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Here’s What Over 500 Homeowners Think About Renovation in SG

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For something as huge an endeavour as renovating a home, we’re surprised that no one has really asked how homeowners in Singapore feel about this major milestone in life.

What are their expectations? The highlights and challenges they encounter? Is home renovation as ‘difficult and risky’ as it’s often painted to be in the news? These were some of the things we wanted to find out in our inaugural Qanvast Home Renovation survey!

Gathering the opinions of over 500 local homeowners at various stages of making over their dwelling (planning, currently renovating and recently renovated), their answers helped to shed some light on the general sentiment of Singapore’s renovation landscape. Here’s a look at 10 major local home renovation trends in 2018:

Related: 10 Things You Don’t Think About but Cost a Bomb During Renovation


Design Preferences:

1. Practicality and comfort most important in a new home

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Interior firm: Third Avenue Studio
*Based on a 5 point scale, with 5 being the most important, and 1 being the least important

Fancy is great and all, but for Singaporean homeowners, designing a functional space that’s comfortable to be in is what they want most out of their renovation. On the flip-side, a whopping 28% of homeowners prioritised safety the least.

Read: The True Cost of Getting a 4-Room Flat in Singapore

2. Scandinavian and Minimalist styles are still the most popular with homeowners

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Interior firm: Authors Interior & Styling
*Percentages do not add up to 100% as respondents could choose more than one option

The once-popular industrial style is done and dusted (only 14% chose this option). In 2018, the two most popular interior styles are Scandinavian (60%) and the Minimalist (60%) aesthetic.

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Interior firm: Schemacraft

Think light pale shades combined with minimal built-ins and simple shapes. But, if this style combination is too ‘mainstream’ for your tastes – the coastal look (25%) is an up-and-coming theme that’s getting popular.

3. Maximising small spaces is still a major focus for homeowners

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Interior firm: Space Atelier
*Percentages do not add up to 100% as respondents could choose more than one option

With most reporting a home size of somewhere between 70 – 99sqm (44%), it’s no surprise that many Singaporeans are looking for ways to expand their space – visually and functionally.

The top 3 improvements that local homeowners would like to see in their home? More space to move about (72%), more light filtering into their homes (67%) and more storage solutions (62%).

Related: 7 Aspects of Life You Need to Declutter to Save Money and Stay Healthy

Budgeting and Spending Habits:

4. Homeowners expect to spend $30,000 – $50,000 on renovation works… but it may not be enough

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Interior firm: Aart Boxx Interior

When it comes to budgeting for their renovation, about 45% of homeowners surveyed expected to spend $30,000 to $50,000 on works alone, while another 34% were looking at a budget of $10,000 to $30,000. This pattern is seen across the board for all homeowners, regardless of whether they own a resale or a new property.

Read: Getting a Resale Flat? Here’s a Guide to the Considerations, Regulations and Grants

While we aren’t saying that these figures are small sums, it may not exactly be enough – especially for resale properties which may require more dismantling and repair work. As such, it’s no surprise that 64% of respondents who have completed their renovation also said that they went beyond their initial budget (whoops!). So, be sure to set aside some buffer (at least 10% of your initial budget) for any unforeseen expenses.

Read also: 5 Excuses We Give for Not Starting a Budget

5. In terms of furniture and appliances, homeowners expect to spend $20,000 or less.

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Interior firm: Jubilee Interior

When it comes to furniture and appliances, almost half of those surveyed (43%) quoted that they were looking to spend $11,000 to $20,000, followed by a range of $6,000 to $10,000 (37%) on those items.

Check out: 52 Ways to Save Money in Singapore

6. Singaporeans spend the most renovating these 3 areas

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Interior firm: The Scientist

Here’s a hint – basically, homeowners are most willing to spend on areas that see the most activity (wink wink).

Namely, the living room (36%), kitchen (29%) and bedroom (24%) where foot traffic and usage are heavier. So, don’t feel guilty about splashing out on that intricate lattice-panel TV console – others would probably do the same too.

Thoughts on Interior Professionals

7. Communication and chemistry are more important than experience when choosing an interior designer.

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Interior firm: Lemonfridge Studio
*Based on a 5 point scale, with 5 being the most important, and 1 being the least important

That’s right, while homeowners have concerns over the affordability and transparency of costs in the ID industry, over 67% of homeowners surveyed would still go for an interior designer for their renovation. Why? Most homeowners cite an ID’s ability to provide design concepts and solutions, and the fact that an ID can help them manage the entire project as compelling reasons.

Read: 8 Gadgets You Must Have To Make Your Home A Smart Home

And the ideal interior professional? Someone who’s genuine, comfortable to talk to, and is able to relate every detail of the renovation clearly to his clients. Not surprisingly, communication and chemistry/trust are two of the biggest factors that influence a homeowner’s decision to hire, more so than experience or design skills.

Suggested reading: Using Your CPF for Housing: 10 Things You Need to Know

8. The number one turn-off for homeowners? Poor communication.

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Interior firm: Poetus
*Based on a 5 point scale, with 5 being the most important, and 1 being the least important

No prizes for guessing this right. Poor communication – whether it’s a lack of updates or misinformation – is another huge (if not the biggest) turn off for homeowners. Likewise, pushy sales tactics remain one of the biggest (and most annoying) deal-breakers for homeowners as well.

Read: A Quick and Simple Guide to Applying for your first BTO

9. Poor workmanship is the biggest issue that homeowners face.

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Interior firm: Chapter One Interior Design
*Percentages do not add up to 100% as respondents could choose more than one option

Turns out, poor workmanship is something that many Singaporean homeowners frequently face. Over 75% of survey respondents who have completed their renovation cited workmanship as one aspect that they would like to see improvements in.

You may like: Marriage and Money: Getting Financially Organized with Your Other Half

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Interior firm: Weiken.com
*Based on a 5 point scale, with 5 being the most willing, and 1 being the least willing

In fact, homeowners are most willing to fork out for better quality materials and quality workmanship as compared to other areas like design, materials, furniture and appliances.

Read: 6 Questions Homeowners Must Ask Before Buying a Property

10. Homeowners find Singaporean designers ‘cookie-cutter’.

In terms of the general impression of the renovation industry in Singapore, many respondents felt that the market was ‘competitive’, but ‘lacked creativity’.

Another major pain point? A lack of professionalism in work. From slip-shod workmanship, delays to outright scams, there’s a general distrust and wariness – leading to more homeowners looking out for accreditations or doing their own research to give themselves more assurance.

Related: Personal Loan vs Renovation Loan: How Do You Make Your Choice?


So, do you feel the same about renovating as the rest of Singapore?

Is the Scandinavian/Minimalist aesthetic right up your alley too? Or that Singaporeans should cut interior professionals some slack? What do you think?

You may also like:

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  • Refinancing Your Home Loan: Why Do It and How?
  • Home Insurance: Your Fire Insurance Isn’t Enough. This is What Your Insurance Should Cover

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