4 Ways Singaporeans Kill Their Renovation Budget

home renovation budget

All those fancy pictures we’ve been seeing lately on Facebook and pinterest boards have gotten us aspiring to those dream homes. “Mr and Mrs Ling got an industrial haven for only JUST $30,000? Awesome! But wait, why the package quoted to me so expensive when I asked for the same thing ah?”

If you find yourself stuck in a similar situation as the above, you’re probably committing the below mistakes:

1. Not knowing what you want

“That industrial theme looks good! This victorian one looks classy too!”. So you decide to combine your favourite themes and call it a day thinking they’ll go well together. Fact is: There is no such thing as the best of both worlds, especially when it comes to two vastly different design themes. But hey, we insist. The designer should at the very least try to accommodate us customers’ needs right?


This is what happens when you combine your love for Scottish skirts, with a set off the 60’s “James Bond” movies. (Image credit: Better Homes and Gardens)

When the 3D drafts come out disastrous, we top-up to get another design done. This time, it’s recommended by the designer and we accede to his/her proposal. Only to find we actually do not need that glass cabinet centrepiece too late into the construction process.

What to do? Sit aside and suck thumb lo. Contract already signed. Don’t build also built already.


Because by then, you would’ve spent anywhere between $500 to $1000 for the additional 3D drafts, and god-knows-how-much for the useless glass cabinets. So if you’d really like to avoid all these hidden costs, be realistic and firm about what you want. Start pinning images on your Pinterest boards, saving those interior design articles on Facebook and following ID firms on Instagram.

Visualise your home by looking at your floor plan, decide what you need and at where. When you’re done with that, settle on your theme. And stick with it. Stick with it when you’re buying your furniture. Stick with it when you’re deciding on the laminates. Just stick with it. Because if you don’t, indecision will creep up on you and you’ll start agreeing to things you either do not need, or do not match the theme.


2. Hacking tiles/walls

“These walls are making my house look stuffy. Hack them.”

“Such broken obiang tiles! Hack!”

Here’s the thing: The average cost for multiple hacking in an HDB flat usually ranges between $2000 to $5000. Some firms may even charge you extra for haulage and clearing of the leftover debris. In total, that may amount to a maximum of up to $5000 plus, just for the hacking works. And hacking those original tiles? WON’T CHANGE HOW THE END RESULT OF HOW YOUR FLOOR LOOKS.

Just plainly laying over the original tiles can help save you the sum of money you would’ve used towards hacking them out. So the next time you do not like the flooring or walls, lay them over with tiles or wallpapers. That minute 0.3cm of vertical space difference will not amount to much anyway. Unless it’s raining with cash everyday, we suggest you refrain from hacking anything at all.


3. Buying designer/ “customised” furniture

Because anything designer is automatically premium and “atas”. So we trawl designer furniture shops for the latest avant garde designs, or request a similar model to be made to measure with the designer. Even if they weren’t built-in, it feels good knowing that we can customise furniture designs to suit the exact colours, mood, textures, and measurements of our homes.

Doesn’t matter whether these “premium” furnitures are really that superior in quality when it comes to workmanship and materials. Doesn’t matter if our “customised” designs are mostly plucked from interior home magazines and blogs (not as special as we thought) and can be easily found elsewhere at half the cost. It doesn’t even matter if there are hidden costs in between for the carpentry, ID firm, designer himself, and shop rentals. Because we like can already.

Here’s why it’s not justified: A customised or designer marble table can easily set you back by $5000 while a similar model bought off china sites will probably only cost you half. You have essentially paid double the price for the same design made of similar grade quality.


4. Intensively renovating your kid’s room

Ahh…. Our very first home! I’m going to cook up great meals in my perfect kitchen! Make sweet love in our romantic bedroom! And read stories to my daughter in her princess room…forever?

So we don’t mind allotting a large budget towards constructing colourful built-ins in the baby’s room and before we know it, our children have outgrown their room(s). Star Wars! Hello Kitty! Pink princesses! The decor in their rooms no longer match their ages and there’s no way we can revamp the room without spending a bomb again. Unless you’ve decorated these rooms in fandom you already are into.

It’s hard when we do not consider how relevant the designs would be in the coming years we plan to stay. We forget that kids outgrow things fast and fail to “time-proof” the sizes of the built-ins and designs of their rooms. As opposed to spending a bomb renovating these part of our homes, if they are done up ourselves using say, Ikea furnitures instead, we could’ve easily saved at least $3000 in renovation costs. And the unnecessary heartbreak. Unless you’re young at heart 🙂

Do you know any friends that have committed these budget-killing mistakes before? Tag them in the comments!