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6 Simple Hacks To Reduce Your Home Renovation Costs

1. Keep personalisation to the minimal

Design: Fuse Concept

In general, some renovation works, such as carpentry works (which cost somewhere S$100-S$500 per foot run), made to tailor wrought iron fence, gate, grille and railing, will ramp up the cost of renovation significantly. These costs are very expensive because of the time, the skills and workmanship, and the materials involved to fabricate the customization.

Tips: In certain customization works, personalization through the 3D printing technology can be a cheaper alternative. This is because 3D printing can generally reduce the time taken and material costs needed.

2. Tile only where it is absolutely necessary

Design: Local INN-terior

Using the Average Cost of Home Renovation for a 4-room HDB Flat as a guide, the cost of tiling actually makes up the 2nd highest cost in a typical renovation project. Hence, unless you have a bigger renovation budget, only consider relaying of tiles as the last resort if the existing tiles are still in good condition. This is because the ceramic tiles cost around $10 to $12 psf, inclusive of labour.

Tips: Prior to the purchase of resale flats, you should take into consideration the condition and design of the tiles. Prior to the purchase of new BTO flats (3-room, 4-room, 5-room, and 3Gen flats), take care not to opt out of the Optional Component Scheme (OCS) which offers the floor finishes for living, dining room and bedrooms especially since the new BTO flats (launched after Feb 2019) are equipped with condo-like finishings in sleeker and more modern designs such as larger tiles and concealed floor traps.

3. Cement Screeding is not as cheap as it was in the past

Design: Poetus

HDB has stopped its Smooth Floor Rendering (SFR) service done with cement Screeding, which was previously a service provided on a goodwill upon request, With effect from 2014. According to the HDB’s circular (which has been removed); “new flat owners who require SFR will need to engage their own renovation contractor to carry out the works. This ensures that the rendering is done to the correct thickness according to the flat owners’ preferred floor finishes, and the works are completed according to their renovation plans and schedule”. Furthermore, with the new ruling of the mandatory use of pre-packed cement back in June 2015;  contractors estimated that the renovation costs will increase by “about $2 to $3 per square foot, with some estimating that the increased total could be as much as $3,000“. In fact, based on the MoneySmart flooring guide, polished cement screed may cost around $15 to $30 psf!

Tips: Cement Screeding has became more expensive due to the maintenance costs and the reapplication of protective coating to properly seal the cement screed against accidental liquid spills. Otherwise, the cement screed will crack and stain over time. For the budget conscious, do consider using less expensive flooring options such as Vinyl ($5.50 to $6.50 psf) and Laminate ($6 to $8 psf). 

4. Use white as the backdrop colour

Design: KURO +

As white is a neutral colour, it is the safest colour as a base backdrop for most of the home interior designs. This is because when used with calming, pastel hues, white makes the pastel palette more lively; when used with pure primary colours (such as red, yellow or blue), white makes them look brighter and stand out! Akin to a blank canvas, white essentially makes it much easier and cheaper for homeowners to decorate, mix and match without the need to spend on coordinated furnishings. Aside from aesthetic advantage, white is the most practical choice for small homeowners as it makes a small room look much brighter, bigger by reflecting more light and heat. Since dark colours absorb light and heat, hence they make the room look smaller and warmer. By keeping the room bright and airy, homeowners can reduce the renovation costs by foregoing the need to install large-format mirrors to make the room look bigger.

Tips: If white walls are deemed too clinical, you can opt for off-white or cream. There are actually many variants of white wall paint available in the market. The facing of your flat holds the key to choosing the right variant of white; a warm, a cool, and a neutral white. A north-facing flat, use a warm white to balance out the cold light, in a south-facing flat, choose cooler whites due to the golden bright sunshine. If your flat has the right amount of north and south light, a neutral white is the safest choice! 

5. Make memories last through the art of sentimental upcycling and repurposing

12. Avoid boring Cookie Cutter designImage from: almostbohemian

This may seem the most obvious, but many homeowners fail to recognize that having a new house does not necessarily mean that everything has to be new. By adopting a more eco-friendly upcycling and re-purposing approach, it is also better for the environment too! For instance, antique household items, such as suitcases and maritime ship lamps, can be given new leases of life when they are creatively repurposed as storage table and balcony lights!

Tips: Discuss with your renovation professionals on how best to inject character into your home interior design through creative upcycling and repurposing items which hold sentimental values.

6. Shop online for good deals!

Design: Theyucatantimes

Virtual mega-shopping platforms such as Qoo10, Lazada, Shopee and Amazon offer competitive pricing and a huge variety of household and furnishing items for you to choose from. Due to the ease of search, it is much easier to compare prices, find alternatives as compared to shopping at malls and traditional brick and mortar stores. Now, many retails have hopped on to the bandwagon and offer irresistible good deals, discount coupons and rebates, especially during annual sales events, in order to attract and retain customers. In addition, it is actually more rewarding to shop online since apart from cheaper prices, you will also be able to get further discounts, either by chalking up credit card rebates and points, or earn additional cashback with Shopback!

Tips: Aside from the annual GSS, the other mega sales events, such as Black Friday (29th Nov) or Singles’ Day (11th Nov), often offers massive discounts and sales for furnishings and electrical appliances!  In fact, Singles Day has become one of the world’s largest shopping events in less than a decade! Hence, you should consider planning your big ticket item purchases only on these dates so that you can save more!

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