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2020 Space Planning 101

Space planning is an essential step in the interior design process. Without proper space planning, you risk creating a design that is not optimal and that doesn’t work well for your client. 

The key to a successful design job starts with determining the purpose of the space being designed. As a professional, it is your job to ask all the right questions and gather all the necessary information to plan out a functional space that suits your client’s needs. 

Your in-depth analysis together with basic design principles will help you create a well-balanced, easily navigable and beautiful space. 

Here are effective space planning tips to help you design more efficient spaces. 

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Determining purpose and defining zones

First things first – even before you start designing, you’ll have to define zones depending on the purpose of the space.  

Ask your client what the area will primarily be used for. For example, if you are designing a kitchen, ask your clients how often they cook, how many people cook, if they normally cook together, if they have kids, if they prefer eating at the kitchen island or if they would rather have a dedicated dining area, what kind of storage they need, what appliances they need, etc. 

Asking these types of questions will help you determine the main purpose of the room, making it easier for you to define specific zones.  

Allowing easy circulation

Easy circulation is (or should be) a priority in a home, and it is a major component of space planning. 

A room cannot be considered functional if navigating it is a hassle. As a designer, you need to make sure there aren’t any obstacles obstructing passageways and that the distance between structures is comfortable enough to walk through or work around. 

For example, when designing a kitchen, there are certain measurement guidelines you need to follow in order to provide a seamless experience. The distance between counters, appliances, and the sink all have to be measured out prior to executing your design for optimal results. 

Maximizing lighting

Another aspect of proper space planning is maximizing the amount of light in the room. You can do this by adding or replacing windows, or simply by making sure there is sufficient artificial lighting in the space.  

If you will be adding windows, make sure they’re facing the right direction to let in as much sunlight as possible (unless the client prefers indirect sunlight). If you are adding artificial lighting, make sure you layer it to achieve the desired level of brightness

Depending on the room you’re designing and the client’s needs, you can opt for ambient lighting, overhead lighting, task lighting, or all of the above. Dimmers come in handy so your client can adjust the brightness as needed. 

Maximizing lighting

Placing outlets and switches

When it comes to outlets and switches, strategic placement is key

When you’re creating your design, you need to think about how many appliances, lights, and other devices will potentially be plugged in. Asking your client what they use the space for will help you determine the number of outlets and switches necessary in your design

If you’re designing a living room and your client is planning on mounting their television to the wall, you can draw out your plan and place the power and cable outlets halfway up the wall. That way, your client won’t have to worry about drilling a hole in the wall to fish out the electrical wires. 

Considering accessibility

If your client is differently-abled or has decided to age in place, you will have to plan ahead to offer them as much freedom and convenience in their home as possible. 

If you’re designing a kitchen or bathroom for a differently-abled client, you need to consider things like adjusting the height of the kitchen sink, installing pull-out trays for the pantry and cabinets, front-mounted controls for cooktops, adjusting the height of  the toilet, installing grab bars in the shower, and much more. 

Using space planning software

The easiest and most accurate way to create a design for a project is to use a space planning software

Advanced space planning software allow you to draw detailed floor plans, including electrical plans. You can also view your designs in 3D and show them to your clients prior to moving forward with the project so they can better visualize their space and let you know if they want to make any changes. 

2020 Lighting Design Tips

A well balance design has great emphasis on light and lighting placement...

2020 Spaces Color Trends Interior Design

Color plays an important role in interior design. 

Each color can completely transform a room; it can set the tone of the room, the mood, the general ambiance. It also has the power to give the illusion of space or to make a space seem smaller than it actually is. 

Color trends in interior design have evolved over time. Each year, major paint companies such as Sherwin-Williams and Pantone announce their color of the year and interior designers adopt these colors to build beautiful kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces. 

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But where do these trends come from? Who decides what the newest color trends are? 

Interior design color trends are heavily influenced by fashion trends. In fact, most interior design trends including color, material and finish also rely on fashion trends that have trickled down from the fashion capital of the world – Milan. 

Here are some of the upcoming 2020 color trends to look out for in the world of interior design. 

Most Popular 2020 Color Trends


Champagne is going to be one of the biggest 2020 color trends. And if you’re thinking champagne is boring, think again.  

Champagne is replacing the cool greys which have been dominating the world of interior design for years. This beige, natural tone will make a room feel warmer than its grey counterpart. Champagne adds an earthy touch to interiors and creates a calming environment. 

You can pair champagne with bold textures and materials if you want to add interest to a room. You can also play around with metallic accessories such as gold and silver.

Navy blue

Image by Sherwin-Williams

Navy blue is a timeless (and regal) color that is growing in popularity. Naval SW 6244 is Sherwin-Williams’ color of the year for 2020, and it is a dark, rich navy blue that is reminiscent of the night sky. 

Dark hues of blue pair beautifully with champagne, giving any home a cozy and welcoming feel. You can use it to paint an entire room – works wonders in a living room– or use it to create a stunning accent wall.

Golden yellow

Yellow is the color of optimism and happiness. It will instantly liven up any room, although too much of it might create the opposite effect. Designers tend to use yellow sparingly, generally as an accent wall color. 

Gen-Z yellow was a popular color in 2019, but a more subdued, golden yellow will be replacing it in the coming year. This new 2020 color trend adds a refreshing hint of color to a room; it works well in nurseries, workspaces, bedrooms, and living rooms. 

Olive green

Green was a popular color trend in Milan Design Week 2019, and we will see a lot more of it in 2020. Olive green in particular will be in the limelight, mimicking the look of nature. 

Light olive green can be used on interior walls as well as exterior walls (think backyard façade). It’s a color trend that takes us back to nature and creates a serene environment. 

Light pink

Image by Benjamin Moore

Pink can be used in so many different rooms; it’s not (or shouldn’t be) restricted to nurseries. Light pink will be very popular in 2020. Benjamin Moore announced their color of the year: First Light 2102-70, a refreshing and airy hue of pink.  

Light pink is a refreshing alternative to white or beige. It can be used in living rooms, bedrooms and even kitchens. It compliments any space and flows well with other colors.

Dark red

Dark, rich reds and caramels aren’t only reserved for the fall season. They were very popular in the interior design scene in 2019, with Sherwin-Williams announcing Cavern Clay as its color of the year, and different shades of it will continue to remain popular throughout 2020. 

Dark reds add sophistication and warmth to any room. You can use it as an accent color or as a predominant color. It can easily be combined with other tints or shades of red to create a beautiful atmosphere. 


Dark colors have been trending for quite some time now, and they will continue to trend in 2020. Charcoal is a very chic and intimate color that can be used in almost any room – bedroom, kitchen, bathroom. 

Charcoal can be used on an accent wall or can be the main color in a room. It pairs perfectly with other shades of grey, adding visual interest and depth to the space.


Mango screams fun, energetic (and delicious)! It’s a 2020 color trend that’s sweeping the interior design scene, and for good reason. 

Like most bold colors, mango can be used as an accent color in living rooms or dining rooms. It can also be used to accessorize a room – cushions, throws, armchairs – anything goes. It brightens up a room, and a little goes a long way.

7 Types of Flooring Commonly Used in Homes

7 common flooring for homes in Singapore

There a are a few aspects to consider when choosing a flooring, Functionality, design/style and pricing.

First, common flooring is Vinyl, made from synthetic polymers, this flooring comes in many different colors and patterns and forms/shapes. Usually, wood like design and natural rocks

They are one of the most economical options ranges at half of the price of tiles, however it is prone to scratches and inferior brands may contain high levels of Volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Second, Hard wood, ranks top aesthetically, usually oak or teaks, ideal for clean looking design style. Long lasting but expensive and high level of maintenance, can be damage by water and scratches but can be repaired and replaced partially and easily 

Third, engineered wood, consist of plywood base and hardwood/veneer) top, they cost almost half of hardwood but can have different core to suit different conditions, similar to hardwood they can be repaired and replaced easily

Fourth, stone floor, ranges from marble to granite, natural material. provides elegant and luxurious. each stone has different characteristics which affect the resistance to stain, chips and cracks those marble flooring can be protected by applying sealant regularly.

Fifth, cork flooring is good at providing sound proofing and environmentally friend abrasion resistant can be clean easily, but at a much higher cost. Installation must be done properly to prevent water deposit in the flooring

Sixth, tiles, popular in toilet or rather the entire house, durable fuss-free moisture resistant and does not de colorize easily, however the grout lines tend to mold and stain If not taken care properly

Seven.  Carpet flooring, looks good, fast installation, soft to touch. provides decent sound proofing but prone to permanent damage from spills and stain and is difficult to clean. Not suitable for wet areas

How to build your Dream Home?

Congratulations! Now that you’ve gotten the keys to your new flat, it’s time to start planning and turn it into your dream home.

It’s also natural to have many questions. What sort of designs should I pick? Will it be easy to maintain and something we would like for the next five to ten years? Will it suit our needs when we get a pet or welcome children into the family?

And the biggest one of all: Can I afford it?

Building your dream home is a process. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of interior design trends for 2020, and some other useful tips to make your humble abode a reality.

Tip 1: Take a look at your finances and decide what you would like to set aside to build your home

A good estimate would be about S$30,000 to S$35,000 for a four-room BTO flat for renovations alone. This sum should include built-in furniture, tiles or vinyl overlays, and hacking if needed. If yours is a resale unit, factor in about S$60,000 to S$80,000 for the renovations.

Estimates typically include the likes of:

  1. Air conditioning
  2. Electrical works
  3. Lighting
  4. Bathroom equipment (Sink, shower heads, toilet bowls etc)
  5. Kitchen essentials (Hob and hood, sink, etc)

Whether you’re going with a contractor or an interior designer, always check, check again, and double confirm if their quote includes all these. If it doesn’t, you will need to make room in your budget for those items.

Tip 2: Pick your favourite themes and understand their biggest cost drivers

Let’s look at a few popular styles that have emerged in the past few years, and understand what are the elements that cost the most to achieve the desired look.

a) Living room: Japanese-style home

A Japanese-inspired home is all about light wood, airy spaces and clean lines – a lot like the much-loved Japanese aesthetic that has taken the world by storm. Its predominantly white and oak palette is both inviting and pleasing to the eye. No wonder Japanese-inspired homes are much-requested in the last year or so.

Potential cost driver: Hacking

Hacking generally involves tearing down walls in your home, or tearing down existing built-in furniture in your home.

To achieve that bright, airy aesthetic of a Japanese-inspired home, you might want to hack some walls to change the layout of your unit entirely to bring in more natural light, or custom-build a sitting area to resemble a tea house. But this could add to your renovation bill.

b) Living room + Kitchen: Scandinavian

Similar to a Japanese-style home, Scandinavian-themed homes focus on clean, simple lines, minimalism, and functionality. Unlike Japanese-style homes, they do not need to have a distinct colour palette of white and brown, but the principles are clear – they’re functional, and items that are not used on a daily basis can be hidden away.

Potential cost driver: Carpentry

Carpentry refers to wooden furniture you would like to build into your home. This can include a TV console, wardrobes, cabinets, desks and drawers.

To achieve the Scandi look while meeting your family’s unique storage needs, it usually requires built in, customisable storage. Depending on your needs, carpentry can account for about 30% of renovation costs.

Off-the-shelf solutions, while cheaper, may not be the best option for heavy-duty storage. For instance, some people report seeing their cheap bookshelves sag after a few years. These off-the-shelf solutions also may not give you the clean, Scandi look you desire.

c) Bathroom and bedroom: Industrial style

Industrial style refers to fuss-free decor that takes inspiration from warehouses, factories, and other industrial structures. Think stripped-back details including the use of bricks, metals, concrete and dark wood.

The industrial style has also gained popularity in recent years as practicality is its key selling point. Exposed pipes? Paint over it and it’s part of the design. Not enough lighting points and cannot conceal the wires? Let the wires dangle down from the ceiling.

Potential key cost driver: Feature wall

Most industrial interiors comprise of a feature wall of either exposed brick, concrete, or wood. The cost of a feature wall varies based on material used. To stretch your dollar, let your feature wall serve a dual purpose: for instance as storage, to conceal storage, or a door, in addition to aesthetic purposes. It’s also important to keep maintenance in mind - do check if the design of your dreams is easy to clean and upkeep.

d) Kitchen: Marble/Terrazzo

A kitchen is a vital part of any home. A trend that is emerging is the use of marble or terrazzo-look materials for your kitchen countertop and backsplash - the wall perpendicular to your stove and prep area.

The material you choose for your countertops and backsplash - be it laminate, quartz, kompacplus or tile - could make a difference to both the look and the cost of your renovation. Quartz and kompacplus - a new material that’s said to be more durable - would potentially cost more, while laminate and tile will likely be cheaper.

Potential key cost driver: Countertop + backsplash

If you desire a luxe look for your kitchen, a marble or terrazzo-look countertop made of quartz will be essential. This however is one of the most expensive materials for countertops or backsplashes. Benefits: It’s likely easier to maintain than a backsplash made with hexagon or subway tiles, which stand out but will be harder to clean. Its drawback however is price - quartz often costs the most among countertop options.

Tip 3: Financing your renovation project

You have the option of looking for an Interior Designer, which offers design and project management services under one roof, or hire a contractor. The latter option is often more cost-efficient, but you will need to be very clear about the type of design you want.

Take your time to consider both options and compare quotes before making a decision that you are comfortable with. Revisit the budget you set aside. Do you have enough savings to finance your renovation? If you need to use all of it, will there be enough for a rainy day?

As an option, renovation loans are a fantastic way to manage your short-term cash flow while ensuring that your dream home is within reach.

In addition to interest rates starting from 2.88%, POSB Renovation Loan also includes comprehensive insurance coverage for your new home as well as a flexible repayment terms between 1 to 5 years.

Ultimately, your dream house shouldn’t be out of your reach with careful planning at every step.

Next in this series: What you need to know before putting down a deposit with an interior designer or a contractor.

Start Planning Now

Check out DBS MyHome to work out the sums and find a home that meets your budget and preferences. The best part – it cuts out the guesswork.