This fun spin on interior design blossomed from the couple’s love for vibrant colours, designer furniture and quirky objects.

A couple embraces maximalism with bold colours, shapes, and textures in their three-room HDB flat.

Bright, bold and cosy, this flat in Queenstown epitomises YanKai and Rachael, who love art and colours. Interestingly, the couple, both civil servants, had almost gone down the minimalist road with another designer.

Not long after, they realised that, although the style was appealing, they could no longer picture themselves living in a minimalist or Japandi home.

Who lives here: A couple in their 20s and 30s, and their cat
Home: 3-room HDB resale flat in Queenstown
Size: 893 sq ft (82 sqm)
Interior design: Insight.Out Studio

The Invisible table from Kartell complements the Vitra pink Panton chairs and creates a sense of space in the dining area.
The Invisible table from Kartell complements the Vitra pink Panton chairs and creates a sense of space in the dining area.

Maximalist Interior Design

For one, they were uncertain if they could maintain a neat home. The couple also noticed they gravitated towards maximalism.

“We wanted to feature all sorts of odd shapes, bright colours and contrasting textures, which wouldn’t work with the Japandi vision the initial designer planned for us,” says Rachael.

YanKai adds, “So we were looking for a designer that could help us make sense of our maximalist madness and to work with the fixed elements and design themes we had in mind.” Their search for a new designer led to Insight.Out.

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Designer furnishings such as the String Furniture shelves, HAY Slit coffee table, &Tradition Utzon JU1 Brass lamp and Kartell accessories add to the creative vibe.
Designer furnishings such as the String Furniture shelves, HAY Slit coffee table, &Tradition Utzon JU1 Brass lamp and Kartell accessories add to the creative vibe.

Choosing an interior design style

That said, the couple did not jump right in.

Explaining that the couple initially wanted a mid-century modern home with minimalist lines, interior designer Mandy Low says, “The initial brief when we met was a completely different concept from what we ended up with. In the beginning, an earthy palette as the base canvas with splashes of rich colours found in the mid-century for a timeless yet filled with character home was the idea.”

Aside from mixing colours, the homeowners love to play with shapes, creating a dynamic space. A rich, velvet red Païpaï sofa from Ligne Roset anchors the living area.
Aside from mixing colours, the homeowners love to play with shapes, creating a dynamic space. A rich, velvet red Païpaï sofa from Ligne Roset anchors the living area.

As they moved along the interior design stage, Mandy realised that the wood-dominated palette did not fit the couple. The couple’s vision for their home was becoming clearer, but having a spectrum of colours and contrasting shapes can overwhelm a space.

Mandy and her team integrated the colour combinations and interior design ideas with comfort in mind. The couple opted to overhaul the entire flat as this is a HDB resale unit.

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The couple’s growing collection of memorabilia, books, vinyl, art and décor pieces, and plants give the home a vibrant and dynamic feel.
The couple’s growing collection of memorabilia, books, vinyl, art and décor pieces, and plants give the home a vibrant and dynamic feel.

HDB Resale Flat

The flat was the first and only unit the couple viewed, a serendipitous find that they loved for the quiet neighbourhood, lush greenery and city skyline. One of the flat’s strengths is the full-height windows that bring in plenty of natural light.

Describing their cat as “the most well-behaved cat”, the couple felt confident to buy what they love without worrying about them getting damaged.
Describing their cat as “the most well-behaved cat”, the couple felt confident to buy what they love without worrying about them getting damaged.

Its minimal structural walls also offer flexibility for reconfiguration. At first thought, these pluses might make up for its weakness: the compact floor area of 893 sq ft.

Even with the spectrum of colours, the living area feels spacious.
Even with the spectrum of colours, the living area feels spacious.

Bold Colours

The plan was also to knock down one bedroom, creating a more spacious dining area where they could host their friends and family.

This move also created more room for the couple’s collection of arts, plants, books and vinyl records, primarily housed on the String shelves in the living area.

Colours abound in the foyer, from the brightly coloured doors to the blue sideboard and striped rug.
Colours abound in the foyer, from the brightly coloured doors to the blue sideboard and striped rug.

The collection of things contributes to the riot of colours in the living area that awaits upon stepping into the home.

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The couple used the door to the household shelter, near the main entrance, as a place to hang their often-used bags, making them a part of the decor.
The couple used the door to the household shelter, near the main entrance, as a place to hang their often-used bags, making them a part of the decor.

Bold foyer design

The foyer, with the viridian green main door and orange household shelter door, gives a taste of what is to come.

Given the bold use of colours, the couple opted for cement screed flooring that serves as a neutral yet visually textured base.

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The orange handles, sourced from the kids’ section in Ikea, add a surprising and playful touch to the kitchen.
The orange handles, sourced from the kids’ section in Ikea, add a surprising and playful touch to the kitchen.

Bold kitchen design

After exploring a few colour schemes for the kitchen, the interior design team selected light blue laminates.

They were then matched with bright orange semicircle handles sourced from IKEA. Glossy black granite countertops add a bold touch to the customised kitchen.

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A mural wallpaper, “Kingfisher” by Flor Chedufau, pulls the tropical concept together.
A mural wallpaper, “Kingfisher” by Flor Chedufau, pulls the tropical concept together.

Powder room design

Rachael and YanKai were used to living in larger flats and found the lack of space challenging.

YanKai shares, “We made the difficult choice to convert one bathroom into a powder room, and the other into a shower-only bathroom so that we could have a more spacious shower, and the double vanity we had envisioned for the powder room.”

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The powder room features pigeon knobs, brown terracotta-like floor tiles, a terrazzo countertop and a double vanity. Notable here is the mirror, modified with a hanging rod so that it can be placed in front of the windows.
The powder room features pigeon knobs, brown terracotta-like floor tiles, a terrazzo countertop and a double vanity. Notable here is the mirror, modified with a hanging rod so that it can be placed in front of the windows.

Yellow powder room

Like the shared spaces, the bathrooms and bedroom were splashed in colour. The powder room is awash in a sunny yellow. Red is the main colour for the master bedroom.

The couple wanted to recreate a pool for the master bathroom. They chose white tiles for the walls to avoid overwhelming the space.

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With the selection of electric hues, the internal doors are painted in analogous colours to create a harmonious look.
With the selection of electric hues, the internal doors are painted in analogous colours to create a harmonious look.

Master bedroom wardrobe

As for space planning, Mandy segregated the master bedroom into two with the wardrobe placement.

The shower-only bathroom in the master bedroom takes on the colours of a pool. Niches were built into the space for a clean and streamlined design.
The shower-only bathroom in the master bedroom takes on the colours of a pool. Niches were built into the space for a clean and streamlined design.

Mandy shares, “The thought behind it was to minimise disturbance when one is in bed and the other is needed to work late or get ready earlier than the other. LED light was even added to the wardrobe internal compartment to avoid having the downlight turned on.”

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Like the other spaces, a striped rug was also chosen for the master bedroom.
Like the other spaces, a striped rug was also chosen for the master bedroom.

4 Month renovation

After a 4-month renovation period, the couple moved into their home in June 2022.

Rachael says, “The space also really helps to take away the stress of a workday, with how cheery and cosy it is. The fact that the house has almost every colour of the palette allows us to change up the fittings and decor quite easily to keep things fresh. Everything matches!”

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