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How Much Does It Cost To Renovate My HDB BTO Flat?

A dream flat comes at a price. Here’s how much you should be prepared to spend on your HDB renovation.

This article was written in collaboration with Qanvast. All views expressed are the independent opinion of

Renovation is one of the few big-ticket items that you will need to spend on after purchasing your home, be it a BTO/resale HDB flat or a private property. And while we all want to beautify and enhance our homes, renovation can be a costly and stressful affair.

This is especially true for new homeowners who may be overwhelmed and at a lost on where or how to start planning for their renovation. How much  should I set aside in order to achieve my dream home? How can I minimise costs, while maximising utility? And with so many renovation horror stories in the news, how can I safeguard my renovation project and deposits?

To help you answer these questions and start planning for your renovation, we share some helpful renovation insights and tips. Firstly, start your preparation and research by finding out how much it costs to renovate in Singapore – having such an understanding will enable you to make a more informed decision on what you can afford, and if you need to start saving up.

New Vs Resale? Which Is More Expensive To Renovate?

The first thing to take note is that older, resale flats tend to be more expensive to renovate. According to a cost guide from Qanvast, average renovation spending for HDB resale flat is $67,000, as compared to $44,000 for a new BTO flat.

Renovation works on resale flats tend to be more expensive due to extensive hacking and rebuilding of existing features within the flat that a new homeowner may not want.

For example, if you buy a resale flat and want the tiles to be replaced, you don’t just pay for new tiles and installation. You would also need to fork out for hacking and removing the existing tiles, increasing the overall work required and ultimately, cost.

Of course, this isn’t to say that renovating a resale flat will always be more expensive than new flats. If you buy a resale flat closely matching what your needs, you could move in almost immediately with minimal renovation work required. Of course, any money you save on renovation works will likely be reflected in the purchase price as the existing owners will likely demand a premium price for a flat in such a great condition.

What Can Affect My HDB BTO Renovation?

If you are renovating a new BTO flat, there are a few key factors that can increase or reduce your renovation work and cost.

# 1 Did You Opt In For HDB Optional Component Scheme?

HDB offers an Optional Component Scheme (OCS) for BTO projects to provide homeowners with the convenience of having key features added to their flat. You can choose to have 1) sanitary fittings and internal doors installed and 2) floor finishes in your living/dining and bedrooms.

Based on a May 2018 BTO launch at Tampines, you will pay about $2,800 for sanitary fittings and internal doors to be installed, and $5,130 for floor finishes. This is for a 4-room flat.

If you intend to opt out of both of these options, you should expect for your renovation budget to increase by about $9,000.

Do note that opting in for OCS doesn’t mean you “save money”. Rather it simply means that your BTO purchase price will increase, while your renovation cost is likely to be lower since you would not need to cost in these items in your budget.

However, if you do opt in for OCS, you should be certain that you want the additional items which are provided. That’s because if you decide later on that you do not want them, you will not only end up paying more because you have already opted in for them, but also incur more cost having to hack them.

# 2 Cost Of Furnishing Is Not Included In Your Interior Designer Quote

When looking at the portfolio of an interior designer, it’s important for homeowners to remember that furnishing is not included in an interior designer’s quote.

As your BTO is likely to be your first home, you probably do not own any furniture yet. On average, you can expect to spend anything between $10,000 to $20,000 to furnish your home. You should not ignore this cost, which you need to fork out on top of what your renovation works will cost.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of furniture and electronics that you may need in your home. This list assumes there is only two person in your household – you and your spouse.

Item Price
Kitchen Appliances (Oven, Microwave, Toaster) $2,000
Refrigerator $1,000
Washing Machine $750
Television $1,000
Dining Table Set $1,000
Sofa Set + Coffee Table $2,000
Study Table Set $1,000
Queen-Size Bed + Frame $2,000
Bedroom Wardrobe $750
Curtains/Blinds $1,500
Aircon $3,500
Hob And Hood $500
Total $17,000


# 3 Your Preferred Design Theme

Many first-time homeowners will have a dream concept in mind for how they which for their homes to look. Popular themes today among Singapore homeowners include modern, contemporary and industrial.

As an estimate, Qanvast has a cost guide which is based on how much homeowners may spend based on the interior style that they choose. Some styles, such as industrial and Scandinavian are generally less costly, as it focuses more on loose furniture and do not require extensive built-in carpentry work.

Source: e-Book Renovation Cost Guide, Qanvast

Where Your Renovation Budget Is Going Into?

Of course, your preferred design and furnishing cost is simply an estimate for how much you can expect to spend on your home. How much you end up spending is very much up to you, and will depend on your customised requirements for each part of your home.

Flooring: If you did not opt for HDB flooring, your interior designer will need to do it for you. Ceramic, laminate and vinyl tiles will be less expensive. Parquet, granite and marble are going to cost you much more.

You can expect to spend about $7,500 to $9,000 on your flooring, subject to the material type you choose and the size of your home.

Carpentry Work: Carpentry work is likely to be one of the biggest cost item in your renovation budget. If you intend to build a shoe cabinet, built-in wardrobe, kitchen cabinet, kitchen countertop, dressing table and any additional storage areas, each of these things is going to cost you.

Except for your kitchen cabinet and kitchen countertop, most other carpentry works are optional. For example, you can simply buy a shoe cabinet or dressing table, instead of building one. This would help reduce your renovation cost. In addition, you can always change your furniture as and when you want in the future, as opposed to fixed carpentry which can only be removed through hacking.

False Ceiling: If you need to conceal wirings, you will require false ceilings

Feature Wall: Most homeowners will have a feature wall in their living room. Depending on the size of it, this could also cost quite a fair bit.

In addition, if you are intending to make significant improvements to your toilet such as the installation of a vanity sink, shower screen or tiles overlay, you can expect to spend a few thousand dollars more for each toilet you wish to renovate.

Other additional cost areas include electrical works, plumbing works, painting, hacking of walls, installation of bathroom accessories, window grills, curtains, aircons, ceiling fans, lighting fixture, cement screeding and haulage fee.

Some of these additional works may be done by your interior designer while others (e.g. painting, air-con installation) could be carried out by another third-party vendors.

If your interior designer is not the only person who is working on your home, do ensure that you and your interior designer have comprehensively discussed the scope of work, and who is in-charge of what. This will lower the chances of an important area being left undone because of miscommunication or disagreement.

If you want to get an estimate of how much you can expect to spend, Qanvast has a useful renovation calculator which is able to provide you with an approximate cost, based on the type of home you live in and the extent of renovation work required.

Read Also: 5 Hidden Cost That Your Renovation Contractor May Not Tell You

Unsure About Your Home Renovation? Here’s How Qanvast Can Help You

For most BTO-owners, the renovation of their home is not something that they will be experienced with. As such, they may be unsure of how to get started, which interior designer to choose and even how much they would need.

To facilitate a pleasant renovation experience for homeowners, Qanvast has brought together a curated list of more than 200 reliable interior designers on their platform.

You can not only check out the past works of these interior designers, but also read reviews about them from other clients that have worked with them in the past.

Of course, if you are just searching for awesome renovation ideas, Qanvast also has a large database of beautiful completed projects that you can slowly browse through for inspiration. So, take your time to browse for what you want, without having to meet or commit to any interior designers just yet, until you see what you like.

The Qanvast Guarantee

Last but certainly not least, Qanvast provides “The Qanvast Guarantee”.

This is basically a guarantee policy from Qanvast stating that Qanvast will cover your renovation deposits in the event that one of its recommended service providers (i.e. interior designers listed on its platform) becomes insolvent after accepting your deposit.

The Qanvast Guarantee will cover 50% of your renovation contract value, or up to $50,000, whichever is lower.

Here’s a simple illustration of how it works.

Source: The Qanvast Guarantee

Source: The Qanvast Guarantee

To find out more about how The Qanvast Guarantee works, and some of the terms and conditions, you can head over to the Qanvast website.

In addition to The Qanvast Guarantee, a staff from Qanvast will also follow up with you when you engage an interior designer through Qanvast. This is to ensure that your renovation journey is going as planned, and to assist you accordingly if there are any hiccups during the renovation process.

A home renovation is a big, expensive and potentially stressful project to undertake. However, you can make it an enjoyable experience by being well-informed on renovation matters, and through working with the right partners you find via the Qanvast platform.

Want to find out how much your renovation will cost? Try out Qanvast’s Renovation Calculator, backed by over $20 million worth of local renovation contracts in Singapore.

Read Also: 5 Renovation Areas That Can Increase The Value Of Your Flat

About Qanvast

Qanvast is the go-to renovation platform, connecting homeowners to interior designers. Whether you’re planning a major overhaul or a simple refresh, Qanvast can connect you with the right interior professional for the job. Submit this simple form to start meeting interior designers, discuss your home design and compare quotes – quote ‘Dollarsandsense’ under ‘Other info’ to get $50 worth of Capitavouchers! Terms and conditions apply. Promotion ends in March 2019.