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Your Complete Guide to Home Renovation in Singapore + Saving Tips

Congratulations on your new home, that’s another milestone unlocked! As much as owning a new home is exciting, we understand that the home renovation process can be daunting, especially for first-timers.

In this guide, we will share the essential steps of home renovation and everything you need to know about making your dream home a reality. From finding your interior style to budgeting, furnishing, extra little tips from our own personal experiences and more, we got you covered.

This article was last updated on 8 Jan 2020.

10 Steps to Complete a Successful Home Renovation

Feel free to click on any of the following steps to jump to the ones you need help on.

Step 1: Choosing an interior design and style
Step 2: Calculate your renovation budget
Step 3: Should you choose an Interior Designer or a Contractor?
Step 4: Manage your Timeline
Step 5: Bring life to your walls with special effects painting
Step 6: Choosing materials and tiles for the new home
Step 7: Here’s the exciting part: Furnishing your dream home!
Step 8: Bring out the ambience of your dream home with good lighting
Step 9: Choosing your electronics and appliances
Step 10: General Cleaning

Step 1: Choosing an interior design and style


Choosing your interior style is a great way to kickstart your renovation journey. If you have no idea where to start, Pinterest is one of the perfect inspirational sites to go for! You can do a general search for popular home interior designs, or start here with our Pinterest inspiration board with a sample of all types of gorgeous interior designs, and pin the ones you like onto your board. When you hire a professional, you can then show your Pinterest board for a clear idea of what you want your space to look like.

minimalist home renovation

Sharing some inspiration, one of the increasingly popular options is the minimalist style. Going by the “less is more” approach, think clean, modern lines and simplicity, The lack of clutter is pleasing on the eyes and helps ease the mind.

scandinavian modern kitchen

Scandinavian minimalist is also another trending interior design – a look that utilises the clean lines and elegance of minimalism and infuses it with warmth via pastel colors, natural light, and wood or other organic elements.

luxury home singapore

Modern luxe is catching on as well, if you love to recreate the classy vibe of luxury hotels. A combination of black marble, white marble, and gold is common in modern luxe homes. Add on a cowhide rug for that added luxurious touch.

Step 2: Calculate your home renovation budget


Now that you have settled on your home interior style, next up is determining how much it will cost to make your vision a reality. Factors that you need to consider when budgeting are:

  • Professional fees for interior designer or contractor
  • Size of home
  • Type of home (HDB, condominium, or landed house)
  • Type of furniture, appliances and materials
  • Moving costs
  • Buffer for extra charges or last-minute changes

To get a budget estimate of your home renovation project, you can start by using Qanvast’s useful renovation calculator, with costs based on $20m worth of past home renovation contracts. Either that, or the traditional approach of picking a sample style from your Pinterest board or anywhere online and send it along with a request for a quote from interior designers and contractors. You may also get quotes from Qanvast, Renonation, or HomeRenoGuru.

For reference, a 4-room HDB BTO home renovation costs averages around S$50,000 – S$60,000, while an EC home renovation costs averages around S$20,000.

Furniture and appliances cost an average of approximately S$20,000 – S$30,000. Factor in professional movers, electricians, and cleaning specialists and other miscellaneous factors, then put everything together and compute for an additional 15-20% of that total cost to serve as your contingency fund. With your budget in place, you can then slowly remove the non-essentials if you are not within budget.

Step 3: Should you choose an Interior Designer or a Contractor?

interior designer meeting

One of the biggest challenges when renovating your home is weighing the cost between what you want, what you need, and what your budget allows. Hiring an interior designer generally costs more than a contractor, but there are certain cases where you may not require an interior designer. First, let’s take a look at the roles of an interior designer and contractor:

Interior Designer

interior designer sketches singapore

Your interior designer (ID) is essentially a project manager, someone who will take care of your home renovation project from ideation to execution. These professionals’ task is to provide design ideas based on your preferred style. It could be in the form of sketches or 3D drawings or renderings to help you better visualise the outcome. On top of this, an ID will manage your renovation, create and oversee your timeline, source for materials and put together a buying guide, and coordinate with contractors.

IDs bring about huge convenience, saving you time and headaches of coordinating with multiple parties. Having your home renovation work managed by a good ID ensures consistency not just in designs, but also in quality. Some excellent places to begin your search for the right interior designer are Qanvast, Renonation, or HomeRenoGuru. You can get free quotes in just a click!


home renovation contractor

A contractor is someone who can execute what you request for, so you have to be specific with your requests. If you are going for very minor or basic renovation (for example with ECs, they come with a fully equipped kitchen and bathrooms), working directly with a contractor might make sense. If you yourself are skilled in interior design, a contractor alone may be sufficient to bring your dream home to life.

Interior Designer vs Contractor: The Final Choice

If you have a fixed idea of what you want for your home, you can forgo the interior designer and reach out to a contractor directly to save money. With the savings come a couple of warnings though. First, you must know exactly what you’re looking for in a contractor. Carefully assess their portfolios to see if they’re capable of doing what you have in mind. Second, hiring a reliable contractor makes the difference between your home renovation being a fun experience or an expensive disaster. You can find HDB approved contractors here.

On the other hand, if you prefer not to deal with the stress of overseeing every little thing about your home renovation project, it is best to hire an interior designer. You can still make specific requests, and your ID would be glad to put those in the designs for you. This way, all you have to do is follow up on the timeline every few weeks or so and get regular updates on the progress. Protect yourself from renovation scams by engaging only CaseTrust-accredited ID firms.

Our tip: Go with a trusted contractor if you have a clear vision of your home interior design and minimal built-in carpentry. We managed to save some costs by avoiding built-in feature walls, instead opting for furniture such as TV cabinets. Furthermore, if you would like to change your home interiors in the future, you can simply change your furniture instead of getting stuck with a built-in feature.

Tips on finding the right ID or Contractor

Attending home fairs and submitting quotation requests online is easy. The challenging part in looking for the right interior designer is having to meet with each one, explaining your vision, and reviewing them to see whether or not they are a good fit for you. We found this to be quite a tiring process, but an integral step nevertheless. Be sure to have your floor plan prepared before meeting your potential ID.

Here are a few tips to help you on your search for the right interior design firm or contractor:

1. Portfolio

Looking through their past works would instantly give you an idea whether or not they fit your style. Each firm generally has a few styles that they excel in, so choose one that is closest to what you want.

2. Reviews

Check the general sentiment about a specific firm based on reviews to see how they work, how long they take, and if they are worth your time in general.

3. Communication

Having a responsive ID is very important as they handle your entire project. You and your ID need to see eye to eye to make your vision come true. Hiring an ID that’s easy to talk to will also make the renovation less stressful.

4. Cost

Request for an itemized version of the quotation to see the specific costs of each task. A quotation might be slightly higher than another but might have included electrical work. Do not fall for “too good to be true” deals as they might use inferior materials that will cost even more to replace in the future.

5. Word of mouth and accreditation

Again, we suggest hiring a CaseTrust-accredited ID firm. When finding a contractor, other than HDB approved contractors, recommendations or word of mouth are the best bets as your friends can vouch for their quality.

Step 4: Manage your Timeline

planning calendar

Your timeline is the backbone of your project. If you are hiring a contractor as we did, it is critical to plan out your project timeline together. This way, you can adjust your expectations and work around each other’s schedules to come up with a realistic finish date that allows for quality work to be done. If you are hiring an interior designer, they can help you manage your timeline and coordinate with the vendors.

It is up to you and your hired professionals to determine what milestones you want to include in your timeline. It could be a weekly site visit to check the development.

Step 5:  Bring life to your walls with special effects painting

master bedroom singapore black marble wall nippon paint

Depending on your home interior design, you will need a suitable colour palette to complement and complete the overall look. We recommend to speak to the professionals and seek their advice. Nippon Paint’s Colour My World 2019 catalogue was a lifesaver for us. You may refer to pages 14-17 when viewing the PDF online, it provides the colour palette for quite a number of trending interior designs such as Minimalist, Scandinavian, Urban Modern, Rustic, Industrial and more.

Our tip: Paint feature walls instead of constructing built-in feature walls to save cost yet still get a luxury feel. See the black marble wall in the picture above? That’s actually Nippon Momento special effects painting by Nippon Paint in our master bedroom!

Recommended: Nippon Paint, for elegantly painted feature walls

With the excitement of moving into a new home, we brainstormed about the design and style months ahead, but Nippon Paint took our concept to the next level. Based on our modern luxe theme, they recommended their Nippon Momento® special effects paint to design feature walls in our master bedroom and living room. The end result – an exquisite black marble feature wall in our master bedroom, and a Momento Elegant feature wall for the living room. Yes, they can paint black marble as seen in the picture above, and it looks and feels like actual black marble tiles!

There were countless other Momento special effects painting, with varying textured effects for different themes. Check out their lookbook and collections series for more inspiration. The quality and workmanship of Nippon Paint is top-notch as well, with a mixture of high quality odour-less all-in-1 and anti-mould paint used for our new home.

Nippon paint promo code:
TWV10 upon filling out the inquiry form on Nippon Paints’s website
for 10% off PPS service base package


Nippon Paint
Store Locator   6265 5355
Facebook | Instagram

Read more: 5 Things You Must Know Before Painting Your Dream Home in Singapore

Step 6: Choosing materials and tiles for the new home

materials tiles singapore hafary

Depending on the interior design you settle on, the materials to complement will vary. There are a couple of great places to shop for tiles or vinyl flooring, namely Hafary, Lian Seng Hin, Malford Ceramics, Soon Bee Huat, and more.


flooring tiles singapore home renovation

Sharing some inspiration, wood effect tiles has been a pretty popular option for homeowners opting for Scandinavian or industrial interior designs. With the Q-Style tile collection, Hafary infused wood with a contemporary edge.

concrete flooring tiles

Concrete look tiles are also making their way into contemporary interior design lately, with a wide range available at Malford Ceramics.


bathroom tiles singapore

The bathroom is a place where all guests end up in and spend some alone time at – another place to pay special attention to. We found this beauty of a bathroom from Hafary, featuring Raku ceramic tiles with a minimalist design. An interesting option should you be interested in adding some contrast to your bathroom.


kitchen backsplash tiles

Style up your kitchen by introducing a gorgeous backsplash, or change the floor tiles for a different look from your living room tiles. The Coralstone porcelain tile from Hafary, inspired by granite stones, adds decorative and textural interest.

Step 7: Here’s the exciting part: Furnishing your dream home!

home furniture singapore

Here’s where you can let your personal taste shine through! And where you will probably be making visits to countless stores to seek out the perfect furniture pieces for your dream home. It certainly can be an enjoyable experience with your partner, but probably a tiring one as well.

Having been through this journey, we hope this will save you some precious time researching. Introducing our compilation of furniture stores >> 9 Noteworthy Furniture Stores in Singapore for Your Dream Home Furnishings. We set it on a separate article recommending furniture stores that we personally frequent or fancy, otherwise it would be too lengthy.

The list of stores include:

Read more: 9 Noteworthy Furniture Stores in Singapore for Your Dream Home Furnishings

Step 8: Bring out the ambience of your dream home with good lighting

lighting singapore for renovation

One crucial element that can make or break the look and feel of a room is lighting. Having proper interior lighting can accentuate your home decor and bring life to living spaces. To add a luxurious touch to your home, we recommend having warm cove lighting. This can be installed in your living room, and even in your master bedroom for a cosier atmosphere.
Our tip: Try out cool light instead of white light for downlights. It appears classier, while still being bright enough for daily activities.

lighting singapore home renovation

Recommended: L&H Lighting, to illuminate your dream home

L&H Lighting & Electrical is a one-stop lighting specialist with a wide variety of lighting products that will embellish and illuminate your dream home. Their extensive range includes hanging lights, ceiling lights, wall lights, fitting lights, track lights, floor lights, to table lamps, ceiling fans, and even filament bulbs.

What stood out for us were their professional showroom consultants. Lily from L&H recommended us to utilise cool light for our downlights to better complement our darker modern luxe home theme, whereas warm T5 fluorescent light bulbs were used for cove lighting in our living room and master bedroom for a luxurious hotel feel. Double black-framed spotlights were installed to bring attention to our art pieces, which served as statement pieces. With proper lighting done well, it can accentuate the beautiful parts of your home. We recommend heading down to the showroom for better visualisation.

L&H Lighting
7 Kaki Bukit Road 1 #01-14 Eunos Technolink Singapore 415937
+65 6846 7553

Read more: 6 Lighting Inspirations and Tips for Your Dream Home in Singapore

Step 9: Choosing your electronics and appliances

electronics appliances singapore

Now that you are done with most of the interior styling, it is time to complete your home with electronics and appliances. The vast amount of options available in the market may make it harder to select the things that you need. To help you narrow down the choices, do consider two things:

1. Size of your space

The beautiful two-door refrigerator might look like the perfect statement piece for your kitchen, but will it fit into your flat? Singapore homes mostly have limited space, so do take measurements before purchasing your electronics and appliances. Multipurpose appliances such as a washer dryer save a good amount of space too.

2. Budget

Electronics and appliances can amount to quite a big sum, hence sticking to your budget is important. Check out megastores like Courts, Harvey Norman, Best Denki, and Gain City. They usually offer home package deals that will give you better savings. We bought our fridge and washer dryer from Courts and got a good home package discount. These stores price match as well, so take some time to scour different outlets and their websites for the lowest prices.

LG electronics home

Recommended: LG, for a modern, immersive home entertainment system

Featuring a minimalistic design and advanced technology, LG boasts one of the leading home entertainment systems in the world. The latest OLED TVs and soundbars are designed with glamour in mind, seamlessly blending into modern homes. With 4K Cinema HDR and a perfect black to bring out the stunning contrast, coupled with the powerful Dolby Atmos® cinematic sound, you can enjoy the cinematic experience from the comfort of your living room.

Equipped with the nifty AI ThinQ function, the LG OLED TVs allow for intelligent voice-activated control. You can now speak directly into the remote control to change channels, volume, or even picture mode without manually navigating the interface. The in-built Google Assistant enriches user experience further. Through voice command, you can search for information, check weather forecasts, or even organize and set appointments in their Google calendars, all while enjoying your favourite TV shows.

Welcoming the 65” OLED 4K B8 TV to our family, its sleek and ultra slim frame fit right in with our modern luxe theme. Pair that with Netflix and a gaming console, and we might be clocking in some serious hours in the living room.

LG Singapore
Store Locator
6512 0555
Facebook | Instagram

Read more: LG B8 OLED 4K TV: The Modern, Immersive Home Entertainment System

Step 10: General Cleaning

home renovation cleaning singapore

No matter how big or small your home renovation project is, there will undoubtedly be dirt, dust, stains left behind. While you can opt to clean this yourself to save costs, it might be best to call for a professional cleaning service. These professionals have the right equipment to clean away renovation waste like paint stains or adhesive spots quickly.

After cleaning, it’s time to move in and enjoy the comforts of your brand new home!

Other Tips:

Home Insurance

When getting home insurance in Singapore, consider your needs, budget, at the value covered before buying. It may be worthwhile to get your house covered in case of a fire, burglary etc. Here’s a nifty tool from MoneySmart to compare home insurance policies and coverage

Home Renovation Loan

The average home renovation cost in Singapore is roughly S$50,000. It would be best to have this amount ready before beginning with Step 1. As far as possible, we try not to encourage getting a renovation loan as it may lead to spending beyond your means. However, if you really have to, here’s another helpful tool from MoneySmart to help compare renovation loans.

Saving tips

  • Research extensively. Talk to your friends, relatives, and acquaintances who have gone through the process of renovating. Take note of their experiences and determine if you will require an interior designer or a contractor. Collect a minimum of 3 quotations for comparison before making your final verdict.
  • Built-in furniture is more expensive as contractors usually charge per foot/meter of cabinetry. Save money by buying your own furniture at megastores or home fairs. This also makes it easier to change style in the future, should you wish to.
  • If you do not have a strong vision for a theme, opt for minimalism. Minimalist homes are sophisticated, easier to maintain, require less decor items, and suits the limited spaces of Singapore homes.
  • Last but probably the most important, recognize what you want and separate them from what you truly need. If budget permits, go for it and build your dream home!

If you found our Home Renovation Guide useful, please do share it with someone you know who is about to renovate his or her home!

This article is part of our Home Renovation series. Read other articles below:

Also, read our Buying Home Guide titled Everything You Need to Know to Buy Your First Home – A Complete Guide

This post was brought to you by The Wedding Vow. 

Featured image credits to Lorena Canals. All opinions remain writer’s own. For more information, kindly refer to our copyright & disclosure policy.

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