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Renovate Wisely: Where to Spend & What to Save

Budgeting for a home renovation can prove to be tricky, especially if you’re torn between depleting your savings and getting the home that you’ve always wanted. While it’s good to invest in fundamentals such as good quality flooring, fixtures, and craftsmanship, there are some things you want but not necessarily need for the home that are worth forgoing.

To avoid busting your renovation budget, it’s good to assess whether you should splurge or save on these common big-ticket items…

Mixed Tiles: SAVE

While mismatched graphic tiles are a fun way to add visual interest to any space, they should be at the bottom of your renovation priorities if budget is a concern. Unless you can be sure that you’ll like this eclectic look just as many decades down the road, we recommend sticking to plain tiles that are less trendy but can endure the test of time.

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View this project by Yang's Inspiration Design

Kitchen Backsplash: SAVE

Seduced by pictures of gorgeous kitchens with funky backsplashes? Remember that your kitchen will function just the same without this decorative element. Since most homes come with finished kitchens, it might not be worth spending more on retiling works to achieve this minor aesthetic feature.

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View this project by The Interior Lab

Hacking of Walls: SPEND

Changing a home’s configuration is a big decision – one that often involves the costly act of demolishing certain walls. On the bright side, this move has the potential to dramatically improve the look and feel of the space. But consider whether the home needs to function differently in the future before bringing down those walls. For example, you might want to keep that small study instead of using it to expand the living room if you think you’d need some extra storage space in the years ahead.

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View this project by Homies Design

For the best of both worlds, do a half hack by replacing the top half of the room’s walls with glass panels. This enables the home to look larger with more natural light passing through but still keeps the room semi-private.

Note, however, that not all walls can be hacked. To be sure, check out this guide on how to read and interpret your HDB floor plan, or speak with your MCST should you live in a condo.

Platform Bed: SAVE

Having a platform bed without a base and almost flushed with the floor may seem ideal if you’re after a Zen-like, minimalist look. But getting out of this bed every day is going to be inconvenient – and even tougher when you age or get pregnant!

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View this project by Builders Plus

Perhaps a more functional alternative would be to place the bed on a wider raised platform, which offers discreet storage compartments and achieves a similar look.

This, however, is not allowed in HDB flats where the space underneath the platform can’t be sealed with cement or other materials, nor can it be used for storage.

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View this project by Mr Designer Studio

Walk-in Wardrobe: SPEND

If you have the luxury of extra space at home, a walk-in wardrobe is a worthy investment as it not only stores clothes neatly, but also allows bulky items to be tucked out of sight. Have compartments customised for the vacuum cleaner, luggage, ironing board, or any odd-shaped belongings to fully maximize the space.

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View this project by Inspire 90s

Bathtub: SAVE

Sure, having a bathtub at home allows you to soak in and enjoy some holiday-like downtime without any travelling. But unless you plan to do that every day, stick to a standing shower that cuts back on water consumption, and takes half the effort to clean.

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View this project by Dots 'N' Tots

Looking to renovate?

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This article was originally published on 10 Oct 2017 and last updated 27 Sep 2022.

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