Make your open-plan living area more conducive to work and play with screen dividers and versatile furniture pieces that draw the line

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly heightened the importance of our homes—both as a sanctuary and as a multifunctional space where the boundaries between work and leisure continue to blur. If your work-from- home routine is set to become the new normal, consider investing in multifunctional furniture to enhance the flexibility of your living room.

“While working in a shared space with your family is not ideal, sliding doors can help close up a flexible living space when peace and quiet is needed,” says Angela Lim, director of SuMisura. Creative director of Upstairs_ Dennis Cheok concurs on the effectiveness of such moveable partitions. “A living room can feature a reading nook that can be expanded or retracted from the main area with the use of sliding doors or foldable screens.”

See also: This Singapore Brand Offers Multifunctional Furniture That Helps You Save Space at Home

 “Make sure you are getting as much out of the space as you can; every piece of furniture needs to have multiple functions,” advises British designer Katharine Pooley. “For example, the coffee table could be durable enough to double as a children’s work table and have some built-in storage under a hinged top; storage is key to keeping chaos at bay.”

You may not even need a desk, if you’re used to working on a laptop. “For laptop users, all that is required are a comfortable seat, a table at an appropriate height, and a power source located within reach,” says Cheok. 


As the saying goes, less is more—remove bulkier furniture in lieu of lightweight pieces that can be easily moved around depending on your schedule for the day. “If you need to use your living room for work or yoga, consider losing an armchair or two,” recommends Pooley.

Ultimately, your living room should bring joy to you and your loved ones, especially if you’re planning to spend a lot more time at home together. Incorporate decorative items that contribute to its cosy ambience. “Make sure the space is mentally healthy for you—add mirrors, artworks, or anything that creates feelings of serenity and light,” advises Pooley. “Large plants could also create separate moods in different areas of an open-plan living room.”

See also: Improve wellbeing with good lighting design at home

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Muuto Under The Bell lamp

Dennis Cheok of Upstairs recommends multi- functional pieces such as the Muuto Under The Bell lamp designed by Iskos-Berlin (pictured above), which absorbs sound while providing illumination; its shade is made from recycled PET fibres.

Available at Grafunkt

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Hunter Douglas Duette Honeycomb shades

These blinds feature a pleated form that keeps out strong sunlight, and improves the acoustics of your room by absorbing up to 70 per cent of sound waves.

Available at Mc.2

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Molteni&C | Dada Twelve AM collection by Neri & Hu

“High-back chairs create a heightened sense of personal space while at work in a compact setup,” says Cheok. Consider this seat from the Molteni&C | Dada Twelve AM collection by Neri & Hu; inspired by the transitory nature of the midnight hour, it features hooks for scarves and other small accessories to keep your workspace neat and cosy.

Available at P5

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SP01 Michelle mirror by Tim Rundle

Play with the sense of space in your room by using mirrors. The SP01 Michelle mirror by Tim Rundle incorporates a mini table that can be used for your keys and other small items, while checking your appearance before you leave your home. The mirror features a smoked finish, and satin black frame, while the table is clad in Bianco Carrara marble.

Available at Space Furniture

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the Tides collection by textile designers Juliana Polastri and Ariana Massouh

Other sound- absorbing pieces you can incorporate include rugs. The work of House of Tai Ping textile designers Juliana Polastri and Ariana Massouh, the Tides collection comprises made-to- order rugs crafted using resist dyeing to create spectral textures inspired by ocean waves and the bioluminescence of glowing plankton on the sea’s surface.

Available at Etesse

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Montana Free modular shelving system by Jakob Wagner

"A bookshelf that acts as a room divider also gives everyone access to a mini library,” shares Angela Lim, director of SuMisura. Consider the Montana Free by Jakob Wagner, a modular shelving system that can be easily dismantled and reassembled in other rooms when needed. This freestanding shelf can also act as a showcase for travel souvenirs, potted plants and other cherished objects.

Available at Danish Design Co

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Rust Harvest shelf by Yuma Kano

The Rust Harvest shelf by Yuma Kano is both a thing of beauty and a creative way to divide your living area. It celebrates the natural patina that forms over time on metal plates. These plates have been exposed to rain and shine, after which the rust is collected and transferred onto acrylic resin, preserving the weathered appearance.

Available at

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Vitra Vases Découpage collection

Display your blooms of the day in these sculptural pieces from the Vitra Vases Découpage collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. These cylindrical vessels feature abstract slabs and bars handcrafted in clay; the colourful, organic forms of these vases will add a touch of whimsy to your living room.

Available at Vitra by W. Atelier

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Arflex Diva Screen

"Physical barriers like screens can help absorb or redirect sound away from certain areas within an open-plan room,” says Celia Chu, founder of Celia Chua Design & Associates. Carve out an intimate corner with the Diva screen from Arflex, which features upholstered panels that can be custom- made in various sizes and fabrics to suit the design of your living room.

Available at Space Furniture

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Raft sofa by Keiji Ashizawa

The Raft sofa by Keiji Ashizawa for Ariake is a compact option for a cosy lounge area within your living room. Featuring a solid wood frame and seats with or without backrests, this versatile sofa can also incorporate a side table for your coffee mug and other frequently used items.

Available at P5 Studio

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Wiener Box coffee table by Cristian Mohaded from Gebrüder Thonet Vienna

Designed by Cristian Mohaded, the Wiener Box coffee table from Gebrüder Thonet Vienna is crafted in woven cane, bent beechwood and brass-plated steel. Its lacquered wood top is just the right size for your laptop and coffee mug; various books and magazines can be stowed away underneath its lacquered wood top.

Available at Space Furniture

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Candy Bench from Akar de Nissim

With its round, candy-like cushions, this playful piece easily adds a quirky touch to your living room. It features a stained oak frame in a Poudre satin finish as well as seat pads in a variety of velvety fabrics from French upholstery brand Pierre Frey; the edges of its feet are adorned in brushed brass.

Available at Tatler Homes Curates

See also: Here's Why Minimalists Will Love The Collections From Singapore Furniture Brand Akar de Nissim

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