Renovating a small Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat’s toilet in Singapore can be a challenging endeavor due to the limited space and specific regulations that apply to HDB flats.
If you think you’re limited by the type of house you live in, think again! With some creative space planning, clever use of furniture, and the right finishing touches, your HDB bathroom can look bright and spacious too.
HDB Toilet Renovation: 8 Things to consider
Before you embark on your HDB toilet renovation, here are some of the possible challenges you may face. Might as well start thinking about them before you hack those tiles and walls!
- HDB Regulations: You must adhere to HDB’s guidelines and regulations for renovation. These regulations include restrictions on hacking load-bearing walls and limitations on altering the plumbing layout, which can affect the design and layout of the toilet.
- Storage Solutions: In small bathrooms, finding adequate storage solutions can be challenging. Consider built-in cabinets, wall-mounted shelves, and over-the-toilet storage to keep the area organized.
- Ventilation and Lighting: Proper ventilation is essential to prevent moisture-related issues like mold and mildew. Adequate lighting is also crucial in a small space to make it feel more spacious and comfortable.
- Plumbing and Electrical Work: Renovations often involve plumbing and electrical work. Ensure that you hire licensed professionals to handle these aspects, as improper installation can lead to costly issues down the line.
- Waterproofing: Proper waterproofing is critical in a bathroom to prevent water damage. This includes waterproofing the floor, walls, and areas around fixtures like the toilet and shower.
- Material Selection: Choose materials that are suitable for a bathroom environment and easy to maintain. Tiles, for example, are a popular choice for bathroom walls and floors due to their durability and water resistance.
- Permit and Approval: Depending on the extent of the renovation, you may need to obtain permits or approvals from HDB or relevant authorities. Be sure to check the requirements and comply with them.
- Accessibility: If there are elderly or disabled residents in the household, consider incorporating features like grab bars and an accessible shower for their safety and comfort.
Above all, think about the long-term impact of your renovation on the flat’s resale value. While personalizing the space is essential, overly customized designs may limit your market when you decide to sell.
Can I box up or conceal HDB toilet pipes?
The answer is yes – you can box up and conceal your HDB toilet pipes (plumbing only), but you cannot box up the gas pipes in the kitchen.
While hacking into the wall to hide the pipes within is against the rules, using a false wall to conceal the plumbing is fine. Seamless surfaces also mean your bathroom is easier to clean.
“We usually expose all the water pipes before concealing them with a calcium silicate board, which we then overlay with tiles. It is important that the contractor uses this type of board as it is waterproof; gypsum boards won’t hold up in a wet area.
Then, we seal up the entire length of the shower stall to cover any pipes, before installing either a rain shower from the ceiling or from the wall,” says interior designer Arjan Twilhaar of Aiden T.
A shower screen was added in the grey-hued bathroom to separate the wet and dry areas.
HDB Sewage water pipes regulations
If you want to box up the chunky down pipes in your bathroom, HDB requires an access opening of 600mm by 600mm to allow for future inspections and maintenance.
Should you decide to build a false ceiling within the shower area, be sure to use non-combustible and moisture-resistant materials such as calcium silicate, as opposed to plasterboard as they will be ruined within a year. HDB also limits the nails used in the false-ceiling installation to 6mm in diameter and 40mm in penetration depth length.
A wall-mount cabinet under some boxed up HDB sewage pipes.
HDB Toilet height clearance
Similar to the common areas, the minimum height clearance within the bathroom is 2.4 metre, so keep that in mind if you intend to install a false ceiling along with a platform in your shower area.
Another way to conceal the pipes, yet keep them accessible, is by designing built-in cupboards around them. This also results in more storage space.
As for concealing the drainage pipes of air-conditioning units it should not be re-routed into dry areas as condensation often occurs. Directing it through the washroom is possible as the area is securely waterproofed.
Afraid that the sun will be too hot? A brighter bathroom actually looks larger.
Glass gives the illusion of spaciousness. Consider this for an en suite bathroom.
Look at how the mirror next to the sink gives this bathroom depth!
12 HDB Bathroom Design Ideas
Now, not sure which bathroom design style you should go for? Here are some of the most popular HDB bathroom design styles in Singapore:
- Modern Minimalism: This style is characterized by clean lines, a simple color palette, and a clutter-free look. Minimalist bathrooms often feature sleek fixtures, wall-mounted storage, and a focus on functionality. Neutral colors like white, gray, and beige are commonly used.
- Scandinavian: Scandinavian bathrooms emphasize natural light and a sense of airiness. They typically feature light-colored walls, wooden accents, and minimalist decor. This style aims to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere while maintaining a clean, uncluttered look.
- Industrial: Industrial-style bathrooms often incorporate elements like exposed pipes, concrete or brick walls, and metallic fixtures. This style embraces a raw and rugged aesthetic, adding a touch of urban chic to HDB bathrooms.
- Tropical Resort: Inspired by Singapore’s tropical climate, this style incorporates natural materials like wood and stone, along with tropical plants. It aims to create a spa-like ambiance, often featuring open shelving and abundant greenery.
- Japanese Zen: Japanese-inspired bathrooms focus on tranquility and simplicity. They typically include elements like wooden soaking tubs, minimalistic design, and natural materials. Zen-inspired bathrooms promote relaxation and mindfulness.
- Vintage and Retro: Some homeowners opt for a vintage or retro look, incorporating nostalgic elements from the past. This may include retro tile patterns, vintage fixtures, and decor reminiscent of a specific era.
- Mediterranean: Mediterranean-style bathrooms often feature vibrant tiles, colorful mosaic patterns, and ornate fixtures. This style brings a touch of Mediterranean warmth and charm to HDB bathrooms.
- Eclectic: Eclectic bathrooms mix and match various design elements, colors, and materials to create a unique and personalized space. It’s a style that allows for creative expression and often includes a combination of vintage and modern elements.
- Luxurious Spa: For those seeking a spa-like experience at home, luxurious spa bathrooms feature amenities like a rain shower, soaking tub, and high-end fixtures. They prioritize comfort and relaxation, often with a focus on neutral colors and natural materials.
- Nautical: Nautical-themed bathrooms incorporate elements inspired by the sea, such as blue and white color schemes, nautical decor, and maritime accessories. This style is especially popular in coastal areas of Singapore.
- Bohemian (Boho): Bohemian-style bathrooms embrace an eclectic mix of colors, patterns, and textures. They often include handmade or artisanal items, creating a relaxed and free-spirited atmosphere.
- Futuristic: Some homeowners opt for a futuristic or high-tech bathroom design, featuring smart toilets, LED lighting, and cutting-edge fixtures. This style combines modern technology with sleek aesthetics.
Replace your walls with glass doors instead, for an open and brighter space.Interior design by Space Sense
A hotel style bathroom for a 5-room HDB flat in Punggol.Interior design by Akihaus.
This antique dressing drawer was fitted with a stone top and modern-style bathroom sink!Interior design by Blupin I.D
To create contrast against the darker common areas in this 5-room Clementi HDB flat, the bathroom was given a mostly-white look.Interior design by Tld Design
Jazz up your plain bathroom with Moroccan-style tiles.Interior design by D’Haus.
Line motifs and a printed shower screen create a casual and artsy atmosphere in the bathroom.Interior design: The Scientist