Designing an Open Concept Kitchen in Your HDB Flat: Tips and Considerations

An open kitchen design is one of the most sought-after styles. The versatile, modern layout creates a blank canvas where you can create your perfect space. In spots like Singapore, London, and New York, the open concept trend is incredibly practical because you don’t lose a single millimetre of space to walls and other unusable design components. But how can you create an HDB open kitchen design that is adaptable yet streamlined?

Let’s look at a few crucial considerations along with some tips that will help you plan the kitchen of your dreams. To help you better imagine how the finished product will look, we will also open up the doors of some of our clients to show you what HDB open-concept kitchen designs look like in real homes across Singapore.

Create Zones Strategically

When you’re working with an open floor plan, it is essential to still consider each room separately. Just because you don’t have walls, doesn’t mean that you can’t, or shouldn’t, define different zones. In fact, creating that distinction is vital to constructing a cohesive style. To ensure that your design looks intentional and streamlined, create a set point where your kitchen ends.

Without a physical barrier like a wall, you will want to use different focus points in each area. For example, your kitchen island might be the centrepiece of the kitchen while the living room could have a coffee table that serves as the anchor.

Design Inspiration: HDB Open Concept Flat Remodel

For design inspiration in a small open-concept space in Singapore, take a look at 278A Compassvale. This chic HDB flat has an open kitchen that leads out into the living room and dining room.

278A Compassvale

If you look at a side-by-side view of the living room and kitchen, you can see that they are clearly two distinctly different spaces. While the colour schemes of each room are in harmony and the design styles work well together, they are not the same space.

278A Compassvale 5 room resale living room 6
278A Compassvale

Despite having two “complete” rooms and separate living spaces, this is all one big open-concept design. Each room, however, has an anchor or line that makes the distinction between the spaces clear. 

The dining space has lights over the top and a table that defines the space. This also serves as a boundary for the kitchen, which although it’s set off from the rest, is open and airy without any centrepiece. On the other end of the room, there is the living room which is clearly defined by an area rug and anchored by a coffee table that features its own centrepiece to further tie down the area.

Look to Broken Plan Layout

While creating separate living zones with rugs and islands works well in a diverse array of living spaces, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the architecture of your home as well as your personal decor style, a broken plan layout might be just what you need.

What is a broken plan layout exactly? This open-concept living space design solution uses the concept of creating zones and then takes it one step further.

Rather than relying entirely on furniture, rugs, and other non-fixed or low-lying pieces, a broken plan creates a more dramatic divide. That could mean using different flooring in one living zone compared to another or creating a half wall, screen, or glass wall.

Design Inspiration: Small HDB Flat Remodel

During a recent remodel of a small Singapore flat, we were on a mission to create a minimalistic yet family-friendly space. We needed to create a bright and airy space that was easy to move through yet had cosy nooks for relaxing and chatting. To make it all come together, we used dividers, anchors, and partial walls to create a spacious but broken plan layout. 

Northshore 413B

In this small HDB flat remodel, you will notice that the kitchen, living room, and dining room are clearly defined. You can have a conversation on the sofa or read a book without being distracted by what’s going on in the dining room. You can cook in a separate tucked away space without disturbing someone working or studying at the table and then easily bring a meal to the centre kitchen island to share. With the broken plan layout, there is an effortless flow between the areas yet a sense of separate living zones.

Find Smart Storage Solutions

When it comes to open-concept kitchens, storage is always a key consideration. Open floor plans leave every little bit of clutter out in the open. Whether it’s having cluttered countertops or extra shelves and storage pieces surrounding your cabinets, these extra pieces can quickly make the entire flat feel chaotic and messy.

In an open-concept flat, especially one on the smaller side, it is crucial to find hidden storage solutions. Not only should all of your belongings have their own home, but ideally, that home should be tucked away. To achieve a look that is clean and well-designed, you want only your key showcase items and other decorative elements on display. While having your coffee maker and books on display makes sense, you don’t want to look at every pair of shoes that you own or all of your unread mail while you’re enjoying dinner. 

Design Inspiration: Elegant Open Plan HDB Flat Remodel

During a New York loft industrial design inspired remodel, we worked to create a space where the kitchen and dining room space were the stars of the show.

415D Northshore Drive

Looking at the refined open space, it’s easy to imagine dinner parties and long evenings with family. The open-concept kitchen connects to the dining room and features a coffee and tea bar at the side.

The space has an easy flow, with each zone being well-defined and separate yet interconnected. Rather than cramming everything into a galley kitchen, the space functions as an open-concept kitchen that’s perfect for entertaining.

Perhaps most important of all, this open plan has boundless storage. The minimalist kitchen cabinets flow from the open-concept kitchen into the dining room and beyond. It’s a continued element that ties all of the spaces together. At the same time, thanks in part to the dark minimalist design, the floor-to-ceiling storage fades into the background.

1 Kitchenate 415D Northshore Drive 4 room bto bedroom 6
415D Northshore Drive

Opening one of the doors, you can see just what an incredible amount of storage there is inside. Just passing by, however, you would hardly notice that it is anything other than a wall. The space feels minimalistic and well-designed yet has floor-to-ceiling shelving in every room.

Adaptable Islands for Open Concept Kitchens

One thing we hear regularly during small open-concept kitchen remodels in Singapore is that the kitchen is too small for an island. People see these massive oversized islands in rural and suburban homes and think that there’s just no place for an island in a typical HDB renovation. What people don’t realise is just how customisable islands can be.

Kitchen islands come in all shapes and sizes. You can find the perfect one for virtually any open-concept kitchen or you can have a customised island created to fit your space.

As you are creating the zones within your open space, you can use your adaptable kitchen island to create a broken plan layout or anchor the dining space. 

Design Inspiration: Versatile Open Plan HDB Kitchen Remodel

While remodelling the kitchen of a Singapore flat recently, we were presented with a long galley kitchen that opened to a big open living room. There was a choice to create a galley kitchen with an island on the side that separated the dining area from the kitchen, or there was the possibility of creating an L-shaped kitchen with an island between the living room and kitchen. Finally, there was a third and often less-chosen option. The third option was to create a mobile kitchen island that would adapt to each and every day.

415D Northshore Drive

With this simple addition of a portable kitchen island, you can see just how much versatility

 the space has. With the kitchen island placed in an L-shaped configuration with the kitchen countertops, there is a continual flow. The family can move the kitchen island here and have a long table extension beside their main table. This is a great option for special occasions and dinner parties. On the other hand, with the galley-style kitchen island layout, it is easy to cook big meals with plenty of workspaces on either side, and it’s ideal for quick informal meals that can be eaten right at the island and then quickly go back to the sink.

Getting Started with an Open-Concept Kitchen Remodel

When you are ready to get started with your open-concept kitchen remodel, our Singapore interior design experts are ready to help. We offer free no-obligation consultations where you can learn about your options and see the full range of possibilities for your one-of-a-kind space. You can chat with us online, contact us via WhatsApp, or call 9179 5033.