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5 Expert Techniques Professionals use to Conceal Pipes, Cables & Other Services

When it comes to interior design, one of the crucial aspects is concealing and hiding services like water, electrical, and gas. Ensuring these elements are out of sight is not only helpful for safety and functionality but also for creating a clean and aesthetically pleasing living or working space. Contractors employ various methods to conceal these services, and in this article, we'll explore the different ways they achieve this, going your place that clean, seamless, and premium feel.

 


1.       Hiding Wires, Drivers, and Lights above False Ceilings:

Concealing electrical wires in a false ceiling is a common and effective approach. This not only hides the wires but also allows for unique lighting solutions with recessed LED strips and other fixtures. The alternative is generally exposed trunking running over your ceiling.


Besides the usual flat false ceilings we’re all familiar with, there are also L-boxes (where the false ceiling features cutouts or runs along the perimeter of the room and Cove Lighting where the light source (usually an LED strip) is not only hidden but bounces the emitted light off of the ceiling to create a soft, diffuse and even lighting throughout the space.


BONUS TIP: In properties with higher ceilings, a false ceiling can even conceal a high-capacity tank water heater, allowing you to take luxurious rain showers or soak in the bathtub without worrying about hot water availability.


 

2.       Hiding Cables in Partition Walls:

Similar to concealment in a false ceiling, wires can be tucked into the hollow space inside partition walls and hidden from sight, emerging at strategically located power points.

 

This has a few key benefits: firstly, it is much cheaper than concealing a cable in a solid brick wall, as the partition structure always has empty space inside, whereas the brick wall must be built up fully before having a slot cut into it for the cable conduit.


Secondly, modifying the setup later on will be much cheaper and cleaner, as cutting and patching partition is much less messy and dusty than hacking into and repatching solid walls.


Thirdly, hiding cable in partition is generally permitted regardless of house type, and so may be the only way to conceal cables if you are a HDB owner. As of 2024, HDB does not allow homeowners to conceal cables “in wall and wall plaster or other finishes.”



 

3.       Concealed Conduits or Pipes in Concrete Walls and Floors:

Contractors use cable conduits that run along walls, beneath the cement and plaster surface. While invisible, this type of work is messy to do and should be done during a ‘big renovation’ rather than a refresh or touch-up work since it is noisy, messy, and dusty.

 

However, home design often necessitates solid walls for structural or privacy reasons. For example, to support the weight of tiles or cabinets, due to solid walls’ superior sound insulation, or the wall is in a wet area such as kitchen or toilet where the greater durability and water resistance of waterproofed concrete is the higher priority.


 

4.       Using Cabinetry and Built-Ins:

Custom cabinetry and built-in furniture can house utilities, keeping them hidden behind doors or panels. Uniquely, this allows services to be simultaneously hidden and accessible. Because HDB rules require a “removable access opening” for inspection and maintenance of shared pipes, carpentry (with doors) is the only solution to cover up the large pipes seen in almost every HDB kitchen and bathroom.


Skilled carpenters understand how to coordinate well with electricians, plumbers, and gas installers to ensure services are efficiently laid out and accessible for maintenance despite being concealed. This is especially true in the kitchen where all three services are typically present.


When it comes to using carpentry for concealment, the sky is the limit, with the flexibility of form offered by cabinetry work allowing services to be hidden behind cabinets while allowing excellent user access. Power sockets, lights, and accessories can all be built directly into your makeup or study table, for example.

 


5.       Camouflage or Partial Concealment:

Thus far, we’ve discussed concealment in binary terms; services are either concealed or they are not. However, a middle ground exists. By using colour and careful arrangement of services, the designer can visually downplay or de-emphasise them.

 

Simple examples would be painting trunking the same colour as the walls/ceiling and running it along the perimeter of the room wherever possible, using the shortest runs of cable possible, or painting HDB pipes to match the wall colour and make them stand out less.

 

Loose furniture and decorations like potted plants, wall art and posters can also be used to draw attention away from the services.

 

Although this technique of partial concealment may not be as complete as the others, it can often make sense to do as full concealment has its own set of compromises. For example, using carpentry to conceal large water pipes in a small toilet might take up too much space and be vulnerable to water damage. Alternatively, you may wish to hold your BTO only until MOP before upgrading, and wish to minimise the modifications made to the unit for an easier sale down the line.

 

Ultimately, the best approach is to create integrated design solutions that take into account the placement and concealment of services from the outset. Such solutions will also make use of multiple techniques to ensure the services are hidden throughout the space.


When it comes to expertly concealing and hiding services, look no further than Inhouse Interiors. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in creating seamless and aesthetically pleasing interior spaces. We understand the importance of concealed services in achieving a clean and beautiful look for your home or office. Let Inhouse Interiors be your trusted partner in transforming your space into a work of art, where functionality and aesthetics coexist harmoniously. Contact us today to discuss your project and experience the Inhouse Interiors difference.

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