Singapore House Renovation Budgeting Strategies That Actually Work

Find out what renovation plans and tactics you can use to ensure that your home renovation project goes smoothly, seamlessly, and within the desired budget.

Plan Your Renovation Before Hand
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Whether you’re looking to lightly spruce up your home or planning to remodel an entire HDB flat for resale, renovation projects can be stressful, expensive, and time-consuming.

Discover below how you can leverage industry insights and renovation strategies to get the best out of any remodel/renovation project.

What do hacking masonry carpentry etc. mean

Plan Your Renovation Before Hand

The first step to successful home renovation is to spend time planning on how to handle the most important elements of the task at hand.

Narrowing down on the renovation works and changes you wish to do is a good place to start.

No home is perfect in every way and there’s always an electrical fitting or furniture upgrade that seems necessary.

You cannot possibly fix everything at one go, so focus on the most urgent and practical changes you wish to make.

Next, creating a ballpark estimate of the amount you want to spend is a sensible move.

Thereafter, it’s advisable to store up some extra cash beyond this budget so that you can cover those unexpected expenses.

 Begin physical preparations by clearing the clutter, readying those tools, or even moving existing furniture to one corner of the house.

 Complete whatever preparations you can do before hand so that you can save money, time, and energy later on when the actual renovation project begins.

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What are the factors that affect the cost of home renovation in Singapore

How much should you spend on renovation in Singapore?

The cost of renovation in Singapore will depend on a variety of factors ranging from the extent of renovation and type of remodeling to materials used and type of renovation load secured.

 General estimates suggest that the average renovation cost of an HDB flat with four rooms may cost around S$40,000-50,000, covering everything from materials to labor.

 Of course, this average cost is merely an aggregate of the prevailing trends.

 The actual renovation expenses may vary based on the cost of construction materials, renovation process, managing unnecessary costs, using expensive/cheaper materials, etc.

 For instance, repairs for basic kitchen cabinets and loose furniture may come under average carpentry rates that range from S$2000-S$4000, while custom carpentry using modern wooden design trends may take your carpentry bills over S$10,000.

 All of these elements together will determine the renovation costs for a home or flat in Singapore.

What else affects the cost of renovation

How much does it cost to renovate a house in Singapore?

As already mentioned, the entire renovation process has to be taken into account in order to specify the cost.

 A simple HDB home may require basic renovation or moderate renovation at the most.

 This implies average repairs like ceiling fans, loose furniture, electrical wiring, etc., which can be accomplished on a tight budget too.

 On the other hand, a new or resale condo may include full-fledged renovation services that cover built-in furniture, overhaul of flooring materials, fancy bathroom accessories and bathroom fittings, experts’ consultation fees, design fees, etc.

 So, in the first case, your cost breakdown may total to S$50,000 or perhaps less while in the condo’s case, your entire cost may rise beyond S$100,000 with the design costs alone amounting to S$10,000 or more.

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Renovation Contractor ID or Design Build Who should you hire

What do hacking, masonry, carpentry, etc. mean?

To ensure that you stay in tune with your renovation contractor and the entire project management matters, it’s really important to stay on top of basic renovation terms.


Hacking can broadly be understood as the disposal, demolition, or removal of any existing home structures including removal of built-in cabinets, flooring, tiles, walls, furniture, etc.

 Taking apart these original structures can add extra cost and lead to extensive renovation requirements.

 In some cases, it can be almost similar to taking apart an entire house which can take the renovation costs way more than furnishing a blank canvas flat.


Masonry covers any renovation work that requires mortar and cement.

 Any modern building/flat will require cement work both indoors and outdoors.

 For instance, rebuilding a concrete wall or re-flooring the flat with concrete will all require some level of cement work.

 In most cases, the approximate cost of materials and labor will increase when there is a lot of masonry involved.


Any renovation idea that requires woodwork can come under carpentry.

 Whether it’s a new dining table, wooden false ceilings, new furniture, bookcase, or wardrobe, any renovation involving wood will come under carpentry.

 The cost of carpentry work will depend on the quality of materials used and the type of designs you choose.

 If you plan ahead and pick the right options, you can have stylish cost-friendly furniture and woodwork without worrying too much about the cost of carpentry based services.

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What are the factors that affect the cost of home renovation in Singapore?

Generally, the cost of renovation will come down to the size and scope of renovating work you wish to do.

 In most cases, you’ll find that renovating a new flat is cheaper than remodeling an existing flat for resale.

 For instance, a new 60 sqm HDB with 3 rooms may incur basic renovation costs of about S$30,000 whereas an existing flat of the same size may require renovation work over S$40,000 as a resale flat.

 The other factors that will determine renovation costs are:

  •       The size and location of the property.
  •       Extent of renovation required.
  •       Quality of materials used.
  •       Design elements and finishing.
  •       Contractor’s rates and prices.

So, you’ll have to consider everything from the square foot for countertop cost to deciding whether to provide individual bathrooms or common bathrooms.

How to save on renovation costs in Singapore

How to save on renovation costs in Singapore?

In most cases, renovation costs can build up fast if you’re not careful in managing your budget and sanctioned works so here are some tips to cut down costs.

Pre-plan and budgeting

Plan all your required works ahead of time and carve out a renovation budget that will cover the expenses. 

Also, set aside an additional 10-20% of the budget as extra cash for unexpected expenses.

You can enquire around or do your own research on electrical cost guide, flooring cost guide, tiling cost guide, etc. from contractors to create an accurate estimate of the renovation costs.

 Do not simply create the budget from your monthly income alone or use unreliable renovation calculators that give inaccurate estimates

Cut down on custom carpentry

Everyone prefers personalized carpentry works and built-in furniture, but the costs of customized works are often steep and expensive.

 Picking the loose furniture that suits the home or flat can serve the same purpose without carpentry costs going through the roof.

 Plus, you can always resell or move loose furniture if you want to empty the flat one day.

Use Cheaper Materials

Choosing the right materials can save you thousands of dollars on renovations costs.

 Opt for budget-friendly materials instead of premium materials wherever applicable.

 For example, the cost of wallpaper can shoot up your expenses while a nice wall paint can offer similar aesthetics without the high costs.

 Hardwood floors are classy, but they’re much more expensive than vinyl flooring solutions that give the same visual feel.

Declutter and Resell

Try and adopt minimalist aesthetics by discarding items you don’t need or does not suit the property.

 Decluttering will enable you to visualize budget-friendly designs for the house and it may also create an inventory that you can resell for extra cash.

How to find legit renovation contractor in Singapore

What else affects the cost of renovation?

Besides the factors already mentioned above, here are other elements that will influence the cost of your renovation. 

  •       Extent of hacking and demolition (which implies more rebuilding)
  •       Sprucing up the living room which is usually the place that most buyers will see first.
  •       Kitchen design along with cabinet and plumbing requirements.
  •       Roof replacement or remodeling an old existing roof.
  •       Extent of built-in furniture and custom carpentry.
  •       Type and nature of flooring (vinyl, wood, ceramic, marble, etc.)
  •       Electrical installations (Basic wiring, air conditioning, audio systems, ceiling fans, etc.)
How much should you spend on renovation in Singapore

HDB Renovation Rules: What Can and Can’t be done?

Here are some basic renovation dos and don’ts that will help you make the most of your renovation idea and remodeling plans.


  •       Apply for a home renovation loan which can net you about S$30,000 if you meet the criteria and the interest rates can be as low as 3% which is much better than a personal loan. 
  •       Set aside extra cash that you can use to cover small and miscellaneous expenses that come up unexpected.
  •       Carry out personal research and study services and products that will fit your needs.
  •       Compare different contractors and their rates so that you can get the best expertise at the most reasonable prices. 
  •       Wherever possible, go for DIY solutions where you can perform hands-on renovation and save money on hired labor.
  •       Consider utilizing refurbished and recyclable items so that you don’t have to buy everything brand new.


  •       Avoid trying to fit all your wants into a single renovation plan because you’ll have to work within a limited budget.
  •       Do not assume that your monthly income will be able to cover all renovation costs, which means finding reliable financing options.
  •       Do not splurge on luxuries that do not add much value to the home.

·       Do not settle immediately for the first contractor you enquire because there may be other better options available if you ask around and do some comparison.

Renovation Contractor, ID, or Design & Build: Who should you hire?

When it comes to entrusting your renovation to a professional, there are multiple options you can choose from depending on your desired budget and preference.

Traditional Contractor

 If you’re inclined towards making your own design plans and theme, hiring a general contractor may be the way forward.

 Traditional contractors execute the physical works without participating in the creative elements of the work.

 Alternatively, you can hire someone with relevant expertise to come up with the design while handing over the work execution to the contractor.

Design & Build

Design & Build services are essentially contractors who offer both construction services and the initial designing.

 These services will oversee or assist you in creating a blueprint of what you want the flat or property to look like.

 Thereafter, they will execute the actual renovation work themselves.

 Design & Build contractors will be more expensive than a general contractor, but the advantage is that the same group that creates the design will execute the renovation too.

ID Firms

Interior design firms are companies that deliver the full suite of renovation services from start to finish.

 A basic set of services an ID firm can deliver include: 

  •       Designing and planning the renovation.
  •       Researching options and providing you with informed choices.
  •       Information on cabinet cost guide, ceiling cost guide, cost trendlt, flooring costs, reno loans, financing options, etc.
  •       A network of contractors to choose from
  •       Working on a deadline and milestones to track progress.
  •       Quality assessment and inspection after renovation is complete.

 With ID firms, you can sit back and let the professionals handle everything from A to Z.

 However, the catch with ID companies is that you’ll have to shell out a much bigger payment at the end.

 If you can afford it and do not have a lot of time on your hands, leasing out the project to an ID firm is a convenient and stress-free option.

How to find legit renovation contractor in Singapore?

Singapore has a rich network of professional ID firms, basic contractors, and design & build services all over the city.

 So, finding the right contractor is only a matter of doing your research, comparing prices, and making an informed choice.

 You can browse online renovation forums and platforms for the types of services available.

 Alternatively, you can physically visit contractors to interact with them and get their rates and services.

 Ensure that you find and research a variety of contractors and companies before making your final choice.

 This way, you get a variety of services which you can compare and measure up against each other to see which one fits you the most.

Financing your renovation: What are your renovation loan options?

Besides paying for the renovation with your own money/savings, the go-to option for financing a renovation is to get a renovation loan.

 Reno loans in Singapore offer friendlier interest rates compared to personal loans.

 The only downside is that most banks within Singapore will cap your renovation loan at about S$30,000 or your monthly salary multiplied six times (whichever is lower).

 However, this limit is a reasonable cap if you can work within a budget and cover additional expenses from your own money.

 The upside is that reno loans can come with interest rates as low as 3% or about 5% even on the higher side, which makes them much more favorable compared to personal loans.

 For post renovation dues, you can consider Singapore’s HDB Home Protection Scheme.

 The HPS (Home Protection Scheme) is essentially an insurance program that exempts your family or spouse from your renovation loan in the case of unexpected death or debilitating disability.

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