First off, you should first identify which elements of your home are unhackable—your floor plan is a great guide to that. Put simply, the walls shaded in black are structural walls, which are illegal to hack.

structural beams - floor planImage adapted from: Teoalida

If the structural beam you want to get rid of is part of a structural wall, then you cannot remove it. While HDB has clear-cut regulations regarding modifications, you might still want to consult an ID or HDB representative to play it safe and remain compliant.

1. Build cabinets & other built-ins around them

structural beams - floor to ceiling consoleImage credit: The Interior Lab

On that note, the safest way to hide an unhackable structural beam would be to build around it. It’s also the most versatile way—from floor-to-ceiling cabinets and bookshelves to floating TV consoles. There are a variety of furniture choices that draw attention away from unsightly beams or walls—sometimes hiding them away completely.

structural beams - TV consoleImage credit: Icon Interior Design

2. Make them multi-functional by incorporating lights & projector screens

structural beams - lightsImage credit: Jesigns Interior Design

You could also utilise these structural beams as functional features. Placing extra fixtures like lights, curtains or even a hidden projector screen on these beams and pillars allows you to effectively hide them in plain sight and incorporate them into the design of your home.

structural beams - curtainImage credit: Lemonfridge Studio

structural beams - projectorInstall a projector screen in your ceiling beam to save space on a TV.
Image credit: Comfort Home Interior

3. Hide them in plain sight

structural beams - black & whiteImage credit: Versify Studio

Building on the idea of hiding them in plain sight, you could use colour and materials to seamlessly integrate the beams into your home. For example, using a monochromatic colour scheme allows the beams and pillars to blend into the overall design and draw less attention. 

If you want to go the extra mile, making them all the same material, like wood, would create a homogenous look that effectively camouflages them.

structural beams wood ceilingMake the beams blend in with the rest of your home by using similar materials and colours.

4. Transform them into focal points

structural beams - raw beam 2

Conversely, you could also do the opposite of hiding them and choose to emphasise the beams like a design statement. For example, using a different material for the ceiling beam could draw attention to it and create contrast with the rest of the decor, adding visual intrigue.

structural beams - raw beamImage credit: @3queensroad

5. Turn it into a recessed niche for storage

structural beams - recessed storageImage credit: Insight Out Studio

While significantly demolishing structural beams is not possible, it’s still possible to modify them. Instead of trying to diminish their presence, consider adding to their functionality by creating a storage niche with false walls, creating a functional and stylish storage solution.

structural beams - bookshelf pillar

6. Disguise them with a monolithic planter display

structural beams - monolith planterImage credit: @budstudioco

Similarly, a structural pillar could also serve as a unique planter with the assistance of false walls.This is perfect for homeowners who have exotic flora they want to show off, since the monolith pillar allows you to display your favourite plants with extra pomp.

7. Create a feature arch to hide it

structural beams arch 2Image credit: Comfort Home Interior

Another sophisticated way to incorporate these structural beams into your home’s design would be to create a feature arch with them. The exaggerated curves of the doorway arch draw the eye, elevating the overall aesthetic of the home.

structural beams - archImage credit: Comfort Home Interior

8. Opt for a curved beam for a softer look

structural beams - curved beamImage credit: Roomable/Mesa Haus Studio

In the same vein, introducing a convex curve to a structural beam will make it stand out less. If an arched entryway doesn’t fit with your decor and aesthetic, using a curved beam instead will accomplish the same effect while keeping a soft look that’s less dramatic.

Best ways to hide your HDB structural beams without hacking

There are essentially 2 ways to deal with HDB structural beams without compromising their structural integrity: you either incorporate them into your home or hide them away completely—and every homeowner’s answer to this problem will be personal, creating a unique aesthetic for each home.

For more renovation inspiration:

Cover image adapted from: @naszismail

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