A Complete Guide to Kitchen Renovations

Gredel Shadroch

Gredel Shadroch

Last updated 27 May, 2022

Kitchen renovation is no easy feat, but with the right resources, it can be as rewarding as a bowl of congee! So, let us guide you through the process of getting that dream kitchen.

Whether you’re remodelling a brand new kitchen or renovating a resale flat, it can be an overwhelmingly expensive affair. Where do you even begin? Finding the right tiles, installing the right cabinets, and finding the best appliances?

There’s a lot to consider, but don’t worry, we’ll start at the very beginning – the important things you need to know before beginning your kitchen renovation. 

Important things you need to know about renovating a kitchen 

#1: If you don’t own it, you can’t renovate it

If you intend to finance this renovation through a loan, then you need to show a proof of ownership. The only exception is to have a written letter of permission from your landlord, which in some cases, is still not accepted. 

#2: Renovation schedule

Like other construction projects, home renovations can only be done during a certain period. The general timing is Mondays to Saturdays from 9 AM to 6 PM. This schedule is strictly followed, especially in HDB apartments. Remember, your neighbours could call and file a complaint against you if you don’t stick to this schedule. 

#3: Extent of renovation

With any type of apartment, there are two things that can’t be done. First, your renovated kitchen cannot change the Gross Floor Area (GFA) of your property. Second, you cannot change the external facade of your property (such as the installation of new pipelines, chimney chutes, and such). 

Any renovation that alters either the GFA or external facade will require special permission from the HDB or Urban Redevelopment Authority.

#4: Special rules for HDB flats

Here are some additional rules applicable to HDB flats: 

  • Hacking and demolition of walls and other structural components will require special permission
  • All renovations must be completed within the stipulated renovation period set by the HDB
  • The kitchen renovation plan must be within the terms of the lease agreement

#5: Disposal of waste material 

All leftover waste material during or after renovation must be disposed of correctly. These materials cannot be simply thrown in the common garbage chute. Therefore, make sure your contractor gets rid of the materials correctly.

#6: Registered renovation contractors 

If you’re renovating a kitchen in a HDB flat, it’s mandatory to employ a registered renovation contractor. These contractors will ensure that the modifications made to the kitchen are in line with the HDBs list of allowed renovations.


Best Kitchen Renovation Contractors in Singapore 

A good contractor is vital to building your dream kitchen. Not only can it make the whole process a lot easier, it also ensures quality and timely completion. 

Take a look at some of the best kitchen renovation contractors in Singapore before you get started.

ContractorBest known for
Jaystone Renovation ContractorTop-notch staffWiringTiling Design consultation
Cheong Cheng RenovationPayment in instalments with zero interest Carpentry ISO certifiedFree 3D design visualisation
Singapore Kitchen Contractors Custom designsFree quotationAffordable
Sin Siang Huat RenovationModern designsTimely completion Free consultation
Renovation Contractor SingaporeLicensed professionals Modular workAfter-sales serviceComplete service from design to installation
Thomson Renovation Contractor10+ years of experienceGreat customer careLicensed to work on all kinds of homes
Reno Guys SingaporeCompetitively pricedQuick online quotesQuality craftsmanship 


How much does a kitchen renovation cost? 

Most kitchen renovations cost between S$5,000 and S$30,000, but it depends on a number of factors. Here is a rough estimate of how much you need to remodel your kitchen: 

  • Basic renovation: S$5,000 to S$10,000
  • Mid-level renovation: S$15,000 to S$20,000
  • Complete renovation:  S$25,000 and above 

These are some of the factors that affect the total cost of a kitchen renovation.

Size of the kitchen

The size of your kitchen directly impacts the total cost of renovation. The bigger the space, the more materials you need, especially when it comes to re-tiling your floor.

For example, tiles are charged per square metre. Laminate flooring starts at S$60 per square metre while vinyl flooring starts at just S$35 per square metre. These costs will accumulate according to your land area.

Type of apartment

HDB and BTO kitchens may cost less to renovate than condos or landed properties. This is not only due to the size but also due to the layout of these kitchens, which can’t be drastically redesigned unless you’ve acquired permission to do so. 

Designers and contractors

Designers' fees differ, depending on their tenure and the required design. Once a plan is drawn out, you will need to pay contractors to execute these designs. The total cost of this will be based on the extent of work, manpower, and skill required.

Material costs

Every kitchen renovation will require a sizable inventory of materials. Depending on the quality, quantity, and availability, the material costs will add a chunk to the total cost of renovation.

Some of the most expensive elements of a kitchen renovation include cabinets, countertops and flooring. As fundamental parts of the kitchen, it’s important to be able to choose affordable raw materials without affecting your aesthetic aspirations. 

Your involvement

If you’ve entrusted a contractor to carry out the entire renovation, that could cost you more than taking up a few of the responsibilities yourself. For example, finding more affordable raw materials or doing the paint job yourself can save on the total cost.

Tips to reduce kitchen renovation costs

By this time, you must start worrying about these costs, but worry not, there are certain options that can keep these expenses in check. 

#1: Renovation packages

Many designers and contractors offer renovation packages for kitchens. These packages cover all the basic elements with a standard design and cost of materials. Although they may not have many options for personalisation, they can be a great way to cut down on costs especially if you just want to fix your run-down kitchen. 

#2: Reuse 

Identify which furniture is reusable in the kitchen. For instance, perhaps what your existing cabinets need to look brand new is just a paint job. You can also reuse raw materials within the kitchen to make personalised fixtures. 

#3: Wholesale items

Try sourcing new materials and appliances during sales. This will help significantly reduce costs. You can also try sourcing materials from wholesalers and pick simple designs to save on carpentry costs. 

#4: Overlay new tiles

Check if your existing tiles are in stable condition. If they are, you may simply overlay new tiles over them instead of having to remove them, then install the new ones.This doesn’t only save on time and cost, but it also protects the flooring with more cushion. 

#5: Design 

Your renovated kitchen should reflect your future usage. There’s no point in investing large sums to install units that you’re probably never going to use. For example, why have a five-burner cooking range when you barely use the oven and can make do with just a stove top?

How to finance a kitchen renovation

It’s fairly unlikely that you have a spare S$15,000 to spend on your kitchen renovation. Meanwhile, saving up to accumulate the funds means you won’t have a fully functional kitchen to use in the time being. So, what do you do?

Well, there are two options to help finance your renovation – a renovation loan and a personal loan. Here’s a rundown to know which one is best for you. 

Renovation loans

A renovation loan is a special financing offered by banks solely for home renovation projects. While it covers financing for an entire home renovation, you may get one just for your kitchen. 

Coverage

A renovation loan only covers renovation-related expenses. These include material costs, labour costs, structural repairs, tiling, painting, electrical work, carpentry, and such.

While a renovation loan covers these key aspects, it doesn’t include purchase of furniture, appliances, and other aesthetic additions. It simply finances the essential structure of a kitchen.

Loan ceiling

Renovation loans have a generally fixed loan ceiling of S$30,000 or six-times your monthly income (whichever is lower). So, if your total estimated renovation costs is more than S$30,000, you may not be able to get the remaining amount sanctioned. 

Interest rate

Renovation loans have a lower interest rate than personal loans. It usually ranges from 3 to 4% p.a.. In addition to this, the loan amount’s interest is based on the outstanding balance. Meaning, the monthly interest payable reduces as the loan gets paid.

Pros and cons of a renovation loans

ProsCons
Low interest rate compounded monthlyLoan ceiling of S$30,000
Low processing feesRequires a lot of documentation
Great deals for existing home loan customers Can only be used for renovation expenses
Requires a minimum annual salary of S$24,000

Personal loans 

Personal loans are a little simpler – they’re essentially loans you can use for almost any personal expense.  In other words, you could obtain a personal loan from a bank for your kitchen renovation.

Here are a few things to consider before taking a personal loan to finance your kitchen renovation. 

Coverage 

You can finance any part of your kitchen renovation with a personal loan. In fact, a personal loan could cover the entire renovation, including appliance and furniture purchases. Unlike the renovation loan, there are no coverage restrictions with a personal loan.

Loan ceiling

You can borrow up to six times your monthly income provided your annual income is at least S$20,000. The loan ceiling for personal loans is fairly high, and it would entirely depend on your income. 

Interest rate

Personal loans are notorious for high interest rates. The rate of interest will depend on the amount you are borrowing, loan tenure, and your credit score. Apart from this, the monthly interest payable will be calculated from the loan amount, and it will remain the same throughout the tenure. 

Pros and cons of a personal loan

ProsCons
High loan ceiling High interest rate 
Loan amount can be spent on any part of the renovationFlat interest rate (monthly interest payable remains unchanged)
Less documentation and proofHigh flat interest rates can make the total repayable amount higher than the actual cost of renovation
Low minimum income requirementRequires a good credit score

Renovation loans vs. personal loans

To help you make the best choice for your kitchen renovation, here are the key differences between a renovation loan and a personal loan

DescriptionRenovation LoanPersonal Loan
Interest rateBetween 3-4% p.a.Usually higher than 4% p.a.
Calculation of interestMonthly interest is based on the outstanding loan balance.Monthly interest is based on the original loan amount.
Loan ceiling Up to S$30,000 or six times your monthly income (whichever is lower)Begins at six times your monthly income (if your annual income is at least S$20,000)
Income requirement At least an annual income of S$24,000No minimum annual income required
CoverageRenovation-related expenses excluding appliances and furnitureAlmost any personal expense
Documents requiredRequired proof of ownership, renovation contract, and detailed quotationsMinimal paperwork — only requires proof of identity, residence and income

With comparatively higher interest rates, it may be more expensive to take out a personal loan for kitchen renovations. While a renovation loan requires more documentation, the rates make your kitchen renovation project more affordable. 

So, unless the current loan ceiling of S$30,000 is insufficient for your kitchen renovation project, choosing a renovation loan over a personal loan may be more ideal, especially if you aren’t buying a lot of new appliances.

As you start building your dream kitchen, remember to have your checklist ready, invest in a good contractor, and have a good financial plan. 

If you need help comparing the best renovation in Singapore, we have your back. Compare different loans and get the best quotes! 

Read these next: 
4 Things to Look Out for in a Renovation Loan
When to Use a Personal Loan for Home Renovations
7 Ways to Lower Renovation Costs if You’re Moving into Your New Home in 2022
Best HDB Renovation Contractors in Singapore for Every Type of Budget