Renovating your first home can feel both exciting and daunting. After all, you may have been planning and saving money for years to create your dream home one day. And when a full HDB renovation in Singapore can cost you upwards of S$32,000 or more, you want to be sure that you’re not getting the short end of the stick.

So, understanding all the HDB rules and regulations for renovation, as well as the costs involved, can prepare you for the better. Here’s a handy HDB renovation guide that can help you start off on the right foot.

#1: Assess the Scope of Your HDB Renovation

HDB-renovation-design-scope
This is the fun part

Knowing the exact scope of your HDB renovation helps set everything else in perspective. It can also give you clarity on how much money to set aside for your HDB renovation in Singapore; as it can get pricey.

Moreover, you’ll achieve a better understanding of the kind of design services you can engage with and the reno timelines they offer. If you’re renovating your home for the first time, an interior designer can also help you navigate the many HDB renovation rules and regulations.

Based on your needs, you can plan whether you need a new kitchen, new furniture, or if structural changes are required. This will also give you a fair idea of how extensive the HDB renovation needs to be, which can further streamline your reno.

Pro Tip

Once you know the needs and issues to be addressed, you can get on with the following:

  • Create a design mood board that inspire your interiors
  • Narrow down on a specific style of furniture and fittings for each room
  • Get information on the best materials to use for your home
  • Assess your floor plan to see what can and cannot be done

You can also plan whether you want your HDB renovation done in parts or at a stretch.

#2: Sort Out Your Finances

hdb-renovation-budget
Plan your budget ahead of your reno to ensure you don’t overspend

Typically, most renovations are completed within 12 weeks. During this period, up to 95% of the payment for your HDB renovation will need to be made. Here’s where it helps to look at your financing options—savings and home renovation loans—before you contact an ID firm. By doing so, you can plan your finances and allocate an upper limit for your spending.

On an average, you may spend upwards of S$20,000 for an HDB renovation in Singapore. However, this is not a fixed estimate and can vary based on the size of your HDB and the scope of work involved. Also, please note that the prices mentioned in this story are indicative and can vary with current rates. For more details on pricing, be sure to consult a designer

As this can be a big investment, don’t forget to set aside some money for home insurance as well. Especially since your mandatory HDB fire insurance doesn’t cover furnishings that aren’t provided by HDB.

Also read: 7 Important Reno Works That Require an HDB Permit

A Comparison of HDB Resale Renovation Costs

Type of Resale HDB FlatApproximate Cost of Renovation
3-room flatS$38,000 to S$50,000
4-room flatS$48,000 to S$60,000
5-room flatS$58,000 to S$70,000

The key areas for costing include carpentry, furniture, flooring and appliances. If you’re planning on making structural changes, hacking would be an added cost. However, be sure to read up on the HDB rules for renovation before making any civil changes.

Similarly, these costs can vary based on your scope of work. Though this can be a flexible range, it’s best to consult a designer for more details on exact costs. Interested to know more about HDB renovation costs in Singapore? Check out Renovation Cost in Singapore: The Ultimate Guide on How to Budget and Save Money.

Taking Out a Renovation Loan

A renovation loan has a lower rate of interest compared to a personal loan. This is because banks know you have an asset (your home) and you’re trying to enhance its value. However, there are certain restrictions on what these funds can be used for.

To avoid any possible hiccups, check the processing/admin/handling fee before finalising your loan with the bank.

Pro Tip

Keep aside a major chunk of your budget for carpentry work such as kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, and storage units. These are custom projects and can consume around 40% to 50% of your budget.

#3: Choose an Interior Designer or a Contractor to Support Your Reno

ID-firm-consultation
Always reach out to the experts for such projects

Typically, ID firms can be comparatively more expensive than a renovation contractor. With an ID, you can expect more personalised designs, while the latter is typically more affordable. However, if you’re looking to carry out a renovation without an ID, you should be prepared for any future expenditure in case your interiors are not up to the mark.

Moreover, an ID can also help plan your reno in line with the various HDB renovation guidelines. While opting for a contractor might save you money in the short term, a renovation without an ID might be a gamble. Apart from these traditional options, you can also opt for Livspace.

We are a one-stop platform for interior design and can help you sort out all your interior design needs. Still not sure why you need a trusted interior designer to support your HDB renovation? Consider reading: What Is the Difference Between a Renovation Contractor and an Interior Designer? Which Is Better?

Pro Tip

We recommend getting quotes from each option (ID, ID firm and contractor) so you can make a more informed choice.

HDB Renovation Permits

More often than not, you will need an HDB renovation permit approved by government authorities to renovate your HDB. This is because there are specific HDB renovation rules in place to ensure your reno is safe to carry out.

While approaching an ID firm, be sure to check whether they can help you secure the necessary permissions. This also ensures that they have full knowledge on the various HDB renovation guidelines to support your reno effectively.

HDB-Registered Firms

As stated above, HDB renovation permits are essential. So, the ID firm you work with needs to be HDB-registered. Without these certifications, carrying out the work is illegal. This is because HDB-registered firms need to adhere to HDB renovation rules like safety and maintaining the structural integrity of the building.

What’s more, a renovation can be a noisy affair that can affect others in the premises. Such firms are aware of the HDB renovation noise rules and can work in a way that reduces the inconvenience caused to other homeowners.

What if You Like a Designer Without an HDB Permit?

This is no reason to worry, as interior designers and platforms usually design and subcontract the execution. Simply ensure that the ID or platform you like subcontracts it to a firm or contractor with an HDB permit.

#4: Check the Renovation Timeline for Singapore Homes

hdb-reno-timeline-in-singapore
Knowing the exact timeline can help you ensure things are on track

This one is fairly obvious as it helps you estimate your move-in date, especially for a resale HDB. Costs for alternate housing can be expensive to manage while your HDB renovation is taking place. For this reason, be sure that you have a good understanding of the renovation timelines for that are followed by IDs.

Pro Tip

Get a schedule from your designer/contractor about the execution of your interiors. This lets you know if the work is getting done on time and allows you to prepare for contingencies.

#5: Finalise the Design

hdb-renovation-living-room-ideas
Pick things you want done first like the wiring or painting

Once you have all the other elements of the reno out of the way, it’s time to sit with your designer to finalise your design. Pick your materials, and select your furniture and fittings. As you’ll have a fair idea from your research, you can now negotiate the cost of the renovation.

Always consider quality over cost and go for furnishing that’s durable. If budget is a concern, invest in items from your priority list first. Later on, you can gradually decorate your home with the other items.

Pro Tip

Get information from your designer about:

  • The warranty of products (in case of subcontracts, it’s best to know who takes ownership of quality post-installation)
  • Designer fees and how it’s charged
  • Supervision of the design execution

#6: Furnish Your Home

HDB-renovation-bedroom-design
Once the planning bit is done, it’s time to furnish your interiors!

While the first few steps seem exhausting, the execution bit is where all the magic, or disaster, can happen. So, mandate regular updates from your designer and contractor about the renovation process. It’s also the firm or designer’s duty to ensure no damage is caused to any existing interiors or furniture.

Once you keep all these points in mind, your HDB renovation can actually turn into an interesting project. Remember that the key is to hire the right experts, agree on a renovation timeline for your Singapore home, and then relax as it gets ready.

Pro Tip

Don’t shy away from asking your designer questions. Stay in contact with your designer and keep yourself updated on the HDB renovation timeline.

Also Read: 7 Easy Home Renovation Tips From Livspace Experts You Need to Know Today!

What About Choosing Materials and Finishes?

Everything depends on your budget and personal requirements. As a first-time homeowner, you may prefer options that are budget-friendly and low-maintenance. Especially when it comes to the kitchen and bathroom.

Laminate is a popular economical finish for kitchen cabinetry thanks to its wide variety and easy maintenance. Other common material options to consider would be plywood, melamine, and particle board.

Bonus Tips to Help You Renovate Your HDB

Make sure you follow all the rules set by the Singapore Housing and Department Board. If you’re still doubtful about them, you can also check with your ID for more information.

Still need a bit of help with planning your reno? Be sure to read our simple renovation guide for Singapore homes below:

Dos

  • Hire a professional that has a similar vision and style, go through their portfolio before you finalise your ID
  • Along with a designer, it also helps to measure your rooms and furniture yourself
  • Set up a timeline that offers some wiggle room in case of contingencies
  • Budget with an extra 20% range for last minute changes or alterations

Don’ts

  • Avoid splurging on decor items like throws and wall treatments without purchasing quality basics
  • Try not to purchase too many bulky furniture items if you have a compact home
  • Never compromise quality for price as it can end up costing you more to replace and fix low quality fittings
  • Do not attempt any construction or installation work without professional guidance

Need a Bit of Inspiration for Your HDB Renovation? Here’s a Renovation We’ve Done

before-and-after-hdb-renovation
The living room transformation this home didn’t know it needed

Check out this home we renovated at The Riversails for a multi-generational family. It included major work like painting, electrical, lighting, feature walls, carpentry and bathroom renovation including tiling and plumbing. 

This entire transformation was done in adherence to HDB’s guidelines. Isn’t it a stellar upgrade? If you’re planning on renovating your HDB, get in touch with us, so we can help you transform your dream home too!

Here Are Some More HDB Renovation Ideas to Consider

Now that you know what goes into the reno process, let’s look at different interior design styles you can use. Here are some Livspace HDBs that have different design styles that can be great inspiration:

#1: Scandinavian Themed Reno

scandinavian-reno-ideas
Muted colours and wooden accents make the perfect Scandi set up

Scandinavian style interiors are all about staying close to nature. You’d see this in the use of natural materials and wooden accents. A bright and airy atmosphere is ideal for locking in the look.

While renovating your Scandi-themed home, be sure to go for muted colours. If you have a good source of natural light coming in, accentuate it with sheer curtains and neutral coloured soft furnishings.

#2: Minimalist Style Reno

minimalist-hdb-renovation
Keep it simple with clean lines, minimal furniture, and monochrome colour palettes

This is a term that’s thrown around quite often, owing to its simplistic nature. But what does true minimalism look like? One clear marker is a clutter-free home.

Though this may seem like a straightforward approach to design, picking out the right furniture and fittings to achieve the look can be a task. Use this 4-room BTO renovation as a reference point for minimalist style interiors.

#3: Modern Style Reno

modern-hdb-renovation
What does the term ‘modern’ mean to you?

While certain elements can form the trademarks of a modern home, you need not follow a set script while designing yours. However, dabbling in sleek fixtures can certainly help get the job done. Check out this 4-room BTO design for more modern HDB renovation ideas.

#4: Japanese/Zen Style Interiors

japanese-themed-reno-ideas
A printed noren (fabric divider) is the perfect addition to Japanese style homes

Zen style interiors have a lot to offer when it comes to a peaceful design. And when you balance Japanese design with modern interiors, you get the most breathtaking result. This 3-room BTO design at Margaret Drive is a testament to this very statement.

#5: Eclectic Reno Ideas

jade-seah-home-interiors
A beautiful purple couch is just the pop of colour this eclectic home needed

While this may not be a real HDB we’ve designed, it can still give you a clear idea of how to get the look. Look closely, you might just recognise this home too. If you guessed it to be Jade Seah’s home, you’re absolutely right!

Take a look at the mix of elements. It creates a stunning visual treat that’s entirely unique. Consider mixing and matching a variety of elements and colours together for a fresh look.

#6: Classic Themed Reno

classical-themed-hdb-renovation
Framed wardrobes and antique lights perfectly encapsulate the classical theme

The classical theme might be a bit of an acquired taste in the modern world. However, it has a lot to offer in terms of style. If you’ve ever had a penchant for antique lights and bedposts, now’s your chance to get them!

How Can Livspace Help You?

We hope this HDB renovation guide helped paint an informative picture! Looking for an impeccable design for your home? Your search ends here. Book an online consultation with Livspace today.

Have some comments or suggestions you’d like to share with us? We’re all ears! Feel free to write to us at editor.sg@livspace.com.

Disclaimer: All contents of the story are specific to the time of publication. Mentions of costs, budget, materials, and finishes can vary with reference to current rates. Talk to our designer for more details on pricing and availability.

FAQs

1. What Time Can You Start Your HDB Renovation?

You can start general renovations between 8 AM to 6 PM, however, in accordance with HDB renovation noise rules, noisy renovations can only take place on weekdays between 9 AM to 5 PM. DIY renovation work can be done between 8 AM to 6 PM on a daily basis.

2. Can You Renovate Your Own HDB?

You can only renovate your HDB after you have procured the right permits and approvals from HDB.