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When Should I Start Planning My Renovation?

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

You'd be surprised – the best time to start planning a renovation is actually a year before collecting your house keys.

Why that early? Like all major decisions in life, it pays to think carefully and ahead. And creating a dream home that you'll have to live in for years? We think that's a big decision that'll need all the time it can get.

So, if you're still unsure of when and what to look out for in a renovation process, check out our step-by-step timeline guide below to help you get started!

  1. 12 months before key collection
  2. 6 months before key collection
  3. 1 month before key collection
  4. Keys collected
  5. Renovation works commencement
  6. Post-renovation

12 months before key collection

It might feel like a long way to go, but don't just sit around awaiting your keys! Now's the perfect time to picture your dream home, and research on the various styles or features you'd like in your new abode.

1. Create a mood board

Start looking around for interior decor looks that strike your interest, and create a mood board to save them. Our app and website let you easily create boards, allowing you to browse and save thousands of local home projects.

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You can even share your boards with others, which will be really convenient if you'd like to discuss ideas with friends or family!

2. Research your budget

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Figuring out a comfortable budget in advance will give you enough time to start saving up, or consider your financing options.

To start off, try browsing through the projects on our website. Each project will include details like renovation costs and works done, so you can get a rough idea of your own budget based on similar projects.

For a more in-depth look at home renovation prices, you can also take a look at these articles:

Once you have a rough idea of what you want to do with your house, try out our renovation calculator to get an estimated budget of your renovation!

3. Check out your personalised renovation checklist

We get it – renovating your home’s a huge thing. If you still don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled a free renovation checklist containing useful step-by-step guides and to-dos to help you along. Simply sign up for an account to get started!

6 months before key collection

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At this point, you should have more or less decided on:

  • your choice of home aesthetic
  • some basic features you'd like to work on (e.g. structural works, tiling, etc.)
  • your ideal budget, with a comfortable range to work with

Here begins the hunt for the perfect interior designer!

4. Find and shortlist interior designers you like

If you’ve religiously followed the steps listed above, you’ve likely come across specific interior design firms with past projects similar to what you’ve envisioned for your own home. So, it’s time to start reaching out to them!

All the interior design firms listed on our website are directly contactable with just a click of a button – simply fill out your particulars to start.

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View this project by Zenith Arc

Alternatively, if you’re keen to skip the legwork, we can match you with up to 5 interior firms for free, based on your style and budget! Request for quotes here and we'll shortlist the best firms who will arrange for a meet-up to further discuss ideas for your future home.

Psst, if you connect with an ID firm through us, you’ll be eligible for the Qanvast Trust Programme – a free service that safeguards your renovation deposits and covers half of 50% of your contract value (up to $50,000) in the event that your renovation (touch wood) goes awry. Simply opt in within 7 days of signing your renovation contract!

5. Set up meetings with interior designers

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The hunt for a good interior designer takes several weeks so it’s good to start your search early. Make sure to visit some showrooms and discuss details with the designers you've contacted.

Ideally, you should meet at least 3 to 5 firms before making a decision on who to engage – in fact, about 35% of our followers met up with more than 5 IDs, with some even meeting 9!

Have these items ready before you meet up with them:

  • Your floor plan
  • Your mood board and renovation requirements (e.g. kid-friendly home etc)
  • Your expected renovation time frame (e.g. when to start the renovation works, when to move in, etc.), so that your designer can work according to your schedule.

Alternatively, you can also swing by our Qanvast Hangout to meet 4-6 IDs in one weekend, at one space. Talk about convenience!

1 month before key collection

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The big day is looming ahead! After gathering information about quotations and ideas from the various IDs, you should have already engaged a firm that you are most comfortable with, in terms of pricing, design and chemistry (that's really important!).

Keys collected!

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Woohoo! It's the day of your key collection and you're obviously excited. But don't look at your new home with rose-tinted lenses just yet – because you need to make sure everything is in the right place.

6. Check for defects

Bring along the defects list provided by HDB/developer and a lock to secure your home. You will need a seasoned, meticulous eye for this, so it would be better to invite your designer along to help spot anything amiss (like a long recessed wall you didn’t know existed) and take measurements, or engage a professional home defect specialist!

Explore: How to Inspect Your New HDB Flat and Rectify Defects

7. Set up your basic utilities

It's really important to get the basics working before embarking on a renovation. In order to renovate, workers will need electricity for their tools and water for washing grime or dirt – so don't leave them hanging!

Get started by applying for a utilities account to activate the water, electricity, gas, and waste collection services.

8. Shop for flooring, furniture, fittings, and more

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Now that you have gotten a physical feel of your space, it's also a good time to shop for some fittings, such as your flooring, feature wall finishings, big kitchen appliances, and bathroom fittings so that your designer can factor these items into the design/renovation planning.

To start off, check out the ways you can save on your home furnishings. Alternatively, you can also join our Telegram channel for the latest (not to mention, exclusive) home and living deals!

Explore: Furnishing Your Home? Here’s How You Can Save Even More

When Renovation Works Commence

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After months of planning and discussion, it sure is a big relief (and joy) to see your dream home coming together. That doesn't mean you can take the back seat and let the magic miraculously happen yet! Here are some things to take note of when managing a renovation.

9. Confirm the renovation schedule

While renovations for BTOs usually take about 8-11 weeks and condos 8-12 weeks, it is best to clarify the schedule with your ID to ensure a smooth moving process. Do note that slight delays are common, so be prepared to extend any living arrangements whilst renovating!

10. Keep your home safe

There will be many people entering in and out of your house – contractors, builders, electricians and the like. Remember not to leave any valuable items (or new furniture) around, and install a lock that only those overseeing the renovation – such as your designer – can access.

11. Keep tabs on your renovation progress

Make an effort to drop by your renovation site once in a while to ensure things are going as planned. If you find anything unsatisfactory or defective, highlight them to your designer so that they can quickly rectify before they wrap things up.

After your renovation

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The big reveal is finally here! Before arranging for furniture delivery and moving in, do one final check over the carpentry details and other renovated works.

Explore: 5 Must-Checks When ID Hands Back Your Keys

Have everything down pat? Kick back and pop some champagne, because it’s time to plan for a housewarming party to show off your gorgeous home!

If you’re still in the market for a reputable ID, why not request for IDs (completely FOC) from us? Our dedicated Qanvast Guides will then follow up with you, with a personalised list of firms that fit your requirements!

We're on Instagram, Telegram and TikTok! Follow us there to keep up with the latest design trends 🙌

Renovate with assurance, only on Qanvast. Find and meet interior designers verified by homeowners, with no hidden costs and no commissions involved. Find an ID

This article was first published on 17 Feb 2017 and last updated on 14 Feb 2023.

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