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How to Arrange Your BTO Kitchen, Living Room and Dining Room

There’s nothing more exciting than starting your home renovation from a blank slate, which is what a BTO flat essentially is. While the design possibilities are slightly more limiting because of the restrictive space, your flat doesn’t have to look generic.

We’ve put together a few BTO configurations you can go for, playing around with the communal spaces in a home—the kitchen, living room and dining room. Get inspired from our ideas for the 3-, 4- and 5-room flats, change things around to suit you, and start planning your dream space.

Disclaimer: Numbers aren’t exactly our forte, as much as this article wants to claim otherwise. As such, measurements for appliances and furniture are only an approximation, albeit a pretty good one. Do refer to your own BTO floor plan to make sure your furnishings can fit. We won’t hold any responsibility for wasted time, purchases that cannot be returned, and frustrated feelings.

 

3-Room Layout 1

A typical 3-room BTO layout with an elongated kitchen.

What we propose:

Going with an eat-in kitchen.

  • I would go for an L-shaped kitchen in this layout. A galley style kitchen would be too small, while a one-wall kitchen would be great but it wouldn’t leave enough room for a dining area. An L-shaped layout would also create an efficient work triangle.
  • In this layout, your kitchen counters can go for a depth of about 65cm. The hob and sink can be about 86cm and 50cm in width respectively, while the refrigerator can have a width of approximately 80cm.
  • The living room is centred in this layout, with the sofa (the space can fit at least a 2-seater that has a width of about 180cm) away from the wall. I chose not to squeeze the dining area with the living room, as it would make for a very cramped space.
  • Nesting coffee tables are a worthy investment in this small living room, as they can be “collapsed” to make room for more space. Think also of investing in other multifunctional furniture.
  • The dining area (possible to fit a 150cm x 90cm table as well as four chairs) sits right outside the open concept kitchen, essentially creating an eat-in kitchen that makes it more efficient when serving meals.

Bi-fold doors in the kitchen keep the cooking fumes away from the rest of the communal space.

Design: Happe Design Atelier

 

3-Room Layout 2

This 3-room BTO has a boxy-shaped kitchen.

What we propose:

To prevent the lengthy living room from looking awkward, break up the visual space and avoid leaning your sofa against the wall.

  • This BTO layout only works with a galley or one-wall kitchen. The former would create countertop space for food prep. Depth for kitchen countertops would be approximately 58cm.
  • Depending on how you use your kitchen, decide where you want to place your hob, sink and refrigerator. You might want to place them all within a single row to free up a large countertop space that can be used for baking or placing smaller appliances like a rice cooker and coffee machine. Or you could go for a ‘work triangle’ layout as illustrated above. In this case, it makes sense to have the refrigerator next to the sink since you might want to wash your ingredients first before using them. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what permutation you go with.
  • Good news if you’re looking to get a larger dining table, as the dining area can just about fit a table with a 180cm width and a 90cm depth. The small space works best with an extendable dining table however so that it can be folded up when there’s no need for such a large table, freeing up walking space.
  • There’s enough room in the long and narrow living room to place a console behind the couch. I like this better than having the sofa against the wall as it helps to break up the too-long length of the living room. The console can provide a display for your things, or it can serve as extra storage room.

Incorporating a console at the back of the sofa provides room for display.

Design: The 80’s Studio

 

4-Room Layout 1

In this 4-room BTO layout, there’s more room to play around with the kitchen configuration.

What we propose:

A design perfect for entertaining.

  • In this 4-room BTO layout, the household shelter lies outside the kitchen so there’s actually more room to play around with the kitchen configuration. You can opt for an L-shaped layout with a peninsula, like the one I illustrated above, and have the dining table joined with the peninsula counter.
  • This kitchen layout maximises countertop space, while creating the perfect zone for entertaining and hosting.
  • There are some kitchen variations to consider: Skip the L-shaped and go for one-wall plus island. If you’re considering a closed concept kitchen, you might want to go with a galley layout.
  • The dining area fits the space outside the kitchen. In the layout illustrated above, I went with a custom-built, counter-height table to flush with the peninsula. You can go with a normal table height for your dining table though. The space can fit a 160 or 180cm wide table.
  • In the living room, fit a full-height storage along the longer wall length and place your TV on the same side. More storage can be built along the wall of the household shelter.

Join your dining table with a small island or a peninsula for a perfect entertaining and hosting space.

Design: Design NEU

A custom-built storage cum TV unit provides ample storage. Do up a sliding feature to hide either the TV or the shelves when not in used.

Design: The Local Inn.terior

 

4-Room Layout 2

With the household shelter located within the kitchen in this 4-room BTO plan, kitchen configurations become slightly limited.

What we propose:

An open or closed galley style kitchen works best for this 4-room layout.

  • Because the household shelter lies inside the kitchen, there are fewer ways you can manipulate your kitchen’s configuration. In this layout, I opted for an open galley (you can do closed or semi-open) kitchen, which makes the most sense in terms of maximising space as well as ensuring an efficient kitchen layout.
  • The refrigerator, hob and sink are all located along one wall, with the other side of the counter reserved for food prep or the display of smaller kitchen appliances. The open concept results in a casual bar/breakfast corner.
  • The dining area features a round table, rather than a typical rectangle one as I wanted to ensure a smoother flow of the traffic around the spaces.
  • In the living room, the sofa faces the windows. The TV sits atop a low console so as to not block out the ventilation and sunlight coming through. This arrangement helps to anchor the living area as the main zone in the home, but it’s not for everybody. If your flat comes with the morning or western sun coming through the windows of your living room, the glare might not make for a comfortable TV viewing experience.

Instead of going fully open concept, consider this semi-open kitchen idea that marries the best of both worlds.

Design: Lemonfridge Studio

Positioning the TV console against the windows helps to centre the living room in this layout without blocking of the ventilation and daylight coming through.

Design: The 80’s Studio

 

5-Room Layout 1

The suggested study and living room in this 5-room plan lies in the same space, effectively creating an extra large communal area.

What we propose:

The living and dining areas sit together in an open space.

  • With a larger flat, there’s more room to play around with the layout in your BTO flat. Here’s a typical 5-room BTO layout with the household shelter located outside the kitchen. In this layout, you can go for a generous sized kitchen island that is approximately 200cm by 90cm. Have the sink located on the island so that there’s an efficient work triangle configuration. Also, make sure there’s at least an 80 to 90cm wide passageway on both sides of the island.
  • Bar stools by the island turn it into cosy breakfast nook or a workspace. Do remember to include an overhang for knee room.
  • The living and dining room sit together in an open-plan space. Create a bay window seating area for more storage room and more flexible seating, useful if you tend to entertain often.
  • In this layout, the dining table can go pretty long although when purchasing the table, make sure it can fit into your BTO elevators. The same goes for the sofa.

Remember to include an overhang on your island if you’re converting it into a sit-in space.

Design: Design 4 Space

Two separate zones in this open space are marked by different tiles designs on the flooring. The living room is clad in concrete-like tiles, while the dining area features patterned tiles.

Design: The Scientist

 

5-Room Layout 2

The study area in this 5-room BTO layout lies near the entrance of the home. One of the bedrooms is also kept at the opposite end of this flat.

What we propose:

A full-height storage unit in the living room hides the entryway into one of the bedrooms. In the kitchen, a half-wall glass panel creates a little privacy for the kitchen from the view of the entrance.

  • This 5-room BTO layout is slightly less common, although we’ve seen it in several developments such as Northshore Residences as well as Waterfront @ Northshore. The suggested study area is separated from the living room space and is located close to the kitchen and the entrance of the home. One of the common bedrooms is also located at the opposite side of the home, away from the other rooms.
  • The open kitchen features an L-shaped layout. Incorporating a half glass panel helps to block the view of the kitchen from prying neighbours without having to sacrifice daylight.
  • I placed a round dining table in between the kitchen and living room. The area can also fit a rectangle table, although the entrance into the kitchen might be a little bit of a squeeze if you decide to go for rectangle.
  • The living room has a full-height storage unit where the TV is also located. It stretches all the way to Bedroom 1’s door, hiding it from view and thereby creating a more seamless look to the space.

Hiding the entryway into the bedroom with full-height shelves.

Design: Icon Interior Design

A glass panel lends privacy to the kitchen without blocking off the entry of light.

Design: Fineline Design

*All BTO floor plan maps courtesy of HDB.

Are we missing your BTO layout? Let us know in the comments!

 


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