HDB renovation guide: Contractors, costs and tips

hdb renovation singapore

When planning how to finance your HDB flat, don’t forget about the costs involved after you buy your home: renovation.

The actual cost of your renovation depends on how fancy schmancy you want to be… But!!! That’s not to say you can’t be fancy schmancy on a budget.

We’ve broken down the costs of each aspect for you, and how to save on each:

Guide to home renovations in Singapore

1. Flooring
2. Painting
3. Wall hacking
4. Carpentry
5. Hiring an interior designer vs a contractor
6. Furnishing

Oh, and before we begin…

Make sure you’re not breaking any HDB renovation rules – especially if you’re planning to do flooring stuff or hack a wall for an open-concept home. (Imagine laying all the flooring and then having to remove everything. LOL.) Here’s our guide to HDB renovation rules and regulations!

And now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s what you’re here for:

1. Flooring

Let’s first (literally!) lay the foundation: flooring your HDB flat.

We’ll be honest, though. Flooring can end up being one of the biggest costs when renovating your HDB flat.

Your new home will already have existing floor tiles, so if you want to replace all of that, you’ll have to first remove all of that before installing your new floor tiles. Hacking, installing, and the tiles themselves – the cost of each component can add up quickly.

Your two cheapest options:

One, find a HDB flat with a flooring you already like, so you won’t even need to do any work to the floors.

Two, opt for more affordable options like vinyl flooring. For instance, for a 65 sqft 3-room HDB flat, you’ll save close to $1000 if you go for vinyl flooring instead of granite flooring.

Vinyl can also be used for overlay flooring – meaning your new vinyl tiles will be laid on top of the existing flooring in your HDB flat, taking away the need to hack away the existing tiles.

Here’s a list of estimated costs for various types of flooring:

hdb renovation guide - vinyl flooring

Our recommendation: Star Flooring on Carousell does vinyl flooring for as low as $2.29 psf – that’s one of the best rates you’ll find in the market! Carousellers can also vouch for their speedy, quality work.

2. Painting

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to your home.

The most exciting part is picking your paint colours, but there are also a whole ton of other things to consider: the brand, its finish (e.g. satin finish, matte finish), its function (e.g. anti-mould, easy-wash) and more.

If you engage professional painting services to do the job for you, you may be quoted per project (based on the size of your home/ rooms) or on a per hour basis. Here’s the average painting cost of each HDB flat size in Singapore:

hdb renovation guide - painting cost

Our recommendation: Paintservice on Carousell can complete your paint job in just one day.

3. Wall hacking

This is exciting stuff! Hack the wall between two bedrooms and you’ve got yourself a walk-in wardrobe. Or, replace the wall between your living room and kitchen with a glass partition to achieve an open-plan concept.

Hacking down a wall typically costs between $500 to $1,000.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to submit all your plans to HDB for approval before hacking. Some walls or columns cannot be altered in any way (on your floor plan, they’ll be shaded in black or grey).

Our recommendation: Ace Contract on Carousell provides wall hacking services from $598.

4. Carpentry

Carpentry work refers to any custom-made furniture. In homes in Singapore, the most common types of carpentry work include your kitchen cabinet and countertop, built-in wardrobes and storage areas, bed frames and even living room bay windows.

The cost of each carpentry project varies greatly depending on what you’re building, the materials you’re using… And whether the carpenter is your friend (who’s willing to give friend-friend discount). And a lot of other factors, so you’ll have to request a customised quote.

In general, though, regular-shaped carpentry works are much cheaper than angular or oddly-shaped, so a batcave-style home is going to cost much more than a Scandinavian-themed one. To save cost, go for the latter, and jazz up your home with accents like vintage handle knobs:

cheap home decoration renovation idea hdb singapore

Our recommendation: Essentiallyurs on Carousell will match the best prices you find in the market. The carpentry is done in a local factory, and they’ve got tons of good reviews for quality workmanship.

5. Hiring an interior designer vs a contractor

Don’t confuse the two – they both pimp up your home, but their job scopes are vastly different.

An interior designer coordinates and manages your renovation project, from providing design ideas and 3D drawings down to the renovation work to even after-sales services like furniture hunting.

On the other hand, a contractor is generally only in charge of the execution. Give them the plan, and they’ll make it happen.

This means you’ll need to have a very clear idea of what you want, or hire someone else to draw up a detailed proposal.

It’ll be more costly to hire an interior designer as compared to a contractor, but for good reason.

So, an interior designer would probably suit your needs more if you:

  • Had to look up the difference between an interior designer and a contractor. Chances are, you’re unfamiliar with the home renovation process, so don’t risk it!
  • Are planning to overhaul your entire HDB flat
  • Want a very specific theme that requires lots of planning and a trained eye for design

Or, go for a contractor if you:

  • Are just planning to redo a bedroom or a small part of your home
  • Are just trying to keep costs down to the absolute minimum

6. Furnishing

And when you’re finally done with renovation, time to furnish your home!

Here’s a list of the average costs of common furniture items:

hdb renovation guide - how to furnish hdb flat

Pro tip: Source for furniture on Carousell to get unexpectedly good deals! We’re not being biased – we’ve all heard someone say “This one buy on Carousell cheaper.” Ditto for furniture.


Renovating your HDB flat or condo

And there you have your home sweet home!

Found this helpful? Check out our other home and living guides here.


  1. Vinyl flooring may not handle liquid n scratches very well so new homeowners need to consider that before deciding the type of flooring to have. Another cheaper option to granite is stone tiles but if u can afford, go for granite

    If I am correct, to submit your plans to hdb for approval to hack a wall, a fee of a few hundred dollars is required. This is on top of the cost for the hacking work in the case if your plan is approved.


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