How to renovate your BTO HDB yourself: Part 1

Since the start of my blog, I have communicated with many homeowners about their problems and issues. One major concern and probably their only concern is how much does it cost to renovate their home. With raising labour and material cost, the cost to renovate a home has sky rocketed to unaffordable level for many homeowners. One of the best way to save or minimise cost is renovate your home yourself. This is also the reason I started this post is because I realised it is possible. However, there are many factors which will determine whether it is possible for you to renovate your own home.

Factors that will determine whether it is possible to renovate your own home yourself

  1. Your home has to be a brand new BTO HDB with Optional Component Scheme (OCS): It means that your HDB flat will come with  (a) Internal doors + sanitary fittings: wash basin, water tap, shower mixer, (b) Floor finishes for Living, Dining room, Bedrooms. For more Information, please visit HDB website HERE. With all the basic accessories, doors and tiling done, you will not need to do all the difficult and complicated renovation works.
  2. No hacking work: To do any hacking of wall, you will need a HDB licence (which you do not have), and other skills on what to do after hacking of the wall. It is just too complicated for homeowners without technical knowledge.
  3. Simple design: This means you will only do the basic such as carpentry, basic electrical, air conditioning, painting, basic plumbing, windows and window grilles. Complicated designs that involved coordinating of many different renovation works all together will be too confusing for many homeowners.
  4. Cash or credit card payment only: without a contractor or Interior Designer, you will have no chance of getting a renovation loan.
  5. You must have time: This means that you will have to be at the job site frequently to let the air con installer, carpenter or painter know what and how you want to do your renovation.
  6. Know what you want: Knowing how big you want your wardrobe to be, the internal configuration of your kitchen cabinet or even the type of materials you want to use are some of the essentials or basic knowledge you will need to have before you start your own renovation.
  7. Reliable sub contractors: Sub contractors like painters, air con installers or carpenter who can advise and deliver a good job. You will not know the best way to do it or whether your idea is possible. The sub contractors are the best person to advise you. They are the professional in their own field.
  8. You want to save money: If you are cash rich or do not mind spending, you should get a Interior Designer or contractor. It is really not a easy route to renovate your own home. Possible does not means easy. But if you have the heart to save money, renovating your own home can be the solution for you.

If you fulfil all the above conditions, you are ready to renovate your own home. My subsequence posts will focus on the step by step guides to renovating your own HDB. I cannot squeeze all the information into one post because there are just so many things to talk about. My step by step guide will also include a real life example that is happening right now.

Information about the job site

  • brand new BTO 3 room HDB with OCS
  • I will be the one renovating my father’s house
  • Renovation works includes: Citygas, lights installation, air conditioning, kitchen and wardrobe carpentry, solid surface, simple plumbing works, toilet accessories fitting, painting, window and grilles.

Current condition of the 3 room HDB


I must clarify that its not the most beautiful design because the material and colour combinations are decided by my father (old folks design ;P). My main purpose is to show you that it is possible to renovate your own home. If you think you would really like to save some money and do not mind spending more time on your own renovation, do subscribe to my blog.

Blog about Interior Design, renovation and home improvement.


5 Responses to “How to renovate your BTO HDB yourself: Part 1”

  1. Zee

    Dec 04. 2014


    This is very timely.
    I am anxiously waiting for your follow-up posts.
    Have had the 3-room flat since August and have not done anything, as I can’t afford even the cheapest packages.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Dave

    Dec 10. 2014

    A lot of people will find this series of posts very helpful. Hope you can go into as much details as possible. Thanks in advance.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Andrew

    May 12. 2016

    Vincent. Thank you so much for sharing with us

    Reply to this comment

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