Transforming Your Canvas: Design and Layout Guide for Your 5-Room BTO

22 May 2024

For many Singaporeans, securing a coveted Build-to-Order (BTO) flat represents a significant milestone. However, with the excitement of owning your own space comes the challenge of transforming a raw apartment into a functional and stylish home. A 5-room BTO offers more space compared to smaller units, but it still requires thoughtful design and layout planning to maximize its potential. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and inspiration to create a personalized haven that reflects your lifestyle and maximizes the functionality of your 5-room BTO.

Design: More Than Just Aesthetics

Design and layout play a crucial role in shaping the overall experience of your 5-room BTO. While aesthetics are important, a well-designed space goes beyond visual appeal. It should cater to your family’s size and lifestyle needs, ensure seamless functionality, and prioritize safety for all occupants. Consider these factors before embarking on your design journey:

Family Size and Lifestyle:

How many people will be residing in the flat? Do you have young children, work from home, or require dedicated entertainment areas? Understanding your family’s needs will guide your design choices, like prioritizing play areas for children or creating a dedicated workspace.

Budget Constraints:

Set a realistic budget for your renovation and design project. Factor in costs for materials, furniture, contractors (if applicable), and any potential unforeseen expenses. While creating your dream space is important, staying within your budget ensures a smooth and stress-free process.

Safety and Functionality:

Safety should be paramount in your design considerations. Ensure electrical outlets are properly placed and out of reach of children. Opt for rounded furniture edges if you have young kids, and prioritize slip-resistant flooring in bathrooms and kitchens. Functionality goes hand-in-hand with safety. Design your layout to optimize traffic flow and ensure easy access to essential areas.

Spatial Harmony: Design Principles for Optimizing Space

5-room BTOs offer more breathing room compared to smaller units, but maximizing space is still crucial for a comfortable and organized living environment. Here are some key design principles to consider:

Open-concept Layout:

Consider knocking down non-load-bearing walls (with proper approvals) to create an open living area. This fosters a sense of spaciousness and allows for better interaction between family members. Opt for room dividers like bookshelves or shoji screens for areas that require some separation without sacrificing openness.

Multifunctional Furniture:

Embrace furniture that serves multiple purposes, especially in compact spaces. Opt for sofa beds, ottomans with storage compartments, or nesting tables that tuck away when not in use. This allows you to maximize functionality without cluttering the space.

Maximizing Natural Light:

Natural light not only creates a bright and airy atmosphere but also reduces dependence on artificial lighting, saving energy. Keep windows uncluttered and consider installing sheer curtains or blinds to allow ample natural light to flow through your apartment.

A Room-by-Room Guide: Design Inspiration

Let’s delve into specific design suggestions for each room in your 5-room BTO:

Living Room:

  • Furniture Arrangement: Arrange furniture to create conversation areas and ensure a smooth flow of movement. Position the sofa facing the focal point, which could be a TV or a large artwork.
  • Color Scheme and Decor: Opt for light and neutral colors to create a sense of spaciousness. Infuse your personality with pops of color through throw pillows, artwork, or accent furniture.


  • Storage Solutions: Maximize storage with floor-to-ceiling cabinets, pull-out drawers, and under-sink organizers. Utilize vertical space with wall-mounted shelves and utilize corner cabinets with clever storage solutions.
  • Efficient Work Triangle: The work triangle – comprising the refrigerator, sink, and stove – should be well-defined for optimal kitchen efficiency. Analyze your cooking habits and place these elements in a way that minimizes unnecessary movement.


  • Bed Placement: Position the bed against a solid wall and avoid placing it directly under a window. Consider platform beds with built-in storage drawers to maximize space utilization.
  • Storage Options: Utilize wardrobes with sliding doors to save space. Install overhead storage cabinets or utilize the space under the bed with storage containers.


  • Optimal Layout: If possible, consider a separate wet and dry area for increased functionality, especially in multi-user households. This allows one person to shower while another utilizes the sink or toilet.
  • Utilizing Vertical Space: Install wall-mounted vanities and shelves to maximize floor space. Consider using a tall cabinet to store toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Study Room:

  • Desk Placement: Position the desk near a window to benefit from natural light. Ensure the desk faces a wall for optimal focus and minimizes distractions.
  • Creative Storage Ideas: Utilize pegboards or floating shelves for displaying study materials and showcasing personality. Install a bulletin board for reminders and notes. Consider built-in cabinets or a hutch above the desk for additional storage without sacrificing floor space.

Embracing Technology: A Smart Home Advantage

Incorporating smart home technology can enhance the functionality and convenience of your 5-room BTO:

Home Automation Options:

  • Install smart lighting systems that can be controlled remotely or with voice commands.
  • Consider smart thermostats to optimize energy usage and maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Explore smart locks for added security and convenience.

Energy-Efficient Appliances:

Investing in energy-efficient appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners not only saves money on utility bills but also reduces your environmental footprint.

Creating a Comforting Canvas: Aesthetics and Ambiance

 Flooring and Wall Finishes:

Choose flooring materials that suit the functionality of each room. Consider scratch-resistant and water-resistant options for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Opt for light-colored flooring to create a sense of spaciousness.

Wall finishes play a significant role in setting the overall mood. Consider light and neutral paints for a calming effect, or incorporate accent walls with bold colors to add personality. Textured wallpapers can add visual interest while maintaining a sense of spaciousness.

Lighting Design:

A layered lighting approach is key. Utilize recessed lighting for overall illumination, task lighting (like pendant lights over kitchen counters) for specific areas, and accent lighting (like spotlights highlighting artwork) to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Beyond the Walls: Extending Your Living Space

Balcony Design Ideas:

Don’t neglect the balcony! Transform it into a functional extension of your living space. Create a cozy reading nook with comfortable seating and potted plants. Install a small herb garden for fresh ingredients or a foldable table and chairs for enjoying meals outdoors.

Garden or Greenery Options:

Even without a balcony, you can incorporate greenery into your living space. Add indoor plants throughout your apartment to purify the air and create a calming ambiance. Vertical gardens are a space-saving option and add a touch of nature to your walls.

Design on a Budget: Cost-Conscious Tips

Creating your dream space doesn’t require breaking the bank. Here are some budget-friendly tips:

DIY Decor Projects:

Get creative with DIY projects to personalize your space without spending a fortune. Upcycle old furniture pieces with a fresh coat of paint or reupholster them with new fabric. Craft your own artwork or decorative elements to add a personal touch.

Upcycling Furniture:

Instead of buying brand new furniture, consider upcycling pre-loved pieces. Look for vintage finds at flea markets or online platforms. With a little creativity and restoration, you can transform old furniture into unique and stylish additions to your home.

Conclusion: A Space You Own, A Space You Love

By following these 5 room BTO design and layout strategies, you can transform your 5-room BTO from a raw apartment into a personalized and functional haven. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best design reflects your unique lifestyle, needs, and personality. Don’t be afraid to experiment, embrace creativity, and prioritize elements that bring you joy. With careful planning and this guide as your resource, you can create a 5-room BTO that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also perfectly reflects your vision of a comfortable and stylish home.

Ready to transform your 5-room BTO into a masterpiece of design and functionality? Trust Elpis to guide you through this exciting journey with creativity, expertise, and a dedication to realizing your vision. Our experienced team is committed to turning your blank canvas into a stunning home that reflects your unique style and meets your every need.

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