3-Room HDB Flat Renovations Under $40K With Styles From Scandinavian To Vintage

16 May 2022 | BY

Here are seven home renovation styles under $40,000 that prove giving your 3-room HDB flat a fab makeover is totally possible without breaking the bank.


A resale flat renovation is notoriously expensive. Unless you’re completely fine with whatever was left behind by the previous owner, you’ll probably need a lot of work done to switch up your home’s design. With all the extensive built-in removals, hacking and dismantling required, it’s unsurprising for 3-room flat owners to rack up huge reno costs despite the small sqm. 

Though, there are always exceptions to the case so no worries if you’re on a tight budget. Here are seven flat renovation styles under $40,000 that prove giving your 3-room HDB flat a fab makeover is totally possible without breaking the bank.

1. Bohemian Scandinavian

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-1Image credit: The Interior Lab

Featuring soft, muted colours and playful decor pieces, this Bohemian Scandinavian reno by The Interior Lab emanates a fun yet cosy atmosphere.

This flat renovation’s price point becomes even more remarkable when you consider the thoughtful elements that have been incorporated into the design, such as the floating sideboard and false ceiling. However, the most impressive aspect of this reno might just be the shaker-style cabinets that seamlessly disguise the bomb shelter in this unit.

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-2Image credit: The Interior Lab

The homeowners also completely transformed the kitchen, embracing a minimalist modern American aesthetic. The light wood open shelving also reflects natural light and contributes to the bright and airy feel of the space. 

Cost of transformation: $35,000

2. Danish contemporary

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-3Image credit:

Drawing inspiration from Hyggepronounced “hoo-gah”the Danish concept of cosy comfort, this reno design exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere. Smooth curves replace harsh edges throughout, adding a touch of elegance and a distinctly contemporary style.

This focus on bespoke details is further emphasised by the inclusion of a custom-fabricated dry pantry that’s been cleverly integrated with a coffee bar. Its functionality and aesthetic value  are further enhanced by the use of stylish, space-saving arched partitions and pocket doors.

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-4Image credit:

Instead of a conventional solid door, a wood laminate sliding door separates the bedroom from the living area. A frosted glass panel incorporated into the door allows natural light to filter through, maintaining a sense of openness and airiness in both spaces.

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-5Image credit:

A large built-in unit in the bedroom seamlessly integrates a wardrobe, desk, bedside table, and headboard. While such extensive built-in carpentry can often cost upwards of $10k, the designers here strategically leveraged the budget to achieve this impressive result in this flat renovation.

Cost of transformation: $40,000

3. Nostalgic mid-century modern

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-6Image credit: Comfort Home Interior

Comfort Home Interior transformed this 3-room HDB in Kampong Kayu into a haven of timeless charm for just $35k. Many pieces in this home are genuine vintage finds from second-hand stores. This eco-conscious approach injects a unique character and a sense of history into the space, a welcome contrast to the potential costliness of brand-new furniture.

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-7Image credit: Comfort Home Interior

One key design element that truly elevates this home, but which can also contribute significantly to overall costs, is the hacking of the bedroom wall. Hacking walls can be a complex process requiring structural reinforcement, so achieving this open layout may have pushed up the renovation budget.

3-room-flat-reno-under-40k-8Image credit: Comfort Home Interior

Having undergone a complete rework, the kitchen boasts a sleek mid-century modern aesthetic. In spite of this, the designers cleverly maintained a sense of cohesion by incorporating an earthy stone tile backsplash that complements the red terracotta flooring in the entryway. This creates a visual connection between the spaces, despite their distinct styles.

Cost of transformation: $35,000

4. Luxe with bold texture

luxeImage credit: PRDT Interiors

Emanating atas vibes, this resale flat in Yishun embraces a modern style with its gold accents, sleek marble countertops and white feature walls. It reminds us a little of Peik Lin’s home in the Crazy Rich Asians movie in a way that screams opulence and luxury.

collageImage adapted from: PRDT Interiors 

The contemporary revamp makes this home look more spacious and brighter than your average HDB flat. Not to mention, the patterned tiles lining the hallway featured above add a pop of dimension and texture which remind us of a colonial house.

Cost of transformation: $39,000

5. Contemporary open-concept with wood accents

open conceptImage credit: The Interior Lab

Bringing some outdoorsy picnic vibes to the comforts of your home is this modern contemporary interior design by The Interior Lab. The home is decked out in warm woody accents and Scandinavian white tones. It’s even got a glass-enclosed study which allows more natural light into the room, giving the illusion of a larger living space.

picnic tableImage credit: The Interior Lab

On top of that, this reno also features an open concept kitchen alongside an actual picnic bench table, giving it the charm of an IG-worthy cafe. 

Cost of transformation: $28,000

6. Contemporary Industrial Style

industrialImage credit:

This apartment on Queen Street is basically your run-off-the-mill industrial style with its monochromatic scheme and cement screed-brushed flooring. Sleek black electrical pipes line the walls of the flat, serving as both a characteristic industrial design feature and a practical conduit function.

kitchenImage credit: Ascend Design

Most of the walls are whitewashed and contrast against the darker carpentry to give the home a more modern feel. Not to mention, this 2-bedroom flat also features a kitchen with a sliding glass door that provides the illusion of a bigger living space.

Cost of transformation: $35,000

7. Classic Victorian

victorianImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

Walking into this residential flat in Punggol Drive, you’ll be hard pressed to believe the entire flat renovation project only amounted to $25,000. This vintage interior design goes over the top with it’s mock fireplace, ornate chandeliers and patterned wallpapers, looking as though it belongs in a scene of a historical drama like The Crown

victorian bedroomImage credit: Fifth Avenue Interior

When you indulge in themed reno projects like this one, you might as well go big or go home, amirite? Even the bedroom in this apartment keeps up with the ostentatious Victorian layout, with its velvet furniture, luxe looking chandeliers and gold frames.

Cost of transformation: $25,000

8. Scandinavian with cosy touches 

scandinavianImage credit: Key Concept

Though the total reno cost for this design lies towards the higher end of our $40,000 budget, you’ll find that it’s worth every penny. Embracing a classic wood and white combination, the overall layout works to brighten up the indoor space without being too sterile. Instead, this home feels extra cosy, courtesy of the earthy wood tones in the house. 

secret roomImage credit: Key Concept

If you’re a fan of secret rooms, then this style is right up your alley – those big on their privacy, we’re looking at you. This renovation design conceals the bedroom door within its wood-panelled feature wall, creating more visual coherency. Even better, you can be sure no guests will be entering your bedroom unless you want them to. 

Cost of transformation: $$38,000

9. Vintage with old-school features 

peranakanImage credit: The Local INN.terior 新家室

This one’s for those who love the look of old-school British colonial-style houses. The overall home interior is classic and current all at once, combining sleek modern carpentry with aesthetically vintage furniture. 

peranakan tilesImage adapted from: The Local INN.terior 新家室 , The Local INN.terior 新家室

At the same time, you’ll find touches of Peranakan influences throughout the 80sqm HDB apartment. With Peranakan-inspired textures and patterns seen in the living room feature wall, the mosaic tiling of their bathroom walls and kitchen floors, this flat renovation style pays homage to Singapore’s colonial history. 

Cost of transformation: $33,000

10. Scandinavian minimalist 

scandinavian minimalist
Image credit:
Charlotte’s Carpentry

Scandinavian designs are marked by their simplicity and functionality without compromising on beauty at the same time. True to its characteristics, the Scandinavian theme can clearly be seen throughout this Toa Payoh East HDB flat.

living room
Image credit: Charlotte’s Carpentry

For this reno style, you don’t have to dramatically alter your home for it to look fresh. In fact, this home was easily given a nordic touch with its neutral colour palette and wooden elements – it appears minimalist without looking too sparse. 

Image credit:
Charlotte’s Carpentry

Take note that using real wood will hike your reno fees quite a bit so opting for vinyl wooden flooring and wood-looking vinyl laminate wraps might be the way to go if you wanna save on those dollars. 

Cost of transformation: $38,000

Budget HDB transformations to inspire you

Styling your home on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetics. It’s completely possible to give your place the makeover it deserves with these HDB flat renovation inspos. Spice up your apartment with styles like those above and inject your own flair and personality while at it – your dream home can still be realised without it getting too spenny. 

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Cover image credit: Fifth Avenue Interior,, Ascend Design

This article was originally published on 20th Jan 2022, and updated on 16th May 2024.

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