Getting the keys to your first home? To help you budget, we share the average cost of home renovations in Singapore and the breakdown of each category – from carpentry, plumbing to furniture.
Your home is likely to be the most expensive thing you purchase in this lifetime. Having your own home is a huge milestone in your life, and one of the most exciting things you can experience as a couple. It comes as no surprise that many couples want their house to look as good as possible. On average, couples spend $50,000 – $60,000 to renovate their new BTO home. To help you better budget for your home renovations, we have come up with this complete guide on the average cost of home renovation in Singapore. We will breakdown the various components involved, and also share with you key saving tips and vendor recommendations. Let’s begin!
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This article is part of our Home Buying Guides series. Click here to read more Buying Guides.
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Table of Contents:
1. Factors that influence the cost of home renovation
Understandably, you will need a ballpark figure to know how much to set aside for home renovation. However, there are many variables that will influence the cost of your home renovation, and before we get started, do consider the following factors:
- Type of home: Is it a BTO flat, EC/condo or a resale flat?
- Renovation style: The theme and look that you choose can influence the cost
- How much work you want to be done: The more extensive the works you require, the higher the cost
- Age and condition: For resale flats, the age and condition will affect whether you can retain existing fittings or have to replace them with new ones, which will increase the cost
- The raw materials you choose: Materials vary in cost and we will go through them below. If you have a taste for more expensive materials, the cost will increase
- The interior designer or contractor you go for: Different companies charge varying rates, which is why we suggest you reach out to a number to compare their quotations. You can get free quotes from Qanvast, HomeRenoGuru, RenoTalk.
2. What is the average cost of home renovation?
On average, the cost of home renovation for:
- A 4-room HDB flat costs $50,000 – $60,000
- An Executive Condo (EC) costs S$20,000 – $30,000. Most ECs/condos include built-in kitchen, wardrobes, and toilets.
- Renovating a resale flat will be about 40%-50% more than a new HDB (source) due to demolishing and repair works. Resale flats are also typically larger than a new HDB flat.
- Furniture and appliances will cost around $20,000 – $30,000 depending on the brands you choose.
3. Choosing your home renovation style
The home renovation style you choose will influence the cost, as some styles cost more than others.
For a 4-room BTO HDB flat, below are 8 popular renovation styles ranked by their cost, with Scandinavian being the cheapest option. Scandinavian furniture is also cheaper compared to other styles.
|Renovation Style||Description||Average Cost|
|Scandinavian||Understated and Minimalist. A focus on simplicity and function.||$60,000|
|Vintage / Retro||Hipster, retro design that encompasses psychedelic pattern and colours.||$65,000|
|Modern||Classy and timeless. Resembles a showroom or hotel.||$70,000|
|Industrial||Raw, unfinished look with rough surfaces||$70,000|
|Eclectic||A mishmash of styles, textures, and colors||$70,000|
|Traditional||A classic, comforting style. Woodwork and sturdy furniture.||$70,000|
|Contemporary||A tasteful mixture of what is popular across different eras||$80,000|
|Palatial / Victorian / Whimsical||Styled after a European palace. Quilted textures, crystal chandeliers, and elaborate details characterise this home.||$80,000|
4. What are the components of home renovation?
The most costly components in a home renovation are carpentry, masonry, and hacking. Areas of your home that will cost most to renovate are likely to be your kitchen and bathrooms.
Below is a table of the components and their average costs. To get a customised estimate for your own home, use Qanvast Home Renovation Calculator.
|Hacking / demolition||Hacking and re-building. Consists of touching-up and plastering of walls.||$6,000|
|Masonry||Flooring, tiling, wet works and waterproofing.||$10,000|
|Carpentry||Anything built-in. Examples include feature walls, wardrobes, cabinets, storage, tv console, bar counters, worktops, bed frames, study/bedside tables, and laminates.||$24,000|
|Plumbing||Installation of water features such as sinks/basin, taps, shower system, bathtubs, toilet bowls, water filtration system, piping, and heater storage. Extension and concealing work for pipes as well.||$1,000|
|Ceiling and partition||False ceiling, box-ups, curtain pelmets, L-box or Cove Lighting or full-partition walls||$5,000|
|Electrical Works||Electrical outlets for lighting, data, heater, power points, wire extensions.||$4,000|
|Painting||A 2-3 coating paint job for walls and ceilings with primer and sealer.||$2,000|
|Cleaning & Polishing||Floor protection, haulage, debris disposal, and cleaning. Acid/chemical wash for a tougher clean. Can also include polishing of marble/tiles or varnishing or parquet flooring.||$500|
|Furniture||Sofa, dining table, chairs, beds, curtains…||$10,000|
|Appliances||Air-conditioners, fans, fridge, washing machine…||$15,000|
5. Type of materials
The materials that you choose can drastically increase or decrease the cost of your home renovations. For example, vinyl and laminate flooring are the cheapest and most affordable option, whereas marble and hardwood are the most expensive. For wet-prone areas like your toilet and kitchen, it is advised you use tiles as they are waterproof and easy to replace if they get damaged.
Do also ask your ID or contractor to advise on the cost of labor for the foundation and laying of tiles. Laying down bigger sheets are generally cheaper than smaller tiles.
|Type of Flooring||Cost per square feet (psf)|
|Marble||$10 – $15|
|Granite||$10 – $20|
|Hardwood (i.e. Parquet)||$7 – $14|
|Laminate||$3.50 – $4.50|
|Vinyl||$6 – $7.50|
|Porcelain, Ceramic or Homogenous tiles||$3 – $15|
|Labour cost||$3 – $10|
For your kitchen, the choice of countertop and cabinet material will also affect your cost. generally tends to be the cheapest, and solid wood the most expensive. The countertop materials are listed below:
|Countertop material||Cost per foot run|
|Laminate||$8 to $20|
|Solid surface||$55 to $70|
|Wood||$20 to $150|
|Ceramic Tiles||$30 to $80|
|Granite||$55 to $175|
|Stainless steel||$80 to $125|
|Engineered quartz||$90 to $105|
6. Choosing an interior designer or contractor
Hiring an interior designer generally costs more than hiring a contractor to help with your renovation works.
It is understandably so, as an interior designer (ID) serves as your project manager, and will take care of your entire home renovation project from ideation to execution. Based on your needs and preferences, your ID will conceptualise your design from you and provide you with 3D drawings/renderings to help you visualise the outcome. Your ID will also help to manage your renovation timeline, allowing you to be more hands-off on the project. It is preferred to engage a CaseTrust-accredited ID firm.
On the other hand, a contractor is someone who will help to execute your requests and build the things you need. Hence, you will need to know prior to what you want and be very specific with your requests. If you only require basic renovation, or if you have knowledge about interior design, a contractor may work better for you. Before you engage your contractor, make sure they are HDB approved here.
For tips on finding the right ID or contractor, be sure to read our home renovation guide.
7. Setting a budget
When budgeting for your home renovations, consider the value of your home. Try not to spend more than 15% of your home value. For example, if your home costs $500,000, try not to exceed $75,000 for your home renovation.
Consider how much you can afford as well. As much as you want your home to be done up beautifully, the last thing you want is to go beyond your means. Set aside the available funds you have, and consider your financing options before you proceed. Ensure that your funds include a buffer of 15 – 20% for any unexpected costs or complications. 64% of homeowners exceed their initial budget.
Consider how long you are going to stay in your home. If you are planning to only stay in it for a few years before upgrading to another property, there is little point to splash out a big sum on renovations.
Come up with a list of ‘must-dos’ and ‘can-do-without’. Prioritize the essential areas such as kitchen and toilets over optional installations like feature walls. For our own home, we decided to do away with carpentry works as they cost more and can be replaced with loose furniture. Carpentry though space-saving and cohesive to your renovation style, loose furniture can be easily replaced if you plan to refresh your home in 5 years.
If you do not have enough to splash out all at one go, and you do not want to take up too big a loan, you can split your home renovation into different phases, starting with the essentials followed by the finer, more aesthetic details.
8. Knowing your financing options
After reading this article, you might be wondering how to get your hands on the money required. If you do not have spare cash in your bank account, it is likely you will take up a bank loan.
You can take up either a renovation loan or a personal loan. Both are not much different from each other, only that the interest rates are much lower for a renovation loan. That is because you are required to show proof of home ownership, which then incentives the bank to give you a lower rate. Typically, you get the money in cash for a personal loan, whereas for a renovation loan, the money goes straight to your interior designer or contractor, hence you will not be able to use them for your furniture or appliance shopping.
A personal loan, with the cash flexibility, tends to have higher interest rates (6-7%) whereas a renovation loan tends to average 3-5% per annum for a tenure of 1 to 5 years. Typically for a renovation loan, you can borrow a maximum of $30,000, or 6 times your monthly salary, whichever is lower. The minimum income requirement is between $24,000 – $30,000 per year.
|Renovation/Personal Instalment Loan||Annual interest rate||Processing Fees||Monthly Repayment|
|Standard Chartered CashOne Personal Loan||3.88% (EIR 7.97%)||$0||$930|
|DBS Renovation Loan||3.88%||$600||$884|
|CIMB Bank||4.18% (EIR 4.85$ p.a)||$300||$888|
|HSBC||3.7% (EIR 7% p.a)||$0||$926|
|Citibank Quick Cash||3.99 – 4.55%||$0||$933 – $947|
For personal loans, here are the best personal loans in Singapore by SingSaver, and what they are good for.
9. Saving tips on how to save on your home renovation
Lastly, here are some saving tips for you!
- Tiling is expensive, opt for overlay floorings like laminates and vinyl, instead of hacking up the existing flooring
- Reduce carpentry work and replace with store-bought furniture
- Opt for ceiling fans as compared to air conditioning units
- Opt to buy storage furniture i.e. beds so you maximize the usage of space
- Opt for special effects paint to enhance a feature wall, as compared to using carpentry or wallpaper, which will not last forever. Here are 5 things to know before painting your house.
- Scout for good deals online (many couples look at Taobao and Lazada for furniture and appliances deals. Qoo10 also has group buys) or go to warehouse sales or home expos to get significant discounts.
- Use a credit card with a good cashback rebate. Here is a list of credit cards that give you cash back.
- Reach out to several IDs or contractors to cross-reference their quotes and pricing before you proceed. I suggest either going down to a roadshow or getting free online quotes via Qanvast, HomeRenoGuru, RenoTalk. Get at least 3-5 quotes.
- As mentioned earlier, differentiate your needs and wants. Focus on the essentials that are needed to make your house functional, and leave any ‘can-do-without’ or ‘nice-to-have’ purchases for later.
- Lastly, as much as you want to save on costs, do not forgo on quality. Also, be wary of hidden costs and untrustworthy vendors when faced with a cheap renovation package.
Remember to plan out your budget based on what you can afford, and do stick to it. I hope our guide has helped you in your planning. Stay tuned for more guides! In the meantime, check out our other guides below.
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- 9 Noteworthy Furniture Stores in Singapore for Your Dream Home Furnishings
- 6 Reasons to Get Restful Sleep with a Simmons Mattress
- Smart Designer Blinds and Curtains in Singapore by mc.2
- 8 Designer Furniture from Finn Avenue for Posh Interior Design Themes in Singapore
- 6 Ideas to Embellish Your Dream Home with Exquisite Rugs & Carpets in Singapore
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