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When it comes to decorate or redesign your home (or any part of your home), you should consider hiring an interior designer or decorator. Their expertise, creativity and advice can help you make decisions on how the space should flow.
Using their vast experience in many home projects, they can help recommend furniture sizes and have the know-how to make the small details matter.
Designers and decorators also have connections to multiple decorative materials, software and samples than someone else not in this industry, and are also able to help you avoid those retail prices.
This can mean a big difference when it comes to pricing and also the tonnes of additional catalog, ideas to decorate your home.
Difference between interior designers and interior decorators
When hiring a professional to decorate or redesign your home, it is important to know the differences between an interior designer and an interior decorator.
Although some task may be similar, their overall job scopes are very different.
The credentials that they hold is normally the biggest difference.
Interior designers usually have experience, if not work with other experienced designers, which allows them to consider acoustics, lightings and temperature when deciding furniture for your room/ house. Designers are often involved in building projects from the very beginning, potentially working with the architect. They will ensure that the interior spaces are functional.
Interior decorators, on the other hand, may not have any official training and will not have a license. Thus they will typically cost less than an interior designer.
However, an interior decorator may not have the depth of knowledge or experience to work on some projects. Both interior designers and decorators are reliable to decorate a space. They will be able to:
discuss the latest interior design trends
add special touches throughout the room
confer with you about colours, textiles and textures
integrate a specific style or personality
Your goal for the room should be taken into account when deciding on hiring an interior designer or an interior decorator.
You should consider the following cost factors when hiring a designer or decorator.
Self-employed or firm
Number of employees in the firm
Number of room you want to be decorated
Quality of Materials
In general, interior designers and decorators that work for themselves are often more affordable. Larger firms will most likely cost more due to having higher overhead costs (such as marketing, bigger office spaces etc), which will be passed on to the consumer. Note that there are of course many exceptions, but this generally holds for the industry.
In Singapore, some firms have showrooms which displays samples and past examples of work. Some interior design showrooms may feature different brands such as Blum. As these showrooms require capital to operate, it means higher costs to the consumers. All these may dissuade you from hiring those working with a firm.
However, working with a firm has its own benefits. Having full-time, dedicated employees or salesperson (for interior designers, the consultants or designers) to help you means that the project will be completed faster, and on time (generally).
Firms also have reputation to uphold (along with their fixed office space, company info, showrooms), which means they may work harder to maintain the reputation and hence serve you better.
Designers and decorators may work on an hourly basis or by project basis. If its based on project basis, designers may write down the number of hours they need in the billing. Do note that not all interior designers and decorators have an hourly rate. There are some that have a flat rate, pre-fixed rate or percentage over cost rate.
Needless to say, the number of rooms will affect the total cost. However, if you plan on redesigning/ redecorating your entire house, they may provide a more reasonable rate.
The style that you want to implement will play a role in price too. Vintage designs may require higher quality materials or hard to find decor. It is advisable to discuss with the professional on the styles that they specialise in as they will more likely to know how to control the cost and assist you with keeping within your budget
You may want to utilise the free interior design consultation, or a low cost one. This will give you a gauge of their capabilities and then make the decision to get started.
Questions to ask your Interior Designer
To determine if your interior designer is right for you, you have to ask him/her a variety of questions.
How will the billing be handled?
How long have you been working in this interior design industry?
Do you have a portfolio containing your past works?
What is your philosophy when it comes to designing?
Will you be able to acquire discounts on materials?
What is your signature style?
These questions will help you give a brief overview of the type of interior designer they are and what they can do inside your house.
Looking through their portfolio will help you see what they have accomplished in the past and whether this matches your desired outcome. You can also learn about their management on the project budget and their fees.
However, one critical thing to look for is also the reviews of interior designers. Good reviews may be helpful, but bad reviews are usually the one that reviews the other side of their work.
Questions your designer should ask you
Your designer should be asking you questions as well. This will help them understand your taste and what you want.
You should be concerned about whether they are able to capture your personality and give you the desired look if they do not ask you any questions.
Some basic question is as follows.
What is your favourite colour?
What are the styles that you love the most and why?
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere, where would you choose and why?
What inspired you to choose this specific style?
What is your budget?
What is the timeframe for completion?
Your designer may ask you to go through various catalogues and magazines so as to know your likes and dislikes.
A common task would be to make two piles, one full of photos that you like and one full of photos that you dislike.
Your designer will then take these two piles and get an idea of which styles and trends they should stay away from and which you prefer.
There are other reasons that may make you want a designer or decorator. An example is if you were looking to sell your house, where staging it can help increase the “worth” of your property.
Fact is, organizing your house could be an advantageous investment. It could make your house look more like a house and show the advantages of each room. This could include removing clutter, rearranging your furniture and choosing the right size furniture for each room.
Every designer and decorator have their own differences in terms of experience and where their passion lies. Do consider talking to a few of them in order to be certain of how much they can help with. As your goal here is to find the professional that harmonizes well with your style.
Renovation contractors can sometimes be the best fit for you if you have a suitable home design in mind. They can often be mixed up with interior designers or contractors, but generally they are able to provide most services which an interior designer provides.
You can read other home improvement cost guides on:
With the increasing frequency of internet businesses and rising rental costs, home offices have been gaining popularity over the years.
If you have a job that requires or allows you to work from home, you will need to have a space that allows you to work productively no matter the amount of space you occupy.
You could choose to renovate a designated room to give your privacy during working hours or perhaps set up a home office within your kitchen, living room or bedroom.
Points to consider when adding a Home Office
A home office, needless to say, has to be connected to the internet, electricity and other wireless devices. When planning your project, you should consider these few important variables.
Connecting your devices – in the modern day setting, the success of a home office depends on your electronic devices. Having connectivity to the internet and other communication is everything. It is important to have a network that connects your computer with a scanner, printer, TV for easier teleconferencing, or perhaps your phone for VoIP calls. The more direct your devices connect to a common network, the more you can concentrate on your work. Be it smart home system, security or computer network system, you need it to be integrated to be effective.
Convenient Wall Outlets – Your electronics requires constant connections to the wall outlets that are convenient to reach out for your printer and computer alike. Installing wall outlets can possibly be simple, however, some additional work will require an electrician to help.
Internet/Phone Jacks – Wireless internet is replacing most communication channels, and smartphones are replacing landlines. However, you may want to go for their wired counterparts in a home office setting. Especially if your work requires a reliable stable connection. Talk to telephone jack and wiring pros in Singapore today to ask for advice on how this can be done.
Extra Electricity – Depending on how much you consume power at your home, you may require additional electricity power source for your home. This is especially true when you need to support a computer, printer, scanner, TV and/or monitor and all your other electronics. Do consult with an electrician who may recommend you to upgrade your current electrical panel.
The furnishing that you choose will depend mostly on these 4 variables: Available space, preferred style, budget and the intended function of your home office.
Available space – A dedicated room for your home office will allow you to have more furnishing possibilities than a simple desk in your living room. You should prioritize which furniture you need most, followed by seeing how you can fit them in. You can talk to interior designers for more ideas.
Preferred Style – Your home office should have an interior design that you are comfortable with, and one that reflects your character (or suit your style) the most. You have a wide range of furniture choices from classic to modern to Scandinavian. There are many internet furniture companies available you can shop in for your furniture choices.
Budget – This variable will normally play the biggest role in determining your furniture. For example, a desk could cost anywhere between 100 SGD and 5000 SGD. Ideally, you should choose furniture that both suit your budget and have the necessary quality to withstand long hours.
Your office function – Do not overlook the importance of function when choosing your furniture. If you do plan to invite clients over, you will require an area for them to sit, perhaps a couch or a small table. If you foresee storing physical files, you will require the cabinet space. Finally, bookshelves can hold document binders, publications while at the same time your home office a sophisticated look.
There are a few pieces of furniture that are a must for a successful home office, however. An example would be a desk area that is large enough to accommodate both your computer and additional space for you to complete your work.
When working from home, just like in a regular office, you have to make sure that your home hardware is up to date. Plan regular updates in your budget so as to ensure your technology’s reliability and optimise your functionality.
If you are just moving into your home office, your existing hardware may not be enough to support your work. Upgrades to your smartphone, computer, printer and scanner may be necessary.
Having additional monitors will allow to you work on large spreadsheets while having something else open for reference. You may even require a TV for video teleconferences and presentations.
The cost of these upgrades depends largely on your needs. A new desktop or laptop can cost anywhere between 650 SGD to 5500 SGD. A printer/ scanner, especially if you need to scan/ printer in high volume can cost more than 8000 SGD.
Ideas and Inspiration for your Home Office
Home offices come in different shapes and sizes. A corner in your bedroom could be all you need and small houses especially usually need to have a creative solution for their work area.
If you are working primarily from home, you may require a permanent solution. Talking to professionals like interior designers and renovation contractors will be very crucial if you fall under that category.
Do your research on furniture, options and costs available for you. And make the decisions based on your budget, available space, preferred style and professional needs.
An example would be if you need your home office to become a showcase for your clients, consider going with classic, dark wood furniture.
On the other hand, the modern look with clean lines and bright looks can benefit the technically inclined and creative professions.
Make sure that plenty of natural light can enter your home office regardless of your home office look. Do sufficient research and avoid spending over your budget.
If you currently do not have the budget to renovate the entire room, consider starting with a quiet corner of your bedroom/living room.
You can check out the cost of hiring professionals when building your home office. Some of the usual cost guides can be found below:
A major home construction project in Singapore can be scary and expensive. It is often tens of thousands of dollars and can be upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Depending on your project size, it can be the work of a renovation contractor to engaging a team of specialist, such as the service an interior designer provide.
However, doing your homework beforehand can help you develop a good firm budget, clearer vision and a more fruitful relationship with your contractor.
Let’s start with the biggest, broadest question.
What do you wish to accomplish from your project and how much are you willing to spend? Your renovation contractor will then help you work your way through the smaller questions about specific materials, etc.
This style of planning should help give clarity to your project, which could be the most valuable asset you bring to the table.
Size and Complexity of the Project
There is some cost factor that is obvious, things like the size of a deck of extra room. However, the nature of each project will carry a level of complexity that might not be immediately noticeable.
You will want to get a hold on how many general contractors, electricians, plumbers, carpenters or decorators you will need to complete the project at the start. Consider the cost of permits and inspections too. After that, budget at least some cash as buffer for the unexpected.
A very common example would be the homeowner have a home that has structurally worn down. When the contractors tear up the carpet, they uncover structural problems with the flooring or perhaps plumbers find an old pipe that needs to be replaced. Although we all wish that it would not happen to us, it would still be safe to plan for the worst.
Workers for an Addition or Remodel
Depending on your size-and-complexity plans, you may need to find a general contractor, or you may require a team of specialized professionals such as interior designers.
However, when it comes to hiring any professional, you need to exercise caution about whom you choose.
Do watch out for decorators or designers who offer free services as this can actually just be a manufacturer’s representative pushing certain products.
Besides pushing certain products and limiting your options, you may have to pay more in the long run, be it an inferior product that wears and tears faster or require more maintenance.
A flat fee decorator could look enticing on the outset, but do make sure that this person would not insist on being your exclusive purchasing agent.
You also do not want decorators who steer you to purchase certain marked-up products that carry large commissions for them. Always compare the prices that you get from your decorator with the retail. An easy way is to talk to the other designer companies on SGHomeNeeds and ask for advice.
If you project is slightly more complex, you may also require to hire people you did not even think about. A structural engineer for example, who is in charge of inspecting the foundation, infrastructure, curtain wall, insulation and building envelope.
Through thorough inspection and comparison with the approved building plans, the engineer can ensure that the actual building matches the drawings and whether any necessary corrections are to be made.
While this might be an extra cost that you might not have initially anticipated, the safety of your structure is paramount and this could possibly save you money and legal hassles in the future.
Budget for the Addition or Remodel Home Project
After you have made your plans, do remember that you can always make changes to modify your budget. An example would be purchasing a lower grade item instead of a high grade one. Another can be waiting for sales or coupons before purchasing items like paint, appliances or new windows.
If you have the time, plan your addition or remodel early and start purchasing the item you know you need early. This way, you will be incurring a small cost over time instead of a large one all at once. You may also be able to afford a higher priced product that you would normally not be able to afford if you purchased everything at the same time.
The Value of Your Remodel or Addition
These large projects can be daunting undertakings. You may even require a mover for the additional big items in your addition or remodeling project. However, you will be able to reap its benefits after it is been done.
You will have a more functional and beautiful house. When executed strategically and timed correctly, you will find that it is worth much more than when you started.
Stairs and railings are not only the connecting link between different levels of your home, they are also part of the important aesthetic and decorative aspect of your home.
If your house has multiple floors, upgrading your stairs may be a good way to improve the overall look of your house, and may increase the value of your home with the right choices.
Like most things in life, stairs and railings wear and tear overtime, and it may cause serious security and safety concerns. If you happen to have weak stairs or loose stairs and railings, we recommend you to change your stairs and railings as soon as possible as they might lead to serious injuries.
When it comes to designing and planning, you may need to seek consultation from interior designers or other experts who can give you advice on the type of stairs that is the best for you.
There are several factors that affect the cost of your stairs and railing installation and repair, an important one will be the complexity of the layout of the stairs.
A simple straight stairs hung flush against a wall will be much cheaper and easier than a spiral staircase that sweeps around the center of a room to install and fix. You can find stairs installation companies on SGHomeNeeds today.
Types of Stairs
There are 2 types of stairs that you can choose from: interior and exterior stairs. Interior stairs are stairs that go up to the highest and lowest floors of your house. Exterior stairs include stairs that go to your porch, your deck or your patio. The place you decide to build your stairs dictates which materials are best to use.
Interior stairs are usually made out of wood. As your staircase will affect the look of your house, they will incorporate stains, varnishes, mouldings and other carpentry finishes.
It is best to have your staircases suit the theme of your house so as to not have to contradict themes in your house which might ruin the overall look of your house.
Staircases must comply with BCA (Building and Construction Authority) guidelines:
They must have handrails or guides to assist movement, landings to break a fall and provide a place for rest, sufficient headroom to avoid injury, and barriers against falling from a height of one metre or more from an open side.
The width of a staircase should be more than 90cm, the height of a riser (the vertical part between one step and the next) less than 17.5cm, the width of a tread (the vertical part on which you step) more than 22.5cm, and risers and treads within each flight of stairs should be of a uniform height and size.
Handrails should be provided on at least one side of the flight of stairs, and the height of the handrail shall be between 75cm and 90cm above the pitch line (the imaginary line along the tip of the nosing of the treads).
Exterior stairs are usually made out of concrete, stone, wood or other weather resistant material. If the wood is used, it should be able to withstand the temperatures and conditions of the outdoors.
The cost of your exterior stairs depends on the materials used, run length of stairs and the height that it needs to be. To have a better estimate of the price, ask stair installation professionals for quotations as some codes might require handrails.
Materials and Style
The material used will determine the type of stair you intend to install. Some materials will suit certain conditions better than others. The most common materials used are wood, concrete and metal.
You can ask a few interior designers in Singapore for the best ideas on how the stairs can tie in with your entire home design – including the kitchen, living room, and bedroom.
Most interior stairs are made out of wood due to the look that it gives your house. In Singapore, due to coming in wide and long planks, teak and oak stair boards are commonly used.
A common choice for exterior stairs is concrete. Although it requires sealing on a yearly basis, concrete is a very durable material and is appropriate for stairs that are heavily utilised and exposed to the elements.
Metal stairs are mostly seen only in the industrial setting. However, once in a while, you do see the classic spiral metal stairs in a house.
Styles of Stairs
The style of stair should not only be chosen to fit the look of your house but also the space of your room. These are the common forms of stairs that you should consider.
Straight stairs are the easiest to design and build. An uninterrupted flight of stairs that goes from a floor to the next requires room, however. This type of stairs is not commonly found in the modern house due to space and safety reason. As a fall from the upper stairs could lead to serious injuries.
The L shaped stairs are a more trendy style in modern houses not only due to its safety aspect but also the privacy that it provides for the upper floors. There is a landing at one point providing a 90-degree turn, hence giving the L shaped look. A fall on this type of stairs means that you should only fall as far as the next lower landing.
The U shaped stairs have similar form and function (safety and privacy) as the L shaped stairs but have a 180-degree turn instead of a 90-degree turn. This is made possible through either a single, wide landing or a smaller second landing at a different level from the first.
Spiral stairs are excellent for narrow or confined spaces. These stairs often rise in a circle around a central pole, although this is not compulsory.
Winder stairs are a blend of both straight and L shaped stairs. Instead of having a flat landing, the steps continue to curve. These stairs can bend either 90 or 180 degrees.
Arched stairs curve steadily for 90 degrees. The turn is not as tight as the spiral stairs but has a larger footprint. These stairs do require a lot of space and are generally only found in larger houses.
Floating stairs are anchored strongly into the wall but have no visible support under it.
Demolition of Old Stairs
The cost of demolishing your old stairs varies depending on the material and construction type.
Do consult a contractor, handyman or demolition specialist to get a quotation so as to get an estimate. Perhaps demolishing may be too strong of a word as “dismantling” may be a more appropriate word. There are a few ways to do so without damaging your house.
Remove everything attached to the walls.
Remove tack script and carpet. (if present)
Remove the risers and threads.
Remove the stringer (only if you are removing the entire staircase).
If you are just remodelling the staircase, you might be able to leave it as long as it is not damaged. Stairs are a structural component of your house and should only be moved after making sure that doing so will not compromise your house’s structural integrity.
Handrails/ Railings Cost
The price of your handrails depends on the length and materials used. Other factors include the time and complexity of the installation.
As the BCA guidelines states, you have to install handrails when putting in stairs. Handrails provide a handhold to prevent you from falling while at the same time serve as an accent piece to your eye-catching staircase.
Materials of Handrails
There are several common materials that you can choose from regarding your handrail. Wood, steel pipe, composite or vinyl, aluminium, wrought iron and glass.
Wood is the most common material used and comes in various different shapes and profiles. It can also be stained or painted to match any interior that you desire.
However, wood requires much more maintenance and is less durable than metal. It usually only last an average of 10 years
Steel pipe is generally more preferable compared to aluminum as it is tougher and less likely to have dents, scratches and oxidation over time.
Steel pipe has an estimated lifetime of 25+ years and requires maintenance every 6 months.
Composite or Vinyl
Composite and Vinyl railings are low maintenance, attractive and come in a variety of colours. Although both were made to mimic the look and feel of wood, composite looks more authentic.
Composite and Vinyl have an estimated lifetime of 10 years.
Aluminum handrails are sturdy, low maintenance and long lasting. Sometimes even having a lifespan of 50+ years. Unlike the materials mentioned before, aluminum will not rust, rot or splinter and even stays cool despite the hot Singapore weather.
Due to wrought iron durability of 100+ years, some homeowners may choose it over materials mentioned previously although wrought iron will require more funds. Its price is largely dependent on the type of iron used, location and purpose.
Glass handrails are the most expensive option that you can choose from, but if you do have the budget for it, it could help give your house a modicum of class. It is also tough, durable, easy to clean and maintain.
Common signs of broken stairs and railings
There are often many tell-tale sign of a home furniture that is going to spoil and is in need of repair. Here are a few common signs telling you it is time to change or repair your home stairs and railings.
Squeaking stairs. With the many parts involved in building a staircase, in addition to the constant contraction and expansions further contributing to the loosening of the joints, it is only a matter of time stairs will squeak. It means its time to tighten up the loose joints, and to hire a professional like a renovation contractor for this job.
Broken railings. A broken railing is usually visible, and is usually easier to fix and detect than a broken stair. If the railing is cracked, your professional may be able to repair the wood in such a way that it isn’t noticeable, although it may not be as strong as it once was.
Broken stair. A broken stair is not just the part you step on – it could be any part of the stairs, including the bottom or the internal part. Your professional will be able to take a look and detect possible unseen faults or cracks and can provide an accurate estimate of what it will take to safely fix your broken stair.
Bedroom remodelling is largely affected by the size, scope and budget of your project. Needless to say, you will have to spend more on labour and materials if you have a larger space.
For example, for a bedroom with a larger area, you may consider the lower-priced carpeting or vinyl instead of natural hardwood or stone flooring, a paint job instead of high-quality wallpaper.
We will talk about the various aspects of a bedroom remodelling project and the roles of specialists in their respective areas.
You may consider hiring a remodelling/renovation contractor if your project consists of a lot of building. Having a general contractor can help you save a lot of hassle by managing your project from start to finish.
They will be in charge of providing estimates, finding materials, hiring subcontractors, lease vehicles and managing your accounting and records.
They will also be the ones liable for the whole project at hand. Hiring a general contractor should help you save money through your project as they are also inexpensive. If you intend to remodel your bedroom yourself, do consider hiring a professional organizer.
Contractors with a good portfolio can be a good gauge when choosing the right professional for you.
When it comes to any remodelling project, many different kinds of materials will be used. Same goes for bedroom remodelling projects.
You will require many different materials no matter the extent of remodelling you are intending to do, hence total cost will vary.
If you plan to remodel or create an entire bedroom, you should take into account the cost of structural materials and interior decorations.
Do research on the items so that you can have a budget in mind. If you intend to change your bedroom’s look by having new furniture and linens, it will most likely cost lesser than creating/remodelling your entire bedroom.
Ever thought of working with an interior decorators but did not follow through due to having doubts? Having an interior decorator will help you give your house function, continuity and beauty.
However, without the proper communication with your interior decorator, your decorator will not be able to create the perfect bedroom for you. When it comes to working with a decorator, communication is key. Collect pictures of rooms and furniture that you dislike/like and discuss these pictures with your decorator.
This way he/she will be able to create the bedroom design specific to your taste. Decide on your budget and plan your project will goals and phases. Make sure you are very clear with how you will be charged, how you will be billed when your decorator requires a deposit, what you are getting and the completion date.
Each designer will have their own work ethics and the way they work but keeping those in mind will help you stay in charge of your remodel. Be sure to hire the decorator that have your taste in mind and design accordingly to your taste and budget.
Interior designers can often be confused with interior decorators. Interior designers work closely with architects and clients to decide on the style that best suit the needs of the occupants and the structure of the room.
They are aware of building codes, inspection regulations, universal accessibility standards and good with more than colours, fabrics and furniture. They also plan, research, coordinate, manage and oversee the ordering, installation and maintenance of the objects that define a space.
You may have to hire a structural engineer if you decide to remodel or build addition to your entire bedroom. It will depend on whether you decide on making structural changes to your room as they conduct the examination of walls, plumbing, wiring and load-bearing walls.
Doors and windows not only play a role in the aesthetic and overall feel of a home, they provide a more important role in keeping your family safe, keeping people, elements out and keeping the cool air from your air conditioning in.
Over time, although most doors and window can last a long time, they will wear and tear and eventually require replacement, repairs or upgrades.
Updating your interior doors, replacing your exterior doors, installing or repairing a garage door or even adding new windows and skylights can all be sound investments if done correctly. They key is planning.
Cost: $650 SGD – $950 SGD for wood frame replacement
Exterior doors have to be durable as it is your first line of defence against intruders yet at the same time beautiful enough to add on to the aesthetic of your house. Not only that, they may be subject to rain, wind and shine (depending on your location).
Exterior doors are usually made out of steel and fibreglass with a wood frame. The most common exterior door in Singapore is made of wood due to its durability and security.
Other alternatives are aluminium, a customisable build and fibreglass composite, a maintenance free option that is great for Singapore’s humid weather. Picking the right exterior door will help you save more, have lesser maintenance and most importantly keep your family safe.
There are 6 basic types of doors that you should choose from:
Hinged doors are as its name imply mounted on hinges on one end of the door. They are the most traditional and common type of door.
French doors are hinged doors that are installed on both sides of the opening. Doors swing either outwards or inwards towards each other and meet in the middle. Since french doors are larger in size, they do give the illusion of the room being bigger.
Bi-fold doors are hinged doors that can be folded and stacked neatly together. They require less clearance space hence are suitable for smaller areas like closets and laundry rooms.
Dutch doors are hinged doors that are divided horizontally in half. Hence is it possible to open the top half while having the bottom half closed. These are useful for keeping children/ pets out of the room while at the same time able to keep a lookout on them.
Pivot doors are doors that open/close around hinges on the top and bottom of the door, rather than the tradition hinges. This type of door is very minimalistic and do not have any handles, therefore perfect for the modern minimalist interior design.
Sliding doors move by sliding on tracks on the floor, usually parallel to the wall. Perfect for small, compact spaces as sliding doors are able to ‘disappear’ into the wall when opened.
Though skylights are uncommon in Singapore, they do add a certain flair to the design of your house while at the same time allowing natural light to come in.
There is a wide variety of designs and materials that you can choose from. However, do note that if not installed correctly, or if made with poor materials, skylights tend to leak around the edges or the glass might even crack.
Hence, if you are going to install a skylight, we recommend you to either go for a high-quality skylight or not get it at all.
Windows come in a diverse variety. The most important function of a window is its weather resistance. More than 20% of cooling losses are due to your windows.
Windows are rated by U-factor. The lower the u-factor the better, although they will be more expensive. Having more energy efficient windows will have you save a fair bit in terms of utility bills. Do note that new windows generally come with warranties and that better windows will more likely make you feel more comfortable at home.
Despite the well-known safety of Singapore, the safety of you and your loved ones is something you should take into your own hands. Let’s consider your budget and decide the best security system for you.
The cost of a security system depends on the complexity and scope of your safety plan. Be it a simple upgrade of your locks or invest in a complex security system, security system comes in different price levels for you to choose from. Below are a few pointers for you to consider when it comes to figuring out which home security product and system suits you best.
Cost: $170 SGD- $700 SGD
Despite being one of the simplest forms of security, it’s effectiveness is not to be looked down upon. You should take a look at all the locks currently in your house and ensure that they are working properly. If they seem to malfunction or is not locking well, replace them immediately.
When choosing the most effective lock for you, do consult a locksmith as his/her expertise and advice will be very beneficial for you.
Through their years of experience, they are able to advice which kind of lock suits your home the best, taking into consideration factors such as convenience and level of sophistication. The most expensive lock does not necessarily mean it is the best for you.
When replacing or installing a lock, an important factor to look at is the quality of your windows and doors. Old, splintering or rotting wood will undermine the safety of your home. Even with the state of the art locks on your windows and doors, an intruder can simply push themselves in.
Despite the increase in cost when replacing your doors and windows, ensuring your safety is far more important. There are many kinds of locks available, you can easily check them the variety of digital locks from middleman like Qoo10 and Lazada for the best lock deals.
You can talk to professional locksmiths on SGHomeNeeds today.
Safety and Security System
Cost: $10,000 SGD- $150,000 SGD
Having a security system will help you have peace of mind when leaving your house. The CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) surveillance system will allow you to both checks on what’s happening inside and outside of your house.
With the current rise of violence on domestic helpers and vexation in the common areas, your CCTV system will assist you with acquiring evidence. It will even allow to your keep an eye out on the elderly so as to ensure that they are safe.
The scale and complexity of safety and security system in Singapore varies widely, based on several factors (not exhaustive)
Functionality: Is it just a home alarm system, or do you have a full security system which notifies the security company and police if you have an intruder?
Size of your apartment: The bigger the area, the more corner/area the system has to monitor
Brand: Some brands are of a premium pricing, others offer a lower price
There are a few variations of CCTV that you can choose from:
Infrared CCTV cameras
The cheapest options are the dome and hidden CCTV cameras. The dome CCTV camera is best used to get a wide angle of the room while the hidden CCTV camera is, as the name states, hidden. The infrared CCTV camera is more advanced as it uses infrared technology to capture clear footage even if there is little to no light in the room.
You can also change its settings to capture images at different qualities in the dark. The cost will too vary depending on the storage option for your CCTV footage. Do remember to clear unnecessary footage as to ensure that new footage can be stored.
Another great option for your house is to have an IP (Internet Protocol) camera. This type of digital video camera will receive and send data via the internet, hence allowing you to view it online. Unlike the CCTV system, the IP camera does not require a local recording device and instead just needs the local network.
There are several good places to shop for home security systems, including Homesafe and Harvey Norman for the best security system deals.
Ever wondered what to do with your outdoor space? Perhaps a new deck or a swimming pool?
Transforming your outdoor space into your very own paradise is less costly than you think.
Preparation is key when talking to your contractor as the more prepared you are, the easier the whole procedure will become.
There are many ideas on what you can do for your outdoor home project, below are a few good ideas we will share with you today.
Cost: Subject to tiles you choose from
Patio can be a great area for many kinds of outdoor events and activities – to host your outdoor parties, grilling and perhaps dining with your family etc. Patios are usually made up of concrete, tiles and stones and is installed on the ground.
You can choose from either a detached free-standing space in your backward or one that is attached to your house. They do come in all shapes and sizes, hence it is up to you to decide on the option for you. Patios are also cheaper than decks and are easier to maintain in the long term.
Decks act as an extension of your house as an additional room. Often enclosed and made out of wood, a deck can help complement the beauty of your interior. Picking the right contractor, planning and asking questions can help you save your overall cost.
Choose your own location, materials and design. Do note that the cost will vary largely depending on the material that you choose. In addition, if not designed properly, your deck will never look as anticipated even if you have the best idea for a deck.
Do position your deck to take full advantage of a part of your house with the best view. If you are contemplating on having a hot tub, do use the optimal wood to hold its weight. To have a longer lasting deck, do consider sealing it. Benches and sofas are good options to further beautify your deck.
Talk to relevant professionals here on SGHomeNeeds:
A gazebo is a pavilion structure that is free-standing and designed to provide shelter from the elements.
Gazebos are often placed in a park, garden or anywhere with a dazzling view.
These structures are made up of a wide variety of material and have an endless number of styles. Despite being simple to build, they do have a slew of uses.
Perhaps you could consider adding decorative pillars, lattices or even a hot tub. There are design limitations for the gazebo, so just let your imagination run wild and build your perfect gazebo.
Cost: Subject to material/dimension/maintenance cost
Pathway is a great way to have a walkway in your garden. You can choose from a diverse list of materials from clay brick pavers, gravel, natural stone, poured concrete, interlocking concrete pavers, etc.
Asphalt is one of the most cost-efficient options due to it being easy to repair and if necessary, additional layers can be added. Do consider the size of your garden and whether it is ideal to have a pathway.
Cost: Subject to material/dimension/maintenance cost
A private swimming pool used to be exclusive to the extremely wealthy. However, it is not necessarily true anymore.
There are many options that you could choose from to fit your budget. Above ground pools, although are less sleek and aesthetic, are substantially less expensive than their in-ground counterparts.
Do consider the maintenance cost while you’re at it. As despite modern equipment making maintenance much easier, weekly cleanings are still necessary to preserve the life of your pool.
Be sure to obtain a permit before building anything. Your contractor can get one on your behalf from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for approximately $300 SGD. This permit is compulsory if your in-ground pool is deeper than 1.5m and the paperwork will take around 7 days.
As the cost varies significantly depending on the materials, dimensions, maintenance cost etc, make sure you get quotations from 3 or more suppliers before proceeding.
Check with your pool installation professions for will ensure that your pool design will add a touch of luxury to your house. Here is a list of swimming pool related companies:
The new age of technology has allowed us to be more refined in our appliance shopping. With the advent of platforms such as ecommerce, comparison of prices and reviews of that particular brand of appliance is just a few clicks away.
From the quality associated to the home appliance, types of potential problems you will face when you buy the home appliance, to what other owners feel about the appliance, quality online research can save you significant amounts of time and hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Research can also point out brands that overcharge their products and what problems arise after several years of usage. If you are getting the appliance for a major renovation, your interior designer or renovation contractor may be able to guide you to the best deals.
Size of your Appliance
Common sense dictates that the bigger the home appliance, the bigger size and capacity and hence the higher the price. However, bigger does not equate to better.
Do take into account the size of your family and/ or the number of guests you serve as well as the available space you have for your appliance before making a purchase decision.
Energy Efficiency of Appliance
Appliances that have a higher energy efficiency rating (which means they are more energy efficient) are often more expensive.
Simply put, they are either in higher demand (because they save you energy in the long-run) or simply because they are hard to produce. Think about the innovation, R&D needed to create a more energy efficient home appliance.
Having these energy efficient appliances will help you save money in the long run due to having lower utility bills. The NEA has explained the energy efficiency ratings and you should check it out before purchasing your new appliance.
The cost of repairing your appliance is factored greatly by the type of your appliance and the extent of repairs needed. When purchasing your appliance, do check out the length and coverage of the warranty.
Usually, better brands will offer lifetime warranties. Do check the terms and conditions of your warranty however, as sometimes it might only be honoured when you return the appliance back to the manufacturer for repair.
Appliances that do have a long and more comprehensive warranty will cost more at the point of purchase but it may be a better overall buy in the long run.
Find fridge repair, stove repair and other kinds of appliance repairs on SGHomeNeeds today.
Kitchen is one area of your home where you will expect a higher return on investment as it increases your resale value.
No matter if you’re building an entirely new kitchen, refurbishing your existing kitchen or just updating minor details, you are making a wise decision.
There are many factors that will affect the cost of your kitchen renovation: the size of the kitchen, types of material used and the complexity of the job.
You can talk to kitchen remodelers and compare quotations and catalogues to get a good idea on the labor cost and thus help you with your planning.
Estimating the Cost of your Kitchen Renovation
Cost Range: $3450 SGD- $20000 SGD
The golden range when renovating your kitchen is between 5 to 15% of the current value of your home. The rule states that the entire remodel project should not cost more than 5% of the current value of your home — and no more than 15%.
Lower than 5%, and you are not getting the supposed increase in home value, and higher than that, you will likely not get back your ROI in the project.
Here are some tips that we recommend you to follow should you carry out a kitchen remodeling project:
Set aside around 20-25% of your budget for unforeseen circumstances.
Do have a priority list what you want to be done in your renovation in case of any emergency situation.
Decide your place to stay during the renovation. Keep in mind that it will get dusty and noisy if you do decide to stay at home. If you decide on staying in a hotel/ Airbnb, remember to factor it into your budget.
Decide on the mode of payment for your renovation.
Consider doing smaller projects by yourself to save cost so that more funds can go to other projects
Percentage of budget recommended is around 30%.
Cabinets can a strong impression on your kitchen. Having outdated kitchen cabinets will diminish the aesthetic value of the kitchen.
Luckily, whether by simply changing the colour or changing out the entire cabinet, you can change the look and feel of your cabinet without breaking your bank account.
Every square foot of the kitchen is potential work or storage area, so adequate cabinet space is a huge plus.
The first thing that you have to decide on is whether you’re going with the standard or custom cabinet.
Custom cabinets do allow you to create something that fits both your taste and the allocated dimension but is significantly more expensive.
Standard cabinets, on the other hand, are more affordable, although common complains that there are limit options for your size and depth.
After deciding on either standard or custom, you now have to decide on the right material.
Natural or painted wood is the most popular option due to its being long-lasting and durable. If these are too much for your budget, the less costing alternatives are composites, laminates, metal and even glass.
However, it is not advisable to have glass cabinets if you have small children in the house.
If you just want to have a new look in your old cabinet, cabinet refacing or resurfacing is an affordable option. Hence your project cost will be considerably lower if you decide on this option as you will be voiding the demolition and installation cost.
Percentage of budget recommended is around 10%.
Countertops play an important role in both feel and functionality be it being the table top or covering your lower cabinet. The largest factors that affect cost are the size and quality of the material.
The common kitchen countertop materials for the low to moderate price range is laminate. While granite, quartz and stainless steel are the popular high price range option.
Do visit our countertop cost guide for an in-depth explanation for the pros and cons of each material. Keep in mind too that countertops do play a large role in the looks and usability of your kitchen.
The main contributor to the cost of your kitchen flooring is the square footage needed and the material you choose. Remember to factor in the installation cost into your expenses.
Sadly, the most affordable options generally do not add any value to your kitchen. That aside, vinyl, laminate and sheet floorings are the cheapest way to get something under your feet. The installation is simple and can be done by yourself.
Natural stones, hardwood and tiles are beautiful but are more expensive, although these will likely increase the value of your home. As these floorings are more durable and long-lasting, many do consider them as a better buy for long term value.
However, more expensive tiles do require more care to maintain.
Furthermore, the kitchen is more susceptible to stains, grease, heat and moisture. The more expensive flooring option may not be for you if you are unable to keep up with its maintenance.
The quality of appliances in your kitchen does affect the perceived value of the room.
In addition, expensive appliances are more lasting and dependable compared to their cheaper counterparts.
Do take a look at the energy ratings, brands and warranty when choosing your appliance. As appliances with better energy rating will help you save large amounts of money in water or/and electricity bills.
Higher priced appliances do offer a lifetime warranty that will help you save money on repairs.
We recommend you to do your comparisons when deciding on the appliance for you. You can also visit Harvey Norman, Best Denki and Courts for the best saving deals.
Investing in a high-quality appliance will not only help you save money on your utility bills, they have better warranties and also increase the value of your room.
Therefore, you should buy the best appliance that you can afford and might consider delaying the project if you are unable to afford them.
Percentage of budget recommended is around 5%.
One way to lower the costs is to keep the kitchen plumbing elements all in the same location as moving plumbing are incredibly expensive to move.
This way, the replacement of appliances, cabinets and countertops will not cost you additional expenses of moving your sink pipes to another location.
If you decide to have a new floor plan, however, do be prepared to multiply labour cost.
Talking to a plumber and engaging one will be a smart move to move the project faster and more efficiently.
Kitchen Electrical Plan
Percentage of budget recommended is around 5%.
Kitchen electrical wiring should be done when the room is torn up for a kitchen remodel.
Having you been thinking of installing a night lighting? Take this opportunity when there are gaping holes in your flooring and walls.
Do check if your current electrical system is able to support new kitchen appliances or if you have to upgrade your electrical board.
Also, make sure that there is an electrician to guide you before plugging everything in for your safety.
Kitchen Budget Considerations
There are a lot of factors that can affect the overall cost of your kitchen renovation: materials, labour, unforeseen problems, etc.
A simple example will be that more expensive materials normally do require special installation and hence increase labour and time expenses.
On the other hand, installing less expensive materials yourself is a good way to reduce the overall cost of your renovation.
If you are tight on budget, the best course of action is to spend the majority of money on materials and do the installation yourself.
If you have a large enough budget, however, splitting your money among professions, materials and any other additional cost is an appropriate decision.
According to our research, cabinetry will use up the highest percentage of your funds. This is followed by labour, appliances, countertops, flooring, lighting and plumbing.
If you do decide on cutting the cost, consider going for stock cabinetry, laminate countertops and vinyl, laminate flooring.
We advise you to never approach plumbing, electrical and structural projects yourself, however.
If you do so, you could have a major repair cost in your hands instead. Do get several quotes from professions before choosing one.
Cheap Kitchen Renovation Ideas
If you do not have the budget to hire a professional for your kitchen remodel, here are some cheap kitchen renovation ideas that you might want to use.
Install stock cabinetry:Stock cabinetry is an inexpensive option for those who want to want a new cabinet. You can visit stores like IKEA and acquire stock cabinets that match your kitchen. These cabinets don’t even require professionals to install them and can be all done to be yourself.
Move smaller appliance:Do avoid moving appliances with gas or plumbing hookups. But other than that, moving your appliances around can give you the new look you wanted and perhaps you can consider having a feng shui arrangement too.
Refinish Kitchen Cabinets:You can take off the doors of your old wood cabinet and refinish them at low cost. This consist of sanding them down, followed by either staining or painting them to almost look brand new.
Paint walls and ceilings:Go to the paint shop near you and buy a few gallons of paint and cover any unsavoury prints on the wall with a new coat of paint. Do remember to seal up any holes before proceeding with the operation.
Install tile flooring: If your kitchen flooring looks particularly worn out and scratched up, you can pull up the flooring and lay down tile. Ceramic tiles are relatively inexpensive, and you can consult with a tiling professional ahead of time about how to lay them.
Create a backsplash:Putting a backsplash in any area above your countertop is a good way to change up the look of your kitchen.