Spacious Living

How to Save Space For Your House

A BTO (Build to Order) flat is a home allocation system by the Singapore Housing and Development Board. They have a limited amount of square footage, which means that they are quite small in size. So, Interior design in Singapore is being adapted to suit the ergonomics and comfort of these HDB flats.

Small homes might be the newest trend, but it can be especially challenging to retrofit them with the basic interior design essentials. HDB renovation has improved by leaps and bounds, but it is still very hard to redesign the layout and aesthetics of a space-starved, 2-bedroom BTO flat successfully. So below, we’ll be sharing 5 interior design solutions for how you can make your BTO look absolutely stunning.


Think Smart, Not Hard

Save space by investing in dual purpose furniture

Save space by investing in dual purpose furniture


When it comes to small-style interior designing, you’ll have to think smart, not hard. The term ‘smart’ in the context of interior designing can refer to any number of things; smart furniture, smart walls and even smart lighting. So, you should definitely invest in dual purposed furniture like murphy beds and sofa-bunks, smart kitchen hardware, platform bed-come-horizontal-wardrobes and more to make the most of your small space. You’ll be surprised how smooth your HDB renovation will look with these ingenious space-saving solutions.


Emphasize the Whites

Emphasize the Whites

Emphasize the Whites

Here’s a small hack for selecting the colour scheme of your BTO flat; emphasize the whites. White colour has superb reflective qualities; this generally means that using white as your base colour scheme can make even the smallest spaces seem spacious. This doesn’t mean that you should use white singularly as your running colour scheme. You can embellish it with colourful furniture items, floor materials and even accessories. However, the basic backdrop for all these colours must be completely white in order for this trick to truly work.


Create Illusions through Mirrors

Create Illusions Through Mirrors

Create Illusions Through Mirrors

Since interior design in Singapore is quite a booming industry, many local designers have come up with clever techniques to make HDB renovations unique but impactful. One of these techniques includes creating illusions with mirrors. If you clad an entire feature wall of your room in floor-to-ceiling mirror leafs, you’ll find that it creates an illusory effect that doubles the space. You can even spice up your interior designs by using mirror-cut feature walls that have been trending on Pinterest and Instagram these days.


Decorating with Lights

Decorate with Lights

Decorate with Lights

Due to the small square footage of a BTO flat, it’s best to avoid all visual clutter in the space. So how do you decorate your space, then?

Easy; you decorate with lights! There are so many clever lighting fixtures and false-ceiling solutions that can play up the drama of small spaces to give an upscale vibe to small-style interior designs. You can use track lights to create accents, floor lamps for visual décor and recessed lighting to create drama in your BTO flat.


The Open-Floor Concept

The Open-Floor Concept

The Open-Floor Concept

The most mainstream solution for every small-style interior design in Singapore includes the open-floor concept. This concept has gained rightful recognition, as it can make your homes look spacious by default. A HDB renovation carried out on the open-floor concept would visually merge the living area, kitchen and dining space. This creates extra leeway for circulation space and allows the designer more liberty to play with the aesthetics at the same tie.

All in all, we hope you enjoy the the above curations, feel free to contact us if you have any queries!

HDB Room Designs

An island with a fast-growing metropolitan population, Singapore can’t grow sideways (horizontally) any more—so it has to grow upwards (vertically). Singaporeans understand this situation, and they’ve adapted pretty well to the limited space constraints in remarkable ways indeed, as evidenced in some of the following featured stylishly small HDB flats.

As of 2014, there are over 1 million flats in Singapore, and they seem to be shrinking as well! Find below the statistics, of which most shrinkage seems to be occurring in the kitchen department!

  • 1980s built HDB 5-room flat = about 123 sqm
  • 1990s built HDB 5-room flat = about 120 sqm
  • 2000s built HDB 5-room flat – about 110 sqm

Despite the shrinking space however, Singaporeans are getting creative with the little they have.

1. Studio Style Apartment




Studio Style Apartment

Studio Style Apartment

Studio Style Apartment

Studio Style Apartment


Chic, sturdy, brick walled and clean, the studio style may seem lean but it sure is sweet! And low maintenance to boot.

2. Home of The Minimalist




If you like things kept simple, this is the way to go. This minimalist design is enhanced by the uneven-toned cement screed floor—which gives the place an edgy, earthy feel.

3.Swedish Style Home


Swedish Style Home

Swedish Style Home

Swedish Style Home

Swedish Style Home

The Swedes are to blame for our crazy obsession with all things IKEA. Anyhow, in this Swedish Style Home, coloured flooring is used to demarcate the spaces, not walls. Water pipes aren’t hidden, but in fact celebrated. And check out that quirky divider of a bookshelf!

4. Open Dining Concept

Open Dining Concepts

Open Dining Concepts

When kitchens start to shrink, Open Dining becomes more ‘in’! This concept creates an airy and carefree feel, making your home seem bigger than it really is, plus merging get-togethers in the living room with our most favourite act of eating.

5. Embellished Art Walls


Embellished Art Wall

Embellished Art Wall

Who says your walls should be wallflowers or simply background props? Jazz it up with your own personalised touches—and make it pop!

6. Modern Minimalist-Industrialist


Modern Minimalist-Industrialist

Modern Minimalist-Industrialist

Modern Minimalist-Industrialist

Modern Minimalist-Industrialist

Simple, cosy and modern design for the young and upwardly mobile.

7. Monochrome Home


Monochrome Home

Monochrome Home

There’s nothing more boldly simple and elegant than lining your home with monochrome!

8. Open Concept


Open Concept

Open Concept

The living area in this unique home was replaced by the kitchen, giving it an airy, breezy feel and complimentary natural lighting.

9. Continuous Console


Continuous Console

Continuous Console

More and more people are hacking walls to make a continuous console. You can create open living areas and bedrooms—and even customize your main door design to suit your liking.

10. Café Inspired Home


Cafe Inspired Home

Cafe Inspired Home

Hop no more from one café to another, and hog your own cosy café of a home! Quaint, cool and inspiring, you’ll love waking up to this café inspired home every day.

Interested in modelling your future home with the above concepts? Feel free to contact us, have a great week ahead!

Kitchen Island Designs for Singapore Homes

The kitchen island is, arguably, one of the dream designs most homeowners want during their renovation. Not only does it look impressive, it’s also a very functional layout whether you’re an aspiring home chef or an occasional cook. For most of us, space is a factor that prevents us from including an island in our homes, but you might be surprised to learn that there are petite apartments that have managed to squeeze out the square footage to fit an island counter. From HDB flats to condo apartments to landed houses, we pick some of Singapore’s most inspiring kitchen designs – each with an enviable kitchen island configuration – to get your creative juices flowing.


Design Idea #1: Tear down all the walls

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

You might be surprised to learn that this open concept kitchen belongs in a 5-room HDB flat. To achieve this spacious layout, the designers tore down the walls and drastically altered the layout of the entire home. Because the kitchen, living room and dining room now share a single space, this island counter actually defines the boundaries of the kitchen.

Design Idea #2: Portable island


An island counter doesn’t have to be a bulky immovable object in the centre of the kitchen. This cheery kitchen makes do with a butcher’s table that can be rolled away when the owners need more space in the kitchen.

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Design Idea #3: A half-height divider

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

In this condo apartment, the kitchen isn’t large enough to hold all the homeowner’s cooking equipment. As such, appliances like the oven and microwave need to be placed in the adjoining dining room. The island counter is strategically designed to separate the swelling kitchen from the rest of the home.

Design Idea #4: Visually define the kitchen boundaries

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

This truly open-concept home barely has any walls in the main living spaces; rooms transition seamlessly from one to the other. Here, the island counter serves multiple purposes: it grounds the entire kitchen, links the room to the dining area, and turns the common areas into spaces where guests will naturally congregate.


Design Idea #5: Multi-purpose island

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

To fit an island into this crammed HDB kitchen, the designers had to reduce the amount of cabinets to a minimum. Conveniently, the island counter doubles as a countertop space, and the addition of a cantilevered table top offers additional space for prep work.


Design Idea #6: Confine an open kitchen

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Although not technically an island (one end of the countertop is attached to the wall), this kitchen layout emphasises efficiency and space planning. The huge worktop looks out to the dining room making it a natural transition between kitchen and dining.

Design Idea: #7

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Placing the kitchen next to the dining room is an obvious choice for a landed house as large as this one. To encourage a more seamless transition between spaces, the kitchen island is attached to the dining table.

Design Idea #8: A kitchen island that’s not in the kitchen

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Who says an island counter needs to be in the kitchen? In this flat, the kitchen isn’t big enough to accommodate an island, so the designers built it right next to the kitchen entrance. It doubles as a a dining table too.


Design Idea #9: An odd-shaped island

Kitchen Inspiration

Kitchen Inspiration

Even small, odd-shaped kitchens will benefit well from having an island counter. In this awkwardly angled kitchen, the island actually helps to visually anchor the room while providing additional workspace.

Need more advise? Feel free to contact us, have a great week ahead!


5 Ways To Choose The Right Interior Designer

The difference between having a home whose interior oozes with splendor and one that is a constant source of shame lies in choosing the right interior designer. How so?

Interior designers have the knowledge and expertise to turn your average-looking home into a marvel. There are numerous interior design firms and contractors in Singapore, however not all of them can present you with the best services at a reasonable price. Hence, the need to apply caution when choosing an interior designer. Below are five important factors that you should consider before getting your house renovated or repaired.

Professional Advice

A good number of times, a lot of people are uncertain about what kind of style would be best suited for their Singaporean homes. It is important to get expert opinion on such matters. A first-class interior designer should be reasonably available for consultation and should be able to offer you the best advice based on your needs and desires. He/she should keep in mind your lifestyle choices and general preferences in formulating a design solution that is ideal for you.


Expert Designers

To avoid substandard work and unnecessary damages to your home, it is imperative to hire professionals. When dealing with interior design firms in Singapore, you ought to ensure that they only hire trained designers with considerable experience in designing. Good designers have excellent work portfolios. Should you ask for a sample of their previous projects, you will be amazed by the brilliance of their work.

Quality Products

A good interior designer should offer you nothing less than professional service. They should be versed with a wide array of styles and their previous work should indicate excellence. A professional interior designer or design firm in Singapore uses high quality products. Durability of house furnishings is important as it is guaranteed to save you needless expenses in repairs and maintenance.

Affordable Services

When choosing an interior designer, it is important that their charges are in line with your budget. Some firms in Singapore tend to overcharge their services and products, in the process exploiting customers. A good design firm has fair charges in proportion to the value of the services they offer and the quality of products and material that they use. Excellent design firms have packages that are suited for customers with tight budgets meaning that they are able to tailor-make something for everyone.

Post-Sales Service

A good design firm has exceptional post-sales customer service with customer care professionals who are not only friendly but also eager to help. For example, if you experience any difficulty with the already installed products, the firm should have someone to come check it out. Needless to say, a good Singaporean interior design firm takes after-sales as seriously as it does pre-sales.

Good workmanship sells itself; therefore, you ought to choose an interior designer or a design firm based on excellent reviews and referrals. At the end of the day, you can be certain that you have chosen the right Singaporean interior designer if you are satisfied with the finishing


What To Look Out For When Choosing An Interior Design Package

With so many reviews and forums to sieve through, deciding on an interior designer can sometimes be a daunting process. You sign up at a local renovation site, and next thing you know you get dozens of calls from different ID companies asking you to come down for a consultation.

Forums and friends’ reviews don’t help either, between the vastly different opinions and design preferences of people, ratings of so many companies can become a rather confusing process. After all, what you’re looking for is never the same as what others are satisfied with. To each their own right? Here are some key factors to consider before picking your choice of ID:



A quick research online will show if an ID company is ISO certified. Being ISO certified signifies that the company practices good sales practices, standards, and ethics. This means that all communication is clearly articulated, transparent and all renovation fees are documented with full accountability for the listed deliverables. This will also include fee refund policies and a well-trained staff force.

ISO accredited companies regularly go through workmanship site assessments by public auditors in accordance to CONQUAS standards. In addition to these regular checks, an assurance in the quality and consistency of work is also provided.

Years of experience

In an individual company, there are many designers one can pick from. They can range from having decades of experience, to absolutely none at all. You should look out for designers who are clear in conversing and able to generate good quality design ideas. You wouldn’t want to work with a designer who is not on the same tune as you as that would introduce misunderstandings and will potentially convey wrong instructions for your renovation.

Choice of contractors

Some interior firms have their own factories while others get their woodwork subcontracted out. It is always preferred to go with a company who has their own in-house contractors and factory as opposed to having almost all your works subcontracted out. When you are working with a company using sub-contractors, do request to see their workmanship so you’ll have a better expectation & assurance on your upcoming delivery.

Style and specialization of designer

Different designers have different strengths and design tastes. Some designers may specialize in kitchen space planning, while others may be better at wardrobe planning or texture coordination. Decide on which aspects of home designing you need the most help in, and get a designer that’s strong in it.

Similarly, although most designers are flexible with different design concepts, most would have one or two design styles that they tend to veer towards. Always take a look at the designer’s past work. If they tend to do mostly Scandinavian styles, try asking if he/she does something vastly different like a Victorian concept as well. This  gives yourself a better idea if this designer is able to produce a work that is up to your expectation.

Warranty/ Insurance coverage

These days, certain ID companies offer clients a warranty on workmanship at the end of the renovation. Do sound out what these warranties cover so that you are in line and aware.  What about during the renovation? If you’re keen to purchase insurance coverage for the items you place in your renovating unit during the renovation period, do get a quote from the interior company on how much this insurance will cost you.

How well the designer understands you

At the end of the day, despite all an interior designer can promise you, it would mean nothing if the designer has difficulties understanding what you want for your design. In the process of chasing sales, some designers come off aggressive in closing a sale fast instead of trying to really understand what you’re asking for.

If you do not feel heard or understood at the consultation and the designer just keeps shoving things that you do not need, do not hesitate to get a second opinion.


When Should You Start Planning Your Renovation

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You’d be surprised – the best time to start planning a renovation is actually a year before collecting your house keys. Like all major decisions in life, it pays to think carefully and ahead. And creating a dream home that you’ll have to live in for years? We think that’s a big decision that’ll need all the time it can get. So, if you’re still unsure of when and what to look out for in a renovation process, check out this step-by-step timeline guide below to help you get started.

12 months to key collection

It might feel like a long way to go, but don’t just sit around awaiting your keys! Now’s the perfect time to picture your dream home, and research on the various styles or features you’d like in your new abode.

Create A Mood Board

Start looking around for interior decor looks that strike your interest, and create a mood board to save them. Websites like Pinterest allow you to put save pictures together in a mood board. You can even share your boards with others, which will be really convenient if you’d like to discuss ideas with friends or family!

Research on Your Budget

Figuring out a budget that you’ll be comfortable with in advance will give you enough time to start saving up, or consider your financing options.

3-6 months to key collection

At this point, you should have more or less decided on:

  • the decor theme
  • some basic features you’d like to work on (e.g. structural works, tiling, etc.)
  • your ideal budget, with a comfortable range to work with.

It’s time to find the suitable professional for the job. Here begins the hunt for the perfect interior designer.

Finding and meeting with an ID

Make sure to visit some showrooms and discuss details with the IDs you’ve contacted. Ideally, you should meet a maximum of 3 IDs before making a decision.

Don’t forget to prepare these essentials, so the IDs will have something to work with:

  • Your floor plan
  • Your mood board (physical or online)
  • Your expected renovation time frame (e.g. when to start renovation, when to move in, etc.), so the IDs can work according to your schedule.

1 month to key collection

The big day is coming up soon! After gathering information about quotations and ideas from the various IDs, you’ll need to engage one that you are most comfortable with, in terms of pricing, design and chemistry.

First Steps to Working With An ID

After shaking hands, what’s next? Now’s the right time to discuss what the must haves and no-nos in this renovation. Whether it’s a feature wall, open-concept communal area or a walk-in wardrobe, let your ID know so he/she can fit it to the space plan.

Key collection day

Congratulations! It’s the day of your key collection and you’re obviously excited. But don’t look at your new home with rose tinted lenses just yet – make sure everything is in the right place!

Check for Defects

Bring along the defects list provided by HDB/developer and a lock to secure your home. You will need a seasoned, meticulous eye for this, so it would be better to invite your ID along to help spot anything amiss and take measurements!

Set Up Your Basic Utilities

It’s really important to get the basics working before embarking on a renovation. In order to renovate, workers will need electricity for their tools and water for washing grime or dirt – so don’t leave them hanging! Apply for a utilities account with SP Services to activate the water, electricity, gas and waste collection services, soon after collecting your keys.


Things to Do to Keep Renovation Process Fuss-Free

Getting the keys to your new BTO flat can be immensely exciting, but when you’re standing in a bare, unfurnished home, the amount of renovation work before you can seem quite daunting. Renovating your entire home is not just a massive undertaking, but an expensive one as well.

Here are some important things every new homeowner needs to know to keep the process as painless as possible.


Open A SP Services Account.

Once you have collected the keys to your house and made payment for insurance, your next step is to open up an Utilities account to activate the water and electricity supply for your home. This can be done quickly at the counter located at HDB Toa Payoh HUB. The queue is quite often short and you should be able to have your account set up within 15 minutes.

Take note that this should be done before a renovation permit is granted.


Check for Defects.

Before even entering your new home, start keeping an eye out for any cracks, scratches, stains and dents on your front door and the surrounding area. Then, go through your home and look over (and under) every surface as meticulously as possible. Test the doors and windows, check for leaks and make sure to report any major defects as soon as possible, to reduce your waiting time.


Mind the Three-Year Restriction Period on Removal Of Bathroom Wall And Floor Finishes.

Fancy a designer bathroom complete with double sinks, marble finishes, and a rain shower system? Before you go ahead and ask your contractor to rip everything up, take note that new Build to Order (BTO) flats come complete with wall and floor finishing that have waterproofing membranes laid between the cement screed and floor tiles. This is HDB’s waterproofing measure to ensure that water doesn’t leak through your flooring to the flat below.

The tiles come with a three-year warranty which will become void should you remove it. However, if you insist on having the flooring of your choice, your contractor can still fulfil your wishes by tiling over HDB’s existing tiles, using adhesive. This is approved by HDB, so you can still achieve the look you want without voiding the warranty.


Check Before You Hack, Add or Demolish.

Whether you buy a BTO or a resale flat, prior approval from HDB is required before you demolish or hack any wall. HDB will assess if your modifications will affect the structural integrity of the building.

Hacking or removal of reinforced concrete wall, beams, columns, or staircases within a maisonette, for example, are all not HDB-approved. A submission of approval is needed if you intend to build arches and rounded corners. It is also required in situations where the door to the bedroom is repositioned—this permit will usually be granted as long as the entrance is not created through a reinforced concrete wall.

To check if your proposed works can be allowed, your contractor will submit all proposed plans to HDB when applying for the renovation permit.


Choose Approved Windows and Grilles.

Whether they are resale units or new BTO flats, windows and window grilles can only be installed by BCA-approved window contractors that are registered with the HDB.

On the day that you collect the keys to your new flat, the HDB officer will hand you a piece of paper detailing the standard grilles that you can put up for your service yard. Do not fret if you misplace it—your contractor will know what you can use for your service yard and the rest of the house.


Appoint Only HDB-Approved Contractors Or Interior Designers.

Last but not least, always ensure that you engage an HDB-registered renovation contractor or interior designer to carry out your renovation works as non-HDB approved contractors and IDs are prohibited from carrying out works on your flat. Besides, because they are familiar with the rules and regulations, the HDB-approved contractors and IDs will give you more assurance when it comes to building the home of your dreams.


Supervise Your Renovations

Once the go-ahead for your renovations is given, your contractor is required to display these permits outside your flat until all renovation work is completed. He must also keep your immediate neighbours informed of the renovation works three days prior to its commencement.

When your renovation starts, it is important to remember that demolition works can only be carried out from 9am to 5pm daily on weekdays and no more than two handheld power tools are to be used concurrently for hacking down walls or removing wall or floor finishes.

Your contractor is also required to complete all hacking within three days—so keep an eye on the calendar. You’re one huge step closer to moving into your dream home!


How Much Should You Budget For Home Renovation

The most expensive thing you can buy in Singapore is probably your home. Given that kind of investment, we see why you’d want to make your home as good looking as possible. To help you see how much you need to spend, where all the money goes, and how you can keep the budget low, here’s our guide to renovating costs in Singapore.

How much does a home renovation cost?


The ultimate cost of renovation depends on the type of home, its age, its condition, the company you choose to do the renovations, how much work you want done, the type of materials you pick.

The type of housing often determines how much work needs to be done. Private condominiums and executive condominiums often come with some interior fittings e.g. kitchen cabinets and flooring already done. It takes a lot less work to do up a brand new BTO as compared to a resale flat.

To give you a rough idea, we’ll give you the range for renovation costs for a 4-room HDB flat, probably the most common public housing type/size.

Packages go for as low as $4,888. But renovation costs have been known to go up to $110,000.

According to Qanvast, a web portal and app for homeowners to find interior designers and furnishings, the average HDB renovation cost is $53,000.


Renovation options – contractor, ID, or design & build?

As we’ve said, the range of costs is wide. To know where your budget sits within the spectrum, you need to know what you want. The first decision you have to make is: do you want a contractor, an interior designer or a design-and-build company?


Contractors handle the heavy lifting when it comes to home renovations, but you will need to do the designing, conceptualising and project management.

They do all the construction work, like putting up and breaking down walls, doing up false ceilings, installing flooring, electrical wiring, piping, bathroom fittings and carpentry.

Since the contractor needs to be managed and given specific instructions, this option is suitable for people who know exactly what they want design-wise, including the more technical specifications. It’s also good for simple and straightforward renovation work.

Many people who go with contractors are seasoned homeowners who have done renovations before and know how to manage the project on their own. If you’re not experienced, this can be harder than you think.

It’s also a time-consuming project and you will have to take time off from work to be around to manage things.

But if you have time and are confident about being in charge, going contractor-only is a good way to manage your budget. Typically, they charge based on the cost of construction materials.

Interior designer

The interior designer is a person or firm you hire on top of the contractor to help conceptualise, design, source furniture and manage the entire project. For the absolutely clueless, hiring an ID is a good idea, especially if you value design but would rather leave it to actual experts.

You can rock up to an ID firm with just a faint idea of what you want. Their job is to help you create the look of your home, advise on style and provide 3D designs that you approve. They also do the legwork when it comes to sourcing for furniture, furnishings and fittings to complete the look.

Hiring an ID is also good for those who don’t want to manage the renovation and all the practicalities that go with it. The ID will coordinate with your contractor and manage the renovation project. Of course, the drawback is that you’ll have to pay slightly more. IDs typically charge consultancy fees and fees on top of the materials.

Design and build

Somewhere in between the two options above is the design-and-build option. This is sort of a level up from the contractor where they’ll do the construction work expected of a contractor, but include the design and project management as part of the package.

For practical homeowners who are managing their budget and not willing to splurge on the level of service and design provided by an ID firm, this is a viable option. It’s good for those who know what they want, but don’t have the time to actively manage the renovation project. Similar to contractors, you’ll pay a rate that’s based on the cost of the materials. No need to pay consultancy fees as the design is thrown in for free.

Precautions to Take Before Renovating

Renovating your new house can be really exciting. However, before you start your renovation process, here are some precautions that you should take.

When your contractor starts the home renovation work, it is important to supervise the progress on a regular basis. The contractor could say that it is sufficient for you to visit on a weekly basis, but it is advisable to monitor the work daily. Seeing the progress that has taken place every day for yourself has several advantages. If the contractor has misunderstood your instructions, it is critical to spot the mistake as early as possible. Quick rectification will be easier and reduce potential costs significantly.

For instance, the Consumer Association of Singapore receives a number of complaints against contractors every year. According to the data on the association’s website, 11% of the complaints received in 2016 pertained to contractors.

YearNumber of complaints filed against contractors

The best precaution that you can take to prevent becoming one of these people filings complaints is to make a daily visit to your home to verify that work is progressing according to schedule. Not only that, your payments should be linked to the amount of work that has been completed. Don’t make the mistake of paying 100% of the agreed amount in advance.

Do you need permission to make alterations in your house?

In Singapore, it is the home owner’s responsibility to obtain permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority for certain types of renovation. As a general rule, you will need permission for:

  • Changes that affect the external facade of the building.
  • Alterations that result in an increase of the floor area.


For HDB flats, The Housing & Development Board has another specific set of rules for renovations. For instance, you can only use an HDB registered renovation contractor and you are required to receive prior permissions from HDB for various types of work.

Plan your renovation carefully

It is advisable to carry out extensive research before starting on your renovation exercise. Spend time on finalising what you want your house to look like when the refurbishment is over. This will help you guide the work of the interior designer and the contractor.

Also, you should always keep in mind that, while your budget is important, it is not the only factor that you should consider. The efficiency and skill of the contractor that you engage will play a large role in the project’s success. Be prepared for delays and your initial budget estimate being exceeded.

If done correctly, renovating your home is one of the most fulfilling and worthwhile projects you could spend your money on. Not only will you get a new home that is a pleasure to live in and which looks exactly like you had imagined, it could sometimes even help raise the value of your property in case you decide to sell or sent it out.


Things to Consider Before Renovating Your Home

If you are buying a new flat, it is essential to set aside an additional S$50,000 to S$80,000 to renovate it according to your tastes. Those who have lived in the same house for a period of 10 years or more would need to spend a substantial sum to refurbish their homes.

But, wow will you pay for this expense? If you have recently bought a home, you would have probably taken on a large home loan, and it could be a meaningful burden to incur further debt for your renovation. Therefore, people who are remodelling an existing home should also try and avoid taking a loan for this purpose. Instead, they should plan ahead and set aside money on a regular basis. However, at times, the only way to arrange the required funds is through a renovation loan. Several banks offer this product specifically for people who need help funding their home renovations, and often even give you a discount if you already have a home loan from them.

Here are some other points to keep in mind so that you can be sure to get a great renovation without stretching your finances too much.

Decide on your budget

How much are you going to spend on your renovation project? You may have a figure, say S$60,000, in mind. But when you add up the expenditure on the various items, it is likely that your total will exceed this figure. In fact, if you have a budget of S$60,000, the total of the individual expenses should be in the range of S$45,000 to S$50,000.

Why should you keep such a large buffer? As the renovation progresses, you will probably think of additional improvements. Not only that, home renovations almost always encounter complications and delays that prolong the construction and increase the overall cost of the project. Unless you keep a cushion in your initial estimate, you can go hopelessly over-budget.

How will you find the right interior designer and contractor?

There are differing opinions on whether you should engage an interior designer at all. Most homeowners have a very clear idea about what they require, and there is a wealth of information available in magazines and on the internet on various designs and themes. You can clip out photographs of room layouts and designs that appeal to you and simply ask your contractor to replicate what is in the photograph or the image that you have downloaded.

But, there also are strong arguments in favour of hiring the services of an interior designer. When you are spending such a large amount on your renovation, it may be worth incurring an additional expense of S$3,000 to S$5,000 for professional advice so that you don’t end up with a home that isn’t all that great. In fact, an interior designer may be able to make suggestions and offer guidance that could save you thousands of dollars.

The best way to find an interior designer with good technical knowledge with materials. You should try and identify someone who has got renovation work done previously, and avoid referrals where the person giving the recommendation does not have any direct knowledge about the quality of the work of the contractor.

Come up with your own ideas

If you do decide to use the services of an interior designer, you should not delegate the entire responsibility for your home to this person. You are the one who is going to live there and are in the best position to decide what your house should look like.

Of course, this does not mean that you shut your mind to the ideas that the interior designer or even the contractor provide. These individuals are professionals who would have worked on dozens of similar projects in the past. Their expertise can be crucial to a successful home renovation project.

A good practice to adopt is to make a list of your ideas and queries and then discuss them in detail with your designer or contractor. Listen carefully to what they say and be prepared to change your views if their proposals seem superior to yours. After all, they are specialists in this field and you are paying for their know-how.