Most HDB flats built from the late 1990s are equipped with a household shelter, also known as the “bomb shelter”. While most home owners utilise the shelter for additional storage space, we’ve seen others transform the space into a cosy pantry or even a library. Learn more about these shelters in this article!

How did these household shelters come about?

Due to building code regulations that took effect in 1996, all apartment buildings in Singapore must be constructed with a household shelter. With strengthened walls, floor and ceiling, the household shelter is designed to protect you and your family during an emergency.

Can I knock down the walls of the shelter to make more space in my flat?

The household shelter is an essential part of your home, so it’s important to note the walls must not be hacked or drilled.

How do I know where the household shelter is located at?

If you look at the floorplan, you will see that the household shelter is clearly marked with the thicker black lines to represent reinforced walls. The shelters are usually located nearer to the living and dining area, or beside the kitchen area. Here are some typical floorplans:

Household shelter in the ‘middle’ of the flat layout, beside the kitchen. In this layout, the door can be inconspicuous as it is not visible from the main living room area.

Household shelter beside the main door. This layout allows you to mask the door with an extended shoe cabinet.

How can I make use of the space within the shelter?

You can transform part of the household shelter into a storeroom by installing shelving units that can be removed in times of need. Avoid filling the shelter to the brim, as you’ll need to utilise the space during an emergency.

Can I remove the door? What about the round metallic disc?

It’s important to leave the door intact and ensure that it can be opened and closed properly.

The round metallic disc is actually a ventilation sleeve for the household shelter. If needed, the sleeve can be tightened to provide an air-tight shelter. We’d recommend that you always keep the vent open and check the gasket and screws from time to time. Do visit this page for some essential maintenance tips for your home shelter!

Is it possible to re-design the bomb shelter?

Many homeowners have either redecorated the door or added design elements to mask its appearance. Here are some examples!

If the shelter is positioned near your front door, you can consider doing a customised shoe cabinet and storage cabinets, according to your décor theme. This helps you create another ‘wall’ to mask the door – can you spot it in the photo above? Alternatively, even a simple application of wall decals and stickers can help to mask the door.

The household shelter door is made of reinforced steel. Some creative homeowners have embraced its original form and transformed it into something like a fridge wall. Now, your magnet collections have a permanent home.

Read on for more design and décor and renovation tips!

  • Nicholas Yau

    Photography and design geek who loves reading about smart home products, and usually ends up buying most of them. In his free time, he’s lifting his best life at the gym.