6 Facts about Renovating in Singapore

Stuck home long enough? Enough to have (unwillingly) saved up for a little renovation? Before you get ahead of yourself, there’s a bit more to it than just throwing money at it. Especially if this is your first renovation rodeo, here are six facts you should know about before you go deep down the renovation rabbit hole.

1. Permits

Renovations don’t just involve you, your contractor, and/or interior designer. It’s also the Housing and Development Board’s business too. Bug your contractor or ID about that HDB renovation permit. You need one to even begin renovations! If you start hacking your floors any which way, you and the law are going to have a long talk.

2. Budget

Just enough isn’t enough. Renovations are big. When you budget, account for everything. Carpentry. Hacking. Electricals. Flooring. Masonry. Tiling. Ceiling. Painting. Wet works. EVERYTHING. Even minor work will likely cost upwards of a five-figure digit. And when you think you have it all, add 20% to that. Because no matter how well you plan, there will always be the unexpected. And if you’ve got a resale unit, it could very well be much more than that of new BTOs.

3. Trends

Everyone wants to be trendy. Just be mindful that what’s in trend might not be what you want. But it’s so easy to be caught up in the moment. Is it what you want? Really? Or is it what someone else says you should have but, really, you don’t?

The other reason to be mindful of trends? Some are pricier than others. Minimalist designs generally cost less due to fewer carpentry and features. Scandinavian ones lie somewhere in the middle. Modern luxury designs would most likely burn a hole in your pocket (it’s kind of in the name) thanks to the materials involved.

4. Carpentry

Space is a premium in Singapore. And the one way to make use of every nook and cranny is often carpentry. However, carpentry is expensive. All those kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, storage units, etc.? They’ll likely eat up 40-50% of your budget. The best way to spend your money? Mix carpentry with some loose furniture.


5. Loose furniture and decor

Loose furniture and decor items? Super easy to buy. So easy, you might be tempted to pick up one or two because, hey, it’s on sale, today only, doncha know? Yes, Singaporeans love a good bargain. However, really, wait until all plans are final and measurements confirmed. Why? Because that bargain furniture you bought might not be such a bargain after all. Especially when it can’t fit anywhere.

6. Time

Alright, you’ve managed to get everything off the ground. So how long is it all going to take? The pandemic affected everyone including the renovation scene. Be prepared to wait around eight weeks for a BTO project to complete. Longer if it’s a resale flat. Don’t rush it. Good workmanship takes time. Many a nightmare renovation stems from contractors having to rush their work.

A place to live with

Renovations are significant investments. They’re what you’ll have to live for years after, long after the job is done and over with. Whether you end up enjoying it or not depends solely on how mindful you are about the renovation, from the planning of it to the hand-off of the house keys.

Photo Credit : Apex Studios Pte Ltd


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