Home Renovation Without An Interior Designer

If you’re here reading this article, you probably deserve a medal of courage for saying you’re going to handle your home renovation on your own.

The task may sound daunting, but it will be extremely rewarding.

Consider this 3-room flat in Bishan. The couple had overseen the entire renovation process themselves. And after 6 months, the result proved to be more than commendable.

With ample time and the right know-how, you can easily do away with an interior designer and funnel that extra money into better furniture.

To start you off, here’s a short guide on some things you should look out for when becoming your very own ID.

1. Read through HDB’s regulations

Before you start working on your floor plan, you should have a good grasp of the Housing Development Board’s (HDB) renovation guidelines.

It’s bland and tedious, we know. But you definitely wouldn’t want to end up making an expensive modification only for HDB to tell you that it isn’t permitted. And then you’ll have to spend more money and time rolling back the changes.

Certain BTO flats may have aesthetic features unique to the estate that cannot be renovated. It’s best to check HDB’s website rather than rely on the word of the contractor, who may not be familiar with new or special regulations.

No harm taking inspiration from ID books
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2. Have a clear floor plan

Having a floor plan doesn’t just mean having pictures of a fancy-looking apartment you want to mimic. You’ll have to dive into the details. This means considerations like the depth of a kitchen cabinet, the height of a door, the placement of electrical sockets, etc. Essentially, the little things that we often take for granted in our homes.

Example of a simple floor plan
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If yours is a BTO flat and you’re satisfied with the layout, you can probably skip a lot of the heavy, structural work. But if it’s a resale flat, the wires and pipes may not be in the best condition and may require an overhaul.

3. Compile a list of things you’ll need

Once you’ve finalised your floor plan, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll need for the revamp.

This includes furniture and other supplies like air conditioners, cabinets, shelves, stoves, tiles, tubs of paint and so on. While most should be available in large franchise stores like IKEA and Courts, things like floor tiles and electrical cables may require you to contact specialists.

Having a list will not only help you stay organised throughout the renovation, it will also give you a rough idea of the total cost involved. It would be extremely unpleasant to learn, when you’re halfway through the renovation, that you’ve already exceeded your budget.

4. Find a contractor

Choosing a contractor is tricky. Not because they are hard to come by, but because there are so many options and you don’t know who the really good ones are.

Just like any service you’re looking to engage, browse their site or a forum, see what they’ve done and read up on what other people have said about them. Even better if you know friends who have employed them before.

Make sure you only hire contractors who are on HDB’s approved list. To be extra safe, you can have a look at the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) website to avoid the blacklisted ones.

Here’s a list of areas you may need contractors for:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathroom and kitchen
  • Carpentry
  • Curtains
  • Flooring
  • Furniture
  • Gates
  • Lighting
  • Painting
  • Plumbing

This list isn’t exhaustive. A full directory can be found here.

5. Check on the progress

Being in charge means having to keep a constant eye on the contractor’s progress. You should pop in every once in a while to ensure that things are in order. Sometimes, the contractor may have misunderstood you, as is quite common, and may have started installing something differently from how you wanted it.

Also, renovation works usually take place during the day to minimise disturbance. So plan ahead for pockets of free time so that you can make short visits.

DIY needs dedication

There’s no doubt that opting to DIY will bring down the overall cost. But it requires time and dedication.

Just get through that and you’ll have bragging rights to say that you handled your home’s renovation all by yourself. That, and you’ll probably appreciate your home so much more.

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Financing your future

Building your dream home is a big achievement. While taking the DIY route will certainly bring down the renovation cost, it will still amount to quite a hefty figure.

As such, it’s normal to worry about how to finance your home. One smart way to do so is through the use of personal loans, such as HSBC Personal Loans, which could help you start a new chapter in your life on the right foot, without having to make any drastic changes to your lifestyle.

With HSBC Personal Loans, you’ll enjoy low interest rates and your choice of fixed or flexible repayment options, allowing you flexibility and the ability to borrow within your means. What’s more, the sign-up process is simple and fast — apply online and get a 1-minute approval in-principle.

Sign up from now till 30 Sep 2019 and receive $100 cashback – only for online signups – as well as $0 processing fee. When you’re already spending so much money on your house, every little bit counts.

Find out how you can fund your dreams with HSBC Personal Loans.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with HSBC Personal Loans.