Ultimate Guide to save money when renovating your home (A must read for any new home owners)

  1. Head over to neighboring Johor Bahru for value buys

Neighboring Johor Bahru is not only famous for short weekend staycation and hipster cafes. You can find absolute steals on down lights, dining table lights, ceiling fans, standing fans, wallpaper, stainless steel fittings such as dishrack, taps etc. All of these can be found in a small area of JB called Ros Merah. The area is no bigger than our typical neighborhood market, but full of shops with lightings and fans. To save even more money, you may choose to purchase a Malaysia SIM card and taking Uber from City Square JB to Ros Merah, costing about 6RM for a 15 mins ride, much cheaper than street hail in JB. Contact us if you will need namecards and details on where exactly to head to in JB. After purchasing, you can request for one of the shops to call a “Ba Wang Che” for you to bring the goods and you back to Singapore. A one-way trip costs about $90SGD.

Some indicative prices based on experience:

  • A typical down light can cost between 14RM to 30RM, while the same one in Singapore will cost 14SGD to 30SGD. Massive savings considering one home typically needs about 30 or more down lights.
  • Ceiling fans can range from 300RM to 1300RM. The same model and brand in Singapore will set you back for the same amount, but in SGD. We have done a comparison across various brands and the conclusion is “same price, different currency”. ie: approximately 66% savings when you consider the exchange rates.
  • Standing fans cost about $50SGD for a KDK/Panasonic. The exact same model cost about $150SGD in major electronics stores in Singapore.
  • Wall papers costs about 90RM for a roll of basic wall paper, and increases with fancier designs.
  • Stainless steel fittings at JB cost about half the price of stainless steel fittings found in Singapore.

Some food places in JB worth checking out while you are there (may not be Halal):

  • Johor Bahru Kam Long Curry Fish Head
  • Restoran Ya Wang
  • Naughty Nuri’s Warung
Jalan Ros Merah - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg

Google Street image of Jalan Ros Merah in Johor Bahru

  1. Purchase some home decorative items on Taobao/ Tmall

It is well known that the quality of goods on Taobao is debatable. However, that should not deter home owners from seeking out the value for money purchases from Taobao. Tmall, on the other hand, has slightly more upmarket home furnishings for sale at a slightly premium price tag.  We recommend getting smaller home furnishings such as bean bags, dining table lightings, balcony chairs, bar stools, photo frames, tool boxes, ladder etc from Tabobao or Tmall.

A general rule of thumb is that anything that requires warranty is not recommended to get from Taobao/Tmall, as the warranty claim would be costly and time consuming. For furniture such as bed frames, sofa, dining table, coffee table, we recommend buying locally for a peace of mind.

Prior to purchasing on Taobao, one would need to read the reviews and volume transacted to gauge the quality of goods. In general, the quality of goods and money paid for it has a linear relationship.

Taobao - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg

Tmall - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg


  1. Make purchases for furniture well in advance during GSS or Black Friday sales

GSS during the mid year and Black Friday during the end of year is the perfect opportunity to snag some great deals on furniture. Some furniture deals could be as low as 50% off original price. You can always put a deposit to lock in the promotion price and request to deliver when your home renovation is completed.

GSS - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg

Black Friday sales - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg


  1. Bulk Purchase electronics from major electronics stores

A little known secret is that you can get greater discounts when you directly approach the store manager of major electronics stores. Do not by shy to persistently ask for a greater discount when you purchase more. Go aggressive on the asking for discounts and freebies. It has been tested that price of electronics can be lowered by 10% to 20% off the original price. A new household will spend about $10,000 to $20,000 on new electrical appliances such as Television, Fridge, Washing Machine, Rice Cooker, Dryer, Vacuum, Air-conditioners, Fans, Soundbar. Use your credit cards during the purchase to get an additional 1% to 2% cashback. Contact us if you will like to know which electronic store and which manager to look for.

Harvey Norman - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg

Courts - Blinds Singapore - urbanhome.com.sg


  1. Direct hire contractors

Direct hiring sub-contractors to do work such as painting, false ceiling, electrical, wet works, glass backing, dismantling, carpentry will save you tons of money as compared to the unit rates quoted by the interior designer. Although the savings (approximately 30% to 50% of overall renovation cost) could be massive, there are certain drawbacks that should be weighed as well. Firstly, you or an immediate family member will need to take on the role of an interior designer. Roles of an ID involves conceptualizing the home, as well as coordinating between each sub-contractor. This could take up much time and may not be suited for everyone’s schedule. Secondly, is the issue of damages to the home during renovation. If an ID is in charge, any damages to the preceding work can be attributed to the ID and rectification works should be dealt by the ID. However, if different sub-contractors are hired, the lines of fault will not be as clearly defined, and subsequent rectifications works may have to be borne by the home owner. Contact us if you will like to know the direct contacts for painting, false ceiling, electrical works, and carpentry.

9. Shangri-La Blinds (Urbanhome.com.sg)


  1. Less shopping trips with IDs

It is well known in the industry that any home owner who goes “shopping” with and ID will incur an additional 10% increase in cost price of items. Ask any furniture shop or lighting shop owner in Singapore and they will tell you the same thing. Even though there will not be an implicit marked up in costs, that 10% could be given to you instead in the form of discounts. Less shopping with IDs means more money saved for other expenses in the home renovation.


  1. Negotiation with IDs

This is probably the least talked about point as most of us Singaporeans are rather “paiseh” to negotiate with IDs. As most home owners will be spending quite a large sum of money, this is the time to unleash the inner negotiation master in you to save a couple of thousands of dollars. Here are some tips when negotiating with IDs:

  • Meet up with a couple of IDs. You will find that ideas do change with each ID that you meet. For convenience, request each ID to meet you at a certain location, with back to back meetings.
  • Judge each ID that you meet. See if the ID is confident about his/her work and thoughts.
  • Do not be afraid to let them know that you are also speaking with other IDs.
  • After receiving the quotes from IDs a couple to days later, compare each quote carefully for fine prints. The unit rates for each similar item should not differ by much. If the difference is a lot, question the ID on the difference.
  • General payment terms: 10% for 3D drawings, 30% prior to start of work, 50% prior to start of carpentry, 10% after all works is completed. Do not be pressurized by the ID to make early payments when work is not completed to satisfaction. Be firm in your stand.
  • During the conceptualisation of ideas, do not feel “paiseh” to request for changes to the design if you feel that the design is not up to your liking or standard. Someone once said “An ID only has to face the home for 3 months while the home owner will need to face it for a lifetime” That being said, the changes made must be in a reasonable context and timeframe.


  1. Buy Blinds direct from us! Buy from us! Buy from us!

Of course we are going to promote our own blinds and curtains. We are Singapore’s number one online store for Blinds and curtains. Do take sometime to look at our blinds designs and types. We are factory direct and our prices are definitely worth the quality of goods delivered. We have various types of blinds such as:

9. Shangri-La Blinds (Urbanhome.com.sg)2

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