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Splurge or Save: Where to Allocate Your Home Renovation Budget

When it comes to setting your home renovation budget, how do you decide what to splurge on and where to save? The answer depends on your lifestyle as well as whether you have plans to move out in the short or long term. But here’s a general rule to follow: Splurge on function, on things that are not easily replaced and can make a huge design impact. Save on the decorative, on what can be bought later on and easily replaced.

While we understand that everyone’s priorities are different, here are a few tips that can help guide your considerations as you make your budget decisions. Tweak, edit and curate as you see fit.


Living Room


Design: Versaform

Built-in Storage: Unless you’re Marie Kondo or you’re a stickler for editing your possessions, storage is of paramount importance if you don’t want your home to look like a clutter fest. Freestanding options are more affordable, but built-in storage helps to create a sleeker, much neater look and can be done up to fit in with or disappear into the rest of your home. Create different internal shelf heights for a more flexible and multi-use storage space.

Air-conditioning: If air-conditioning is a must for you, it’s a good item to splurge on. Make sure they are energy-efficient (the more ticks, the better) as it can help save you more money on the long run. An air-conditioner that works well will also mean less repairs and maintenance which can all incur costs. Plus, a powerful AC means you can feel cool even at 25 deg C, which is the recommended temperature to set to save on your electricity costs.

Window treatments: If your home faces the western sun, invest in window treatments with sun shading properties that will help to keep your home cooler. That way, you won’t have to rely on your cooling devices so often, cutting costs in the long run.


Design: Uno Interior

TV console: Your TV can be wall mounted to save costs on the extra carpentry work needed. It helps to free up floor space too. Just make sure your TV is mounted at the right height—it should be at eye level from where you’re sitting or slightly higher.

Flooring: OK, so this might be slightly controversial, but there’s no need to splurge on your living room’s flooring. Sure, it’s a large part of your home, but you can easily recreate any look you want with the vast options available in vinyl and tiles, both of which are the more affordable flooring options. Want the warmth of hardwood floors? Throw in a carpet.

Window coverings: If you like to keep your home bright and open, consider keeping the windows in your communal areas bare. Worried about the glare of the sun? See above for window treatments. If you must have coverings, opt for curtains rather than blinds as they are cheaper in general and a lot easier to maintain. There’s also no need to go for those thick-set draperies since privacy isn’t a huge concern in the living room. Get off-the-shelves day curtains that are light, fuss-free to maintain (take them down and throw them in the washer) and are cheaply replaced when damaged.

Paint job: Go the DIY route if you’re looking to add a design element in your paint job. Limit the number of colours to cut costs and keep the hues to neutrals which are classic and timeless and easier to decorate with than with striking, bold hues.

Lighting: While lighting is very important in creating the right ambience and mood for your home, there’s no need to splurge on designer lamps or fixtures. Scour online for sales (or knock-offs) and get them on the cheap.




Design: The Scientist

Countertops: Kitchen counters are one of the most hardworking aspects of your kitchen. They can be subjected to knocks, high heat from pots and pans and all sorts of wear and tear so make sure they are made of a material that is hardy and durable. You’ll want to make sure your material of choice is non-porous not only for hygiene reasons, but also so that accidental spills don’t become a lasting reminder. Our choice? Quartz or granite, which are strong, resistant to scratches, stains and can take heat well.

Built-in appliances: Unless you don’t cook very often, it’s good to set aside some funds for built-in appliances like your hood, hob and oven. They aren’t easy to replace and can cost a pretty penny to do so. There’s no need to go for the top-end of the range, but make sure you do due diligence and research on well-made, durable appliances that can last for a while.

Sink and faucet: Sinks are also difficult to replace—you’ll have to find similar or exact dimensions to make sure they can fit into your existing cabinetry so allocate a decent amount in your renovation budget for one that is made well and fits your needs. Splurge on a tall faucet that has a flexible hose to make cleaning up easier.

Backsplash: Since they form such a small part of your kitchen, you can afford to splash on them a little. A striking design, done in a measured way, can really help to bring a pop to your cooking space.


Design: The Roomakers

Cabinets: In truth, your cabinets aren’t subjected to a lot of wear and tear so there’s really no need to splurge on them in your renovation budget. Clean and simple flat cabinet fronts also make cleaning them so much easier. In fact, save money on your cabinets and use the leftover cash to invest in cabinet organisers so you can make the most of your storage space. That said, cabinet doors can take quite a bit of beating if you open and close them often. A good solution is to go for a mix of open shelves (bonus: they’re cheaper than cabinets) to store everyday items and keep the rest in your cupboards.




Design: D’ Initial Concept

Shower glass enclosure: For safety reasons, definitely add tempered and laminated glass for your shower glass enclosures to your renovation budget as they are four times stronger than ordinary glass and therefore more resistant to breakage. They are pricier, but definitely safer as the laminate helps to hold two layers of glass together in the event of any breakage, preventing glass shards from going everywhere.

Tiles: While ceramic tiles come cheap, they are unsuitable for wet areas like your bathroom as they are prone to water seepage. Instead, opt for their hardier cousin, glazed porcelain tiles. For flooring, make sure you invest in tiles that are non-slip to prevent any slippery accidents in the bathroom.


Design: In-Expat

Vanity: You don’t need to overspend on your vanity. Just make sure it’s functional, provide enough storage room for your bathroom necessities, water and humidity proof, and durable with good hardware.




Design: Free Space Intent

Mattress: Probably one of the most expensive things you’ll get in your bedroom. But it’s the worthiest investment because think about it, you spend at least 7 to 8 hours a day sleeping. And a good quality sleep is crucial for your well-being and health.

Bedframe: A good bedframe provides a good support. Plus, it’s really the only thing anyone looks at when they enter your bedroom. Invest in one that can make a design statement in your space. If you’re short on space, get one that comes with extra storage room.

Closet: It’s something you use every day, so you’ll want to make sure it can withstand the heavy usage. Splurge on this in your renovation budget. Make sure the hardware—hinges and knobs—are of good quality and that the laminate covering doesn’t peel off after a few years.


Design: Icon Interior Design

Bedside tables: Well, yes. They are purposeful—they hold your books, that glass of milk you have to have before bed and your reading glasses, but if we’re honest, they aren’t doing that much heavy duty work so don’t go splurging on decorated customised bedside tables unless you have extra cash to spare. Instead, go simple or off-the-rack and dress it up with smaller accessories.

How do you plan the budget for your home renovation? What do you splurge on and what would you save on? Let us know in the comments below!


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