BoConcept Design Journal

Welcome to our Design Journal where we bring you updates on the latest design and lifestyle trends, tips and tricks, home stories, and even behind-the-scenes of our interior designers at work! 

5 Clever Ways To Create More Space In Your Home

by Tommy Wee

As new apartments get smaller, home owners are increasingly challenged to make the most of the space while building their dream living spaces. Gone are the days when you could leave a vintage sewing machine and neglected treadmill in the living room and still have space for a dinner party.

But all is not lost. With a little planning and some imagination, you can deploy these five ways to create the illusion of more space at home.

Choose Black & White

A stylish, monochromatic scheme in the home is easy on and eye and allows a restful, laid-back ambience the moment you step through the door. Imagine how white washed walls create more space, while dark and contrasting walls break the line of sight. Black and white schemes are safe and relatively easy to decorate with, as pops of colour are easily accentuated for effect. That way, you can easily bring your favourite plants and paintings into the home for the best results.

Melo 2 sofa with reclining and sleeping function

Design Vertical

Another way to create space would be to look above our heads. Room and pockets of space above doors and cabinets are the best places to start for adding valuable real estate in the home. Extend the book shelf to the ceiling, create hidden storage in the false ceiling, or install beautiful hooks to hang that single-gear bicycle or HD TV. More often than not, the answers to maximizing the space is right before your eyes.

Imola chair

Hang Mirrors

Large mirrors are able to reflect light, and create the illusion of twice the depth in a room. They open up the space to highlight interesting details on the facing walls, and are interesting talking points for awkward corners that usually go to waste. Hang the mirrors at an interesting angle – 45-degree down-facing from the ceiling, for example – to create a special perspective for the guests sitting in the living room.

Ring mirror

Conceal & Declutter

It goes a long way when you are able to hide all the loose objects in a living space. Imagine all the paperwork in a study or living room neatly packed into beautiful lidded boxes, or tucked away in hidden storage. Use visual treatments like room dividers or curtains to conceal. Be prepared to let go of belongings you no longer use or need. You’ll be surprised how many items you can get rid of if you make up your mind to avoid hoarding.

Cupertino Desk

Pick The Right Furniture

Large, heavy pieces of furniture accentuate how cramped small spaces can be. Solid pieces of furniture, heavy shelves and skirted sofas add plenty of visual weight to small apartments. Avoid these. Go instead for sofas or beds with raised legs, as these increase the amount of visible floor space. 

Osaka sofa

5 Beautiful Dining Chairs Under RM 2,000

by Tommy Wee

While critical to the overall furnishing experience, chairs with timeless appeal don’t have to cost you your firstborn. Sure, expensive, big-name makes upholstered with the skin of rare animals are great for statement pieces during parties. But what if you just want something sophisticated and comforting to come home to every day? Here are five beautiful options for under $600.

Adelaide chair

If you think the Adelaide chair looks comfortable, wait till you have spent some time resting in it. Designed around the curves of an acorn, the chair is visually arresting in form, yet inspiring in its versatility. It’s suitable for the study, dining space, or even the outdoor areas.

Drawn by the designer known as Henrik Pedersen, the chair comes with seemingly endless options for customisation. You can add a swivel function, or boost its height with a barstool and gas cartridge if you are looking to stretch the imagination. There are fully upholstered models with espresso oak legs, and a variety of colours to tease the home décor artist in you.

Ottawa chair

Fast becoming a modern classic, this Karim Rashid number is the most interesting thing you can see next to a table, namely because it looks like a stray leave landed on a pyramid of twigs. Bold in its concept but oh-so-comfortable in its seating position, the chair is a winning visual in any home. If you’re into stylish minimalism, the black with chrome legs option will perfectly fit the rest of your monochromatic home.

Zarra chair

Elegantly designed and ubiquitous in its form, the Zarra chair is a back-to-basics number, a great staple to add to any home. It looks perfect whether it’s next to the bookshelf or a high functioning work table. Practical in every nook or corner, its easy form can be perched anywhere. From informal coffee areas to classic dining spaces, this is a hardworking chair for all seasons.

London chair

The London chair epitomises the soul of Scandinavian style and design. Built with a simple sloped seat on top of strong oak legs, this simple model makes for high impact in any creative space. It’s the perfect antithesis to any over-decorated space bursting at the seams with clutter. A chair like this offers clarity, balance and a focus on the task at hand. 

Lausanne chair

Another Henrik Pedersen designed number, the Lausanne chair offers a classic profile crafted with the ergonomics of modern living in mind. A high back and sloped front edge of the seat offer sustained comfort for hours. Built to complement the most contemporary of furniture, the Lausanne comes customisable in frames of steel or wood. Approach with taste. 

Make Great Impressions With These 5 Party Gifts

by Tommy Wee

Heading to someone’s home for dinner but tired of handing over the thoughtless bottle of red? Try these BoConcept ideas for creating remarkably different impressions.

Living iPad Holder (Air, Air2) RM 85

It’s always fun to receive a gift that – at first sight – makes you wonder what it is. This simple block of light marble stirs those conversations. By the time the recipient understands its beautiful purpose, the huge emotional payoff is sealed. Just imagine them coming home and admiring this while browsing Facebook in their downtime. Your work here is done. 

Ball Clock RM 395

The times, they are a changin’. This classically attractive brass and marble specimen is, well, timelessly elegant. You can put it on the bookshelf as a reference point, or your bathroom table top for inspired prepping in the mornings. Either way, you know your host is going to make lots of room for it.

String Magazine Holder RM 295

Yes, you’ll need magazines when you are charging your phone. The joy of print magazines lies in its visibility. With this industrial-lite holder, you’ll have organised chaos stacked in the best possible way. Slide it right next to the couch or the coffee table, it’s brain food in a gorgeous column.

Ladder RM 495

It’d be tricky to wrap this one. But finally, a great piece of equipment you don’t have to hide. Organic in nature, but urban in its black colourway, this adds a point of interest in any home. Plus, what a handsome place to hang bath towels and accessories.

Living Broom and Dust Pan RM 245

As adorable as this looks, no one can deny its immense utility. This little oak accessory will come in useful for anyone with a love for chips in front of the telly, nachos at the work desk or some creative cooking or gardening. It’s eye candy for getting rid of things that aren’t. 

Three Cool Chairs For Your Shopping List

by Tommy Wee

What if we didn’t have chairs? What a strange, unsettling world it would be. We would come home, and everyday activities we like – watching TV, reading, browsing Facebook – would be done while sitting on the floor. Ouch!

Chairs have beautiful purposes in our home. They are our personal thrones, our seats of honour and familiarity, intimate pieces of furniture that cradle our places in the family. We would be missed if the chairs were empty for too long.   

Chair shopping requires, and deserves, attention. Too much time is spent resting on them not to. Here are three tasteful designer chairs that would enhance any home.

The Imola Chair

Iconic, grand and aesthetically impressive in any living room, the Imola Armchair is made for great moments. With its graceful form, distinctive seat, and unmistakable swooping lines, it is one of BoConcept’s most in-demand chairs.

Imola chair in caramel oxford leather RM 17,010

Inspired by the simple lines of a tennis ball, the Imola Chair has all the makings of a classic. It was the brainchild of Danish designer Henrik Pedersen, who found his design firm in 1996. Applying the passion from his prior fashion training, Pedersen created an enduring BoConcept Design Icon in the Imola, as well as several other popular chairs.

The Fusion Chair

So named because it’s the result of a marriage of two highly regarded design cultures, Danish functionality and Japanese aesthetics, the Fusion Chair by nendo for BoConcept is a veritable work of art.

Designed by Oki Sato, the Japanese designer named Designer of the Year in 2012 by both Wallpaper and Elle Décor International Award, the chair is inspired by origami, the art of turning a two-dimensional continuous surface into variable three-dimensional forms.

Fusion chair in light grey lux felt RM 9,570

There is a sofa base with four different and freely arrange-able cushions to accommodate various sitting and resting postures, and innovative side tables and shelves that enhance the concept of white space.

The standout piece in Sato’s collection has to be the Fusion Armchair. It’s the idea of one single surface folded into a three dimensional form. And the result is comfortable and cosy. With lines that are simple, clean and light, the Fusion armchair is a delicate and sublime touch to the home.

The Fly Chair

Easy on the eye and crafted with a perfect sitting position, the Fly Chair is a modern armchair for the urbanite.

A freestanding, upholstered beauty with 120 fabric and leather options, it is one you can personalise easily. Whether you’re enjoying a conversation or a glass of wine, its elegant form embraces you snugly and the comfortable stance allows you to get up easily.

Fly chair in stone lima leather RM 7,830

The best part? It comes with an affordable price tag without sacrificing any quality or functionality. Talk to the sales assistants for options with matching footstools and fabric options.

Home Style On A Smart Budget

by Tommy Wee

8 Accessories Under RM 100

Decorating the crib doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. With the right options from BoConcept, a lot can be achieved without breaking the bank.

Spotty Storage Box, RM 70

Storage is the word of the day. With these modular black, green and granite iron options no taller than 10cm in height, your personal stationery and cute knick-knacks will always be housed neatly, stylishly.

Cloudy Tealight Holder, RM 30

The simple act of lighting up a tealight for the evening conveys warmth and coziness. Just in time for the festive celebrations. Find a colour that enhances your home’s. Available in grey, white, peach, and purple glass.

Rolling Flowerpot, RM 95

These decorative flower pots appear to roll on their sides. If that doesn’t sound adorable, wait till you insert a succulent mini-plant, like a mini aloe kokedama or a mini cactus.

Natural Clay Vase, RM 30

Few things warm up a cold shelf or dull TV console like a natural element, such as clay. Available in an assortment of grey, white and brown stoneware, these beauties offer the right amount of detail to brighten up favourite corners.

Living Dish, RM 95

Need a place to rest your keys, thumb drives, or Internet banking dongles? Use a natural and inviting material like wood as a hold-all dish. It adds sophistication without the clutter. Pair them with others to extend storage.

Living Hook, RM 30

Time to turn your grimy jeans and assorted pyjamas out of sight. Pick them off the floor, hang them on these subtle wooden hooks, and voila, mission accomplished.

Living Tealight Holder, RM 90

Tealight holders come in all forms, but this beauty elevates the lux factor even in the simplest of homes. With a light green and marble, this is a beautiful way to cast your light.

Soap Bubble Wall Decoration, RM 95

As cheeky accessories go, this takes the cake for visual effect. Put a few up in your bathroom for good cheer. Used elsewhere, you can transform your bedroom, study or kitchen into a lively soap land.  

The Ottawa Chair by Karim Rashid

by Tommy Wee

Most designers would be hard-pressed to update the concept of a chair. After all, it’s a single raised platform, designed usually with four legs and a back, for seating a single person. An essential.

As a contemporary idea, the chair is ubiquitous. It has translated into the most common piece of furniture in homes and offices, comforting in form and necessary in function. Until recently, few design milestones have come close to reimagining this classic piece.

Famed Egyptian industrial designer and multiple award winner Rashid Karim, 55, has breathed life into a light-hearted dining set to present the Ottawa collection. The whimsical collection has bested more than 4,600 other designs to win the coveted Red Dot Design Award, and it includes a table, pendant lamp, chairs, sideboard and cabinet.

Inspired partly by the natural landscape of Denmark, in which Karim Rashid spent some time in his early years as a designer, the Ottawa chair stands among his 3000-odd design portfolio for luxury goods, furniture and store designs.

Created as a sensual, leaf-shaped seat that cradles the sitter, even as it stands on four splayed legs that resemble a bird’s feet, allowing you to tuck your feet in without obstruction. It comes in customisable materials. It’s fun, easy on the eye and a thrill to rest in for post-dinner conversations.

As with most of Karim’s designs, the chairs bear the marks of playful imagination. United by a light and airy aesthetic, the leafy tips of the Ottawa Chairs end between the shoulder blades, offering high-functionality with a deep consciousness of the human body.

When slid under a table, the Ottawa Chairs sit on a forest of legs that offer a sophisticated design profile. Without compromising comfort or lumbar support, the Ottawa chair changes everything you know about a chair aesthetically.

What To Do At Home On A Rainy Day

by Tommy Wee

As time passes, I get more accustomed to the idea of staying at home. I attribute this comforting discovery to an increasing appreciation for space and solace. The idea of heading out to brunch at the buzziest café in town is still nice, but waning fast in its economy. The scorching weather, and the sheer amount of traffic and hungry diners between you and – finally – breakfast, can take its toll.

And when it rains and everything becomes cold and wet outside, well, the peace of staying home goes up a notch. It becomes a wordless, exciting joy.

You feel vindicated for wanting to stay home in the first place. The temperature drops. The light coming into the house takes on a muted, cool veneer. It’s a small miracle, and one to be grateful for.

But time at home need not be wasted channel-surfing – unless it’s a great episode of The Walking Dead, of course – there’re other fulfilling things to be done. 

Catch Up On Reading

No, I don’t mean scrolling Facebook or Instagram. It’s time to get reacquainted with that Amazon list we neglect the moment we’ve unpacked them. Rainy afternoons are the best time to brew a hot cup of Joe’s, stretch out on the couch, and cuddle up with a good tome. It’s nourishment for the soul.

Organise Things

What may sound like a chore at first can turn into something unexpectedly satisfying. Whether it’s your shoe cabinet, the wardrobe or even the kitchen shelves, a couple of hours spent re-organising stuff can be a rewarding experience. Throw out stuff you don’t need, pack some away for donation, and gain space. No one needs to keep clutter, right? 

Make Dessert

What better use of time at home is there than to turn up some easy-to-make, guilty pleasure recipes? Rope the partner or the kids into this little project. There’s no greater sense of fun than to prepare chocolate cookies, banana shortcakes or pistachio muffins. After several rainy afternoons, you’ll have your own D-I-Y recipe book. Rain or shine, there’s always room for dessert.

Call Loved Ones

When was the last time you made a deep, meaningful phone call? Yes, a phone call. We live in an age of ceaseless texts and group chats, but making a call (or Facetime session), and catching up with someone you’ve missed for a while is a connection that can’t be beat. Make it your Dad, sister who’s overseas, or an ex-classmate. Stretch out on the bed, or couch, and just catch up.

3 Things In Your Home That Deserve An Upgrade

by Tommy Wee

There are some things we will gladly live with for the rest of our lives. Fond memories, rare photographs of loved ones, and homemade movies of weddings and birthdays come to mind. They’re virtually priceless. For everything else – homeware, accessories, furnishings – it’s worth inspecting to see if its time for an upgrade.

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5 Affordable Ways To Refresh A Tired Space 

by Tommy Wee

No matter how impressive or well thought out your home or office interiors are, design fatigue sets in well before the cushions on the couch starts to fray. And being the visual creatures we are, it’s only a matter of time before our hearts seek what the eye wants – some cheerful rejuvenation.

But rejuvenation doesn’t have to translate into a costly, time-consuming project. Neither do you have to break the bank to move some furniture around to create new points of interest. It’s all about the aesthetics.

Here, we talk about five cost-effective ways to jazz up your favourite areas in the home or office.

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Let's Table it

by Tommy Wee
It's one thing to have the perfect beans for artisanal coffee, but how about the perfect coffee table? Whichever way you look at it, a distinctive coffee table is the key to dressing a sophisticated living room.

We'll be honest. A sleek living room coffee table is as much a necessity as it is an inherent vanity.

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The Carlton Sofa

by Tommy Wee

I have a confession. I’m unnaturally fond of my sofa, which happens to be a stone-coloured, three-seater from BoConcept known as the Carlton Sofa. I say “unnatural” because the usual terms of endearment are insufficient to aptly describe the satisfaction I derive from it – it’s the most visually impressive piece of furniture in the entire house that gives me attachment issues.

It’s an understatement to call it an object of immense beauty. The elegantly thin seating frame and legs give it a gloriously “perched” appearance in the middle of the living room. In the universe of cleanly designed home couches, it’s a flawless supermodel.

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Carlton Sofa 

The Adelaide Chair

by Tommy Wee

When I first laid eyes on BoConcept’s Adelaide Chair, my reaction was one of physical curiosity. Why, and how, did this chair, appear so simplistic yet appealing?

The balanced and well-formed object would not be out of place in a contemporary design museum, a stylish café, or an urban hotel.

Its discreetly sexy form and luxurious upholstery is sophisticated yet sensible. I ran my palm down its minimal wooden legs, feeling more drawn to it with each second. It’s almost begging for your derrière to rest on it.

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The Milano Dining Table

by Tommy Wee

Before kitchen islands became ubiquitous and showy centerpieces of modern homes, an underrated piece of furniture – the dining table at home – was where all the socialising took place. It was the place where fond memories were made.   

I remember spending a significant amount of time at the dining table - doing my homework, mugging for exams, and blowing out candles on birthday cakes. Before smartphones deconstructed family time into group chats, the dining table was a place for everyone to reset the day with some meaningful face-to-face interaction. It was where we talked, laughed and gossiped about random affairs. Back then; the dining table was a sanctuary, not a showplace.

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The Great Outdoors

by Tommy Wee

Whenever I travel, I try to catch the sunset at least once on the road. Watching the sunset is a soul-affirming thing to do. Adjectives fail miserably to describe those beautiful hours, as the riot of colours softens in the sky. 

A sunset reboots the perspective in a way you never thought you needed it to. It’s like hearing a mellow and encouraging friend saying, “Don’t worry, it’s a new dawn tomorrow.”

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The Preferred Seat

by Tommy Wee

It sounds rather self-serving as an opinion, but the heart of any living room has to be the actual furniture I’m resting on.

You can probably infer that I’m a sedentary animal at home, and you’re not wrong there. But it cannot make more sense.

When it comes to definitive home décor, some will vouch for the choice of art hanging on the walls, the statement rug, or the designer lighting that sets the mood, but building a great living room, to me, requires that you begin with the centerpiece in the space – the sofa.

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The Insider: Tommy Wee, Managing Editor

As a child, Tommy loved hiding out for hours in bookstore corners, buried in magazines and graphic novels. It was a lovely, if somewhat anti-social, pastime. One day, the store closed while he was still immersed in a corner. 

Some habits don’t change. He took his affection for writing further by cobbling a career out of it, and now, as content director of Majority Media, a leading publisher behind one of Singapore’s largest circulating lifestyle magazines, his satisfaction comes from telling friends that he “reads on the job”.

Based on the reactions of his online followers, he is like a Singaporean Ashton Kutcher, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (hopefully in Inception, not 50/50) and a cup of low-sugar bubble tea. Comforting but not sinful.

When he isn’t writing, he is constantly looking for the best places to nap. He loves petting strangers' dogs and tipping for great service. He lives with his wife, Evelyn, in a walk-up in the “increasingly gentrified” Tiong Bahru estate, where he is under constant pressure to cycle around on a single-gear bicycle with a basket laden with baguettes. Good baguettes are hard to find in Singapore.  

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