So you’ve bought a home and are now ready to transform it into your dream home.
Doing research on interiors that inspire you and hiring interior designers or contractors to overhaul your space can be exciting, but also expensive.
Before you begin renovations, here are five tips and tricks that can save you from regrets and turn your new property into a home that’s not just beautiful, but functional, too.
Don’t sacrifice function for form when designing your interior
When you’re looking for inspiration for your interior, by all means collect as many pictures on Pinterest as you like. But don’t ignore function in favour of style when designing your interior.
No matter how beautiful your home looks, it has to be comfortable to live in and enable you to carry out your day-to-day tasks with ease.
For instance, when laying out your kitchen, you’ll want to pay attention to how far your countertop is from the sink and the stove, as greater distances will affect the cooking experience.
When laying out your bathroom, you might be tempted to install a bathtub, but if space is scarce, it might be more practical to go with a space-saving shower stall instead, and use the extra room for storage or countertops.
Don’t underestimate your storage needs
We often underestimate the amount of belongings we have accumulated over the years. If you will be moving in with a spouse or family members, you will need to take into account their belongings, too.
When designing your interior, make sure you provide sufficiently for all your storage needs, leaving a buffer for new things you might buy. If cupboards and cabinets are too bulky for your interior, consider installing wall shelves.
You can also work with your interior designer to unobtrusively incorporate storage into furniture and fittings.
For instance, the area under the sink can be used for storage by installing cabinets that are integrated with the sink. In the same vein, kitchen shelves suspended over the ceiling take up less space than standing shelves.
Make sure your furniture and fittings aren’t too big for your home
If, like most people in Singapore, you are renovating an HDB flat or a condo unit of a modest size, you will not have a lot of space to work with.
So resist the urge to purchase furniture or install fittings that are not size-appropriate for your space.
For instance, if you have a small living room without much space from wall to wall, resist the urge to purchase a gigantic TV screen, or else you might find that you get a headache from having to sit too close to it.
Work out a budget and get your designer and contractors to stick to it
Before you engage a designer or contractor, make sure you already have your budget worked out, and have them work within your budget constraints.
Also remember to give yourself a buffer of at least 20%, as it is common to have to pay extra costs midway through the renovation.
This is preferable to picking out your design, asking your designer for a quote and then fretting about how you cannot afford their fees.
When working out your budget, you should also calculate your monthly loan repayments if you need to obtain financing in the form of a renovation loan, taking into account the interest you would be paying.
Comparison shop for renovation loans
Avoid signing up for the first renovation loan package that presents itself to you.
Interest rates can vary considerably, and change frequently from year to year. What was once the cheapest renovation loan package in Singapore may no longer be so cheap a year later.
To save money, you should comparison shop for renovation loan packages to find one with a low interest rate.
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By Joanne Poh
photo: HL Assurance