Perspectives Renovation

How We Saved $1.5K On Our $13K BTO Reno By Painting Our Entire Home By Ourselves

14 September 2023 | BY

The homeowners of this 4-room HDB BTO shaved $1.5K from their renovation expenditure, capping the total cost at $13K.

$13K HDB reno wall painting DIY - cover

Getting the keys to your BTO home is a huge milestone in Singapore, but that doesn’t mean the job is done – you now have to deal with renovation. While renovation is the key to making our dream home come true, it rarely comes cheap. To keep things within their budget, Liv and her husband painted the walls in their 4-room HDB BTO.

They saved a good $1.5K in the process and managed to cap their total expenditure at $13K. We spoke to them and got firsthand deets on the story of their journey.

Choosing to paint their walls & ceilings without hiring a painter

$13K HDB reno wall painting DIY - bedroomImage credit: @dynalivv

A freelancer by profession, Liv was not supportive of the idea of taking up a renovation loan, especially with a HDB mortgage in hand. This prompted Liv and her husband to shift their mindset away from having a lavish renovation, and towards a more minimalist one that can evolve over the years.

While they were diligent in setting aside a fixed amount for renovation for several years, their budget wasn’t the most flexible as their money also went towards renting a studio apartment for 1.5 years.

$13K HDB reno wall painting DIY - beforeImage credit: @dynalivv

As such, Liv and her husband thought about painting their walls and ceilings by themselves without hiring a painter. Since their previous studio apartment was close to a paint store, they could conveniently pop by to request for paint card samples, which could then be used as reference to see if it would match with their new floor tiles before they decided on a paint colour.

It took them only a month before they decided on Raffles Paint’s R.One paint in the shade Quilter’s Thread. Conveniently enough, the 2-in-1 paint also served as a primer, making the painting process easier. Altogether, they saved about $1,500, down from the $2,200 they would have spent if they hired professional painters.

Industrial style lightsImage credit: @dynalivv

They commenced their painting job after wall hacking was completed. They started off with the ceiling as they wanted it to be all done before their ceiling fans arrived. The couple only had a 2-month window to work with, which meant that they had to have an efficient game plan going in. 

Painting section by section over the months, they finished everything 4 months after starting. In between, they took a break to focus on moving in and organising the furniture in the house.

Saving $1.5K on wall paintingImage credit: @dynalivv

One thing Liv noted was how painting your ceilings, while subtle, can give your home a major facelift. Taking inspiration from Greek and Moroccan design elements, where beige micro cement fill the floors and ceilings evenly, they ensured that there was a seamless blend of colour across all walls.

Speaking of tips, Liv highlights that paint roller extensions will be your #1 best friend. Not only are they crucial for painting ceilings, but they also do a great deal in helping you paint the walls – especially the higher spots – easily. That said, she advises against using rollers with long fluff as they get matted very easily.

Also, don’t forget to get protective safety goggles as the paint will splatter all over your body and face.

Painting her own walls was a clear choice for Liv to not only to keep their renovation budget-friendly, but to also add a handmade charm to the space. While she has learnt loads from this experience, she does concur that she would have hired a painter if she had the money to spare.

Spending $13K for their 4-room BTO renovation

$13K HDB reno wall painting DIY - dining3D rendering of their kitchen.
Image credit: @dynalivv

Beyond painting their own walls, Liv and her husband have expressed their money-saving savviness in many other ways. They kept the default tiles and fittings provided by HDB, and the only area that they properly renovated was the kitchen, where they opted for loose furnishings to accommodate potential changes in the future. 

Even the bathroom was left unrenovated as they figured overlaying the tiles and installing a vanity would set them back several thousand dollars that could be put to better use.

$13K HDB BTO reno kitchen mockup3D rendering of their kitchen.
Image credit: @dynalivv

As expected, the priciest component in their renovation was carpentry. Making up 60% of their expenses, their carpentry works included their kitchen countertops. While staying prudent was the main criteria when making renovation decisions, Liv was okay with spending money on carpentry as the materials used were of good quality.

Saving money on home renovation with DIYPainting a home by yourself to save money

These days, the cost of renovation seems to be a continuously upward trend. Unless you have built a sizable nest egg for a while, it’s hard to build your dream home straight after getting your keys without taking on a loan. This is especially if you’ve only been working for a couple of years, or have just emptied your life savings on a wedding.

As manifested through her clever DIY painting ventures, Liv’s approach towards renovating her first home brings about a refreshing perspective. By executing her reno plans in phases based on her finances, she is still able to bring her dream home to life even if it means taking a few more years, as she can do so while living comfortably day by day.


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 Cover image adapted from: dynalivv

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