Now reading:

Save more on renovation with these 9 budget hacks!

Save more on renovation with these 9 budget hacks!

It’s the small details that matter – interior designers reveal 9 key budget hacks that could help you save up to thousands on your home renovation.

Surprise (or no surprise?) - renovating a home is still set to be a costly affair in 2017. Average renovation costs ring up to a tune of $51,000, according to data extracted from projects and contracts on Qanvast.

But, don’t let that hefty figure faze you! Just as some might be able to splash out on extreme makeovers that cost half the price of their HDBs, we’ve seen others achieve gorgeous spaces - on an ultra-tight budget. All it takes is the right choices. Here, interior designers William from Authors Interior & Styling and Eric from Space Factor reveal 9 money-saving budget hacks to help save up on renovation costs.

Hack 1: Split Your Renovation Works

Okay, this isn’t a money-saving hack per se, but it’ll help to pace your finances better. Instead of going for the full shebang – think about which works are most important to renovate on, and split your house’s renovation into different phases.

Interior Designer: Authors Interior & Styling

What’s considered important? “Built-in works for areas like your kitchens and wardrobes, painting and electrical works should be done up first, as they can be very troublesome (and messy) to work on once you move in,” suggests William.

Meanwhile, Eric advises: “You can start with doing up the essentials first. Then take the time to save up – once you’re ready to take on a second renovation, that's where you can zoom in on the finer, more aesthetic details.”

Hack 2: Allocate an Allowance for Resales

Old is gold, but the truth is that resales are more expensive to renovate than brand new BTOs. Why? Unforeseen costs abound – such as dismantling existing built-ins, maintenance works for areas suffering wear and tear, and incompatible components (e.g. tearing out and installing new air-con piping due to incompatible old pipings).

“Many homeowners forget to take these ‘hidden’ costs into consideration when budgeting for their resales, and are shocked when those bills accumulate to the thousands,” says Eric. Moral of the story? Prepare yourself and set aside an allowance just for these issues. If it doesn’t amount to that, at least you’ll have spare cash for other stuff.

Interior Designer: Space Factor

Hack 3: Avoid Half-Hacked Walls

Interior Designer: D5 Studio Image

Half wall, half price? Not in renovation. In fact, it might be cheaper to do a fully hacked wall; half walls are more labour and material intensive; you’ll have to fully hack down a wall then build it up to half size.

All that can translate to higher costs - but of course, hacking in general is costly work, so if you’re tight on budget, avoid it altogether.

Hack 4: Go for Vinyl Flooring

Interior Designer: Chapter One Interior Design

Taking up a huge chunk in your renovation budget, the right flooring material and finish can define a home’s entire look. Many materials abound – from luxe marble, ceramic, homogenous and parquet, but the most cost-effective? Vinyl flooring, say both William and Eric. While it does have a plastic feel, vinyl is hardy and waterproof – perfect for wet areas.

If you don’t plan to spend much on flooring at all, William suggests grinding or polishing existing flooring for a sparkly new look.

Hack 5: Overlay, Don’t Hack

And while we’re at it, the best part about vinyl flooring is that they can be overlaid on top of existing tiles! As we mentioned, hacking is expensive, and especially so for wet areas like the bathroom where waterproofing works will need to be done.

Interior Designer: Space Factor

Hack 6: Avoid Circular, Angular or Odd-Shaped Carpentry

Interior Designer: Starry Homestead

Unique built-ins are sure to make a statement at home – and on your bank account as well. “Odd shaped, circular or highly detailed carpentry designs require a lot of workmanship and are understandably more expensive,” explains Eric.

Interior Designer: Cozy Ideas Interior Design

For a more pocket-friendly experience, go for built-ins that are linear and simple to cut down on carpentry costs. Otherwise, opt for less-built ins and install loose furnishings instead. “Also, try to avoid doing carpentry on your ceiling, like making a faux exposed beam”, advises William.

Hack 7: Go Scandinavian

If you’re not particular or unsure about what interior theme to go for, pick the ever-affordable Scandinavian style. Why is this popular look slightly cheaper than other interior styles?

Interior Designer: Charlotte's Carpentry

Three reasons: 1. A focus on clean, simple lines and carpentry (point 6!), 2. Emphasis on loose furnishings and décor, 3. A big variety of affordable Scandinavian furniture (think Taobao and Castlery).

Hack 8: Paint Your Feature Wall

Interior Designer: KDOT Associates

Paint is having a moment for being a cost-effective alternative to feature walls. “Instead of spending thousands on troublesome wallpapers or fancy craftstone, homeowners can simply top up another a couple of hundreds on their painting package for a unique painted graphic wall.” recommends Eric. No fuss, easy to maintain and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Sweet.

Hack 9: Don’t Go Overboard with Lighting Points

Interior Designer: Authors Interior & Styling

“We are all for the bright and airy look, but lighting (and electrical works in general) can add up to a princely sum during renovation and after in terms of electricity bills,” says William. Also, recessed/cove lights can cost a bomb – thanks to the workmanship required and lighting components used. So, save up by cutting down on the number of lighting points and swapping them for these tricks to bring in light, naturally.

Interior Designer: Authors Interior & Styling

  • Make use of mirrors and glass panels to bounce off and reflect light to the rest of the space. Place them near a light source or near your windows.
  • Use lighter wall colours like white or cream to create an illusion of ‘brightness’.


The article is written by Qanvast. OCBC Bank shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in connection with or as a result of any person accessing or acting on any information contained in such content or materials. The placement of this article on our website does not imply and shall not be construed as any representation, warranty, endorsement or verification by OCBC Bank in respect of such content or materials.