As with all major life decisions, embarking on your home renovation in Singapore can be a daunting task. After all, your home is meant to be an intimate and private safe space – the importance placed on a good home renovation is hence not over-rated. Everyone would want their living space to be nothing short of perfect.
It may very well be that you’re a first-time house owner looking to finally call a place your own. For the uninitiated, the whole process of home renovation in Singapore can be a little overwhelming. Where do we begin? Who do we hire? What should we renovate?
Concerns are definitely aplenty and the Internet is inundated with too much information that it at times becomes more unhelpful than helpful. But fret not, here we’ve streamlined all the information you need to know about home renovation in Singapore into a compact package of 13 tips. So, before jumping head-first into renovating your home, read on!
1. Determine Your Needs for Home Renovation in Singapore
What am I looking for?
Are you looking to widen your kitchen space? Or perhaps you would like to increase the storage space? Do you have a child on the way and would like to child-proof your home? Or would you like to make your home more elderly-friendly for your parents/ grandparents?
It’s important to flesh out exactly what you wish to achieve at the end of your home renovation in Singapore. Having a detailed, well-thought out design is already half the battle won.
What are my priorities?
Are you looking for a quick makeover or are you alright with waiting a little longer? What is the lead time that you are comfortable with?
Are you looking for top-quality materials or are you not very particular about the type of materials?
How much are you willing to spend? Are you on a tight budget are you willing to splurge a little?
Time, expected quality and budget are important considerations to factor in when you start on your home renovation in Singapore. It’d be good to list down all your priorities in descending order to help you decide on what parts of your home you want to work on as well as who to hire.
2. Plan Your Budget
Expanding on the previous point, budget is an unavoidable factor when making decisions about your home renovation in Singapore. Of course, we’d all like to live in huge extravagant mansions à la Hollywood celebrities. But, the reality of a limited bank account and other financial responsibilities cannot be ignored.
Preparation is key
Research on the general market rates even before you meet the different firms so that you have a good rough expectation of the costs beforehand. You should also organize a spreadsheet with all the costs neatly laid out to avoid the shock of hidden costs.
Be flexible, set an appropriate buffer
While it is good to have a rough estimate of the costs from the get-go, it is important to understand that the final cost is probably not set in stone yet, especially during the earlier stages of the renovation. As the renovation proceeds, sometimes unexpected circumstances may appear. For example, during the works, you may discover a leaky pipe or roof that’d set you back by a bit to fix. Hence, it’d be advisable to have a buffer for at least 10% for unplanned works or changes.
3. Deciding on Who to Hire for Your Home Renovation in Singapore: Interior Designer or Contractor?
What’s the difference?
If this is your first-time engaging services for home renovation in Singapore, the terms “Interior designer” and “Contractor” would surely seem foreign. Let us walk you through the differences:
Interior designers will generally create and provide the home design plan, including 3D drawings and floor plans, to the client. On the other hand, contractors usually work on specific instructions from the client.
As interior designers are responsible for most of the renovation work beginning from ideation to the actual works, they are usually pricier.
Who to hire?
The decision on who to hire is generally based on your needs as well as your budget. As mentioned earlier, if you wish to have someone create and produce an entire home design from scratch, an interior designer would be the way to go. However, if you already have a clear idea of what you want, hiring a contractor would be the more cost-efficient option.
4. Be Specific
Indeed, the devil is in the details. Too often, we hear unhappy stories about home renovation in Singapore. Maybe your walls aren’t in the exact shade that you’ve pictured. Or maybe the layout isn’t exactly as per what you’ve envisioned. It’s alright to be picky (it’s your home we are talking about, after all), but you should do both yourself and your contractor a favour and be specific in your instructions. Meet up with the contractors face-to-face and ensure that they know exactly what you want after the discussion. This will save you lots of time (re-doing the work doesn’t happen overnight!) and also unnecessary frustration.
5. Be Present During the Renovation
While trust between you and the hired contractor is important, you should nonetheless try to be onsite as much as possible. The benefits of being involved as the works are being carried out are bountiful. You’d get to spot errors quickly and immediately rectify them. This saves you a considerable amount of time compared to if you were to only see the final product later.
6. Plan the Location of Your Power Points
Hands up – how many of us have squabbled with our siblings or significant other over who gets to charge their phone first? Planning your furniture placement around the location of the power points is so important that it’s surprising how many overlook this during their home renovation in Singapore.
Unless you enjoy getting out of your toasty bed to some forsaken end of the room to charge your phone, placing your bed next to a power point is always a good decision. It’s also equally important to place your work desk near to a power point so that it’s convenient to charge your laptop and other electronic devices required for work.
7. Maximize Space
Space is tight in Singapore. With the newer apartments shrinking in size, it’s more important than ever to consider a clever use of space when engaging in home renovation in Singapore.
Here are a few ways to free up more space in your living quarters:
We all know the fabled tale of how our high-rise apartments came to be. With limited land, homes in Singapore were built upwards. Similarly, with limited floor space, for home renovation in Singapore – storage has to go up, literally.
Floating shelves are a great way to make more space out of well, nothing. Instead of taking up room with a chunky wardrobe, consider making use of your walls instead!
Furthermore, floating shelves can be extremely aesthetically pleasing as well. Done right, these pieces can serve as an artistic decorative piece as well as being a fully functional storage space.
Think sofas with drawers underneath them. Or tables with storage spaces beneath them. Opting for furniture with in-built storage spaces are definitely a good addition to your home.
Other options include choosing a bench with a shoe storage space instead of a bulky shoe cabinet. Serving as both a space for you to sit on while you put on your shoes, as well as a space to store your shoes, this furniture offers the best of both worlds.
8. Decorate Your House like a Pro
If you’re not very artistically inclined, home décor can be a bit of a challenge. Here are a few suggestions to make your experience a little less daunting:
Not only is the sight of lush green leaves visually pleasing, but having plants indoors also improves the air quality of your home. Some plants like the Chinese Evergreen are even known to absorb toxins like formaldehyde and benzene. Indeed, nature’s own air freshener would be a great way to decorate your home.
There’s nothing like art to soothe the soul. Hang a few colourful pieces on your wall to instantly brighten up the vibe of your home. There’s a stereotype that buying art is pricey and only the richest snobs can afford. However, there are actually platforms for even the most budget-conscious Singaporean to purchase good art.
9. You Don’t Really Need that Coffee Table
Ah, the coffee table – the seemingly staple piece of any respectable home. But more often than not, it just becomes a place to put the remote controls and maybe a potted plant or two. For your home renovation in Singapore, why not ditch the coffee table? The extra space in your living room would make it seem less cluttered, which can be especially useful for the smaller units.
10. Pick a Colour Scheme that Matches your Style
So, you’ve lost count of how many Buzzfeed “What’s Your Home Style Aesthetic?” quizzes you’ve taken. Well, now’s the perfect time to make full use of that knowledge. Knowing what kind of vibe you like helps a lot in deciding a colour palette for your home.
If you’re looking for something more homely, you can consider painting your house in warmer tones. Alternatively, if you’re seeking a more sleek and chic design, darker colours like navy blue could do the job.
If you’re unsure about what colours go well together, the Internet has a whole slew of resources dedicated to helping you decide on a colour palette for your home.
11. Quality Matters
As Singaporeans, we like a good deal. But home renovation in Singapore is not the time for cutting corners. Unless you’re often flying in and out of the country, chances are you’re going to be living in your home for a long, long, time. Hence, it is very important that you invest in good quality materials that last. Some tips include considering the material durability as well as the usage frequency when picking out your furniture.
12. Let the Natural Light in
Design your layout such that your house gets a good dose of natural light. Not only does it help you save on your electricity bills, a warm dose of sunlight also does wonders to your mood and immune system. You can consider playing with mirrors to reflect more light into your house. Furthermore, use lighter fabrics like linen rather than heavy materials like velvet for your curtains so that your house feels airier.
13. Don’t Be Afraid to Let Your Individuality Shine
Ever wanted to live in an Avengers-themed house? Well, we say: don’t let dreams just be dreams. Why settle for a dull nondescript home when you can live like Ironman, am I right?
Home renovation in Singapore doesn’t have to be dry and boring. Renovating your home with a themed style can add a dash of fun and quirkiness to your living quarters. Brainstorm for several fun ideas and do some research for inspiration. Websites like Pinterest or Tumblr are great to get your creative juices flowing.
Do make sure you and the rest of your family are on board with the final idea though, as this would be a decision that is going to be rather long-lasting.
Starting on home renovation in Singapore is always a little nerve-wracking. There are so many factors to consider that people sometimes end up getting stuck at a standstill. With this guide of 13 tips for Home Renovation in Singapore, we hope that you are a little more confident now!
Heeded some of our tips for home renovation in Singapore? Let us know which worked for you in the comments below! Also, if you’re looking to buy a new home in Singapore, you may check out 12 key things to look for when buying your first property in Singapore.