Following up on my first post, Renovation tips - Part I, here's the second part.

When we knew we were going to get our keys really soon, I started to search online about the designs I want or like. We also searched for ideas together during the weekends. It seemed as if we were a little slow in terms of our preparation, because there are people who would start preparing months before they get their keys. I think we only started a month before that? So we were a bit gan chiong. Heh.

I searched on Pinterest, randomly googled whatever came to mind, and got to quite a number of websites on renovation, DIY tips, etc. We found a lot of pictures. It went up to more than 80 pictures before we started to shortlist them.

Here are some of the random pictures we found online. I am unable to link them to the sources because I forgot to save the URLs. :(

If the owners of the pictures do stumble upon this post, do contact us if you want us to credit or remove the picture. We'll gladly do so. :)

Some Kitchen ideas:

Some Living Room ideas:


We explored a few themes, but in the end decided we'll just go with our kind of (sort of) "old school vintage" style. Not too much and just modern enough. We are no interior designers and are not arty farty enough, so we decided that for us simplicity is the focus. It can help us to save some moolah too anyway. 

We liked ideas from different pictures that we found. Sometimes it's the colours, sometimes it's the furniture... So we kept them organised into different folders and synced them to his iPad via Dropbox. It was more convenient for us when we went furniture shopping or to show our contractor what we had in mind. 

So as I was saying, we wanted to be really practical and keep it extremely simple for our home.

No false walls or ceiling, no built-in furniture except for the kitchen cabinets, no unnecessary things that will cause a lot of inconvenience in the future (i.e. difficult to clean).

That really helped us to save a lot of money for the renovation (will touch on this another time) and time as well.

Anyway, so before I go on to that, I want to touch on one important thing you need to do, before all the decisions can be made eventually.

That one thing, before you start deciding on anything, that you really need to do is -- Research.

Do your research. Really.

Not just google for pictures, but look for in-depth information about anything and everything so you won't get cheated, pay more than you need to, or get the wrong things and spend money unnecessarily.

Here are some important points (to serve as reminders) you need to find out before you start on anything:

  • What do you have to look out for in a contract with your interior designer (ID) or contractor? 
Here are some of the important points to look out for, but the list is not exhaustive:
    • The breakdown of items must be stated in the contract.
    • Insist on being very detailed in each item listed.
    • How is the payment structure like? 10-20-20-40-10? 10-30-20-20-20? Get to a consensus on how you want the payment structure to be like. You must ensure there is a certain percentage at the end to be paid after the renovation is over. 
    • Who will supervise the renovation process? Is that stated in the contract?
    • What materials are they using for things like paint (how many layers of paint too), tiles, switches, cabinets, glass, doors, etc?
    • Does the installation of certain items include supplying the items or are you supposed to supply the items yourself?
    • When is the end date? Get them to state the expected end date. Not an estimation of the duration.
    • Look out for possible hidden costs. Anything not stated in the contract is a potential hidden cost.
There are a lot more things to look out for in a contract, so do google it for yourself as I believe the responsibility should be yours since it's your own home. ;) You can also visit Government websites like the BCA to get advices on such matters.
  • Where can you find cheap furniture, but not of low quality or with bad service?
    • Some furniture store may be well-known for their cheap products, but will their products last?
    • What about after-sale service if the furniture you received have problems with it?
  • Where can you get cheap appliances (oven, fridge, washing machine, fans, etc)?
    • Courts? Gain City? Best Denki? 
    • Neighbourhood shops?
    • Some stores/shops are supposed to be the "cheapest", but are they?
  • How do you know if the contractor or ID is a reputable, responsible and registered one that wouldn't run away with your money or do a slipshod work?
    • Do you know there are HDB-registered contractors or IDs who you can search for on the HDB website?
  • What do you look out for when checking your new home for defects so that you can ask the Building Services Centre to help you fix the defects before you start your renovation?
  • Where can you get cheap lightings? Cheap toilet accessories? Cheap kitchen sink and tap? 

How did I answer all the questions above?

  1. We asked around for recommendations. Friends and relatives. 
  2. Google.
  3. Forums (results of/from googling): RenonationRenotalk, Singapore Brides, Sengkang forum, or any other forum like your BTO project's forum.
  4. Blogs (results of/from googling)
  5. Facebook pages (yep, Google again)

We got most of our answers from where? Google.

Google the hell outta everything and you can get the answers you need. That's something a lot of people are still not using enough even though it's there anytime, anywhere. 

The above only serves as a basic idea of what you need to do, take note of and how to get the answers you need.

I will go into the specifics of where we got our furniture, appliances, accessories and contractor on separate posts... and how everything added up to be only about 30+/-K for us in the end.

If I were to write everything in one post, it will be damn dry. And people will be like tl; dr.

So go forth and google away first. :)

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Blogger Emilia Watson shared on 10 Jan 2015, 11:37:00  

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Blogger James Han shared on 3 Nov 2017, 16:04:00  

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