I recently completed a renovation and my total spend was kept very low. Renovation costs can range from $10,000 to $120,000, and I'm happy to say that I've kept mine at about $13,000. We also completed the major works within about 2 months.
Don't hire an interior designer
The big draw of an interior designer is that they'll save you time and suggest designs for you, and manage all of your contractors. This could help, but if you're on a budget, that will definitely increase the amount you're spending. Also, you'd still need to be involved in the process to ensure the design is what you wanted.
Don't do too much
One big thing going for me was that I opted to keep things as-is, and not add too much new walls, bulky furniture or electrical points and such. This meant that I was able to reduce my costs and also time to completion. Think carefully about what you want before you start. I originally wanted a mirror wall somewhere in the house, but eventually decided that it was too much hassle. That helped to reduce a lot of work and some costs from the final bill.
A lot of people in Singapore choose to buy from online sources like Taobao and then install it themselves. In fact, there are people who specifically help others to install things from Taobao, such as doors and electrical works.
As someone concerned about the environment, I tried to keep new purchases to a minimum. So I used Carousell extensively for furniture. Sometimes you'd have good finds there. A few of mine include:
- A new sofa (received as an unused gift)
- A new but opened mattress (wrong size was bought)
- A free high-quality table (they needed to get rid of it in a hurry)
"Guanxi" or, connections
We mostly used our connections and our friends to ask around for good people for renovation and furniture works. Some ways to do it:
- Ask friends who've done renovation recently.
- Ask the contractors you see directly and work with them directly.
- Ask friends if they have any furniture they are looking to sell.