Renovate Your Home, Not Your Wallet: 5 Essential Tips!

I’ve seen what happens to old houses and flats. It’s like that documentary, Life After People, with the added misfortune that you’re around to see it. Take my buddy Aaron for instance: his interior decor is so old his grandpa saw it and got flashbacks to World War II. Or my newly-wed cousin, who recently bought an old terrace house; there were more things growing on the walls than in the garden. Yet they’re both hesitant to make changes, for the same reason: renovation is expensive. Well not any more. Behold, MoneySmart’s guide to affordable renovation!

 

 

1. Don’t Use Wallpaper

Wallpapering is, at minimum, 30 percent more expensive than painting. There’s an army of painters in Singapore, who will paint a four room flat for around $1200 – $1500. That includes the cost of the paint. Wallpaper, on the other hand, costs around $300 per roll (1.06m x 15.6m). You’d need about five to eight rolls for the average living room. And then you’d pay around $150 – $250 for installation.

On top of that, wallpaper raises your maintenance costs. If the sun hits the same spot too often, or the weather is too humid (and when isn’t it!), wallpaper starts to curl. Sometimes it also changes colour, and pretty soon it has all the texture and charm of Grandpa’s phlegm.

Oh, and wallpaper rips if you so much as stare at it too hard: a light bump will leave a tear the size of the Grand Canyon. When that happens, most people end up replacing all the wallpaper, not just the one spot. Why? Because the design they bought years ago is probably not available any more.

Spare yourself the agony; just paint the walls.

 

 

2. Check the Renovator’s Qualifications

You need to hire an Interior Designer. Not a general contractor. Not an interior decorator. They are not the same. Interior designers are the ones who have passed actual, architecture-related exams.

Apart from showing off doodles on an iPad, they also know about plumbing and electrical wiring. Most importantly, they have no interest in making you buy the most expensive junk possible. Because unlike many contractors or decorators, they don’t get a cut from the stuff you buy. And because they have a portfolio job, they actually have something to lose if your house looks like an industrial accident.

Ask the renovators if any of them are interior designers. If they’re all contractors, and they’re offering “free interior design”, don’t walk for the door. Run.

 

 

3. Don’t be Traditional

As a general rule, the cost of your renovation gets higher as your home gets more traditional. Contemporary styles are cheap for two main reasons.

First, they tend to be quite minimalist. Furniture will be cheap, because everything from IKEA will fit just fine. You won’t need antique older-than-grandma study desks or something. You can even get away with a few unfinished floors and walls. Decorations don’t get more elaborate than an obsession with glass and chrome (both quite cheap).

Second, contemporary homes have very straightforward colour schemes. Black, white, and red summarizes most of them. Traditional homes need varying shades of colours, wall motifs, maybe even wood panelling. Think of the difference between the inside of the parliament house, and the inside of the IKEA show house.

 

4. Ask for Custom Furniture

No, really, it can be cheaper.

Furniture shops aren’t too keen on selling individual chairs and tables. Unless you buy furniture sets, you won’t be getting the best deal in the shop. So rather than buy their coffee table at an insane price, just ask your interior designer to build one. Usually, they can build something quite close, for about half the price.

What’s that? Your renovator doesn’t know how? That’s strange. That sounds like something an interior decorator might say (see point 2).

 

 

5. Minimize Carpeting

One of the original purposes of a carpet was to retain warmth. Another was to stop you sitting on the soil. You live in a house in Singapore. Neither reason pertains to you.

Carpets are very expensive stain magnets. Depending on the kind of material and stain, your cleaning costs can range from $400 to $2,500 (for the average living room carpet). Carpets also tend to tear and discolour.

Carpets are one of those luxury items you can do without. Save yourself the hassle and the money. Stone or vinyl floors look plenty attractive on their own.

Image Credits

Freecall Property ServicesApartment TherapyFurtherfieldLily’s Antiques

Are you renovating your home? Comment and tell us how much it costs!

 

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China ignores global outcry vs reclamation
    China ignores global outcry vs reclamation

    On Wednesday, G-7 foreign ministers issued a Declaration on Maritime Security expressing alarm over “unilateral actions, such as large scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions” in the region. In their communiqué, which did not specifically mention China, the ministers expressed belief that reclamation activities were meant to “change the status quo” in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, through which 40 percent of global trade passes. …

  • Project NOAH exec receives recognition
    Project NOAH exec receives recognition

    Project NOAH executive director and University of the Philippines professor Mahar Lagmay recently received recognition from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) for his work in disaster risk reduction and mitigation in the Philippines. …

  • Nightclub ban for US troops
    Nightclub ban for US troops

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said yesterday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipino he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow the 10-day annual military exercises, according to Capt. Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

  • US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow
    US-Phl war games to start under China’s shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will kick off tomorrow expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening  defense alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China’s increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Palace defends legal tack in sea row
    Palace defends legal tack in sea row

    There is nothing weak about taking the legal and diplomatic approach to push for the country’s claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, Malacañang maintained yesterday. On Friday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares led a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati City to protest China’s massive reclamation activities in the Spratly island group to fortify its presence in the disputed waters. Colmenares also criticized the Philippine government for supposedly not doing enough to defend …

  • Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death
    Veloso sons urge authorities to save mother from death

    The sons of Mary Jane Veloso, who is facing execution in Indonesia for drug smuggling, yesterday appealed to government officials to do everything to spare their mother from death. “We love you,” Mark Daniel, 12, said when asked for a message for his mother following a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Mark Daniel, an incoming Grade 8 student, reiterated his appeal to those in power to help save his mother from death. His younger brother, …

  • US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow
    US-Philippines wargames to start under China's shadow

    Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers on Monday will kick off expanded wargames, showcasing a deepening defence alliance as alarm bells ring over China. The 10-day exercises in the Philippines are an annual affair between the longtime allies, but this time they will involve double the number of soldiers as last year in a sign of their expanding military partnership. The Philippines is seeking more US military and diplomatic support to fend off China's increasing forcefulness in its bid …

  • Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial
    Bar ban for US troops in Philippines amid murder trial

    The US Pacific Command has banned its troops in the Philippines from bars and nightclubs, a spokesman said Saturday, with the trial under way of a US Marine accused of murdering a transgender Filipina he met in a bar. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers will on Monday kick off 10-day annual military excercises, according to Captain Alex Lim, a spokesman for the US forces, but there will be strict controls on their free time. Lim would not say why the restrictions were imposed but …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options