Renovation Cost Guide in Singapore [Updated 2022]

After spending all your life savings on a house, you’ll want it to look as good as possible. But alas, undergoing a home renovation in Singapore will definitely burn another hole in your wallet.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when preparing for your home renovation. For most first-time homeowners, may be confused and overwhelmed as to where to begin planning their home renovation.

But do not fear, for this article will give you a rough guide on how you can prepare for your home renovation. The most stressful part that comes with planning any home renovation would be how much money you should set aside.

We’ll be giving you a breakdown of renovation costs and cost-friendly tips so you will be aware of what you should or should not incorporate into your home renovation while being on a tight budget.

A point to note would be that the features which usually take up most of your home renovation budget would be structural works such as electrical wiringplumbing work, and flooring. It is always good to strip your home renovation down to its bare essentials and divide up your home into mini projects.

It is recommended to start with basic flooring, electric work, and plumbing. Sometimes, it can get a bit messy, but with the foundation part of your renovation done, you can have a better idea of how to decorate and design your apartment.

 

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Renovation Cost Breakdown

How much does it cost to renovate in Singapore? The prices vary depending on your apartment size, type of property, the number of renovation work, and other factors. The table below shows the estimated renovation price for different types of property.

Type of Housing

Estimated Cost

3-room BTO renovation

S$25,000 to S$45,000

4-room BTO renovation

S$33,000 to S$58,000

5-room BTO renovation

S$38,000 to S$65,000

3-room resale renovation

S$30,000 to S$65,000

4-room resale renovation

S$38,000 to S$73,000

5-room resale renovation

S$50,000 to S$82,000

Condominium renovation (depending on size)

S$40,000 to S$120,000

Hacking or building wall sections

Hacking and building walls to create space in your home can be an expensive decision. This is especially so if you choose to do partial hacking.

Depending on how much you want to change from the original design, hacking of walls can constitute a big part of your home improvement project too, especially if they require approval from relevant building or government authorities.

Hacking a wall can turn two small rooms into one large room, which gives flexibility and space for your home design.

Many people have the misconception that partial hacking will be cheaper in comparison to completely hacking your wall, but on the contrary, that is not the case. Partial hacking requires more precision and skills.

As such, when you factor in the cost of hiring someone who is skilled enough to do the partial hacking for you, partial hacking could end up being more expensive than hacking off the wall completely.

 

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The average cost for knocking down a wall is around $300 – $500. Of course, other factors would be taken into consideration when they are demolishing your wall. This includes:

  1. Whether it is a load-bearing wall.

A load-bearing wall refers to a wall that supports your house. It is one of the pillars that hold the structure and foundation of your home.

You must be extremely cautious and careful when you plan on removing one of these walls. One wrong move could potentially cause a safety hazard to your home. Also, the decision to remove a load-bearing wall may not be approved by your homeland’s regulations

  1. If the walls have mechanicals such as pipes, wiring, etc…

If you are removing a wall that is used to cover and hold the mentioned structural works, it will definitely cost more. You will need to get a professional plumber or electrician to ensure that the plumbing work or wires do not cause problems for the other parts of your house.

Living Room Prices

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

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

Possible living room renovation costs:

  • Feature walls can cost from $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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Kitchen Prices

How much will kitchen renovation cost? 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.

Other than considering the aesthetics, you will also need to think about the practicality and functionality of the space.

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

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

Possible kitchen renovation costs:

  • Kitchen cabinet(varying from the material chosen): $150-$400 per square foot
  • Electric appliances: this would include your oven, refrigerator, washing machine and so on. Appliances could easily set you back from $1,500 to $10,000. Some people are willing to invest in home appliances due to their functions and durability of it, and this of course comes at a hefty price.
  • Sink and mixer: $800- $2,000
  • Kitchen countertop: $2,600 – $7,000 depending on the material you have chosen.

For more details and kitchen renovation costs, you can check out our kitchen renovation cost guide. If you want to find the costs of home appliances, we also have a home appliances cost guide. You can view kitchen interior design ideas to get some inspiration for your next kitchen renovation.

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 versus what you want.

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

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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Roof

Many people tend to overlook their roofs, but your house roof is equally important as the rest of your house. Not only does the roof complete your home, but it is also an important aspect in trapping heat or helping to cool your house.

The average cost of getting a completely new roof is around $7000, although when it comes to roof remodelling, prices range from $4500 to $9000. Of course, prices would depend on the amount of work done.

Roof asphalt shingles, costs on average around $1,700 to $8,400. Here is a more specific cost breakdown for some materials that can be used for roof asphalt shingles:

Types of Material

Average Cost

Wood

$6,800-$20,000

Metal

$25,500-$39,000

Tile

$7,00-$60,000

When you are planning your roof renovation, do note what you are going to do with the attic – turn it into a storage room or utilise it as a living space?

If you plan to make use of the attic as an additional living space, then it is crucial that the structure of your roof is designed in such a way that allows for ventilation.

Bear in mind that there will also be a need for insulation.

  • Between-rafter insulation
  • Above-rafter insulation
  • Under-rafter insulation

 

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Carpentry

As homes have different dimensions, most of our homes require customized furniture. Hence, Carpentry is an integral part of a home renovation. Its costs depend on how much furniture you need and the brand of finishes, used, for say, the laminate, hinges and drawer tracks, etc.

Cost of carpentry based on level

  • Light work: $250 – $3500
  • Moderate work: $3500 – $6000
  • Heavy work: $6000 to $23, 500

That said, you can always shop for ready-made furniture from lots of channels like IKEA, or even local furniture companies. Alternatively, you can find companies that make customized furniture or custom cabinetry.

 

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Flooring

Common flooring materials include ceramic, laminate, vinyl, parquet, granite and marble. Flooring plays a significant part of any home and is a high cost for most home renovation projects in Singapore. With various options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose the best flooring for your home. To find out more about flooring prices, check out our flooring cost guide.

Cost of different types of flooring:

  • Vinyl$7 per piece
  • Laminate$5.50 to $8 per square foot
  • Cement Screed$14 to $28 per square foot
  • Marble$15 to $70 per square foot
  • Hardwood$25 to $50 per square foot
  • Terrazzo – $30 – $80 per square foot
  • Ceramic Tiles- $9 to $12 per square foot

 

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Air-conditioning Systems

Air-conditioning systems aren’t cheap. Wiring, running pipes and installing aircon units for the entire home can easily cost thousands of dollars and should be factored into your renovation budget.

The different types of aircon also affect prices quite drastically (like aircon systems that connect to a smart home system), so be sure to compare aircon installation quotes before hiring a company.

 

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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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How to Calculate Renovation Costs?

Trying to find out your renovation costs can be stressful especially if you’re a first-time homeowner. The final cost of your renovation depends on the following:

Property Type

Are you living in a 3-Room BTO or a condominium? Is it new or a resale? Does it come with existing fittings? You may be charged at a higher price due to the following:

  • Hacking of walls/tiles
  • Piping works
  • Toilet fittings
  • Electrical works (Rewiring, installing switches etc.)
  • Extra space (for resales that are larger than new BTOs.)

Amount of Work Done

The cost of renovation will definitely be higher if more work is done especially in hacking and carpentry. If you insist on hacking your walls, avoid partial walls because they cost more than fully hacked walls.

Number of Materials Used

This usually involves the type of materials used for your flooring and countertop. Premium materials like marble and quartz will definitely cost more than other materials.

The Contractor/Interior Designer You Choose

Although it costs more to hire them, think about the extra costs to cover the mistakes you have if you are thinking of renovating yourself.

Interior Design Theme

Some interior designs cost more than others. (Eg. Minimalistic designs are cheaper due to their simplicity.) You can refer to the table in the next section to look at the estimated renovation costs for each interior style.

How to Reduce Renovation Costs in Singapore?

1. Know your cost trend

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

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

Property Type

Renovation Costs

HDB

$44,000 to $67,000

Condominium

$39,00 to $82,000

Room Type

Renovation Costs

$6,000 to $70,000

$6,000 to $40,000

$4,000 to $27,000

Interior Design Style

Renovation Costs

$55,000 to $350,000

$51,000 to $650,000

$52,000 to $420,000

$51,000 to $140,000

$45,000 to $350,000

$60,000 to $370,000

It usually costs more to renovate resale apartments 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 even though it is one of the main factors that contribute to the high renovation cost

2. Plan your budget

Planning your budget should always be the first step. Your budget will determine what you can and cannot do.

You can save on renovation by listing down the cost of each item that you plan to purchase for your new home. Although it is advisable to stick to your pre-planned budget, unforeseen circumstances do occur from time to time.

Thus, try to be flexible when it comes to planning your budget if you don’t want to end up with an incomplete living room, kitchen or toilet.

3. Do your research

Find out how much an average interior design costs in Singapore by doing your research beforehand. This will help you to plan your budget more efficiently.

If you are planning to hire help from a professional, then you should check the online reviews and portfolios of interior designers. It is easier to find a suitable interior designer after doing your research.

Remember, every interior designer is different and may not be suitable for you.

 

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4. Plan your purchases carefully

Comparing the prices of your purchases across different merchants in Singapore goes a long way in maximising your savings. If the purchases are not urgent, you should wait for specific sales periods during the year like the annual Great Singapore Sale, Christmas, or Black Friday.

Purchasing items during these periods will be worth the wait as it allows you to keep to your budget. You can use the extra savings to purchase other items that your budget did not allow before.

5. Differentiate needs from wants

Differentiating needs from wants can be difficult to do for most new homeowners since they are still fresh from the excitement of building their new homes. Due to them owning a house for the first time, it can be tough for them to know what their new home needs. Thus, many of them fall into the trap of buying everything that they think would look good in their living room.

One advice for new homeowners would be to only buy items that will make your home functional. Before buying anything, always ask yourself if it will serve a purpose in your new home.

If it does not, then perhaps you shouldn’t be in such a hurry to bring it into your new home with you. It would be wise to leave such items until you’ve settled down.

6. Do-It-Yourself

Don’t be afraid to do things yourself. Although renovation sounds like a daunting task, you would be surprised at the level of satisfaction you can get from performing the simpler tasks by yourself.

For example, assemble your own furniture instead of hiring external assemblers to do it for you. This gives you a sense of responsibility for the renovation process of your new home and helps you to save money. You would be amazed by yourself after witnessing the transformation progress that you played a part in.

However, do not get overconfident and take over the entire renovation process yourself. Certain tasks are better done by professionals like the installation of gas pipes or the construction of your toilet. Attempting to do these tasks yourself may have serious repercussions for the safety of your home.

7. Draw inspiration online

There are a plethora of online sites that contain various tips on a renovation that can benefit you in Singapore. You should check out these sites for inspiration and ideas on how you would like the renovation of your new home to go. Going through such websites will make it easier for you to visualise what you wish to achieve once the renovation process is completed.

One such example would be our article on the top interior design ideas to style your home in Singapore.

 

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8. Use 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 be up to $40-$80 per square foot for countertop cost.

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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9. Having laminate finishes for your carpenter work

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

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

10. 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. However, if you have a bigger budget, you can look at our ceiling cost guide for prices of false ceiling installation.

11. 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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12. 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.

13. 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 lighter and airier 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 electrical wiring and power points, and possibly build a false ceiling to cover the wires up. This then adds to the cost of your home renovation. For details on the costs of lighting, you can check out our electrical cost guide.

One good tip to let in as much natural light as possible would be to install larger windows, and 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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14. 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, and 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.

You can also repurpose old furniture into new built-ins. Know what furniture you already own and how you can use it in different ways.

For instance, when remodelling a living room consider using an old side table with one level of drawers as a coffee table for the new space or use an old solid wooded round table under the staircase for adding decorative elements like flower vases.

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. You can find out how much it costs to paint a room over at our painting cost guide.

15. Split Your HDB Renovation Into Different Phases

Built-in works for areas like kitchens & bedrooms, painting and plumbing should be done first, as they can become troublesome and messy to work on once you move in. Start by doing the essentials first and then gradually go for other HDB renovation things. Zoom in on the finer to add more aesthetic details.

16. Go For Cost-Saving Themes

The design of your home plays a huge role in the renovation cost. Usually, the cost of your renovation increases with the degree of how traditional your new home is. A house with minimal décors like minimalist interior design or MUJI interior design would be cheaper to renovate than a house that has a sense of opulence.

However, it doesn’t mean you should compromise on style, go for something simple that doesn’t make your house look dull.

You can also go for the Scandinavian style, which is always a hot trend. Pair the interiors with bright yet neutral colours, add stylish cost-friendly furniture and give your home an on-trend Scandinavian look.

17. Don’t purchase unnecessary frills

This refers to the point about differentiating your needs and wants. Once you have decided on the things that are essential for your new home, it is time to decide if the rest would ever make it to the list. There are certain things that you can live without and have no place in your new home.

One such example would be purchasing a carpet for your living room. Aside from aesthetic purposes, carpets have absolutely no place in modern homes. Owning a carpet not only requires constant maintenance, but it is also such a chore to clean. It is better to live without such unnecessary frills in your new home.

After all, you wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on the renovation of your floor only to cover it up with a carpet.

18. Avoid Wallpapers

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 on 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, and 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 must be included as well. With all the miscellaneous costs 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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19. Be practical

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. Keen on getting tiles for your home? You can view our tiling cost guide for prices on different tiles!

Some flooring materials are more durable and make more practical sense than others, varying on 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 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 often 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 appeal to your design idea.

To view prices for other flooring materials, you can do so at our flooring cost guide.

 

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20. Swimming pools are not necessary

Installing and upkeeping 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 get 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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21. Specialty built-in/ complicated carpentry works

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

Built-in and odd-shaped, complicated carpentry will definitely incur a 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.

Often, you are not only paying more for the materials needed to make the carpentry but also for 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 replaced in case of wear and tear.

Want to install cabinets in your bathroom or kitchen? Take a look at our cabinet cost guide for prices on different types of cabinets!

 

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