The Chic Apartment: Step right into the bedroom

Home owners Edmund Tan and Jo Koh reconfigured their flat's layout for a bigger living space

When you enter the cosy home of Mr Edmund Tan and Ms Jo Koh, you would not expect to be stepping into a bedroom.

"People are not used to it. Our guests often wonder if they've walked into the wrong place," says Ms Koh with a laugh.

Indeed, their five-room Housing Board (HDB) flat has a unique layout, the result of swopping the location of the living room with that of the master bedroom.

"This decision was based on maximising the space and making it more functional. This way, we get a bigger living space at the back," Ms Koh says.

Typically, there would be a long corridor from the living area leading to the bedrooms.

Resembling crates, the display shelves (above) in the living room have a modular system that allows the home owners to swop them around for different configurations. PHOTO: SPH MAGAZINES

The couple, who are in their 30s, combined the master bedroom (with a balcony), the adjacent bedroom and the corridor to create a larger living and dining area.

As they enjoy entertaining, the balcony is also better utilised. "If the balcony is in the bedroom, the space won't be used much," she says.

Furthermore, having their bedroom located right by the main door serves the couple well. "When you get home after a long day, you really just go straight to the bedroom."

For the look and feel of their 1,220 sq ft home, Ms Koh, a wedding planner and stylist, says: "We spoke to some interior designers, but felt that we were simply telling them what we wanted, so we decided to handle the renovation ourselves."

The couple gleaned ideas from magazines, the Internet, shopping trips and their travels overseas.

The outcome is an eclectic look, sporting elements of vintage, contemporary, rustic, industrial styles and more.

The living area features a gentleman's lounge concept with walls painted a rich, deep shade of blue, matched with comfortable leather furniture and warm wood tones. "The space can feel like a movie theatre when the curtains are drawn," says Ms Koh.

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The couple also sourced for modular and multi-purpose furniture. For example, the dining table can be used as a buffet or serving table, and the desk can serve as a bar.

The bedroom, on the other hand, sports colourful soft furnishings and decor against a light background.

Renovated at a cost of about $45,000 and furnished for an estimated $35,000, this home shows how being bold, experimental and different can be a very good thing.

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•This article first appeared in the September issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'Step right into the bedroom'. Print Edition | Subscribe