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How to give your living space a luxe heritage update

There’s no two ways about it, we all want our homes to look and feel as luxurious as possible. Layer your curtains with some plush fabric, fluff up the cushions or simple add freshness with some indoor plants, and you are already on your way to achieving that desired chic and contemporary living space.

For the living room – the heart of the house – it is important to get the space right. It is where you unwind after a long day at work. The living room also doubles as an entertainment area for visiting guests. Every piece in the space should act as a conversational piece. Just as how you’d dress to impress, the living room should adopt the same mantra.

But the question is: what makes your space different from everyone else’s? Add a personal touch using elements of heritage and cultural references that are close to your heart. From traditional leitmotifs to money-cannot-buy inheritance, all the keystone elements of heritage make up to an interior space that takes you back to your fondest memories. Antiques and olden decor items are great as statement pieces when paired against minimalistic designs.

It is best to work with what you’ve got, give it a tasteful update that is peppered with a touch of heritage and turn your living space into a remarkable space you’d want to show off to your friends. From a touch of chinoiserie chic to pretty Peranakan patterns, here are five handy tips to know for a luxurious heritage update to your living space.

Geometric lattices injects drama into the space. (Credit: Damac Properties)

Add a ‘Filter’
Screens, lattices and intricate metal works are great to add to your windows to give your home a retro vibe. Popular in homes during the 70s and 80s, these latticeworks give a nice geometric look while filtering natural sun beams. If you’d like something in a smaller scale, these screens can double up as a beautiful feature as a wall-hung decor or as a space divider.

Traditional wicker adds a charming touch to the bedroom. (Credit: M3 Studio)

Cultured Colours
Just like when deciding on an outfit, your living room should have a common thread – whether it is the colour, metallic accents, texture or furniture shape. Muted colours such as grey, blue, white and black work best as foolproof base palettes to pair with your antique pieces. Use heritage pieces as the starting point as your build your colour choices around the hues you see. Complete the look by highlighting with complementing metallic accents or swatches of vibrant tones; intense yellow and copper with delftware, royal blue and gold with wooden Peranakan furniture.

Take out those old antique china and display them as a conversational ensemble in your living room. (Credit: Aston Smart)

Traditional Textures 
Textiles and textures can be the difference between a living space feeling luxurious or just plain cheap. Go for an assortment of complementing colours and patterns on your throws, table runners and hanging art to enhance the room. Look out for traditional elements from batik to songket, embroidered scarves to handmade beaded pieces as sources of inspiration. You can either turn them into cushion covers or simply run them across your coffee table to inject some heritage flair into the space. Note: Avoid wool because shedding isn’t chic.

Choose an art piece that reflects your cultural heritage. (Credit: Simone Harouche)

Art as a Reminder
Art is an instant value-add on. It is a very personal thing, but it is obvious to say that your choices should reflect your personal style, belief and perhaps a family history. Everything from an old portrait to a family heirloom, or an old sewing machine to a vintage vinyl player, can be a form of art if you use them correctly. Layer these pieces in different heights and fill up empty corners with sculptural ones for an added sense of luxury into the space. Do not be overambitious with the selection; you may only need one arty element to luxe up the space. 


A vintage furniture makes a big statement in any interior space. (Credit: Pressloft)

Heritage at Home
What make a space great is the character it exudes. Embrace your heritage and culture with an interplay of colourful and quirky elements that are significant to your roots. Besides sprucing the interior space with antique chinas or a family heirloom, let heritage inspire your home by painting cornices with rich colours synonymous to your heritage — mint green and salmon pink for a Peranakan flair. Significant patterns such as mega mendung are great for a touch of Javanese influences.

How to give your living space a luxe heritage update

Martin Teo


Martin has a bent for history and food culture, especially of the Peranakan heritage. Since the pandemic, he finds joy in plant parenting and continues to expand his collection of Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Syngoniums. On his free time, he finds time scouring through the latest cafes in search for the best croissant in the city.


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