Uni Grad DIYs His HDB’s Vinyl Flooring & Builds His Own Wooden Furniture For Only $265

15 September 2023 | BY

From DIY vinyl room flooring to building a stylish and functional table shelf, there’s nothing this talented craftsman can’t do.

We’ve come across our fair share of impressive HDB DIYs, from arched bookcases to window sill nooks. However, UX Design graduate Neo Liang has taken the concept of home DIYs to a new level, harnessing his impressive woodworking skills to craft custom vinyl and carpentry solutions for his HDB flat – all for under $265.

Getting into the art of woodworking

diy furniture pieces

Some of Neo’s DIY carpentry projects.
Image credit: Neo Liang

Neo shared that his foray into DIY and woodworking began during Singapore’s lockdown in 2020 when he moved out of a shared bedroom with his brother and into his own space. However, as a student, he struggled to find budget-friendly furniture online. 

Cooped up in his home with plenty of time to spare, Neo decided to take matters into his own hands by taking up the art of woodworking. “I picked up most of my initial skills from YouTube, before taking a woodworking module in school which accelerated my learning and growth in the craft,” he shared with us.

He went on to give us a rundown of his 4 biggest HDB DIY projects.

A DIY “wonky table shelf” with bag storage

diy wooden shelf and bag storageImage credit: Neo Liang

Affectionately dubbed the “wonky table shelf,” Neo’s DIY shelf and extendable bag storage is his personal favourite project thus far. Cherished for its blend of functionality and aesthetics, the dual-function shelf was conceptualised to address Neo’s need for additional table space and fulfil his desire for a designated space to keep his assortment of bags.

process of diy wooden shelf

Neo reworked the shelf’s sharp edge into a stylish curve for safety and aesthetics.
Image credit: Neo Liang

Working without the luxury of a workshop, Neo meticulously cut and sanded the wood by hand to achieve the desired smooth finish.

“I embarked on this project after attending a woodworking class at NTU ADM (Art, Design, and Media)  where I was exposed to the intricacies of fine furniture and ended up taking about 3 days to complete the shelf due to an increased desire for perfection,” Neo shared.

diy wooden shelf and bag storageImage credit: Neo Liang

The bag storage solution he created was an extendable sliding rack and metal S-hooks to retrieve his bags effortlessly.

Neo also managed to keep costs minimal, with an estimated $10 for the raw materials – wood and screws – and approximately $5 for the drawer sliders to create the extendable rack. 

With $15 and a fair amount of persistence and perfectionism, Neo’s hard work culminated in his beloved “wonky table shelf” – a creation that enhances both form and function within his living space.

A double-level bedside table

wooden bedside table

From sketch to final product.
Image credit: Neo Liang

Created during the aforementioned NTU ADM module, Neo’s double-level bedside table is a precise and impressive piece of craftsmanship that took him 12 painstaking weeks to build.

process of making diy table

Instead of screws and nails, Neo used tusk tenon joints to assemble the bedside table.
Image credit: Neo Liang

Despite having access to a proper workshop, Neo faced many difficulties during construction. “I created this as part of a Fine Furniture Making module, so craftsmanship standards were very high. The wood was carefully selected, proportions were meticulously considered, and we were required to use hand joints instead of screws or nails,” he recounted.

process of diy wooden bedside table

Image credit: Neo Liang

Neo’s double-level bedside table is a testament to his precision and skill. While the machines used during the ADM module were worth thousands of dollars, Neo explained that the cost of the raw wood amounted to a mere $30.

“This was a huge project for me, but it really taught me to appreciate woodworking and furniture making – skills that have preceded us for thousands of years and are steeped in history and culture,” he reflected.

Murphy storage bed DIY – His biggest project to date

diy bed stand

DIY Murphy storage bed with mattress and pillows stowed away.
Image credit: Neo Liang YouTube

One of Neo’s earliest woodworking endeavours – and by far his most ambitious- was his DIY Murphy storage bed project, which he started in late 2020. “I wanted a Murphy bed in order to maximise space in my small room, but the models in the market were beyond my budget constraints,” he told us.

Undeterred, Neo resolved to create his own version of a Murphy bed – a self-designed model that seamlessly transforms from a conventional bed into a raised wooden platform.

With storage compartments ingeniously concealed beneath the bed for pillows and bolsters and a mattress that effortlessly folds upward, the bed is easily converted into an elevated lounge area reminiscent of a serene Japanese tea room.
process of making wooden bed stand

Image credit: Neo Liang YouTube

When asked about the initial design process, Neo explained that he perused numerous online videos and sketched out a rough guide before delving into the woodworking process. “The design was adapted along the way as I navigated several unforeseen challenges, but that’s the beauty of the creative process,” he remarked.

The project took 2 weeks to complete, during which Neo encountered various struggles in constructing the locking and hinging mechanisms and with the general woodworking.

process of diy wooden bed

Image credit: Neo Liang YouTube

The overall expense came to approximately $100, with pine planks sourced from a supplier in Sungei Kadut, plywood obtained from a supplier in Admiralty, and various other materials such as polyurethane, wheels, flat brackets, door hinges, and screws purchased from a nearby hardware store.

However, Neo revealed that the PVA wood glue he bought from Shopee, which he used to secure the nails between the planks, began deteriorating after just 1 year. “By then, I was more experienced and had a much better understanding of woodworking, so I decided to take the entire bed apart and repurpose the wood for other projects,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Neo has no regrets about undertaking the Murphy storage bed DIY. Beyond introducing him to the world of woodworking, the project ignited Neo’s passion for home DIYs – a pursuit that has brought him immense joy and substantial long-term savings.

DIY vinyl room flooring for $120


Buy sticky vinyl planks fpr $3/pc ish and get to work boi!! #sgtiktok #woodworking #tiktokdiy #fypシ #wellness

♬ original sound – HDB HOBBYIST – HDB HOBBYIST

Apart from building furniture pieces, Neo also took on the challenge of revamping the flooring of his HDB, which he described as one of the more straightforward DIY endeavours. Tired of his room’s original HDB flooring, the seasoned DIY enthusiast upgraded the aesthetic by installing self-adhesive PVC floor planks from Shopee to create fresh vinyl flooring.

vinyl flooring tiles from shopee

Neo purchased approximately 55 floor planks and spent an estimated $120.
Image credit: Shopee

While the task wasn’t particularly challenging, it demanded considerable patience. “It would have definitely been easier if my room’s floor plan was more regular,” Neo said, recalling the tedious task of trimming the vinyl pieces to shape. 

Despite this, he completed the entire project within 2 days and achieved an aesthetic and trendy room flooring for a modest investment of $120.

“It’s been over 3 years since I first installed the planks, and they’ve remained in original condition till now, with no problems or dents,” Neo testified. Additionally, there’s good news for inspired homeowners planning to embark upon a similar project, as the price for the planks has dropped from $2.20/piece to $0.89/piece.

DIY HDB vinyl & carpentry for $265

In retrospect, Neo’s series of DIY projects – ranging from the wonky table shelf and bedside table to the Murphy storage bed and vinyl flooring have culminated in a total investment of just $265.

His advice to homeowners venturing into similar projects is simple: embrace the challenges and enjoy the process. Despite inevitable setbacks, Neo reflected that his DIY journey had fostered a deeper appreciation for furniture and craftsmanship within him.

“You may even grow to like your mistakes for the unique character they infuse into your furniture,” he spoke from experience, emphasising that embarking on DIY projects is a satisfying, rewarding, and budget-friendly hobby.

For more of Neo’s DIY endeavours, check out @hdb.hobbyist.

Get more inspiration from these other home DIYs:

Cover image adapted from: Neo Liang YouTube

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