If you are unsure about the procedures on home renovation, fret not. Follow these six simple steps to a fabulous-looking home.
By Khalil Adis
The new year will probably see some homeowners moving to a new home and embarking on their home renovation.
While many will likely take up a home renovation package, some may opt to do them in stages.
In fact, this option is ideal for those who do not wish to take a loan and will allow you to have full control over the cost.
However, taking the first step in home renovation can indeed be a bewildering experience especially for the uninitiated.
I mean, where do you even start?
This was indeed the question I had asked when I first received the keys to my new home.
When embarking on my own home renovation project, I chose not to take a loan as I do not wish to burden myself with debt.
While my DIY renovation project is still a work-in-progress, here are some tips that I had learnt along the way.
Follow these steps so that your own home renovation will go off without a hitch.
#1: Work on your floor plan first
If you do not have any training in interior design, then you may wish to either engage an interior designer to do the proposed layout or using interior design software like Homestyler.
For detailed tips on some of the interior design basics, refer to my previous blog post here.
#2: Turn on your power and gas supply
This is a crucial second step as you need power and gas before embarking on your labour of love.
The latter is ideal if you want to have piped gas for your stove and water heater.
Otherwise, you can opt for LPG gas delivery from the various local supplier.
However, do note the gas cylinders do take up a significant portion of your kitchen cabinet and you may run out of gas while cooking.
#3: Decide where you want to place your air-conditioning units and then install them
You can make this decision by drawing the proposed location on your floor plan.
The number of air-conditioning units depends on the size of your home.
Go for inverter units as they are energy saving and come with energy saving modes.
You will need to install your air-con first before working on the next step.
#4: Work on the lighting points from the floor plan and then call in the ceiling contractor
This is an important next step before calling the carpenter to install your cupboards and other fittings.
As you can see from the floor plan that I have uploaded here, it shows the location of the existing lighting points.
From the location of the cupboards and fittings, you can then plan where you want to install the lighting points.
Be sure to plan this to a T as you will be charged around S$65 for each lighting point.
Next, you need to order your own LED lights.
There are many brands in the market.
I opted for Xiaomi Phillips Zhirui downlight as they are value-for-money and come with an adjustable colour temperature that can be controlled from your phone.
Unfortunately, they are not available in Singapore so you will need to order online.
You then need to download the Mi Home app in order to control the lighting.
For ceiling works, you may wish to opt for a combination of an L-box and cove lighting (see above).
An L-box can dramatically alter the ambience of your room making it very welcoming while giving the illusion of height due to the indirect lighting.
This will costs around S$350 onwards.
You may also opt for a cove lighting to give a very clean and intimate feel to your living space.
However, do bear in mind it reduces your ceiling height due to the plastering and ceiling works.
The cost varies according to the size - typically it starts from around S$500 onwards.
You may also choose to opt for a centre ceiling flat panels.
This will cost around S$400.
The contractor will build the L-box and false ceiling around your already installed air-conditioning units.
Speaking of which, I would also urge you to install ceiling fans even if you have already installed an air-con system in your home.
This is because natural ventilation works best in our tropical weather and it can significantly cut down your electricity bill by up to 20 to 30 per cent.
Choose one that comes with LED lighting.
While there are many brands in the market, most are not aesthetically pleasing.
You might want to opt for a timeless design like the Haiku L-Series Fan.
Although slightly pricey, the fan is surprisingly quiet and comes with 16 levels of brightness.
I chose black as they fit with the monochromatic colour scheme of my home.
As for installation, you can opt for it to be installed for you (assuming the rest of the lighting works are already done).
Otherwise, the ceiling contractor will charge you S$60 for installation.
Remember, you will need to show this lighting plan to the ceiling contractor/electrician so they can execute it accordingly.
Try to get at least three quotations.
Word-of-mouth referrals, in my opinion, work best.
#5: Call in the carpenter
Now that you have installed your lightings and finished with your ceiling works, it is time to work on the rest of your fittings like kitchen cabinets and cupboards.
The carpenter will build your fittings up to the height of your false ceiling.
Generally, fittings will require a space of around 600mm.
However, if you do not have enough space, measurement of 300mm onwards works just fine especially if it is for display cabinet in the living room.
If you need flexible living space, go for slidable/foldable doors.
I particularly like those from Ewins as they come in a myriad of design and are customisable to your living space.
They are slightly pricey from the usual carpenter’s quote but worth considering especially if you live in a small apartment like mine.
The staff are also very helpful and can help you draft a design before proceeding to install the fittings.
#6: Blinds/curtains should be the last
Now that you have everything in place, you can dress up your windows with either curtains or blinds.
Curtains will require regular washing so it may not be ideal if you do not have the time to do it.
If you want a clean, modern look, then blinds are the way to go.
They are many options to choose from in the market according to the interior design theme you have in mind.
A parting word
In closing, a DIY home renovation project will require your 110 per cent commitment and attention but the outcome is worth it.
Remember to not spend more than 10 per cent of the purchase price of your home and to use neutral colours as they are easy on the eyes.
Most importantly, enjoy the entire design process, do not rush it and unleash your creativity to make the living space uniquely yours.
An independent analysis from yours truly