Sunday, 20 November 2016

Making a four- room HDB functional for less than $8,000

I just moved into our 4- room resale HDB flat, and we made it functional in less than $8,000!

Notice, I didn't use the word renovate as we didn't hire people for renovation works. As such, let's use the term functional here.

Initial Condition of the Home

Before we moved in, the home came with the following:

  • In- tact flooring tiles
  • Adequate power points
  • Available fibre optic point and television point
  • Lighting switch is still working (though many bulbs were blown)
  • Home came with concealed ceiling (which is bad for modification - so a decision not to rewire or change anything about the lighting except for the bulbs)
  • Kitchen cabinet is still usable
  • Kitchen Stove is still usable
  • Paint still looks okay
  • Windows and window grilles are in- tact
  • Curtain rails are available
  • Functional Sink/ taps/ drains
  • Working Air- Conditioner
  • Functional interior doors and exterior door/ gate

Project Goals

My partner and I made a decision not to engage interior designers and renovation firms to do up our home as we want to move in ASAP, and also, because of the cost.

As such, we gave ourselves a budget of $8000 and a time frame of 2 weeks to move in after getting out keys.

Our Strategy

My partner and I are minimalist people, and as such, we like to have as little stuff as possible.

We also have (some) time on our side. We took two weeks off after getting our flat, so we are able to do most of the DIY stuff ourselves. And to maximize time, we bought most of our stuff online. The internet is the best place to visit so many shops, within a day, and all of them come with delivery (though at a cost for most). That's apart from some electronic stuff, smaller items and IKEA products (which doesn't have an online shop here in Singapore. Why!).

DIY furniture are mainly from IKEA and GIANT. These come with good instructions, and as such, made our life easier. For the plumbing works, thanks to Youtube, we were given on- the- job training. Here and here are some nice training videos that we watched for the plumbing training. Surprise, surprise, surprise, there are some many screws for the toilet bowls (at least I only realize it now).

Functional Home Project Cost

The following are the stuff that we bought to make our home functional for within $8,000. Of course, there are some stuff that we already had beforehand, and this saves some cost.

I have listed them in details, so that next time, when I want to refer to , I have a copy. Also, I want to show you that you can make yourself comfortable without spending too much of money. Note that these may not be the lowest cost available for similar products, and this post is not meant as an enticement for you to buy any of the items (see disclaimer at bottom of blog).

Living Room (Subtotal = $882.50)
  • TV bench (to put the modem, telephone) ($19.90 - see here)
  • Extension Plug ($15.90 - see here)
  • Sofa (to be exact, we went for sofa bed - $160 including shipping and installation - see here)
  • Shoe Rack ($49.90 from here)
  • Kids Table to double up as coffee table ($16.90 - see here)
  • Book shelf ($59.90 - see here)
  • 40 inch television with wall mounting brackets ($560 including delivery and installation - ok, we went to a physical shop for this.)
Master Bedroom (Subtotal = $944.70)

  • Queen Bed plus mattress ($582 - see here)
  • Queen size Mattress protector ($19.90 - see here)
  • 2 x Bed sheet set for Queen ($9.90 x 2 = $19.80 - see here)
  • 2 x Bolsters ($9.90 x 2 = $19.80 - see here)
  • 2 x Pillows ($6.90 x 2 = $13.80 - see here)
  • 2 x Bolster cover ($4.50 x 2 = $9 - see here)
  • 2 x Blankets ($14.90 x 2 - see here)
  • 2 Study tables ($50 - see here)
  • 2 chairs ($12.90 x 2 = $25.80 - see here)
  • 2 x 4 tier plastic drawers ($48 - see here
  • Wardrobe alternative ($61 - see here - highly recommend, after shopping online, I find this idea of having poles for clothes not only economical, but cool!)
  • Extension Plug ($15.90 - see here)
  • Hangers ($20 - yes we bought many)
  • Mini Iron board ($7.90 from here)
  • Iron ($22 from here)
Kids Bedroom (Subtotal = $160.90)
  • Single bed Mattress ($45 - see here)
  • Wardrobe ($99 - see here)
  • Bed sheet ($16.90 - see here)
Another bedroom - vacant for now

Kitchen (Subtotal = $3182.15)
  • Refrigerator ($1000 from a physical shop)
  • Washer cum dryer ($1300 from a physical shop)
  • 2 x Dining Table ($98 from here)
  • 8 x Chairs ($48 from here)
  • Oven ($250 from a physical shop)
  • 8 Plates ($9.60 fro here)
  • 8 Bowls ($7.20 from here)
  • 8 Rice Bowls ($16 from a physical shop)
  • 4 Serving Plates/ 4 serving soup bowls ($80 from a physical shop)
  • 8 Coffee cups ($7.20 from here)
  • 12 glass cups  ($7.80 from here)
  • 2 Pitchers ($15.80 from here)
  • 1 Thermal Flask ($50 from a physical shop)
  • 1 Rice Cooker ($30 from a physical shop)
  • 1 Kettle ($25.90 from here)
  • 1 Rice Storage ($17.40 from here)
  • 10 pairs of chopsticks ($16 from here)
  • Cutlery sets x 2 ($30 from here)
  • 12 soup spoons ($7.80 from here)
  • knife set with potato peeler ($5 from here)
  • chopping board ($1.90 from here)
  • Other utensils set ($5.90 from here)
  • Cookware ($49.90 from here)
  • Baking Pan ($6.90 from here)
  • Kitchen towels ($3.50 from physical shop)
  • Towel hanger ($5 from physical shop)
  • 2 x Pails ($3.80 from here)
  • Quick dry mop ($19.75 from here)
  • Vacuum cleaner ($41 from here)
  • Robotic cleaner ($96 from here)
  • Utensils organizer ($5)
  • Can opener ($9.90 from here)
  • Bottle opener ($1.50 from here)
  • Food containers ($4.50 from here)
  • Dish drainer ($3.90 from here)
Washrooms (Subtotal =  $125)

  • 2 toilet flushes ($80)
  • 2 toilet seat covers ($30)
  • Holders ($15)
Storeroom (Subtotal = $130.09)
  • 2 x Shelves ($39.40 from here)
  • Tool set ($43.89 from here )
  • Battery operated drill ($46.80 from here)
Others (Subtotal = $1188.50)
  • Replacement of blown bulbs ($75)
  • 2 x Standing lamps ($39,80 from here)
  • Bulbs for standing lamps ($9.90 from here)
  • 2 x Standing fan ($65)
  • Curtains ($150)
  • Air- con servicing ($120)
  • Cleaning supply prior to moving in ($30) 
  • Taxi fare for self delivery ($55)
  • Electric drill ($36.80 from here)
  • Putty (to repair some wall cracks, and openings) - ($7)
  • Change of lock for main door/ gate / letter box ($320)
  • Rubbish Chute Replacement ($280)
Total : $6629.74

My home is not shabby. I have to emphasis it, as that's what many of my friends asked me when I told them about my function home project. And I have all the furniture, gadgets and equipment that I need, making my home comfortable for my family and I. In fact, visitors who came find it neat, tidy, and comfortable.

The end of this functional project doesn't mean that I will stop buying stuff for my home. With time, we may need some items, and of course we will buy it. The amount of things in a home will only get more with time, anyway, with our needs and wants.


p/s: A glitch happened (a human glitch), that resulted in me deleting a wrong post, and posting a uncompleted post. -_-" For, once a post is deleted, it's GONE. I hope I have not caused any inconvenience as a result of the glitch. Any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted. Ops...


  1. You are going to spend more in the mid long run. The items you bought are mostly cheap and unreliable. Be prepared to spend more if you living there longer than expected.

    1. I believe spending on maintenance on the house is an on- going thing. Most items today don't really last anyway, whether they are cheap or not, particularly for electronics and sofa.

      My in laws bought some expensive TV, and they last only 5 years, which I guess is the typical lifespan of electronics. For things like sofa, I have seen too many break in my parents' place even they go for those that cost thousands.

      For things like the study table and chairs, the failure mode will most likely be due to harsh usage, so my gut feel is they should last. Same for utensils, cutlery, etc., where the failure mode is usually by accident (dropping them). So, the price most likely doesn't make much of a difference.

      Just my thought. Let's see.