Dos and Don'ts of Budgeting for your Renovation

How to allocate your budget, what to splurge and scrimp on, and other things you need to know when budgeting for your home reno

Updated on June 21, 2017 8:06 am

Samantha Echavez


"Renovating is as rewarding as it is miserable," says Alex May, author of Planning Your Perfect Home Renovation. The miserable part she's referring to are the sky-high costs, of course.

This is where smart budgeting comes into play. Danielle Teo, interior designer from Rezt n Relax, shares important tips:

1. Do allocate your budget according to this guideline:

65 percent for construction and labor
15 percent for furniture
15 percent for equipment and appliances
3 percent for accessories and accents
2 percent for miscellaneous items

This means, if you have a budget of $30,000 for a 3-bedroom resale flat, the allocation would be:

$19,500 for the actual renovation
$4,500 for furniture
$4,500 for appliances
$900 for accessories and accents
$600 for miscellaneous items

2. Do add 10 to 20 percent more to your original budget. Unexpected problems may crop up when you knock down a wall, lift the floorboard, or remove a ceiling.

3. Do consider your interior style before setting your budget. "Homeowners who are going for Victorian design will have to buffer 30 percent more compared to other concepts—the reason being the trimmings and beadings of the carpentries are essential in this type of design. Plus, they have to buy classic furniture pieces to go with the interior design. [As opposed to contemporary] going for a traditional style significantly increases the cost of renovation and also the budget for buying furniture," says Teo.


4. Do plan the carpentry works for your home, and establish your needs and wants. "Needs are the essential items, like kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, and shoe cabinets. If you're on a strict budget, focus on the needs first," adds Teo.

5. Don't splurge on items that are not necessary, like built-in display cabinets and extra storage cabinets.

6. Do splurge on a good quality kitchen top and good quality carpentry materials and hinges. "They will lengthen the shelf life of the carpentry, especially in the kitchen, which is the most commonly used room and is the frequent place for wear and tear in most Singaporeans' home."


7. Don't forget that the cost for wall hacking depends on the per foot run of the wall that's needed to be demolished.

8. Do consider keeping the flooring of your resale flat. "Ask your designer to check the condition of the existing flooring. If it's in good condition, you might not need to hack. This will save the cost tremendously," says Teo. "If the condition of the existing flooring is good, the homeowner can choose to overlay with high end resilient flooring or other alternatives in the market." Take it from Matthew Elton who decided to keep the flooring of his shophouse. If it's a new unit, overlaying is also a better option.

9. Don't compromise the quality of material. If it's dirt-cheap, chances are, it's not of good quality, and will just give you more problems in the future.

10. Do compare prices for interior designers, electrical appliances, and furniture.

Cover photo courtesy of Ewins


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