Maybe you’ve just got the keys to your new HDB flat, and are already brimming with renovation ideas. Walk-in wardrobes? Feature walls? Bar counters? Bring ‘em on.
Take a breather though, and give a little thought to more long-term horizons. After all, renovation costs can get hefty and you wouldn’t want to shell out yet another round of cash if little ones make an appearance in your 5-year-plan - accidentally or otherwise.
Instead, put on your forward thinking hats and make the smart move of having your home already be kid-friendly with the help of these 9 practical tips.
1. Use neutral or light paint colours instead of "brights"
Perhaps you want a bold shot of red in your new games room or have pink walls to match that Hello Kitty theme you’ve got going on. Hold your horses - while striking, these brights don’t translate well if you’re thinking of converting existing rooms into soothing ones for future kiddos.
Image credit: Metro
Also, skip the “pink for baby girls, and blue for boys” cliche when the stork arrives, as kids grow up in a flash, and your pre-teen might just find it tacky. Instead, opt for gender-neutral colours like white or grey, and consider quirky furniture and wall decor to add interest.
Pro tip: Choose washable, odourless paint for your house. Washable paints make it easy to clean up if the kids doodle on the walls.
2. Consider vinyl flooring for easy clean-up of spills
Vinyl with a wooden finish completes this Scandinavian look.
Image credit: Metier Planner
When it comes to kid-friendliness, vinyl and laminate triumphs in the flooring department. It’s easy to clean in the event of all those future milk/food spills and hear this, affordable for you in the present day as it can be easily laid over tiles.
Plus, it’s suitable for kiddos (and grown-ups) afflicted with allergies!
3. Choose a washing machine with a higher capacity
There’s a necessary evil for any household: doing laundry. You and your other half might not have a whole lot of clothes to wash yet, but watch it pile up when your fam gains a few more members.
Image credit: Bosch
Since laundry machines will stay in your household for at least a few years, invest in a high-capacity one - ideally above 9kg.
For instance, Bosch Frontload Washer has a massive 10kg capacity. Translation: it can handle more clothes at any one time, thus clearing that heap fast.
It does so without using too much water or electricity, either, with patented technology like the energy-efficient EcoSilence Drive, a brushless motor that is quiet and faster, and VarioPerfect to reduce washing time.
4. Choose tables without sharp edges
Image credit: The Scientist
A fact of life: kids run around. While you can’t stop their alarming sprints, you can make the space safer by choosing furniture without sharp edges. At least it won’t hurt that much should a collision happen.
You don’t even have to limit yourself to round coffee tables, dining tables and counters - there are many quirky contemporary pieces out there with rounded edges!
5. Think about how your built ins can be converted in future
Keep the room clean and versatile with minimal or strategic built-ins.
Image credit: AgcDesign
Many Singaporean couples fall into the spell of having multiple built-ins. After all, who can resist the siren call of more customised storage?
But though your top-hung cabinets or elevated platform beds with storage beneath seem practical now, they’ll lose major points if kids are in the picture. “Can’t reach! Might fall down!” will then be the omnipresent worry racing across your mind.
Moral of the story: Think about how built-ins will fit into your future lifestyle. Loose furnishings are much more versatile and can be shifted around or sold on Carousell if you outgrow the style.
6. Use leather for your sofas
Image credit: Chapter One Interior Design
I’m a fan of plush, fabric sofas which you can sink into after a hard day’s work. What I don’t love? Cleaning up that stubborn stain when I accidentally spill some wine on it.
Again, spills will be par for course with a little one in tow. So save yourself some grief and go for synthetic leather sofas - these are very easy to clean and hypoallergenic too.
7. Mount your TV on the wall
Image credit: Form Design
In front: a massive screen which teleports you to another dimension.
At the back: a tangled mess of wires, plugs that criss-cross to goodness knows where.
Yes, the TV is not only dangerous territory for future kids (hello, screen time and Baby Shark), it’s also something that can trip them up, literally.
Prevent nasty wires from causing the little ones to fall by opting for a wall-mounted TV. Wires are hidden so they won’t mess around with it “for fun”, either. Phew.
8. Consider carpets or rugs for play areas
Image credit: Habit
When kids are young, they fall down a lot, especially if they are learning to walk. Break those falls and tumbles by strategically having soft carpets, rugs or foam mats at play or living areas.
Bonus: carpets are also aesthetically pleasing ways to elevate your interior design - it adds a luxe air and helps to demarcate room spaces.
9. Minimise glass walls and doors
Image credit: Dyel Design
Have you ever walked into a glass door - perhaps when fiddling with your phone? Well, if it could happen to you, it could happen to junior. And worst-case scenario, if the impact is strong enough, glass might shatter.
Sure, they look classy and “open concept” now. But glass walls attract fingerprints like birds to honey, so the inevitably grimy hands of kids could mean you’d have a ton of cleaning to do.
Think long-term with quality appliances
If kids are in your plans down the road, it’s a smart move to invest in quality appliances that can withstand the test of time.
Like we mentioned earlier, big-ticket items like washing machines should be purchased with a growing family in mind. High-capacity washers such as the Bosch Frontload Washer will be a hit with multi-generational families, since it’s 10kg capacity translates to larger loads in one go. No more long hours on multiple cycles of laundry, phew.
So. Many. Options.
It’ll also be easier on your wallet. Watch dollars get shaved off your bills with technology like VarioPerfect, so you can wash laundry with 20% less energy or up to 65% less washing time.
There’s also the ActiveWater function, which automatically senses the laundry load and adapts water usage. That means you’ll use the precise amount of water - no more, no less - and you’ll save on bills to have more cash for your family’s other expenses.
Good news too if you don’t want to wake the kids or wish to get work done in peace. The EcoSilence Drive motor uses the same technology used in wind turbines, so it’s definitely powerful, yet remains whisper-quiet. Couple that with VarioDrum - so named for a unique waved drum surface which cleans delicate fabrics and even baby clothes properly without damaging them.
So whether you’re a young couple just starting out this new chapter, or an established family looking for something practical, think ahead and opt for something high-quality like this. Your future self will thank you.
This post was brought to you by Bosch.