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.