Singapore HDB Renovation Guide: 9 Steps You Must Take (Plus 5 Examples To Inspire!)

Singapore HDB Renovation Guide: 9 Steps You Must Take (Plus 5 Examples To Inspire!)

Congratulations on getting the keys to your new home! It is a huge milestone and you’ve successfully made it to this point. Next up, renovation!

If you’re feeling intimidated by the renovation process, know that you’re not alone.

After all, there are specific HDB renovation guidelines to follow and the process can come across as daunting and complex – especially if you have no idea where to start.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. 

When you equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge, home renovations wouldn’t be as intimidating as you initially thought. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide so that you can learn more about the necessary steps you must take for a smooth renovation journey.

Psst, we’ve also included some HDB interior design examples for inspiration!

Step 1: Calculate Your Renovation Budget

First things first, you have to ensure you have sufficient funds to see the renovation through from start to finish. 

After all, you wouldn’t want to run into a situation where you’re unable to complete it or have to make last-minute changes to the original plan due to budget issues. 

Hence, it is crucial to determine the cost of achieving your renovation goals and be realistic about it in the process, so you can save and set aside the right amount.

Some important factors to take into consideration while planning include the interior designer fees, the kind of materials, furniture and appliances you plan to get and moving costs. 

It also helps to have a buffer in case of last-minute changes or potential extra charges. If you’re unsure of how to go about working out the cost of your home renovation, try using Qanvast’s renovation calculator or getting quotes from HomeRenoGuru or Renonation.  

Discover ways to renovate your home on a budget through our list of tips here.

living room

Step 2: Set A Timeline For The Renovation

As with all projects, your renovation also requires a timeline so as to keep you organised and ensure you stay on track for meeting milestone dates.

If you’re hiring a contractor or interior designer, it helps to plan the renovation timeline together with them. This is because you would be able to work out a realistic timeline that outlines the time frames for what has to be accomplished.

Apart from that, it gives you the opportunity to manage expectations, adjust according to each other’s schedules and keep tabs on the progress over the weeks.


Step 3: Decide On The Overall Interior Style Or Theme Of Your Home 

Whether it’s industrial, rustic or minimalist, it helps to decide on an overall style you’d like your home to have – and then stick with it. This would determine the kind of colour palette and theme that would go into your home design, furniture and accessories.

If you’re in need of inspiration, check out Pinterest or interior design magazines and websites. 

When you find specific examples of the look you’d like to go for, take photos, keep screenshots or pin the images on your Pinterest board so that you’ll be able to show them to your interior designer or contractor.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you to define your interior style.


Step 4: Determine The Scope Of The Renovation Work 

When you’ve decided on the interior design style you’d like your home to have, the next step is to determine the amount of work that has to be done. 

After which, consult your contractor so that they will be able to identify the kind of services you require, be it carpentry, wall removal or wall painting. 

It is crucial to have a floor plan with dimensions and bring it along for your consultation so that they will have a clearer idea when it comes to the timeline, scope and budget for your renovation.


Step 5: Choose The Right Interior Designer Or Contractor 

Finding the right interior designer or contractor can feel like a challenge, especially with the many options there are out there. 

Take the time to meet the interior designers and explain what you want, as well as review their portfolio, you’d then have a better sense of whether they’d fit with your renovation goals.

Having a glimpse of your interior designer’s past work will enable you to determine whether they’re able to deliver the kind of style you’re looking for. There are certain interior designers or firms that specialise in several styles, so you’d be able to identify and pick one that is aligned with your vision.

Apart from their portfolio, some other factors to consider include cost, reviews, accreditation and communication.

In order to stick to your renovation budget, be sure to request for quotations to get an estimate of how much it costs and whether you can afford the specific interior designer. If possible, ask for an itemised version where each specific task is listed with the cost so you can take a look at the breakdown.

But hold up!

Before making an appointment to consult with the interior designer or firm, you should also conduct a quick search online for reviews to learn more about their work process and find out how past clients find them. 

To ensure quality and safety during the renovation works, do look out for HDB approved contractors and ensure that the interior designer is from a firm that is CaseTrust accredited.

Communication is another important factor because you have to be on the same page as your interior designer and see eye to eye when it comes to the process. 

By choosing someone who’s responsive and easy to talk to, the process will be smoother.


Step 6: Choose The Right Materials, Furnishes And Finishes

To make your dream home’s interior style come to life, you’ll have to ensure that the materials, furnishes and finishes are in line with the interior design theme you decided on. After all, the right elements will make or break your home’s vibe! 

At this point, you’ll have to try your best to visualise how the different tiles, wall coverings and surface tops will look like in the various areas of your home. 

Are you looking for parquet flooring or would marble look better?

For those who would like a professional opinion, your interior designer or contractor would be able to recommend the best tiles, paints and materials so as to bring your home’s ideal overall style to life – so don’t hesitate to ask for their thoughts or get recommendations.

If you believe in embracing sustainability and reducing your carbon footprint, you might want to take a look at our eco-friendly renovation guide.


Step 7: Choose The Right Appliances And Electronics

The next step after interior styling is to select the most suitable appliances and electronics to get your home well-prepared. Whether it’s fans, washing machines or smart devices, you would want to pick the best products that fit your theme without compromising function. 

You might feel spoilt for choice with all the options available. However, do keep your budget and the size of your home in mind when weighing your options. It helps to take measurements before buying your appliances and electronics. 

Apart from that, getting multipurpose appliances such as a washer-dryer can help you with saving space.

As your appliances and electronics require electricity, why not go for a retailer that enables you to enjoy savings?


Step 8: Plan Your Wifi, Utilities (Gas & Water) And Electricity Setup 

Although planning for utilities might not be as fun as researching interior styles, it is actually super essential to do. After all, your home would require wifi, utilities and electricity. 

Fortunately, it isn’t as tedious as you’d initially think to do this. In fact, all it takes are a few simple steps! 

Here’s how to set up your home wifi.

Follow our guide and open your account with SP Services to set up your utilities.

Do note that your gas supply is separate from other utilities and you’ll have to follow these three steps to set up with City Gas.


Step 9: Be Patient And Flexible Throughout The Renovation Process

It can be stressful to stick to a plan and be very fixed about it because HDB renovations have deadlines: within three months for new flats and one month for existing flats. 

However, sometimes things would not progress the way you hope for, due to unexpected factors such as delayed deliveries, wet weather or workers falling sick.

When the unexpected happens, it helps to be prepared to have the flexibility to try other methods or simply be patient and work on other areas first and stay the course.


5 Homes In Singapore For Your Renovation Inspiration

Now that you’ve made it to the end of our guide, it’s time to check out some beautiful homes.

HDB interior design might feel challenging due to the guidelines or smaller space, but if others can do it, so can you! 

Read on to explore 5 different interior designs and get ready to be inspired.

Home 1: Bali & Industrial Chic (Woodlands HDB Flat) 

Although most people would not think of pairing Balinese style with an industrial look because of how different both are, homeowners Farah and Ee Loong made it work for their Woodlands home.

Rattan accessories and wood elements add a touch of character to the usual industrial cement floors and brick walls around the house. They also gave areas of the house a pop of colour by going for bold blue cabinets, pastel themed artwork and Beatles memorabilia.

The couple shared that they bought most of their furniture from Taobao and that they came unassembled, but it was affordable and the quality was good. They took design ideas from online and created their home’s look with the existing layout as they did not want to knock down the walls.

In their interview with Qanvast, Ee Loong mentioned that the DIY aspect of the renovation was satisfying because they got to be “more hands-on for [their] renovation” and that it is worth the effort.

Woodlands HDB
[Credit to tfthishouse]

Home 2: Minimalist & Family-friendly (Kallang HDB Flat) 

With a goal to fuse child-friendly elements with a clean minimalist design, the homeowners approached 13th Design Studio’s Philip Chong to bring their idea to life. 

In line with their vision of having more family bonding time, an existing wall was removed to make the living room bigger and there’s no TV, so the family can spend quality time being together.

Child-friendly elements such as rounded corners keep the children safe while magnetic chalkboard laminate is also present in the house, encouraging creativity in the form of doodling. Also, the dining table can change into a ping pong table when the family isn’t sitting there for a meal, making it a fun family activity.

Fluted-panel carpentry hides the bomb shelter and doubles up as extra shoe storage while being more visually appealing. The flooring in the home is made of wood-inspired ceramic tiles, making it durable even though the kids and a dog are always running around. A neutral palette and rounded shapes also keep the home on theme with being minimalist.

13th Design Studio[Credit to 13th Design Studio]

Home 3: Cool Monochrome Tones (Hougang Maisonette)

If you’re a fan of monochrome tones, you might like what Impress 21 Design did with this particular HDB Maisonette at Hougang. 

Designed with a monochromatic colour palette, this home has a timeless and simple vibe. Wooden flooring is paired with white walls and furniture in tones of black and grey.

Apart from that, safety fixed invisible grills make the home’s large balcony a safe chill-out spot after long days at work.Hougang Maisonette

Home 4: Wood On White (Bedok Reservoir HDB Flat)

If black is a bit too harsh for you, another way to keep it classy and neutral is wood on white, like how Dots N Tots did it for this Bedok Reservoir HDB flat. 

This palette is not just pleasing to the eye but also gives a clean, rustic vibe.

Bedok Reservoir HDB Flat

Home 5: Regal & Majestic (Geylang Bahru HDB Flat) 

Another project by Dots N Tots, this Geylang Bahru HDB flat has a regal and majestic feel.

It has an overall industrial design but in lighter tones instead of the usual moody ones. 

Jewel tone furniture adds a touch of class and brightens up the overall look of the space.

Geylang Bahru HDB Flat[Credit to: Dots N Tots Interior Design]

Set Aside More Money For Your Renovation By Saving On Your Electricity Bill 

As you move into your new home, why not move to a new electricity supplier as well? 

Make the swap to iSwitch and enjoy guaranteed savings off your monthly electric bill. You can then put these savings into your home renovation fund and get closer to turning your dream home into a reality. 

Learn more about our residential price plans and find the right plan for your lifestyle needs!

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