6 Expensive Mistakes to Avoid During Your Renovation

Embarking on your first renovation can quickly get overwhelming. From choosing the right designer to finalising your choice of materials, there’s much that can go south and cost you extra cash along the way. To save yourself some money and make the process as smooth as possible, here are six expensive mistakes you should avoid during your renovation.

Settling for the wrong interior designer

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The first mistake many homeowners make when they kick off their reno is to settle for the first interior designer they speak to. They may not want the hassle of meeting a number of designers or they may know the designer personally, be it through friends or family.

We highly recommend shopping around before you hire your designer in order to find the best fit for your dream home. Avoid working with designers in your circle of friends or your immediate family; they may give you a discount, but if you’re unhappy with the result it’s going to make for a very awkward situation. As one homeowner recounted, having to fire your interior designer halfway through the renovation will also slow down the process and can end up being pretty exhausting, aside from driving up the overall cost.

Hiring contractors that aren’t HDB-approved


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If you stay in an HDB flat, your contractors simply must be HDB-approved. These licenced contractors are familiar with the ins and outs of the HDB’s renovation guidelines and can help you avoid incurring expensive fines for breaking those rules. For instance, any demolition and hacking works that are done in an HDB flat must be carried out with official permission from the HDB; if your contractor isn’t familiar with this rule and starts demolishing without permission, you can be fined up to $5,000.

Not allocating enough power points

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Image courtesy of Swiss Interior

Ronnie Goh from Swiss Interior has a little something to say on the matter. “Homeowners often overlook the smaller details, such as electrical points, only figuring out that they need more after they have moved in,” he tells us. “Adding additional power points after the renovation is already done incurs extra costs at the end of the day.” Tiny details such as this can be easily forgotten when large-scale works require our attention, but they are crucial in ensuring a comfortable and functional home.

Applying marble in high-traffic areas


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As much as you may love the look of natural marble, it’s just not a practical material in high-traffic spaces, such as the bathroom and kitchen. It’s far too porous and fragile, meaning that it’s likely to stain or crack over time. We recommend instead opting for something that replicates the look of your favourite material but comes with hardwearing properties, such as engineered quartz or sintered surfaces. If you truly can’t do without real marble, apply it to low-traffic areas, such as a feature wall in the living room.

Ignoring your storage needs

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This is where realistic, detailed floor plans and 3D models of your design come in handy. These will allow you to visualise the actual space in your home and how much you can fit into any particular area. Especially in the kitchen, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve planned for enough storage space, including any space you need to store small appliances on your countertops. You don’t want to hand over your savings only to realise that you needed extra cabinets and could have used that kitchen island after all.

Chasing trends

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We know how tempting it is to copy the pretty colour schemes and bold designs plastered all over Instagram. But chasing trends is a risky endeavour; more often than not, you’ll get over your temporary love of a certain colour or shape and end up growing tired of your interiors. This will cost you extra if you choose to change up the colour scheme or furniture later down the line. Things get particularly expensive if you need to redo carpentry works, surfaces or fittings around the house, so choose them wisely and don’t let trends get the best of you!

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