Previously, we posted about how show flats can be built to grossly exaggerate the appearance of size and/or features of a particular unit. We highlighted those tactics in our article Show Flats – Authorities Outline Dos and Don’ts. However, we also recognise that there are certain things that simply cannot be accommodated or accounted for in a show flat. Such things can only be experienced in the actual, physical unit when it is finally built.

As such, while we advocate that developers be as assiduous as possible regarding the accuracy of their show flats, we also advise consumers to be mindful that a show flat is seldom an exact representation of what you’re getting, but more of an indication of the potential of that unit. The following items can have a great influence on your perception of a unit for sale:


The exact fixtures, housings and types of lighting used can greatly change the perception of size and the “feel” of a room. The sense of comfort and welcoming evoked by proper lighting should not be underestimated. Likewise, a bright and cheery look is often dependent on the type and location of lighting. Spotlights and downlights can also enhance the dramatic feel of a room and its furnishings. Speaking of which…

Interior design and furnishings

The choice of decor and theme can play a big part in the appeal of an apartment or house. It often works hand-in-hand with lighting to create a welcoming, cheery or homely feeling. The combination of fixtures and furnishings used was probably mixed and matched by a professional decorator or designer, with the sole objective of making you buy something.

Significant investment might be needed for similar results

And that brings up another thing to consider. Such choice fixtures and fittings are not likely to be low-end or budget purchases. In fact, to get results similar to a show flat might require significant additional investment. While you can probably save on the services of a professional designer if you just slightly modify what you see in a show flat, be prepared to fork out a tidy sum for things such as designer furniture (even replicas of such can be several thousand dollars), lighting enhancement and installation, custom-built cabinets and decorative art pieces. And then there are physical considerations that can increase your cost as well. For example, a higher false ceiling is certainly nice and quite possible, but might require an investment in low-profile downlights to fit in the smaller space above the ceiling.

Effects of level and facing of unit

Another thing that a show flat cannot reasonably duplicate is the effect that different floor levels and facing will have on the overall lighting, mood and feel of a unit. In general, you can expect lower floors to be darker than higher floors. This effect might even become greater over time, due to growth of environmental foliage. The facing of a unit can also dramatically affect lighting, depending on time of day and proximity of other blocks in the development. This is something that can easily be forgotten when viewing a show flat.


Most show flats are fully air-conditioned, from the living room to the kitchen and the toilets. This obviously generates a greater feeling of comfort than normal, unless you’re the type that runs the air-conditioning throughout your house, all day. Moreover, associated with the point about lighting above, is that a bright, cheery ambiance may require more light sources. And light sources can generate quite a bit of heat. So to achieve similar lighting effects as a show flat might even necessitate a robust air-conditioning system, which may not be standard issue.

Entryway to unit cannot be properly represented

Some thing that can potentially affect the feel of a unit is its entryway. Most show flats open out onto a spacious show room floor, so the entry point into the show flat is usually bright and airy. But that is unlikely to be the case in the actual unit. Don’t be surprised if the final outcome is considerably less impressive or maybe even claustrophobic, depending on the design of the lift landing and access walkways.

Show flat measurements should not be relied on for planning interior design

One last caveat that we feel should be mentioned, as we have seen a few folks turning up at show flats with measuring tape. While developers usually endeavour to be as accurate to the floor plan as possible, things can change during construction. A pillar may be enlarged or shifted by several centimeters. Likewise, windows, power points, built-in cabinets and even doorways may be moved due to building considerations. As such, basing your interior design, furnishing and decorating decisions on show flat measurements may not be wise. Just imagine ordering a custom-built TV console to fit a space based on the show flat, only to find that during construction they placed a power point right where the console would fully block it.

To wrap up, we would like to remind consumers that while show flats are meant to give you an idea of what your final purchase can look like, they should also be aware that they are designed for maximum appeal. Show flats are as much a marketing exercise as they are an information tool. They can be useful as a visual guide to what you might possibly have after some action on your part, but please do note the points we mentioned above, as well as in our other articles, such as Towards a More Savvy Property Market.

We hope this was helpful to you. Let us know what you think in the comments section below, or look us up on our social media channels, FacebookTwitter, and Google+.


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