Embracing the Colonial Interior Design Style for the Modern Home | Singapore


UPDATED Jun 20, 2024

Marketing Admin

8 mins

Thinking of which style to opt for in your new home can seem stressful. In Singapore, modern homes often incorporate colonial design elements to evoke a sense of tradition, history and elegance, while integrating them with contemporary lifestyles and functionality.

You may think that colonial and modern are contradictory terms, which is true from a societal perspective. However, when it comes to interior design, we find that the two can complement one another well.

Modern Colonial Interior Design – What is it?

Colonial interior design is a style that blends the influences of European colonisers and the local cultures of their colonies. It is characterised by a mix of elegant and exotic elements, such as dark wood furniture, rattan accents, tropical plants, and ornate accessories.

Here are some ways these elements are incorporated into modern homes:

Architectural Elements: Modern homes may feature symmetrical facades, columns, and pediments reminiscent of colonial design. These elements are often used selectively to create a focal point, such as a grand entrance or a front porch, infusing a touch of classic charm into the overall design. We recently wrote another blog post to explore the black and white colonial houses in Singapore.

Materials and Finishes: While traditional colonial homes used materials like brick, stone, and wood, modern homes may reinterpret these materials in new ways.

For instance, incorporating reclaimed or engineered wood for flooring or accent walls, using modern siding materials with the appearance of traditional clapboard, or employing veneers for a classic look with easier maintenance. Others can include stone, rattan, bamboo, and linen.

Kitchen & dining room

We also have to consider realities like the Singaporean climate, which means that design that incorporates airflow and ventilation is important, and a more modern approach to materials used may be appropriate.

Interior Details: Modern interiors might incorporate colonial-inspired details such as crown moulding, wainscoting, or intricate woodwork around doors and windows. These elements add sophistication and character to contemporary spaces.

View of a sofa and windows

Adaptive Layouts: While maintaining the aesthetic, modern homes often adapt colonial layouts to suit contemporary lifestyles. This might involve open floor plans, larger windows for more natural light, and updated amenities like spacious kitchens and modern bathrooms.

Dining room leading to a kitchen

Why Colonial Interior Design Remains Timeless in Singapore

Elegance That Transcends Trends:

Colonial design’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to transcend fleeting trends. Its timeless elegance continues to captivate homeowners seeking a sophisticated yet comfortable living space.

Living room with television

Heritage and History:

Colonial interior design has a timeless appeal because it combines the best of both worlds: the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, the East and the West.

It creates a sense of spaciousness and brightness, which are essential for living in a humid and sunny environment like Singapore. It also adds a touch of personality and character to your home, as it showcases your appreciation for history and culture.

Embracing Colonial interior design allows homeowners to pay homage to the rich history and heritage associated with this style. It serves as remembrance while infusing a sense of character into contemporary living spaces.

View of a bedroom

Versatility in Modern Settings:

Colonial interior design is also adaptable and versatile, as it can blend well with other styles and elements, such as contemporary, minimalist, or eclectic.

You can easily customise your colonial interior design to suit your preferences and needs, by choosing the colours, materials, and accessories that you like. You can also mix and match different colonial elements to create your own unique style.

Colonial design can seamlessly integrate into modern settings. Its clean lines and classic elements complement various decor styles, offering versatility that suits diverse tastes.

The photo below is referencing our Palm Drive Interior Renovation Project. We were tasked the owners love for Colonial and African Interior design.

Dining Table setting

Due to the above elements mentioned, colonial interior design never goes out of fashion. As a refined and classy look, it’s simple enough to blend colonial design with more modern trends (in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re massive fans of projects that are Colonial Inspired, and our interior design service will certainly add value to your upcoming house renovation or rebuild!).