Update your living space with these unique home decor items

Two Singapore-based brands with heart


By Sarah Hani Jamil

Update your living space with these unique home decor items

Changing up your living space does not mean you need a huge overhaul such as swapping out old furniture for something modern. It’s as easy as re-accessorising the room with small, decorative items that truly speak of your personal style. Whether it’s a new set of cushion covers, artwork, curtains or brand-spanking tableware, these little changes can leave a huge impact on any room in your home. Not only is it inexpensive, but great decor also influences your mood and allows you to live comfortably in your own space. If you’re looking for some ideas, below are some unique Singaporean labels to check out as a start.

Inclusive artworks from The Animal Project

(Left) Roland Tay, Founder of The Animal Project with influencer Amanda Chaang

Featuring whimsical hand-drawn animal art in black and white, this label offers a variety of high-quality, lifestyle-themed merchandise such as art pieces, tableware, stationery, gifts, clothes and more. What makes The Animal Project more meaningful is that it includes specially-curated artworks from differently-abled artists with special needs—a community that is often overlooked—and provides them with employment and a safe space to express and create. The artists earn royalty from the sales of these items while 50 per cent of profits will also be donated to a charity of the label’s choosing.

Not only that, post-manufacturing production processes such as packing, labelling, stock-taking and deliveries are also assisted by those with special needs. The label’s initiative and compassion ensure more employment opportunities are available across Singapore’s dynamic melting pot of talents, regardless of disability.

We’ve got our eye on: This set-of-four white ceramic espresso cups with bamboo saucers that’ll be perfect for tea-time guests. Drawn by artist Jun-Yi, who has autism, the penguins will add a touch of character to your dining space and are great conversation starters.


Proudly Asian homeware by Onlewo

Mike Tay, Founder of Onlewo

Drawing inspiration from common settings in Singapore, Onlewo designs feature bespoke patterns and motifs that see iconic neighbourhoods, landmarks or memories that are familiar to the everyday people of Singapore. It is a brand that manages to seamlessly weave nostalgia into modern art. Offering everything homeware such as cushion covers to upholstery, wallpapers, curtains, placemats, throws and much more, each pattern tells a heartfelt story about the Island City.

Of its design philosophy, Onlewo’s founder Mike Tay says, “The places I have lived in, the food I love with my friends, the tradition and culture we are guided by—are Singapore in every sense.” The self-taught designer launched the brand in 2015 after partly being influenced by his mother, who ran a clothing store. The exposure to fabrics at an early age triggered his interest in patterns, colours and design.

Currently, Onlewo is working with a young artist to raise funds for two groups that help disadvantaged Singaporeans. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Onlewo also partnered with the then Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, Sim Ann, to sew Singapore-inspired cotton fabrics into facemasks to raise money for the Children’s Aid Society, The Melrose Home, and for her #maskforce project, which helps equip migrant workers with mask kits.

We’ve got our eye on: This flexible stool that you can either use as a coffee table, a footstool or seat. It features the bright blue, beautiful print of the Singapore River that will certainly light up any room.


See more stories on home decor here. For more stories on Singapore, click here.

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