Modern Kampung House: Interior Design Guide
Malay kampung houses are distinct and unique with their own identities, and for those travelling out of the city, they serve as markers indicating the transition point into the countryside. Uniquely built to suit the tropical climate, their design places emphasis on togetherness within the family and society.
While the distinctive look of the gable-roofed kampung house may be hard to find in a rapidly modernising world, the essence of kampung houses can still be preserved through the interiors of a space. Here’s our guide to a modern kampung house interior:
1. Use natural materials
Traditionally, kampung houses were built from the ground up using the materials one could gather from the surrounding area. It is sustainable, and has the added benefit of keeping the house interior cool amidst the sweltering humid heat of the rainforest. Materials such as rattan, timber, bamboo, and fronds from palm trees are most used to achieve this.
Even in the city, furniture and decorative items made from these materials are abundant and easy to find and can even cost less than their metal and plastic counterparts. For an even more authentic experience, biophilic elements can be deployed to bring the whole theme together. Try out Timber and ZR Barnwood for Zirconio’s easy-maintenance wood effect tiles.
Luxuriate in the comforts of nature with Eco-Foresta.
2. Let the air flow
Although most kampung houses are not equipped with air conditioners, kampung folks kept cool during the hot season was by designing their houses to maximise airflow. The roof is typically raised with a small gap between it and the walls, which allow for hot air to rise and dissipate, and the many windows along the house can be opened to allow the breeze to pass through.
While modern houses are much less modular on roof and window placement, you can still maximise airflow by keeping your windows and doors open. For those living in big cities who may be concerned about air quality, keeping the air circulating with indoor fans with an air-cleaning unit on can help keep the air clean, crisp, and refreshing.
3. Prepare a social outdoor space
A kampung house would not be one without the veranda (called “serambi” locally), which is a covered outdoor portion of the house where guests can be entertained while keeping the home private. In traditional settings, a mat would be strewn over the ground for both the host and guests to sit on, but modern spaces such as these may have tables and chairs set up for comfort.
Also check out our Tips on Creating a Zen Outdoor Space.
4. Keep the harsh sunlight out
While it is preferable for houses in temperate climates to maximise indoor sunlight during the day, the midday sun can be scorching in tropical climates. This brings us to another feature of kampung houses, which are their steep gabled roofs which keep the harsh sunlight out during the midday hours, while still allowing the gentler morning and evening sunlight to stream in.
For the modern kampung house, blinds along the windows can help control the amount of sunlight that comes into the house. For a natural touch, outdoor plants can also help block or filter sunlight from outside. To prevent sun glare from reflecting off the floor, consider non-reflective surfaces such as those on Softwood.
While advancements in technology may continue altering the pace of life, it can be comforting to have the basics to return to. Try out these tips and create for yourself a sanctuary where you can rest and recharge, but also use to entertain your guests.