Modern Filipiniana Condo Interior Design Tips

I love being in Berlin, but knowing that it will be a couple of years till I go back home to Manila, I get home sick. So I thought I would write about my first time to decorate a flat, a condominium in Manila. I had no idea how to do this and I was doing it all alone, so I quickly bought books and magazines and got in touch with friends (Thanks Sach and Pio) who were either in the business or had contacts to suppliers in the interior design. I was surprised by how helpful people were and I learned so much from the information they gave me. This has been the only time that I decorated from scratch. The walls were white, there were no lighting and window fixtures at all, no furniture and other finishings. Only the kitchen and bathrooms had basic fixtures.

Be Prepared

Because I was doing this for the first time and alone (no help from parents, etc), I decided to hire interior designers. This does not mean I didn’t do a lot of work myself. Before meeting with interior designers:

  • I bought magazines who’s look and modern aesthetics I liked – cut out features and labeled them which room I wanted them in
  • I bought books on organization and storage – these are my favourite books
  • I also scoured the internet for practical space saving built in furniture design options
  • I also took pictures of special features I like in hotel rooms when I travel and flats that I viewed to rent. I got a lot of inspiration from apartment hunting in Jakarta. Interior design in Jakarta is so edgy.
  • Then I compiled all of this (cut out, scanned,etc.) and organised it by room in a Powerpoint presentation so that I was prepared with what I wanted when I met with the interior designers
  • I also had a notebook that held all my thoughts and I wrote stuff down as I thought of them. Then later on I organised them into lists and tables. Personally I need these as a way to think and be organized, but this may not be how other people work.
  • I had to be organised because I set a 2 month deadline from start of construction to finish of this project. (I was almost successful too, if not for the act of God that was a super typhoon – on of the perils of my homeland.)

I knew what I wanted in terms of the overall look, storage options and other features.  Then my friend Nikki referred me to amazing interior designers, a  duo called K+M interior design.  Based on my wish list, Kay and Maybs (those are their names) compiled a mood board for me and we were on our way.  Together with their contractor Ton-ton, they not only made my vision come true but also added their technical know-how and expert ideas to come up with things I didn’t even think of.  This is mainly a photoblog so get ready for tons of pictures. You can see the contact details and link to their website on the bottom of this post.

Living Dining Room

I had the built-up shelves made to serve a double purpose: Lighting for the room and storage for books/decor. The rug was from SM Home Makati. Can you tell that the theme I am going for is modern Filipiniana? I love Filipiniana materials but I prefer the luxe looks so we combined modern clean lines with some Filipiniana materials like capiz, mother of pearl and places some gold highlights. The last thing I wanted was for it to look like a Filipiniana handicraft store so the key was not to over do it with Filipiniana items. What do you think?

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The tables and bench were custom-made by the contractor while the sofas was from SM Home Makati. The two striped chairs were from SM Home in the basement of SM Megamall. The other decorative accessories were all from Crossings Shangri-la and Crossing Quezon Ave, SM Home Makati, Landmark Makati and the IKEA distributor near Bautista Street in Makati called Möbler (click here for location map). You see that standing lamp in the corner of my living room? That’s IKEA!

Check out the coffee table with an ottoman that can be hidden underneath or can roll out. This was the brilliant idea of my interior designers and it’s perfect especially when there are kids. Also it’s saves space and yet provides extra seating when needed. I bought the foam from Uratex in the Marcos Highway Showroom and the fabric from Divisoria, then the contractor fabricated it. Love!
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Loved this vertical wall mounted wine holder is from a Filipino company that makes beautiful hardwood home and kitchen accessories. I am struggling to remember the name, but it available in Crossing Shangri-la and Dimensione in the Fort’s High Street (their flagship store). I loved the hanging shelf designed by Kaye and Maybs. The interesting shape is highlighted by spotlight lamps from the ceiling.

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The capiz drop lamp was a brilliant find from Crossing’s Quezon Ave.

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Media Wall

I love TV tables and media walls so this was definitely a highlight in the condominium, with an accent wall colour to make the white duco paint of the shelves and cabinetry. The TV table design is inspired by a TV table I saw in Scandinavian interior design house, Bo Concept.

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The hallway is narrow, but we made it interesting with false ceiling lighting. I loved this idea from the interior designers.

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Guest bathroom

The guest bathroom already had rain shower heads so I just had shower curtains installed and purchased cream curtains from Crossings. I am particular about curtain rings and these curtain rings are Martha Steward brand and I got them from Sleepcare.

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  Guest Bedroom

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The guest bedroom is small but we made sure that the built in furniture (trundle bed and chest) had as much storage as possible. The entire length of the headboard opens up and beddings and pillows can be stored inside.

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 Master’s Bedroom

This bespoke desk is simple yet brilliant. It is so strong and long that it can hold a massive flatscreen TV (it is steel reinforced). It can also be used as a writing desk. It also has a drawers underneath and a hidden dresser with mirror that easily closes and hides all the clutter after. Isn’t it so cool?  The capiz table lamp matches the drop lamp in the dining room and is also from Crossings.

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Storage space is so important int he bedroom so every possibility was maximised. Even this huge post in the corner of the room had some built in shelves. Condo living is hard and if there isn’t enough storage there is a tendency to look really cluttered.

decorating condominium interior design-006We did another built-up wall in the bedroom because there is no more space for side tables with the king sized bed. This served as the side table, reading light, charging station and contained the socket for phone jacks, chargers, etc. It’s looks simple yet serves so many functions, which is something that I love in all my homes. The simpler and more functions the better!

The bed was also custom built by the contractor and I purchased the memory foam mattress and the foam for the wall mounted head board from Uratex Marcos Highway.

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 Masters Bath

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 General and Mood Lighting

The flat at night is a wonder. I loved having different lighting options, from the General lights for when you need to work, study or clean to the built-in mood lighting. I think lighting makes the big difference between an ordinary room and a fantastic one.

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One of the things that I love is the mirrored wall that reflects the entire dining room. this makes the condo feel so much more spacious and reflects light so the space is bright. As a rule I must always have a full length mirror in my home so that you can check yourself top to bottom before heading out the house. I like to make sure that I look neat before leaving the house. This wall serves that purpose. I remember having to scour the shops for a cheap mirror supplier. I finally found one that didn’t break the bank in Home Depot in Ortigas. The store is called Mirage.  decorating condominium interior design-017decorating condominium interior design-018decorating condominium interior design-019decorating condominium interior design-020decorating condominium interior design-021decorating condominium interior design-022decorating condominium interior design-024


The kitchen is super tiny, but it is functional and has tons of built in storage space. The refrigerator was small so we added more storage around it. I got metallic coloured microwave and refrigerator to make it cohesive with the stainless steel elements in the kitchen. Fewer colours make the room feel bigger whereas if I used any print or bright colours it would have made the kitchen feel even smaller than it already was.

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Because I was trying my best to cut on cost, I sourced many of the materials and suppliers myself (those that weren’t supplied by the contractor and the interior designers anyway), but there are too many to mention so if you have any questions about where I got what, please drop me a line and I will try my best to answer.

Please note that these interiors were done many years ago so the exact items will no longer be available in the stores, but I am just posting these pictures to give you an idea of where you can get similar looking items in Manila to get a modern Filipiniana look in your homes. SM Kultura is a great place to get Filipiniana items (I always drop by when I am in the Philippines), but there are so many place in Manila you can check out to get that look. Think of Filipiniana-inspired, get creative and mix it up with modern decor!

*images without watermark were taken by Mylene Chung of Photo Kitchen Food Photography


KM Interior Design Manila

Horseshoe Village, 1112 Quezon City, Philippines

Möbler (IKEA distributor)

Möbler Makati

4977 Enrique St. Palanan, Makati City (near Bautista St. / Zobel Roxas) | 833 5590 | 0917 813 1201


Unit 9 Wilson Square Bldg., 199 Wilson St. cor P. Guevarra, San Juan | 508 4433 | 0916 284 4889

Uratex Marikina Showroom

50 Marcos Highway, Bgy. Tayug, Marikina
Tel: (632) 645-5451 to 55 / Fax: (632) 681-7640
Monday to Saturday 8 – 6pm / Sunday 10 – 6pm

Lovely comments

  1. Michael Bowles says

    Great looking apartment is has given me some great ideas for mine. Would you mind sending me an email so I can ask you a few more questions :)

  2. othelia Meier says

    hi, want to ask for a Quotation for 26-28 sqm. Condo Unit. I want your design, i want you to be my interior designer for my small Unit. Thank you..

    • says

      Dear Takamatsu, Are you based in Japan? If you would like to ask for a quotation, then I suggest that you get in touch with interior designers and contractors in Japan to get a realistic idea of what it would cost to have your flat to be interiored.

    • says

      HI Paulangel02, unfortunately I cannot give you the cost of the kitchen because as mentioned above, the kitchen furnished already. I only added the refrigerator and the cabinet wrapped around it.

  3. Sweetbella says

    Hi Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and your beautiful unit….
    I would like to know the contact details of your contractor who put up on your kitchen cabinet.

    • says

      Hi Sweetbella, thank you for reading my blog post and of course it is my pleasure!

      You can contact the contractor via the interior designers. The contact details and links are in the post above.

  4. lerry says

    Hello, congratulations for having a,well-planned condo. May I ask how much did you pay for thei nterior designer and the cost of all the material plus,the contractor?

    • says

      Dear Lerry, I did this project almost 6 years ago and the prices in Manila have already gone up considerably. I am afraid it will be unrealistic to expect the same prices. I have not been to Manila in a couple of years too, so I myself do not know how much the prices have gone up by. I am based in Berlin now.

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