Millions of people across the globe became more interested in interior design when the pandemic hit. Cooped up indoors, doing everything at home, we grew more aware of how our own space looks and feels. As a result, everyone, from the West to the East, were on room makeover sprees.
But while we all caught the decorating bug amid the crisis, each one of us has different styles, influenced by our respective cultures. These styles, in turn, influence our spending decisions. To this matter, it’s interesting to know how much Filipinos (and people from other parts of the world) are willing to shell out in the name of visually appealing spaces.
Spending on Style
The latest study from HouseholdQuotes shows that the Philippines is one of the countries that spend the most money on home decor. Cashing out an average of $148 annually per person, the country places 6th in the top 10 Asian spenders.
The firsts on the list are Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and India. Hong Kong spends an average of $1,154 annually per person, only a few notches from the world’s biggest spender Switzerland with $1,159.
Relative to income, the Philippines is the fourth biggest spender in the world. Filipinos shell out 51.05 percent of an average monthly paycheck every year. In a nutshell, we’re pumping lots of money into beautifying our homes and spaces. This comes as no surprise given that Filipinos lead the world in the amount of time spent on social media.
As we’re constantly online, we’re persistently exposed to celebrity house tours, #HomeBuddies budols, and room makeover vlogs non-stop. With so many inspirations, it’s only a matter of time before we click out of our social media and into our shopping apps.
Design Styles Across Asia
The dominant interior design styles in different countries offer a pretty good insight into what people are spending on. Let’s explore the similarities and differences among the styles of the top spenders in Asia:
- Hong Kong. Space is a luxury in Hong Kong, which is why many are into minimalist designs. The clean, bright atmosphere of embracing “less is more” makes spaces look larger. Hongkongers incorporate neutral color schemes, abundant natural light, open floor plans, and multi-purpose furniture in their homes. They also invest in highly functional storage solutions.
- Japan. Largely influenced by the prevailing school of thought of Zen Buddhism, the Japanese reflect the philosophy of emptying the mind in their interior designs. Simplicity is the overarching theme of homes, manifested even in architectural features, such as the tokonoma or alcove, tana or built-in shelving, and shovi or sliding doors.
The zen philosophy emphasizes the beauty of natural materials as well. The Japanese are fond of placing bonsai and different floral arrangements in their spaces. They also use bamboo materials in floors, walls, and even screen dividers.
- Singapore. For the past years, industrial has been one of the most popular styles in the Lion City. The urbanized feel of the space matches modern city living in Singapore. Over time, it has evolved into different looks. Some Singaporeans go for the sleek, contemporary style, incorporating exposed pipes and stainless steel finishes, while others are settling on a more rustic atmosphere, using exposed brick and recycled wood.
Recently, there’s been an inclination towards combining industrial and Scandinavian styles. Singaporeans have muted color schemes, warm wood tones, and furniture with clean lines in their homes.
- South Korea. You’re likely more familiar with South Korea’s interiors if you’re a fan of K-dramas. Like their neighbors, Koreans love minimalism, highlighting the abundance of natural light and timber tones. While embracing simplicity, they’re fond of introducing quirky and retro pieces as accents. Think vinyl record players and irregularly-shaped mirrors.
India. Taking a different route, Indians love maximalist designs. They use bright color schemes, mixing reds, purples, greens, and yellows. For furniture, they have ornate pieces in solid wood material, highlighting the unique craftsmanship of local artists. The cabinets, for instance, are adorned with inlays and carvings. Everywhere, you’ll see different handicrafts, from clay pots to masks down to wooden animal trinkets.
- Philippines. Minimalist interiors are popular in the country, as Filipinos make the most of small spaces. But some are infusing this style with tropical elements, matching the prevailing climate in the Philippines. Rattan furniture is a hallmark piece in most homes, complemented by natural plants and bamboo materials. Walls and accent pieces, such as rugs and placemats, have leaf and floral motifs.
Maximizing the Budget
Although you can go all out in your home decor, make sure that you’re getting the most of the money you’re putting into your projects. It’s important to be in the know of places that offer not only the best, but also the most budget-friendly pieces. Here are some you can check out:
- Dapitan Arcade. This is on top of our list as it’s the most popular spot for affordable home items in the country. Here, you can find budget-friendly pieces that suit minimalist, tropical, and Zen-inspired spaces. For furniture, you’ll find bed frames, bookshelves, and all sorts of chairs. For accent pieces, you can buy ceramic pots and vases, planters, wicker baskets, and more. Dapitan Arcade is also the best place for Christmas decorations. Address: 37 Dapitan, Cor Kanlaon St, Quezon City,
- Home Factory Outlet. This go-to store of design enthusiasts has all kinds of furniture pieces, from dining sets and beds to sofas and even computer chairs. They offer a 50 percent discount on items every day. Address: #14 Williams St., Mandaluyong City (behind Unilab).
- HMR Trading Haus. Aside from furniture, you’ll find other pieces worth adding to your home in this store. These include lighting, appliances, electronics and gadgets, and even musical instruments and gardening equipment. Taking pride in affordable finds, they run regular discount programs on different items. Address: Dr Arcadio Santos Ave, San Antonio, Sucat, Parañaque City.
- Cost U Less. From its name, you can already expect budget-friendly finds in this store. What’s special about the shop is that even upscale furniture pieces, such as home theater seating and home office desks, are at low prices. Address: 5112 Filmore St. Cor. Curie St., Brgy. Palanan, Makati City
- Soler, Manila. This is a place you’ll frequently hear from construction contractors and interior design enthusiasts. It’s a street dotted with shops selling different kinds of lighting. The pin lights, drop lights, and chandeliers in these stores come in bagsak presyo. Some of the most popular establishments here are Mega Accents, La Luce Interior, and Provident Lamps and Lighting System.
The art of making aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces has indeed taken off in the age of quarantine, where everything is done at home. How much do you spend on interior design? How do you make the most of your budget for makeover projects?