Publication - theSun-ePaper Landing Page


Publication - theSun-ePaper Landing Page
AUGUST 1, 2014
Mood lifting home decor
> Maximise happiness with interior decor
OR many, home is where we spend a great deal of time. Whether we realise it or not, our
living environment has some control over our moods and feelings , and can even affect
one’s happiness to some degree.
Interior designers have long understood how certain aspects of a home, such as
lighting and wall colour, can affect mood. Numerous studies have been conducted to back this
claim. As a homeowner, take advantage of this valuable piece of information and start
incorporating decor choices that not only beautify your home, but maximise your level
of happiness.
“The process does not have to be complicated. Even simple changes can make a big
difference in lifting your mood and changing your attitude,” says interior designer Lauren Lim.
Here are five simple ways to revise interiors and boost your mood.
Do you know that flowers are potent mood boosters? According to a
behavioural study by Harvard University, a group of participants who described
themselves as being “least positive” in the morning, reportedly felt happier and
more energetic in the early hours after they looked at flowers in the morning.
For the study, flowers were placed in the room that participants frequented the most in
the morning.
So, take a cue, and for a quick boost of positive energy, keep a vase of your favourite
blooms on your kitchen counter, desk or nightstand.
Light is another amazing
mood booster and nothing
beats natural sunlight in this
aspect. So, if you can afford
getting skylights, well and
good. Otherwise, strip your windows of
any thick, dark drapes and switch to
sheers to maximise the amount of
sunlight in the home.
During the night, artificial lights can
work too. “For rooms like the home
office and kitchen, where people want
to stay alert, use high-powered white
ceiling lights. Whereas for the living and
bedrooms, where you want to create an
intimate and relaxed mood, go for
warm lighting, preferably with floor or
table lamps for a gentler effect rather
than harsh overhead lights,” says Lim.
Colour can evoke many moods. It has the power to relax, invigorate and
even increase appetite. But just because a certain colour is associated
with a particular emotion, it not necessarily has to have the same impact
on you or everyone else.
The truth is, a person’s reaction to a colour is often deeply rooted. For
example, as a child, you may have grown up watching your dad cook in a green
coloured kitchen. Therefore, as an adult, you may find yourself feeling happiest
cooking in a similar hued space because it evokes those fond memories.
“You can follow colour trends but based on experience, the best way to
benefit from a colour is to sit back and think about what a colour brings out in
you,” says Lim. “Do you feel upbeat in a red room? Does being in a purple room
make you calm?”
Though you may not automatically realise the
link between texture and mood, think about
how happy you feel when you change into a
comfortable, cotton t-shirt when you get home
or how relaxed you are, covered in a soft blanket on a cold
night. Texture makes us feel a certain way. The more
comfortable an item is to your touch, the better you will feel
when you interact with it.
“Whether it is your furniture or flooring, don’t just go
for things that look nice. Go for items that feel right to you
when you touch them as well,” says Lim. “Your leather
may look great but if you get hot and sticky after sitting
on it for two hours, it is very likely that it will affect your
mood,” she adds.
Suggested room colours and
their effect on moods
• Living room
Lavender - Relaxing
Green - Encourages feeling of tranquility
• Home office
Blue - Productive
Orange - Increases energy
The shape of your furniture is definitely
something you should consider. According
to neuro-architecture, the human brain
tends to find things with curves to be
calming, a stress-reliever, compared to things with
rough edges.
When you have
many straight, hard
edges in furniture,
you tend to feel
anxious, whereas a
slightly curved couch
or a wooden table
with the curves left
in the design, can
help you slow down
and relax.
Aromatherapy as mood boosters
In a 2013 survey by US fashion
retailer HomeGoods:
Infuse your living spaces with these
essential oils for a more positive mood
93% of participants felt that the
decor of their home could positively
or negatively affect their mood.
• Basil - Lifts fatigue
• Dining room
Yellow - Increases appetite
Light brown - Calming
99% of participants felt that simple
updates to the interior décor could
make them happier.
• Kitchen
Light blue - Soothing effect
Beige - Increases concentration
39% felt that a change in the colour
palette would have the most
positive impact on their moods.
• Bedroom
Pink - Calming
Purple - Regal
46% felt that better lighting could
improve their moods.
• Ylang-ylang - Relaxes the mind
• Clary Sage - Lessens anxiety
• Sandalwood - Relieves tension
• Jasmine - Increases alertness
• Lavender - Reduces tension and
stress-related conditions
• Peppermint - Uplifting and
increases concentration
• Chamomile - Provides mental clarity
AUGUST 8, 2014
Affordable homes
> Stimulating the economy by facilitating home ownership
HE Malaysian housing industry
has also evolved over time.
Pursued by rising costs and
inflation, demand has increased
for affordable housing and residential
estates which cater to middle and lowerincome families. The government is
driving selected developers to address
this issue. For affordable housing will
also improve the common man’s
lifestyle, ultimately stimulating the
national economy.
Low-cost housing was available since
the implementation of the First Malaysia
Plan (1966-1970). There have been many
housing policies and plans established –
pre and post independence. While in the
early years, the main concern was to
simply provide cheap housing as a
basic social need, many housing and
economic policies have been drawn up
since, each conceived on a variety of
different rationales and principles.
The National Housing Policy (NHP)
was launched in Feb 2011. It was
established in accordance with the
direction of the 10th Malaysia Plan
(10MP). The NHP comes under the
purview of the Ministry of Housing and
Local Government (MHLG). Its goal is
to provide adequate, comfortable,
quality and affordable housing to
enhance the sustainability of the
quality of life of the people.
The key objectives of the NHP are:
• to provide adequate and quality housing with
comprehensive facilities and a conducive
• to enhance the capability and accessibility of
the people to own or rent houses; and
• to establish future direction to ensure the
sustainability of the housing sector.
To help achieve these objectives, six thrusts
were formulated:
Thrust 1: Provision of Adequate Housing
Based on the Specific Needs of Target Groups
Thrust 2: Improving the Quality and
Productivity of Housing Development
Thrust 3: Increasing the Effectiveness of
Implementation and Ensuring Compliance of
the Housing Service DeliverySystem
Thrust 4: Improving the Capability of the
People to Own and Rent Houses
Thrust 5: Sustainability of the Housing
Thrust 6: Enhancing the Level of
Social Amenities, Basic Services and
Liveable Environment.
The government has introduced several
strategies and programmes to encourage home
ownership across the spectrum of income
brackets and societal segments.
An excerpt from the NHP states that:
Housing is a basic need and in line with
“shelter for all”, the government will strive
to ensure that every person can own or rent a
house. Nevertheless, housing needs for the
low-income group, who earn a monthly
household income of less than RM2,500 are
still not adequate. Hence, the government and
the private sector need to continue providing
affordable houses for sale or rental, especially
for the low-income group, and also the
disabled, senior citizens and single mothers.
The private sector is also encouraged to
develop medium-cost houses to fulfill the
needs of the middle-income group with a
monthly household income of RM2,500 to
To help improve the ability of the people
to own or rent a house, the government has
outlined three policy statements in the NHP.
• 4.1 – Setting prices for low-cost houses as
well as controlling ownership and sales
to avoid speculation;
• 4.2 – setting a realistic rental rate for lowcost houses; and
• 4.3 – providing financial support for the
low-income group in order to
own houses.
There are a few
adopted schemes
that have been
established to
accommodate the
need for low-cost
houses. One such,
in line with the 10th
Malaysia Plan, is the
People’s Housing
(PPR). This scheme
catered to provide
low-cost homes built by
the MHLG. These
residences were about 700 sf and
consisted of three bedrooms and two
baths, a kitchen, tiled floors and an
area for drying clothes. Facilities such
as community halls, children’s
playgrounds, kindergartens, shops,
stalls, suraus and other public places
for residents to enjoy enhanced and
healthy living were included in the
area. Under this programme, 65
housing projects were delivered, for
sale and/or rent, throughout the
nation, right up to Sabah and Sarawak.
These homes were catered to families
earning less than RM2,500 a month.
They were built mainly to provide
squatters with permanent homes
that were more comfortable,
relaxed and in a healthier
environment, and to raise the level of
Malaysian society in line with the
government’s vision 2020.
Since 2010, the government has been urging
the private sector to build more
low and low/medium-cost homes to
accommodate lower-income groups. It aims to
provide Malaysians of all income levels the
ability to own a home, apart from
enhancing the lifestyles of the urban
population. A press statement released by the
National Housing Department (Jabatan
Perumahan Negara -JPN) under the Ministry of
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local
Government (Kementerian Kesejahteraan
Bandar, Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan)
reported that the MyHome Scheme launched on
Apr 1, 2014 has since received 51,859 applications
requesting for low-cost houses in these areas:
Today, the criteria for eligibility in owning
or renting a low-cost house have been revised
in accordance with the growing economy and
advanced times. Follow our column in the
coming weeks about the various affordable
home schemes and programmes available.
X Please email your feedback and queries
to: [email protected]
Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya, Klang, Ampang and Kajang
Pulau Pinang
Georgetown, Jelutong, Bukit Mertajam, Bayan Lepas and Bayan Baru
Wilayah Persekutuan
Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya
Alor Setar, Sungai Petani and Kulim
Johor Bahru, Skudai, Pasir Gudang, Gelang Patah and Muar
Under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), the National Key Results
Areas (NKRA) intends to “raise living standards of low-income households” and
“improve rural basic infrastructure”. Drastic steps have been executed to overcome
housing problems, especially for the poor and ultra-poor.
These include:
(i) Providing assistance to increase house ownership by offering 44,000 units of existing
low-cost houses for sale or rent through the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the
National Housing Department (JPN);
(ii) Providing 50,000 units of new and rehabilitated houses for the urban poor and
hardcore poor by 2012, two-thirds of which will be in Sabah and Sarawak;
(iii) Ensuring only eligible recipients receive housing aid. Recipients are identified by
district or state agencies through the e-Kasih portal, which is a national database for
capturing data on low-income households; and
(iv) Offering financial assistance for initial deposits, legal fees and low-interest loans for
the low-income households who are not recipients of or do not purchase public lowcost houses.
[Retrieved from National Housing Policy (NHP)]
AUGUST 15, 2014
Affordable homes
> Examining the demand-supply factors and obstacles
SCALATING living costs and a wider
compass of wants and needs have
caused the once crucial primary
concern of buying a home to move
down the priority ladder. In fact, it is very
rare, especially among the current younger
generation, to own a house.
Then again, there are those like Jovan
Tang, married to Cassandra Paul. A
generation Y couple with a newborn, whose
priority on tying the knot, was to buy a home.
Between the two who represent part of the
work force, they share their plight having
spent months seeking to purchase a
reasonably priced “roof” over their heads.
“Both Cassie and I work in Petaling Jaya.
We heard about the many affordable housing
schemes and homes for first-time buyers.
Our combined incomes just about exceeded
the eligibility criteria. Moreover, most of
the residences under these schemes are
located in areas that are inconvenient to
us,” said Tang. With that, we explore some
of the affordable housing schemes, concepts
and programmes, their product price and
range, location, specs and space and criteria
for eligibility.
Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad
known as SPNB was established in 1997
and is a wholly-owned subsidiary under the
finance ministry. It was set up to provide
quality affordable homes for Malaysian
families, in line with the objectives of the
National Housing Policy (NHP). Under this
plan, the Rumah Mampu Milik Programme
and Rumah Mesra Rakyat Programme were
devised and implemented, providing the
lower-income segment of society a chance to
own comfortable homes. Another housing
programme under SPNB is the
Program Perumahan Rakyat
(PPR), introduced by the
Federal Government, which
was established to assist
tsunami victims in Malaysia
and Acheh, and those
requiring resettlement having
lived in flood-prone areas as
well as squatters.
according to the rules set by the state
government. One needs to register with
the state office or personally visit the nearest
state office to fill out an application form.
Three important criteria for eligibility are:
1) Malaysian citizen aged between 21 and 50;
2) Does not own a home or possess any land
big enough for a house to be constructed
on in Malaysia; and
3) Total household income not exceeding
(ii) Rumah Mesra Rakyat 1Malaysia
There are various house types offered under
this scheme. These include:
• 3-bedroom houses of 1,000 sq ft
• 2+1-bedroom houses of 850 sq ft
• 2-bedroom houses of 700 sq ft
Eligibility criteria to own one of these homes:
Malaysian citizen between the ages of 18 and
60; monthly personal income of between
RM750 and RM3,000; does not own a house
or land measuring 3,700 sq ft or more;
depending on bank loan approval.
(iii) Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR)
This scheme was introduced in 1998 and
offered housing built by the Malaysian
Housing and Local Government (MHLG).
It was aimed at providing homes for families
earning less than RM2,500 a month. The
programme was basically catered to benefit
squatters, to be able to live in permanent
homes (through purchase or rental) that
were more comfortable and in a healthier
environment. The PPR housing units offer
3-bedroom flats and come with facilites such
as community halls, children’s playgrounds,
kindergartens, shops, stalls, a surau, carparking bays and other public spaces that
(i) Rumah Mampu Milik
Houses under this programme
consists of low-cost, medium/
low-cost and medium-cost
houses. Purchase of houses
under this scheme is open to
all who meets the criteria
700 sq ft
From RM 35,000
From RM 50,000
750 sq ft
From RM 50,000
From RM 50,000
800 sq ft and above
From RM 80,000
From RM 100,000
** Rumah Mampu Milik ** Terms and conditions apply and prices vary according to states and locations.
enhance the quality of life. Todate, there have
been about 65 housing projects launched for
rent, spread throughout Perlis, Kedah, Perak,
Penang, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Johor,
Sabah, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur; and
23 projects for sale, all located in Pahang.
There are currently 21 more projects on-going
in various stages of implementation.
(iv) Program Rumah Idaman Rakyat
Under this scheme propelled by the prime
minister, in line with the NHP, 3,000 housing
units are to be built this year. Prices will be
far lower than that offered by private
developing companies. Basic eligibility
requirements include:
• Malaysian citizen aged 21 and above;
• Personal income of RM7,500 or less;
• Household income not exceeding
RM10,000; and
• Preference given to first-time home
owners, people with disabilities and
single mothers.
This scheme offers residential units
comprising bungalows, terraced and
detached houses, apartments, as well as
shop lots. Prices of these housing units range
from RM70,000 to RM250,000. The shop lots
are priced below RM100,000. These units will
be available across the nation, even in Sabah
and Sarawak. Those interested can log onto
the official website for more
information and fill up the application form.
(v) Skim Mudah Milik
This housing scheme does not just offer lowincome earners a chance to purchase their
own home but with a low down-payment of
merely RM250. Houses under this scheme
consists of low, medium-low and mediumcost units below RM100,000. The beauty of
this scheme is that applicants can use their
monies from Account 2 of their Employees
Provident Fund to make their purchase. For
more information, log onto the
official website.
This scheme was established by the
government to assist “government servants”
to own homes of good quality. Under this
initiative launched by the prime minister in
2013, more than 10,000 houses were built
within the Putrajaya area. These were priced
between RM150,000 and RM300,000 and
measured between 1,000 and 1,500 sq ft.
Basic eligibility conditions included:
Malaysian citizen; priority given to
households earning less than RM8,000; open
to civil servants and federal government
employees; precedence given to those
working in Putrajaya; and those with no
bankruptcy order filed against them. Lots
were ballotted and results of successful
applicants for its final Phase 4 residences
were announced at the end of June.
Follow our column next week for more
information on affordable homes and housing
schemes under PKNS and PR1MA.
X Please email your feedback and queries
to: [email protected]
AUGUST 22, 2014
Affordable homes
> Reviewing budget-friendly PR1MA and PKNS projects
FFORDABLE housing was not left out
in the 2014 Malaysian Budget. Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul
Razak assured the rakyat that he
would increase accessibility to home
ownership by increasing the supply of
affordable houses (roughly 20% below market
price). He also mentioned the intended
construction of around 223,000 units of new
affordable houses in 2014. These projects will
be handled by both the government and
private sectors.
Besides the housing schemes and
programmes detailed last week, here are two
more of note.
PR1MA stands for Projek Perumahan Rakyat 1
Malaysia. This initiative was established
under the PR1MA Act 2012, “to plan, develop,
construct and maintain high-quality housing
with lifestyle concepts for middle-income
households in key urban centres.” The
scheme was officially launched by Najib in
July 2011. It is managed by a corporation under
the Prime Minister’s Department. The
corporation is led by its chairman Tan Sri Dr
Jamaludin Jarjis and CEO Datuk Abdul
Mutalib Alias, along with other members and
a key management team.
Under PR1MA, is an affordable housing
scheme offering various house types of
different sizes built within integrated
communities, designed to suit different
household needs. These homes are sold at
between RM100,000 and RM400,000 and are
open to all Malaysians earning a monthly
household income (individual or combined)
of between RM2,500 and RM7,500. Applicants
must be aged 21 or above, single or married,
and must own no more than one property
individually or together with their spouse.
Houses under this scheme include freehold as
well as leasehold property, depending on the
land proprietor for each PR1MA development
project. There are no registration charges or
fees during application. There are also no
third parties representing PR1MA. All houses
under this scheme are not allowed to be sold
for 10 years, to be owner occupied and not
rented out.
PR1MA homes are available in these
states: Johor, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Kedah,
Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Malacca, Negri
Sembilan, Pahang, Putrajaya, Sabah, Sarawak,
Selangor and Terengganu. House types
include high-rise apartments and landed
property. Here is a list of PR1MA housing
projects soon to be released:
Seremban Utara, Negri Sembilan
Setapak, KL
Taman Bukit Cheras, KL
Taman Cempaka, Selangor
Bandar Layangkasa, Johor Baru
Tebrau, Johor
Bayan Lepas, Penang
Bukit Gelugor, Penang
Slim River, Perak
Sungai Petani, Kedah
Borneo Cove, Sabah
Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Sandakan City Centre, Sandakan, Sabah
Log on to the PR1MA official website and
click on “apply”. Click on “check now” if you
are unsure if you are eligible to apply. If you
are eligible, go to “create an account”, fill up
the form and press “send”. On receiving a
confirmation email from PR1MA, log into
your account and activate your account by
clicking the link in the email. Create a new
password for security purposes and proceed
with the registration process.
There is a list of required documents and
necessary information that will be required.
These include:
Employment details
• LHDN income tax file number
• KWSP number
• Total average monthly gross income*
• Retirement number (only applicable
for pensioners)
• Employment details of spouse (if any)
Current property information (if any)
• Address
• Size and type
• Purchase date
Documents for working applicants (to be
attached to application)
• Copy of I/C
• Latest pay-slip or bank statement
(latest month)
Documents for self-employed applicants
(to be attached to application)
• Copy of I/C
• Latest bank statement
Note: Applicants that earn less than RM2500
will have to attach their bank statement as a
supporting document with their pay-slip.
The average monthly gross income (or
monthly household income) encompasses all
forms of remuneration received from
employment or a business. This includes
wages, salary, commission, bonus, allowance,
etc. It is calculated by totaling the income
across the three months, prior to the
submission, and is then divided into three.
Once applications are closed, the balloting
process begins within a month from the
closing date. Applicants are to check on the
Alam Damai, Cheras
Brickfields, KL
Bukit Jalil, KL
Jalan Bukit, Kajang, Selangor
Jalan Jubilee, Bukit Bintang, KL
Pandan Indah, Selangor
Pandan Jaya, Selangor
Seremban Sentral, Negri Sembilan
Mampu Milik Homes under Rumah Selangorku scheme by PKNS
Rumah Selangorku Type A
≤ 3,000
≤ 6,000
Rumah Selangorku Type B
Rumah Selangorku Type C
Rumah Selangorku Type D
≤ 8,000
Mampu Milik apartments in Section 3, Bandar Baru Bangi.
ballot results which will be posted on
the PR1MA website. Successful
applicants and those on the “reserved
list” will be notified via SMS or email.
Successful candidates will need to
proceed with their loan applications
on receiving their home allocation
details. To make life easier, PR1MA
has a home buyer assistance
programme designed to help
successful applicants who are unable
to secure a housing loan from banks,
to own a PR1MA house (terms and
conditions apply).
Taman Selayang Mutiara @ Bukit Botak,
Bandar Baru Selayang
Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor,
often referred to as PKNS, started off as a
company building low-cost houses. Through
the years, it has established a name for itself
in the property development industry.
It now has under its real estate portfolio, a
gleaming collection of various projects and
developments, as well as businesses. Under
its residential development portfolio are a
variety of house types, including luxury
homes and lifestyle-inspired gated townships,
as well as affordable housing.
PKNS has a lot to offer under its affordable
homes portfolio, but only to those who meet
the requirements. Various housing schemes
offer different house types located within
Selangor. From 1 1/2-storey link houses to
single-storey terrace units, apartments, flats
and even townhouses, these spaces to make
home of come in various sizes of between 700
sq ft to 1,000 sq ft. Houses costs around 20%
below market value, between RM42,000 and
RM250,000. Under the PKNS affordable
housing schemes, houses can only be re-sold
after five years.
Criteria for application:
For house type A
• Malaysian citizen
• 18-years and above
• Household income not exceeding RM3,000
a month
• Both husband and/or wife does not own a
property in Selangor; applicants of low-cost
houses can apply; singles with family
obligations or those aged 40 and above
may apply
• Purchase is for own use to stay and not
to rent
• The property can only be re-sold after
five years
• Must register with Selangor Housing and
Property Board (Lembaga Perumahan Dan
Hartanah Selangor-
For house types B, C and D
• Malaysian citizen
• 18-years and above
• Household income between RM3,000 to
RM8,000 a month depending on house
type application
• Both husband and/or wife does not own a
property in Selangor; applicants of
low-cost houses can apply; singles with
family obligations or those aged 40 and
above may apply
•Purchase is for own use to stay and not
to rent
•The property can only be re-sold after
five years
• Must register with Selangor Housing and
Property Board (Lembaga Perumahan Dan
Hartanah Selangor –
Log on to the official PKNS website or visit
PKNS to find out more about the application
process and required documents.
There are projects on the drawing board until
the year 2031, some already at various degrees
of construction, spread out across Selangor.
Here are some of the areas where
affordable and low-cost PKNS houses are
available or being built:
• Hulu Selangor – Bandar Sungai Chik,
Antara Gapi, Serendah, Hulu Selangor;
Bernam Jaya; Rasa
• Klang – Jalan Datuk Md Sidin
• Petaling –Desa Alam Section U12, Shah
Alam, Bukit Raja; Seri Embun Sutera
Damansara, Sg Buloh; Section U10
• Sepang and Gombak – RKSR Bayu and
Suria, Taman Emas, Dengkil, Sepang;
Taman Sains Selangor 2; Kota Puteri;
Bukit Botak
• Hulu Langat – Mampu Milik apartments,
Sec 3, Bandar Baru Bangi; Sunville
Phase 2 Cheras
• Other areas – Subang Bestari; Puncak Alam
Under the Rumah Selangorku scheme,
there are houses available at Ukay Indah,
Sg Sering in Gombak, Ulu Kelang. To apply,
first register with the Selangor Housing and
Property Board (Lembaga Perumahan Dan
Hartanah Selangor), log on to the official
website at, fill up the
form and all required details and submit.
Applications are valid for three years from the
date the projects are offered.
X Please email your feedback and queries
to: [email protected]
AUGUST 29, 2014
Space and perception
> Décor solutions that make smaller spaces look bigger and better
WITH space being a luxury these days, and
living spaces becoming smaller as the
population grows bigger, many are looking
into ways and means to make undersized
areas look and feel larger. Especially with the
scarcity of spacious landed property and
huge supply of “doll-house” high-rise living
spaces, it is becoming a Hobson’s Choice.
Interior designer Lauren Lim has much to
share on this, small yet vital subject.
“Interior designers have long been faced
with the challenge of making a small room
look bigger. The good news is, we have come
up with several tried and tested ‘tricks’ to
achieve this,” says Lim.
From tall chairs to striped rugs, here are
Lim’s favourite and affordable ways to make
small a little or a lot bigger.
With the appropriate rug, you can
make a small room appear bigger by
visually expanding the floor area.
Avoid heavy patterns, as these tend to make a
room appear cluttered and even smaller.
Your best bet is to go for rugs with simple
horizontal or vertical lines, as this creates the
illusion of additional length and width.
To narrow in on the floor and achieve the
best “floor expansion” plan, the colour of the
rug should be lighter than the walls.
Additionally, keep in mind that the larger
the rug, the greater the illusion. To maximise
the effect, the rug should at least be half the
size of the room.
Mirrors are the perfect way to
create an illusion of open flow and
make a room look larger than it
actually is.
You do not need an entire panelled
mirrored wall to achieve this, but neither is
a small mirror going to be effective either.
The best way to create this illusion is by
placing a substantially sized mirror against
the main wall of the room (ideally the wall
you face when entering a room or the wall
you are most likely to face while sitting).
Ensure that the mirror is at least threequarters the width of the wall and onequarter its length. This will dramatically
create depth and space to the room.
Generally, the less a floor is
seen, the smaller the area
looks. So avoid sofas, tables
and beds that completely hide the
floor area they are placed upon.
Incorporate furniture with tall, skinny
legs or go for transparent acrylic or
Lucite furniture. Placement of
furniture can also affect the perceived
size of a room as well. For example, a
large piece of furniture, when placed
Lighting can work wonders for a
small room. The better lit the room,
the bigger it appears to be. So, bring
in as much natural light as possible.
If not, artificial lighting can do the trick. A
suggestion is to make use of the “wall
washing” lighting method, which is a
technique that distributes light onto the
entire wall instead of just one spot.
Not only does this highlight the wall and
make it look quite cool and out of the
ordinary, but when applied on all walls of a
room, it lights up the entire wall area and
emphasises the vertical surfaces to give the
surrounding a more spacious appearance.
Lighting that works well and gives the
most beautiful effect with the “wall washing”
method includes recessed lighting and wall
sconces lighting.
What to avoid when decorating a small room
X Dark furniture
Oak, rosewood and walnut furniture
look beautiful but they are also
predominantly dark and make a
room look smaller.
X Clutter
Too many things make smaller spaces
over-crowded. Better to avoid stacks of
old magazines and unused stuff in the four
corners of a room?
diagonally, will make the area look
This is because our eyes tend to
perceive diagonal lines as longer
compared to straight lines. Another
tip from Lim’s box of tricks is to avoid
placing furniture near doors.
The more the space between the
door and the furniture, the less
cluttered the area around it will look.
This gives the room a more spacious
and airy appearance.
X Colours galore
Too many colours intersect a space and
make it look smaller. Stick to
monochromatic colour schemes.
X Ornate furniture
One main piece is fine but too many
intricate pieces and this will make it look
too busy. Stick to furniture with simple,
clean lines that are less distracting to
the eye.
Light colours reflect light to give small rooms a larger look. However, that does not mean
that you have to stick to pale white shades and beige. Soft colours like blue, pink and
green also help to visually recede walls and give it a larger sense of space.
Incorporate curtains
that extend from the
ceiling to the floor.
This will automatically
influence the eyes to focus on
the height of the room.
When the attention is on
the height, the lack of width in
the room becomes less
apparent. If the ceiling-tofloor curtain look is just not
“you”, try a ceiling-to-floor
bookshelf or a tall, decorative
piece of furniture such as a
high-back chair, pushed
against the wall.
Perhaps even an
elongated artwork or vertical
mural on your wall. All these will work just as well in getting
the perceived additional height of the room into focus, through optical illusion.