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What Makes A Good Apartment Layout?

Selecting the a good apartment layout is crucial to cater for the unique needs and preferences of your lifestyle. Everyone will have a list of “needs” and “wants” of what makes an ideal apartment layout. Some of these may be tied to your culture, some may be for family needs, and some are simply nice-to-have. It is therefore important to have a deep thought over it before you start property hunting. In this article, we will be addressing key areas that will be important in your new apartment hunting.

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Key factors that makes a good apartment layout that suits your lifestyle requirements.

Space Optimization

#1 Open concept living and dining

If your apartment unit is under 1,000 sq ft, make sure that the living and dining areas are sufficiently-sized for your requirements. If you love entertaining large groups of friends and family, choose an open concept style so that you can have larger furnitures to accomodate your needs. Where possible, do not opt for odd-shaped, sharp edges, round edges, or longish-rectangle layouts as you will find it difficult to get furnitures that will fit in snugly. You will also find that these are less attractive in the subsale market as people usually prefer practical living spaces.

#2 Bedroom size to fit basic furnishing

You will be the best person to know how many bedrooms you require for your family needs. However, beside the total bedroom, it is crucial to think about the size of each bedroom. As space is premium, a lot of developers are making rooms very tiny. I would say so tiny that it is almost like a Barbie house. I’ve seen 500 sq ft apartment that has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths! I did not know we became Hong Kong overnight! If you need 2 bedrooms and 1 as a study room, then it is perfectly okay for the third room to be a little smaller. However if all 3 bedrooms are to be used as bedrooms, you want to think about how to fit at least the bed and cupboard. Having said that, smaller rooms also mean easier maintenance and you would be less inclined to hoarding stuff – possibly become a minimalist!

#3 The Asian kitchen vs a showroom kitchen

The ‘heart of the house’, the kitchen cannot be overlooked both in terms of functionality and size. As apartments are getting smaller, so are kitchen sizes and layout. If you love Asian style cooking, you may want to check if you have space to make a wet kitchen. If you are a keen baker and want to incorporate a stand alone oven, you may want to check if you have space for this appliance. And if you love a kitchen island (like I do!), you would definitely want to check if the space allows you to do so. The nice thing about a kitchen island is the flexibility of the space for food prep, for chit-chat, for light work and as a breakfast corner. Always remember that the kitchen you see in a show house is a showroom kitchen, which means they may not be practical for a day-to-day living – always ask yourself how much storage space you need in the kitchen along with the large and small appliances.

Maximizing Functionality and Comfort

#1 Balcony or no balcony

This is an individual preference, however a balcony is a very good feature to add in an apartment layout for a few reasons – better air ventilation, better natural lighting and an additional spot to be a little adventurous on. Small balconies are good for that occasional stand-out-and-enjoy-the-view or maybe a little chair for reading or relaxation. Larger balconies can double up as a nice outdoor breakfast area or a small play ground for the children. If you have children, they should be supervised at all times at the balcony. For safety, consider invisible grilles or glass curtains that seals off any openings and prevents mishaps. Balconies are also good for those with green fingers – plant some herbs, vegetables and flowers. Check out East Parc @ Menjalara for units with and without balcony to suit your preference.

#2 Utility / store room

This is most certainly not available in most apartment layout. We are referring to an area that you can convert into a storage. Now you are probably asking why you need a storage area? I used to lived in apartments where we put our extra stuff in the corner of the guest room – which is not pretty and it gets pretty dusty too. Items that goes into the storage include the bicycle, extra chairs & tables, extra pots & pans, children’s toys and knick knacks that don’t fit into anywhere in the house. Interestingly, we find some newer developments now have a pantry concept incorporated. It is just a cupboard space but it would still work if you just need space for the extra toiletries, can food and extra stuff. Some are starting to offer small utility rooms which make a lot of sense, especially when the square footage of the apartment itself is already small to begin with.

#3 The yard

Some apartment layout has no yard because it is assumed that the residents will not be doing their own house cleaning and laundry. This will be apparent on the developments that focuses on apartments being rented out as holiday lets (Airbnb style) and thus the yard is not a necessity since those who will rent your place will not be cleaning the apartment by themselves. If you are going to live there yourself, be it a bachelor pad or a family home, you will find the yard a very handy area to hide the mop, broom, garbage can, recyclables and of course to hang the clothes out to dry. If the yard it large enough, you could also use it as a laundry area – put your washing machine and sorting bins. Check out Gamuda Garden’s Gaia Residences for a very squarish and practical yard to place your washer/dryer and still have sufficient space for everything else.

Other Considerations

#1 High floor or low floor

This is an individual preference. Some may not fancy a high floor dwelling for fear of heights, while some prefer the higher floors for better view. Living on the 60th floor may not be a cup of tea for many, but I do like the idea of living in the sky. Higher floors command better view especially if there are other apartments in the vicinity and have better breeze. Lower floors gives you the option to walk up the stairs if you are a health buff and faster access to the ground floor & facilities. As per most apartment these days, higher floors are more expensive compared to lower floors – so you might want to strike a balance between those two factors.

#2 Facilities

Some may place more emphasis on all the facilities that are available in the apartment or condominium. I would say that having those facilities are ideal, however you may not use all the facilities. I place strong importance only on facilities that would matter to me. Having a squash court is a plus point if you like playing squash. If you like to swim laps, a fancy shaped pool may not be your cup of tea. A common hall is ideal for activities that involve larger amount of people. Do not be tricked into the number of facilities showcased by developers as well. Sometimes a small path of garden is called Herb Garden and that counts as one facility. So in essence, these numbers are fluff. Focus on what really matters to you, because the more facilities, the more the maintenance is going to be in the long run. Keep that in mind.

#3 Number of lifts

Do some maths on how much foot traffic there will be on your normal peak hour commute. I assume that you will have to get to work in the morning or prepare the children for school – so you want to make sure you can get out of the house in a fast fashion. Let’s do some basic calculation. Assuming there are 1,000 units in the apartment block with 5 lifts, with an average of 3 person living in each unit. Let’s say only 50% of people need to use the lift in the morning, so that is 1000x3x50%=1,500 people equivalent to 300 person per lift. Assuming the lift can fit 20 person, it will need 15 trips to ferry everyone. If one lift is faulty, or there is other types of delays, you can imagine how long you need to wait for the lift. While high density is something you can’t avoid in the city, you want to take this into consideration. For comparison, East Parc @ Menjalara has 432 units with 8 lifts and the waiting time is almost zero at most times. So if you are always in a rush or have very little patience waiting for the lift, make sure you check out the total units vs servicing lifts.

Get a headstart in your apartment hunting

Finding the perfect apartment layout boils down to understanding your priorities and requirements. Whether it is maximizing space for entertaining, prioritizing storage solutions for a clutter-free home, or making sure that the facilities align with your urban lifestyle, we hope that this few tips helps. The ideal layout is subjective, and what works for you may not work for someone else. Evaluate your needs and preferences and you will be on your way to finding your ideal apartment that fosters comfort, functionality and reflects your unique way of life. All the best!

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