What is Busting Your Budget for Your Home Renovation

Home renovation in Singapore is certainly costly, and it usually comes down to just a few major areas of work that is eating up most of your renovation budget.

When you are planning for your home renovation budget it is first important to have an idea of what you want to be done for each room in your house. This means, have a rough idea of what idea, design, appliances and for what purpose you want to room to have and be.

You also need to be clear if you are letting the design of your house dictate and determine how much or little your renovation budget is going to be, or if your budget is going to determine how much you can have done.

It is no secret that home renovation can be pricy, it is always about managing your expenses and of course your expectations of how much your budget can get done.

Home renovation cost can range from $10,000 to $100,000.

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Read also: Tips To Save Thousands On Your Home Renovation

Factors that bust your renovation budget:


These are one of the simple things that add to the cost of your home renovation.

Wallpapers can be costly as their cost not only depends on the amount of paper you need but also the quality of the paper you choose. Of course with increased durability and the colouration of the paper, the cost to manufacture and have the wallpaper be produced will surely increase.

The cost of wallpaper can cost you from $20 – $5000 per roll. The price also varies from how the design is going to be placed on the paper, be it hand-painted or digitally printed.

Besides the cost of having the wallpaper, the design included, you also need to consider the cost of installing it on your wall. Putting on the wallpaper on your wall is no simple task and it takes experience and skill to make sure that the edges are smooth and that your wallpaper goes on seamlessly.

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As such, the cost of a handyman has to be included as well. With all the miscellaneous cost added up, you can see why it is expensive to have wallpapers.

Furthermore, with wallpaper, maintenance and upkeep are not easy. If a part of your wallpaper tears or fades, you might have to get the entire wallpaper removed, and it will be costly as you have to pay the entire cost again.

Thus, if you are on a tight and small budget, it might be wise to skip over having wallpaper and have your walls done the simple and traditional way: painting.

With paint, you need to worry about up-keeping it as you can simply buy the same paint again and repaint it yourself. Furthermore, you can change the colour of your wall to revamp your house design as and when you want at a much lower cost.

Painting your wall gives you the freedom to change up and save the extra cost by being able to do-it-yourself.

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Read also: Painting Cost Guide In Singapore

Read also: Wallpaper vs Paint Pros and Cons 

Wall hacking

When you have a relatively old estate or if the house design that you have in your mind needs your current layout to change, then you can be certain that hacking or placing up room dividers is needed.

Many people often underestimate the cost of wall hacking, this can easily cost you about $300 – $500 for a simple work. Wall hacking is tedious work as you will require a professional to assess if the wall you are planning on hacking is doable.

One wrong move and it could jeopardize the safety of your house. You will not want to hack a wall that is helping to hold your house in place.

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Doing your flooring usually takes up most of your renovation budget. Not only is the scale of the project extensive, but there are also many different options for you to choose from.

Tiling completes the look and aesthetics of your house but it is also important to consider the functionality, durability and maintenance needed.

Some flooring materials are more durable and make more practical sense than others, varying from the purpose of the room.

If you are looking at your kitchen and your bathroom, you will be considering options that are more waterproof or resistant.

Maintenance is also a concern as if you are looking to preserve the longevity of your flooring so as to last you for a good couple of years then you will have to upkeep and clean your flooring regularly.

This will then affect the functionality of your flooring options as more often than not if you do not have an extra hand to help, cleaning and properly maintaining your flooring will be hard work.

It would be wise to consult your interior designer on the best option you should choose to better suit your needs and also to appeal to your design idea.

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DIY project fails

At times, it is better to splurge a bit and hire a handyman or professional to have some of the work done for you. These include wanting to rewire your house or upgrading your plumbing system, etc…

Renovation can be costly especially when you add up all the cost that you need to pay and have done. The cost for renovation increases especially if you have a relatively old estate.

An old estate probably means you would need to upgrade your plumbing system, possibly change some old wiring to prevent danger and safety hazards and possibly your flooring.

If you are a first-time homeowner or just simply do not have the sufficient know-how to do the mentioned projects, attempting and forcing yourself to give it a try just to save money might actually be detrimental and cost you more.

With electricity and plumbing especially, at times you need a professional to help you solve and redo the whole system with safety precaution so that there will not be any problems arising.

If you attempt to fix and do it yourself, you might do it wrongly and end up having to hire a professional to do it for you, thus incurring more cost.

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Swimming pool

Installing and up keeping a swimming pool is a costly matter. Maintaining a swimming pool would require you to procure the needed chemicals to ensure that over time your pool would not have algae and dirty water.

You will also need to clean the pool regularly for hygiene reasons, clear out the filter and of course getting the contractors to dig a hole and install and do up the needed work to create a swimming pool.

Unless you are certain that you will be using and making use of the pool regularly, a pool will only be incurring unnecessary costs. Of course, if you are an avid swimmer who is determined to keep a pool, you should engage a professional service for better advice.

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Speciality built-in/ complicated carpentry works

Carpentry works in itself take up a huge amount of budget in most home renovations. The cost of carpentry work can vary depending on the shape and design it. The more customized your carpentry is, the higher your cost will be.

Needless to say, built-in and odd-shaped, complicated carpentry will definitely incur high cost. The reason why special built-ins and odd-shaped carpentry works like custom cabinets are expensive is because of the skills and effort needed to create them.

Not to mention if you plan on making your carpentry job a complicated one with the design, it will mean that it would require more skills and the cost of hiring the right professional to do the work will be added to the cost as well.

More often than not, you are not only paying more for the materials needed to make the carpentry but also the person creating the furniture.

As such, it is wise to opt for a simple linear carpentry design if you have no need for special built-ins or need unique carpentry work for your house design.

This not only saves you money but also makes it easier if you ever need to have it replace in case of wear and tear.

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Read also: Home Decoration Cost Guide In Singapore

Big Ticket Items for Renovation (Based on the area of your home)

The common areas where people spend a fair bit of money renovating will be your living room and your kitchen. That is because these areas comprise of more components and features, such as more designs to brighten and make a statement, electric and plumbing work and such.

Living room

The living room would be the first space area that you and visitors will see and form an impression of your home when they first enter. As such people will tend to put in more details and effort into decorating their living room.

You will probably see feature walls, statement pieces to set the mood and create the vibe for the room.

Possible costs:

  • Feature walls can cost from a range of $900 to $4,000.
  • Lights: Statement and hanging lights could cost you from $1,000 to $2,000
  • Electrical appliances: This will include your television, sound system and so on, and ranging from the quality of the pieces it could set you back about $1,000 to $10,000

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If you love cooking, then the probability of you spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen would be high.

The design of your kitchen, though seemingly minute, is actually a crucial space that can either make or break the design of your house.

Besides having the aesthetics to care and consider, you will also need to consider the practicality and functionality of the space.

With heavy-duty chores such as cooking and cleaning you will need to ensure that your walls, flooring and tabletops are not suffering the brunt.

Besides the mentioned, you will also need to be mindful of the electric wiring and plumbing work in your kitchen. This is an important factor to consider when you are renovating your kitchen as it will determine the best layout you can have without needing to redo the electric wiring or plumbing work.

Possible costs:

  • Kitchen cabinet (varying from the material chosen): S150-$400 per square foot
  • Kitchen countertop: $150-$500, this is also highly dependent on the material you have chosen.
  • Electric appliances: this would include your oven, refrigerator, washing machine and so on: Appliances could easily set you back from a range of $1,500 to $10,000. Some people are willing to splurge and invest in their home appliances due to the functions and durability of it, and this of course comes with a hefty price tag.
  • Sink and mixer: $800- $2,000

Read also: Kitchen Interior Design and Renovation Cost Guide in Singapore

Read also: Ultimate Kitchen Guide In Singapore

The important thing to note when you are planning your home renovation budget would be to divide and conquer. It is important to have a clear idea of what is needed and what you want.

Eliminate all things that are not essential first, and when and if you have the extra cash to splurge then go for the “wants”. Home renovation is costly work and how much you are going to break your bank varies greatly on your choices and options.

Sit down with your interior designer to discuss thoroughly to get a better estimate on how much your renovation works will cost.

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Tips on how to save cost for your home renovation

  • Know your cost trend

It is good to ask around your family and friends to get a rough gauge on how much your home renovation might potentially cost.

In addition, by asking around, you can also source out potential contractors or interior designers that have proven to be reliable and trustworthy.

For example, according to the statistics provided by Qanvast, the average renovation cost for the various properties in Singapore are as follows:

  • HDB: $44,000-$67,000
  • Condominium: $39,000-$82,000

It usually costs more to renovate resales as you often have to tear/ hack down certain existing features and possibly rebuild them.

Also, for the older estates, sometimes you would have to change and replace the wiring or plumbing work. Most of the time, homeowners will wish to change the flooring as well, and flooring is one of the main factors that contribute to the high renovation cost.

Read also: Flooring Cost Guide In Singapore

Plot out the renovation works that you plan on doing

As renovations can be really costly, a good tip, especially for first-time homeowners, would be to create mini-renovation projects around your house. Pick and choose the ones that you feel needs to be renovated first.

This way, you will not feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done. Alternatively, you could do the basics and slowly add on overtime.

However, do be mindful of the potential additional cost for setbacks. There are many components to home renovations, such as painting, plumbing, wiring, flooring and carpentry and others. As such, you need to factor in the potential sunk cost that you might incur to fix stuff or, let’s say, change the wiring to better suit your needs.

Also, in the unfortunate event that you are unable to accommodate all of your initial design ideas, create a list of your needs and wants and pick the areas where you are willing to splurge on. This can potentially help you ease your renovation cost while retaining the features which you deem essential and vital.

  • Be mindful of your carpentry work

We all want that extra ‘wow’ factor and statement piece in our houses. But choosing a complicated and oddly-shaped built-in design might be harsh on your pocket.

Delivering the quality and yet meeting the design that you want would require skilful penmanship, inevitably hiking the price to pay for such artwork.

Talking to a few carpenters and comparing quotes before hiring one is a good idea to ensure that you are getting the ideal value.

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  • Quality of design

It is important to note that you should not always go for the lowest contract bidder. Although they might be able to deliver the design idea that you want, if this means having to compromise on the quality of the design, then you might want to think twice.

After all, a considerable amount of money has already been spent on your renovation. It is only natural that you would want your built-ins and designs to last for as long as possible to make your money worth it.

If you are unable to have all your design plans built at once, do not be disheartened as there are situations where people do progressive work on their house.

This way, you can ensure that the quality of your carpentry work is not compromised and ultimately, you still get the dream house you wished for.

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Additional tips on how to keep to your budget

1. Using laminate material for your kitchen countertop

Most people cannot differentiate the difference between quartz, granite and marble, and using a high-grade material will not result in a drastic visual difference. The materials mentioned can cost up to $40-$80 per square foot.

By going for cheaper materials such as laminate, you can save that extra cash and use it to purchase the appliances you need for your house.

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2. Having laminate finishes for your carpenter work

In comparison to wood veneers and melamine, laminate finishes are a popular choice due to its affordability and sheer variety.

Furthermore, choosing solid colours and matte finishes generally cost less than options with prints or textured finishes.

3. Don’t have false ceilings unless needed

As the main purpose of having a false ceiling is to conceal certain wiring and maybe alter the appearance of the ceiling, if you have no purpose for it, do away with them.

False ceilings can cost anywhere from $4-$6 per square foot and could add a sizeable dent to your wallet. So if it’s not an absolute priority for your home, you may want to reconsider including it.

4. Do not refurbish your toilet unnecessarily

Renovating your toilet largely includes demolishing and clearing everything away, which includes the faucets, sinks and cabinets – all of which can possibly amount to thousands of dollars.

The approximate cost for reinstalling a new bathroom is estimated at about $8,000-$$12,000 (full bathroom). Thus, if your bathroom is in good working condition, you might want to hold it out a little longer.

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5. Having an elaborate kitchen island

Kitchen islands are a home trend since the early 2000s. However, the complexity of its design can range from as low as $300 to all the way up to $10,000.

Furthermore, there are potential complications that can arise from having a kitchen island. This includes having to install pipes and wiring for water to run as well as electricity, which could potentially delay your home renovation project and result in you incurring more costs.

6. Natural light over recessed lights

If you can, when you are choosing and planning for your house design, try to get in as much natural light as possible. Natural light not only helps to make your home much more light and airy but also helps you to save the money needed to install recessed lights around your house.

More often than not, if you need a substantial number of lights in your house to brighten it up, the odds are that you will have to add additional electric wiring and PowerPoint and possibly build a false ceiling to cover the wires up. This then adds to the cost of your home renovation.

One good tip to let in as much natural light as possible would be to have larger windows, opt for a neutral and light coloured wall, therefore allowing the light to bounce off your walls and brighten up your home.

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7. Revamp over the renovation

Many times, you might not need to change and renovate most parts of your house to change and give it up a facelift. Step aside, and relook at the furniture and decorative pieces that you have in your house, get a second opinion if need be too.

Most of the time, we might just have to shift a few items here and there to make your home layout and design look different. This not only helps you save money but also the time and effort needed to hire and redo your house.

Another tip would be to repaint the walls of your house. If you are bold, try going for strong colours if your house is already under a warm and neutral palette. Just by doing this simple step, it could give your house a totally different outlook.


Your dream home can become a reality and you can save costs while doing so. While splurging might be necessary for high-quality materials, the amount you should spend does tend to vary based on your priorities.

We hope that this guide gives you a better idea of areas you can save on so that you can spend more on what you truly care about!

Cost of Other Home Improvement Areas

You can check out the cost of hiring professionals for other aspects of your home improvement project. Some of the general cost guides can be found below:

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