Living in a rental apartment in Singapore – or a house? Here are some great buying tips on how to choose modular furniture and portable décor that can adapt and move with you!
The transient life of an expat means that when you uproot your family for the next adventure, you also have to uproot your furniture and décor. Many of us have first-hand experience of this – and sometimes with disastrous results! Badly or cheaply made furniture can fall apart, and often pieces have to go because they just don’t fit with the next home, be it aesthetically or spatially.
We asked CAROLINE CHIN GEYLER, founder and creative director of Arete Culture, for her top tips for those who want to invest in their rental apartment while ensuring their style is future-proof and portable.
#1 Choose standalone furniture
Buying built-ins for your rental apartment can offer additional storage if you stay in a small space. But they don’t provide any portability when it comes to moving. Begin collecting well-made, standalone pieces instead. Choose solid wood over MDF, for instance, or a dining table with an extendable top to accommodate changing needs.
#2 Opt for classic styles and materials
I recommend timeless styles like a classic leather sofa or Shaker-style furniture that works with different design aesthetics. Avoid overly trendy or niche pieces, like a curved, boucle-upholstered sofa, that may quickly go out of style.
#3 Make it multi-functional
Poufs, ottomans and accent chairs can be used in different areas of the home, allowing you to re-use them whether you upsize or downsize your home. In smaller spaces, an ottoman can double as a coffee table. Or a dining bench can work as additional living room seating.
#4 Look for modular furniture
While you want to be able to disassemble and put together furniture for easy moving, avoid pieces that have parts that are too small and which can get lost in the shuffle. I recommend modular systems with basic disassembly (removable legs, for example). Modular sofas, shelving systems and storage units make smart, future-proof investments since they can be customised to various layouts.
#5 Splurge on what you can take with you
Accessories, rugs, artwork, lighting – these small touches turn a house into a home, and can always be re-styled in different rooms. Can’t wallpaper your rental apartment? Invest in high-impact art or mirror panels that will never go out of style.
#6 Work within a colour palette
When you stick to a strict colour palette, you ensure a cohesive design flow throughout the home, even if you have to move pieces to different rooms in future. Are you a fan of colour? Keep colour to accent pieces and décor, and choose neutral tones for key furniture for longevity.
This article on buying décor for your rental apartment in Singapore first appeared in the August 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe so you never miss a copy!
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