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What To Do With That “Suggested Study” Area in your 5-room BTO Flat?

For most 5-room BTO dwellers, you’ve got that extra real estate in your living room which HDB designates as a “suggested study” area.

Instances of “suggested study” areas in a 5-room BTO flat. 

While some folks would choose to build up walls to create an extra room, others would keep it open. But what then should you do with the additional space? Here, we have the solutions:


1. Follow the suggestion

We think using that extra area in your living room as a home office is an obvious choice, particularly if you don’t already plan to have a dedicated room for a study. This works better than say, putting your study area in the bedroom, which isn’t the best solution since work and sleep zones shouldn’t really be kept together.

To create a bit of privacy, you can go for a desk that comes with a raised screen, which also helps to block off distractions so you can use both the living room space and the study area at the same time:

Design: Fineline Design

Or, you can have your study area face the window. This makes your space appear more spacious, since your home office now sits at a corner. Make sure you get proper blinds though if you want the desk facing the window:

Design: Form & Space

A half wall is a good way to designate the work space from the living room space:

Design: Free Space Intent

If facing the television is too much of a temptation, face your home office away from the TV set:

Design: Jubilee Interior

Need two desks instead of one? Have them turn towards each other:

Design: The 80’s Studio

For visual interest, mount your workstation from the ceiling with an eye-catching structure:

Design: Space Atelier


2. Convert it into a dining area

For folks who are used to watching the telly while having dinner, converting that extra space into a dining zone would probably be your choice. It’s also an option for those who don’t have anywhere else to find their dining table.

Design: Distinct Identity

Design: Hue Concept

Design: Interiors ID

A built-in dining bench on the other side of the wall is a great way to accommodate more seating and to save space:

Design: Urban Habitat Design

Here’s a dining area that takes after the style of Japanese low tables. It’s built on a raised platform, which helps to separate the area from the rest of the living room:

Design: Absolook Interior Design

For a more conducive telly-watching experience from your dining table, go for a swivel TV feature wall, placed between your living and eating area:

Design: Rezt & Relax

A less formal dining table that doubles as a home bar:

Design: Fifth Avenue Interior

Or you can do both! Opt for a more formal dining table coupled with a bar table that is reserved for casual meals:

Design: Luova Project Services


3. Install a raised platform

Raised platforms are great for highlighting areas. Do up one in the “suggested study” space, throw in a couple of bean bags and cushions and you have a ready nook for relaxing. The elevation area also helps to reduce the length of your living room, creating a cosier and more intimate space.

Design: DB Studio

Design: Posh Living Interior Design

A bar table was built on top of the platform, offering up an extra eating area for the occupants of this home:

Design: Edge Interior

Hidden behind the TV wall, the cosy corner feels even more private in this living room:

Design: Next Door ID

The platform takes up only a small corner of the room, creating a visually interesting and more vibrant layout:

Design: The 80’s Studio


4. Use it for display and storage 

One can never have too much storage space we think! Use up that extra space you have by incorporating stylish display shelves and sideboards, or build up storage cabinets. Flush against the wall, your living room still appears spacious thanks to that extra space right behind your sofa. Tip: A full-height piece helps to accentuate your ceiling height, while maximising space.

Design: Absolook Interior Design

Design: Key Concept

Design: Uno Interior

Design: Versaform

Design: Free Space Intent

We like the use of freestanding furniture in this living room. The leggy console and nesting tables provide areas for display without taking up a whole lot of space. Area rugs help to delineate the zones and create a cosier setting:

Design: Team Interior Design

In this living room, a narrow drop-leaf table sits right behind the sofa, while a standalone sideboard leans on the wall across from it. The drop-leaf table is mainly used for display, but it can be extended to serve as a study when needed:

Design: The 80’s Studio


5. Change up your living room layout

With all that extra space, there’s more room to change up your living room arrangement. Here, the TV console extends the length of the windows, doubling as a bay window seat:

Design: The 80’s Studio

A long tufted bench runs across the windows in this living room, serving as extra seating for both the dining area and the living room. The console wall is built on the other side, which helps to block the view from the main entrance into the living room as well.

Design: Jubilee Interior


6. Create an elongated living room

Extra space = extra-long living room! Keeping that “suggested study” area bare does create a more spacious zone, and will make your flat feel a lot bigger and less cluttered. Plus, it gives you a good excuse to get that extra inch on your TV display that you’ve been wanting to get for a true home cinema experience.

Design: Absolook Interior Design

Design: Meter Cube

Tip: Large rugs can help to define and anchor your extended living room, so that your furniture won’t appear like they are “floating”.

Design: Starry Homestead

Design: The Two Big Guys


7. Close it up (without concrete)

Rather than close up your extra space with concrete walls, use the following dividers instead. They offer greater privacy, yet still retains enough versatility so that you can have the freedom to use the area in a multifunctional way.

A half wall, with the top half encased in black-framed glass panels:

Design: Fifth Avenue Interior 

A full glass wall:

Design: Distinct Identity

A perforated divider:

Design: Dots N Tots

A bi-fold divider that can be left opened or closed:

Design: Space Atelier


BONUS: Turn it into a studio apartment?

Here’s an idea we spotted designed by Fifth Avenue Interior. The living room now shares a space with the bedroom. We aren’t sure if this studio-esque concept will float anyone’s boat, but it’s interesting enough that we can see it happening with couples who have no plans for children, or individuals staying alone. The great thing about it is that it leaves your other rooms for more important things like your extensive clothes collection.

The mirror wall is ingenious as it creates the illusion of a really large space. To make it work however, make sure the entrance to your kitchen is sealed off properly from the rest of your living room/bedroom space!

What will you do with your extra space? Let us know in the comments below! 


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