10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (2023)

Home and Decor's HDB and BTO Homeowner's Diary is an ongoing column written by real HDB BTO owners - sharing tips, successes, mistakes, regrets and opinions with the BTO community. Contribute your HDB BTO renovation diary and photos,Please drop us a line on Facebook

Lal:HDB Resale Flat, 4 Bedrooms
Place:Pasir Ris
Decoration cost:$ 30.000

My partner and I are celebrating our 1 year anniversary as full owners and our family of 3 will be moving into our newly renovated 4 bedroom resale HDB flat in 2022.

We purchased this beautiful new unit completed in 2015 because we knew we didn't want to spend too much on renovations and planned to keep as many original fixtures as possible.

Renovation cost: $30,000

Our total renovation cost ended up being close to $30,000.

The 2 bathrooms and the kitchen have been renovated with some hack work on the existing carpentry and a new old wardrobe built for us. We kept the vinyl floor as it has a rustic wood design and we have no complaints about it, in fact many of our guests have complimented on the beauty of the floor.

We plan to do some home improvements later on, such as changing the look of the doors with door panels, fixing the bi-fold bathroom doors, and installing solar window film on the windows.

(Video) Things To Take Note When Renovating Resale Toilet | Singapore Interior Design

10 Home Improvements I Haven't Regretted

We hear about other people's home improvement regrets all the time, but here are 10 home improvement wins I've picked up as a first-time home buyer that you can consider for yours, too.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (1)

1. fan

Having good air circulation and ventilation is very important when living in a hot and humid country like Singapore. This largely explains my strong desire to have as many fans as possible in every corner of our house. We have ceiling fans installed in all bedrooms and living room.

Instead of installing another ceiling fan, we decided to use a corner fan in the dining area because we wanted a pendant light over the dining table. Small but powerful corner fans are strategically placed, and their massive wind speeds vibrate to the open concept kitchen, making food preparation more tolerable.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (2)

2. Lighted ceiling fan

All our rooms have a lighted ceiling fan. It is multifunctional and saves us the trouble of installing another light source, because the ceiling light is enough for night use. We prefer warm and cozy ambient lights on at night, but if you need to study or work at night, ceiling lights will come in handy.

There are many trendy ceiling fan designs now and we can see elegant blades in light wood and walnut shades. Ceiling fans are mostly remote controlled and easier to switch on and off than traditional manual switches which makes me worry that the whole fan will collapse when pulled.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (3)

3. Hidden switch

There are as many large kitchen appliances as ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers as there are electrical switches you will have, so plan where they will be.

This does not include any light switches you may have, as we also installed recessed LED lights. I would say that there are a lot of switches you have to think about and the last thing you want is for a switch to ruin the look of your beautiful kitchen.

We hired an experienced professional electrician to help us with the electrical work and he gave us a brilliant suggestion to hide our electrical switches in the kitchen joinery. The considerations behind installing electrical switches are primarily ease of access while keeping unsightly switches from being too jarring.

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10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (4)

4. LED light strip as task lighting

Our LED strip lights above kitchen counters and in bathrooms are more useful than main ceiling fixtures. They're less bright, but more pleasing to the eye because LED lights are less likely to cast weird shadows when you're performing a task.

Today, you can easily buy smart LED strips online and install them effortlessly because they come with ready-made adhesives. The smart LED strip comes with a physical remote that allows you to adjust brightness and color temperature with the touch of a button.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (5)

5. Shelves in the DB cabinet

If you've lived in a newer HDB development, you're familiar with the distribution box, also known as the DB cabinet, where the power system components are located. The bulky 4-door design of a DB cabinet may not look its best, as some owners choose to cut everything out and build proper shelves and storage drawers.

However, many homeowners like me will choose to keep it because it works in its own way. We had a carpenter help us install a shelf to house our internet modem. Some savvy homeowners have installed sloped shelves to completely transform a DB closet into a functional shoe cabinet with a handy mirrored door for one last laundry check before heading out.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (6)

6. Full height carpentry cabinet

It is true that woodworking wardrobes are more expensive than ready-made wardrobes. The idea behind open wardrobes is alluring for its affordability and novelty, and you can also have a full height wardrobe system. However, I'm glad we decided to use a closet wardrobe with sliding doors, since we now have a curious crawling baby.

Additionally, having a full height carpenter's closet allowed us to make the most of the space above by storing less used items such as empty product boxes, spare hangers and travel related items. We also don't have to worry about dust collecting on the top of the wardrobe because the wardrobe is built from floor to ceiling.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (7)

7. Mounting the TV on the TV Console

We made a conscious decision to have our room without built-ins and to avoid drilling any permanent holes in the walls as we wanted flexibility and options to change out furniture and freely update the layout and space.

Our storage solution of choice is the modular and customizable IKEA BESTA system. We have a bench near the main door that gives access to the room where the TV console is. The BESTA system comes with an extra TV mount, you can choose to mount your TV to the console. Please note that the TV stand only supports TVs up to 55 inches.

(Video) My Home Renovation Journey For My 2-Room HDB Flat

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (8)

8. 2 street light switch

I didn't initially see the point of having two way light switches since our 4 bedroom unit wasn't the largest to begin with. The two-way light switch was made by the original owner, and one thing that annoys me is that the switch isn't completely uniform in the off position, even with all the lights off.

Since our dining lights were specifically fitted with two-way light switches, I quickly discovered that it was useful to reach for the dining area light switch by the door when I got home, and turn off the same dining light when I went to the restaurant. bedroom, at the end of the day.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (9)

9. Shutters in service yards

We didn't realize there was no real glass in the service yard, but the original owners installed shutters. The lack of glass in the windows provided good airflow to our service yard, allowing our clothes to dry efficiently.

Additionally, the louvers also act as privacy screens, as we can adjust the angle of the louvers to optimize airflow and block anyCapoAlso spy on the neighbors.

10 HDB Renovation Tips I Don't Regret [HDB BTO Homeowner Diary] (10)

10. Open concept kitchen

When we purchased a resale unit, the original owner had knocked down or opted not to use the kitchen door. We love the idea of ​​an open concept kitchen because it helps open up the space. Equipped with a high suction chimney hood to prevent the kitchen fumes from spreading to the sofa and curtains in our living room.

Since we don't cook a lot, the open concept kitchen is perfect for us. However, many seniors warn us and advise us to have a proper baby gate to keep our crawling and curious newborn out, just in case, in case he comes into contact with dangerous objects like knives.

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(Video) HDB BTO process for OCS, EC, CPF, paying mortgage - Part 1
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How to start BTO renovation? ›

Timeline To Plan the Whole Process

Your planning should start as early as 2 to 6 months before keys collection for renovation to kickstart immediately. Upon key collection, you have 30 days to check home defects and report to HDB before your renovation starts – repairs would usually be done within 2 weeks.

Can you renovate BTO? ›

Every HDB BTO renovation is unique and the timeline will depend on the extent of work you want to get done. Shortage of materials and unexpected electrical snags are some mishaps that homeowners may face that may sometimes delay a project. It is best to keep a buffer time for your HDB BTO renovation.

How much does the average 5-room BTO renovation cost? ›

BTO renovation costs
Flat typeMedian renovation cost in 2022Expected renovation cost in 2023*
3-room$41,600 to $48,400$45,800 to $55,700
4-room$45,000 to $54,600$49,500 to $62,800
5-room$50,000 to $60,000$55,000 to $69,000
Jan 31, 2023

What to do first during renovation? ›

Generally, most renovations will follow this order of work:
  1. Strip out and removal.
  2. Structural work – floors, ceilings, walls.
  3. First fix work – plumbing, heating wiring.
  4. Plastering, flooring.
  5. Second fix work – plumbing, heating, wiring.
  6. Bathroom, kitchen fit-out.
  7. Decoration.

How much does it cost to renovate a 4 room BTO? ›

4-Room BTO Renovation Costs

For a 4-room BTO flat, the renovation costs fall between $49,500 to $62,800. A 4-room flat is a fair amount of space for couples who are just starting out or Dual Income, No Kids couples.

How much does it cost to renovate a 3 room BTO? ›

As expected, BTO renovation costs go up as the size of your home increases. The estimated renovation cost for a 3-room BTO flat is between $45,800 to $55,700. Less material is required to furnish your home, which explains why it's cheaper as compared to a 5-room BTO renovation cost.

How long does it take to renovate a HDB flat? ›

Any renovation works you have planned for must be completed within 1 month for existing blocks and 3 months for newly completed blocks, from the date the renovation permit is granted. Please immediately inform the HDB Branch managing your flat immediately once your renovations are completed.

What is the average 5-room BTO size? ›

5-room BTO flats and their features

Although they have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as 4-room BTO flats, these units are more spacious with a floor size between 107 to 113 sqm – all thanks to a suggested study area located behind the living/dining area.

What is the most expensive room to remodel? ›

When looking to remodel specific rooms in a house, it can be helpful to educate oneself on just how expensive certain room remodels can be. The most expensive rooms to remodel in a home are the kitchen, bathroom, and basement or other such entertainment spaces.

What to avoid when renovating? ›

Here are some of the most common home renovations mistakes to avoid:
  • Setting an unrealistic budget. ...
  • Not complementing the original architectural style. ...
  • Sacrificing function for form. ...
  • Being too trendy. ...
  • Installing new appliances last. ...
  • Buying furniture and home décor too early. ...
  • Not ordering extra flooring. ...
  • Focusing on appearance.
Nov 2, 2020

What is the correct order of renovation? ›

As you look to begin your whole home remodel, here's the general order of operations:
  • Planning and Design. ...
  • Demolition. ...
  • Rebuilding/Framing. ...
  • Mechanicals/Plumbing/HVAC/Electrical. ...
  • Walls. ...
  • Flooring. ...
  • Cabinets. ...
  • Appliances.

What room is best to renovate first? ›

It's best to start with the kitchen because these remodels add significant value to your home. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's 2022 remodeling impact report, Realtors estimate that homeowners can recover 75% of the cost of a complete kitchen renovation if they sell their home.

How long does it take to renovate a 4 room HDB? ›

It takes about 8-10 weeks on an average to renovate an HDB

The duration of renovation is governed majorly by these two market factors: manpower and availability of raw materials. Based on analysis of these two factors, the following is the timeline for renovation completion for HDB BTOs and Resale flats.

How do I plan a HDB renovation? ›

A Guide to Renovating Your HDB Flat
  1. Engage a Contractor listed in the Directory of Renovation Contractors. ...
  2. Submit a Renovation Application. ...
  3. Contact Other Agencies on Related Works. ...
  4. Keep Renovations to Permitted Hours. ...
  5. Manage Payment and Any Renovations Dispute. ...
  6. Use the Lifts Properly. ...
  7. Keep your Neighbourhood Clean.

Can I renovate my own HDB? ›

General renovation

If the renovations do not require a permit, you would still need to comply with the set guidelines for the work otherwise they will be considered as unauthorised work. HDB will require you to discontinue, correct, or remove such unauthorised work and reinstate your flat to its original condition.

How much does it cost to renovate an old HDB? ›

According to data and interior designers we spoke to, the average 4-room resale HDB flat renovation in 2023 could cost anywhere between $60,720 and $72,500.

How much does it cost to renovate a 4-room HDB? ›

First, you'll have to decide on a reasonable renovation budget – expected to average between $49,500 to $62,800 for a 4-room flat – and next, find design ideas that best align with your idea of a dream home.

What is the size of HDB BTO 3 room? ›

How Big Is a 3-Room HDB BTO Flat? The standard Singapore sizing of 3-room HDB flats can be anywhere between 60-69 sqm. Since HDB flats are under the government's jurisdiction, they come with standard fittings and fixtures. Thus, an average 3-room HDB flat layout is about 66 sq.

What is the average renovation timeline in Singapore? ›

In Singapore, the average renovation timeline lasts for 3 months, and the average Singaporean homeowner spends 1 month out of the three on decision-making. HDB renovation permits typically last 3 months from the date of approval, which is enough time to complete most renovations.

How long should you live in a house before renovating? ›

You Don't Want to Make Rash Decisions

Our brains can only process so many things at once, so don't rush into renovations. Many professionals recommend a one year “cooling-off” period from move in date to the beginning of renovations.

How do I start planning for renovations? ›

Step-By-Step Guide To Planning Your Renovation
  1. Step 1: Start With The Design And Scope Of Work. ...
  2. Step 2: Plan And Budget For Renovation Works. ...
  3. Step 3: Make The Choice Between Contractor And Interior Designer. ...
  4. Step 4: Plan The Renovation Timeline With Your ID/Contractor.
May 4, 2021

How can I renovate my BTO without ID? ›

4 tips on renovating a resale HDB flat without an ID
  1. Stick to the original renovation budget.
  2. Have the electrical works done in parts.
  3. Maximise the countertop and storage space for the kitchen.
  4. Mesh the gates and windows to cat-proof the home.
  5. Find a newer resale flat/home.
  6. Choose vinyl flooring over tiles.
Jul 14, 2022

Which rooms to renovate first? ›

If you need to choose which room to remodel first, you'll want to choose the room that will recoup the remodeling costs and create actual equity. This is why experts agree that choosing to remodel your kitchen or bathroom first is traditionally the smartest move.

What part of house is best to renovate? ›

Kitchens and bathrooms are by far the most popular rooms to renovate. Kitchens have consistently topped the list, with bathrooms close behind. Generally speaking, kitchens and bathrooms are popular to renovate because they make a noticeable aesthetic and practical improvement.

What time of year is best to renovate? ›

Additions to Your Home

The most optimal time of year for house renovation projects is actually January through early March. While this sounds counter-intuitive, the frozen ground and dry air can make it easier for contractors to pour concrete.

Should you paint or renovate first? ›

The Paint Comes Last

Proper painting techniques should always be applied in the last stage of a remodel or renovation before the final clean-up. While, sure, you can do the finishing work before flooring or other aspects of a project, you'll almost always have to go back and touch up.

How long does renovation take in Singapore? ›

In Singapore, the average renovation timeline lasts for 3 months, and the average Singaporean homeowner spends 1 month out of the three on decision-making. HDB renovation permits typically last 3 months from the date of approval, which is enough time to complete most renovations.

How long does it take to renovate a 4 room flat? ›

It takes about 8-10 weeks on an average to renovate an HDB

The duration of renovation is governed majorly by these two market factors: manpower and availability of raw materials.

Should I hire a contractor or an ID? ›

Verdict: If you have a tighter budget, hire a contractor. But note that this requires more research and project management work on your part. If you have a little more room to splurge, hire an interior designer who will handle everything for you while giving your house or space a look that you will enjoy.

Can I change my HDB Windows? ›

A renovation permit from HDB is required for all windows replacement work. A BCA Approved Window Contractor (AWC) who is listed in HDB's Directory of Renovation Contractors needs to apply a renovation permit from HDB before carrying out the window replacement works.

Can I change my HDB main door? ›

Read our guidelines on replacement of main door, internal door, or front gate of your flat. Permit Required? The replacement door and/ or frame must be half hour fire-rated and the frame must have a self-closing device. Note: The fire-rated door must also have an accreditor's label.

What is the deposit for HDB renovation? ›

A deposit of up to 15% is initial made, and subsequent payments are made upon completion of key renovation milestones.


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