BTO Home Renovation Journey: From Key Collection to Move In

fladmin HDB interior design 07 Sep 2022

BTO Home Renovation Journey: From Key Collection to Move In


Is it time for you to finally collect the keys to your new home? After three to five years of waiting for your build-to-order (BTO) flat, you’d want the entire key collection to move-in journey to be as seamless as possible. However, there is still plenty to do before your home is move-in ready; from checking for defects to renovating your home, these are crucial steps to ensuring that your new home will be comfortable and pleasant for you and your family.


From key collection and checking for defects to deciding on your home interior design and renovation process, learn more about the things you’ll need to do leading up to your move.


Here’s what you need to bring along with you to your key collection appointment so that you can collect your keys without hiccups.


Things to bring to HDB key collection appointment Things to do before key collection appointment home interior design in Singapore


  • Identity Cards: Identity verification is needed for you to collect the keys to your home. 
  • Purchase Fire Insurance: All new homeowners must purchase fire insurance for their home from ETIQA, HDB’s appointed insurer. This can be done online or at HDB Hub itself. 
  • Singpass Mobile App: Make sure that your Singpass and all authentication methods are set up properly. You’ll need this to authorise transactions through your CPF. 
  • Marriage Certificate: For flats applied under the Fiancé/Fiancée Scheme, a marriage certificate must be provided during key collection, or submitted within 3 months of key collection. 
  • Completed GIRO Form: If you are paying any amount of your monthly instalment by cash, you’ll need to submit a completed GIRO form. 
  • Set Up and Activate Utilities Account: This is optional, but if you want to visit your new home immediately after to test all the utilities and electrical points, you should set up and activate your utility account before your key collection date. 


After Key Collection


1.1. Check, Check, and Check


checklist home interior design in Singapore


Once you’ve successfully collected your keys from HDB, it is time to check out your new home. Besides conducting door opening ceremonies or posting on social media to announce your new home, it is also important to carry out defect inspections to identify any problems in your new BTO flat. The faster this step is completed, the sooner you can move into your new home.


While HDB regularly conducts quality checks during the construction process, minor defects on surfaces and/or fittings in your home may still exist. Upon key collection, you have 30 days to report these defects to your project’s Building Services Centre (BSC) to have them resolved.


All new HDB BTO flats are covered under a 12-month Defect Liability Period, starting from the date of your key collection. Any defect found and reported within this period will be fixed by HDB at their cost. Do note that if you’ve commenced renovations, it may be difficult for HDB to ascertain whether the defect(s) was caused by HDB’s contractors and HDB may not be liable for any rectification work. Hence, it is recommended that you carry out the inspection and have any defects fixed before starting any renovation work.


Here are some useful things to have with you during the inspection.


  • All keys to your unit and letterbox: To test the locks 
  • Clutch keys provided in your letterbox and a (+) screwdriver: To test and turn on water mains 
  • Post-it notes or painter’s tape: To label and point out defects for easier visibility 
  • Pen or pencil and paper: To create a defects list 
  • Mobile charger: To test electrical points 
  • Tapping rod: To check for hollow tiles 

Here’s a guide to what you need to check.


  1. Walls, Floors & Ceilings 

    Walls, Floors & Ceilings home interior design in Singapore


    When checking your walls, floors, and ceilings, scrutinise the facade for any cracks, chips, scratches, stains, peeling of paint, difference in colour tones, visible brush strokes, or for any dampness, stickiness and overly rough surfaces. Do not dismiss even the most minor stains as they could indicate a leak somewhere.


    Tiled floors may have slight colour differences between each tile that do not call for concern, but do pay attention to the grout line between each tile and ensure that there is no discolouration. For tiled floors in your toilets, pour water over them and see if the water flows correctly towards the floor traps; puddles of water should not be forming anywhere else.


    Additionally, examine the skirting in your home flooring and ensure that it is straight and even, with no gaps. The corners and joints where the wall meets the ceiling must also be checked for any cracks or gaps.


  2. Fixtures and Fittings 

    Inspect the fixtures and fittings, such as toilet bowls, sinks, and faucets, in your home. Taps should not continue to drip after they’ve been turned off and water pressure should not be too strong or too weak. There should also be no leaks below the sink or toilet bowls.


    In addition, check that other fixtures like your drying rack are working properly, with no sign of rust, scratch, chip or crack.


  3. Electrical & Plumbing 

    Electrical & Plumbing home interior design in Singapore


    Test the lights in your home and use a phone charger to test every power outlet to ensure that they are all working properly. Power sockets should be flushed against the wall and aligned in the same position, with no gaps or loosely fitted sockets. Also run a check on the toilet pipes to see if there are any signs of choking by flushing a few pieces of toilet paper down.


  4. Doors & Windows 

    All the keys for your home should be tested, including the ones on your letterbox and windows. Afterwhich, inspect all doors and windows for any squeaking or creaking noises coming from the hinges, ensure that they can be opened and closed smoothly, check for any rust, scratches, or cracks on the doors and windows, make sure that the sealant connecting the window pane to the frame is intact, and that there are no leaks around the windows when it rains.


You may hire a contractor or engage the services of a reliable interior designer to perform the inspection for you; some of them may charge you a fee for it but you may be able to receive the service for free if you are planning to get your home renovated with them.


Once you’ve completed the inspection, fill in the Defects Feedback Form and report it to your project’s BSC. When all rectification work to your new flat is done, you may begin your interior design and home renovation process.


1.2. Consult an Interior Designer


The next step to building your dream home is to invite your interior designer to your new home. This is a crucial step as it allows your designer to see the actual space and note down accurate measurements to conceptualise something for you.


Consult an Interior Designer home interior design in Singapore


If this is your first consultation with the interior designer, they will take this chance to get to know more about you, your lifestyle habits, your vision and your preferences, as well as your family’s needs. This is also the best time for you to get to know their work processes, business practices, and payment terms.


Let’s say this is the initial consultation you’re having with your interior designer and you’re not sure what to expect, here are some key things you should prepare prior to the meeting that could help your designer understand your needs better. It is also helpful to have these things ready even if this isn’t your first time speaking with the designer.


  • Moodboard: Showcase a collection of your favourite home interior design photographs, a palette of colours you fancy, a collage of the ornaments and furniture you like, as well as some samples of textures or pictures of design elements you would like to have in your home. A moodboard is the best way to convey your thoughts. But if putting this together is too much of a hassle, you can simply communicate your ideas through words. The designer will make use of this moodboard to design a space that matches you as much as possible. 

    moodboard home interior design in Singapore


  • Your home floor plan: Your designer will need this 2D floor plan to do space planning and to help you visualise the layout of your home. 
  • Questions you have: Get ready all the questions you have and fire them away when you meet your designer. This will not only help you gain a better idea of what you need to do for your space, but it may also help stimulate your designer’s mind to think of new and better solutions. 

Designing Your Home


2.1. Deciding on an Interior Design


While working on your home interior design with the designer, you’ll need to decide on the style you want for your home. Some of the most common home interior design styles in Singapore are Scandinavian, modern industrial, japandi, wabi-sabi, and modern luxury. Here’s a look at some of these styles to help you find one that might suit your tastes.


  1. Scandinavian 

    We’ve all seen Scandinavian interiors. In fact, it is the foundation of Ikea and its designs, and it’s a design style popular around the world. Scandinavian design is a mix of old and new styles from Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Norway, and its conceptualisation began in the early 20th century before gaining traction in the United States and Canada.


    Scandinavian home interior design in Singapore


    This design style is simple, minimal, functional and of top quality. Yet, it has always been kept affordable. At its core, it focuses on creating basic environments with the impact to improve daily living.


    Scandinavian home interiors flaunt bright, open, and airy spaces, clean lines, and plenty of visual room to move and breathe. They also evoke a sense of serenity through the addition of natural elements such as light and bright wood, nature-inspired sculptures and art, house plants, textiles, neutral palettes of nature—think earthy tones with small touches of vibrant colours, and more.


    Another fundamental characteristic of Scandinavian interior design is hygge, a Danish word that refers to the cosy, warm, and comfortable qualities that spark contentment and values wellbeing. Hygge living can be incorporated into your home through candles, fluffy blankets, soft and pleasant scents, and just about anything that contributes to a comforting atmosphere.


  2. Modern Industrial 

    The modern industrial design style is all about baring it all and exposing what lies beneath to bring out a raw and edgy appearance. Unrefined structures, such as bare beams, visible ductwork, pipes, as well as unfinished wood, are put on full display, carefully combined with earthy wood characteristics of modern design to mould together a look that appears unfiltered and organic, and yet cohesive and chic. Throw in some warm, neutral tones and they’ll bring visual warmth to an otherwise cold and intimidating space.


    Also Read: What Is Modern Industrial Interior Design?


  3. Japandi 

    Japan and Scandinavian countries may seem as though they have nothing in common, but they are actually largely similar when it comes to interior design; both aesthetics focus on simplicity, nature, and comfort. The combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism creates the perfect fusion of function and form.


    Japandi interior design rose to fame in recent years, featuring exquisite craftsmanship and quality, handmade pieces. It favours neutral palettes with tranquil and serene characteristics, sustainable furnishings with clean lines, and subtle, minimalist designs.


    To recreate this style in your home, fill the space with the cosiness of Scandinavian design by throwing on soft textures while maintaining the elegance and zen-like sense of calm of Japanese decor by integrating warm wooden pieces


  4. Wabi-Sabi 

    Wabi sabi is another Japanese concept that opposes many conventional home decor rules and completely ignores the need for perfection. It’s more than just a design and style. It is, in fact, a life philosophy, a way of living and perceiving the world with the goal of embracing raw imperfections and accepting life’s natural process of growth and decay.


    Materials are appreciated in their most organic and genuine form in this design style. Each item adds warmth to the room, creating a sense of cosiness and comfort, and they all work together to tell a story.


    Wabi-sabi also prefers warm, neutral colours, organic shapes, and imperfect designs. Expect to see a mix of textures, earthy tones, and natural elements that deliver a living experience closer to nature.


  5. Modern Luxury 

    Modern Luxury home interior design in Singapore


    There is no specific definition for luxury living—it is an experience created from the combination of your environment and your daily lifestyle. But, luxurious spaces do share a few characteristics that contribute to a lavish and indulgent standard of living.


    Modern luxury interiors showcase a living system that is both functional and magnificent. It is more than just expensive furnishings, chandeliers and tufted seats. In fact, it is inspired by Modernism, which reflects a carefree attitude toward life.


    Rich textures, clean and sleek designs, glossy and polished metallic finishes, and clutter-free spaces are some characteristics of modern luxury interiors. This style should also feel warm, inviting, and one-of-a-kind, and it should allow you to live in comfort and convenience.


    Also Read: Achieving Minimalism And Luxury In Your Home Interior


We recommend visiting an interior design showroom to get some renovation design ideas when deciding on a style. You are not required to conform to a single interior design style if it does not appeal to you. If nothing catches your eye, or if you have a specific look in mind, share your thoughts and ideas with your designer and let them bring your vision to life. Your home’s interior design can even be a curated mix of three to four different design styles from various time periods and design movements.


2.2. 2023 Interior Design Trends


Living in a beautiful home with trendy and aesthetically pleasing interiors is everyone’s dream. Here are some 2023 interior design trends to consider to help you get there.


  1. Biophilic Interiors 

    Biophilic designs thrive due to humans’ constant need to connect with nature. Consider incorporating more elements of nature into your living space by using house plants and natural building materials such as rattan, wood, and textiles.


  2. Functionality 

    Functionality is essential for a pleasant living experience, and while aesthetics are important, always prioritise the utility of each piece of furniture and ensure that it can improve your quality of life before considering its visual appeal.


  3. Vintage Touch 

    Vintage or retro items add a splash of colour and personality to your space, and they may contribute more character to your home than any other modern ornament.


  4. Earthy Colour Palette 

    Earthy colour palettes with shades and tones that remind us of the natural environment, such as brown, olive green, and cream, are great colours to have in your home. They are also “eternal” colours, meaning they will never go out of style.


2.3. Home Renovation Journey


The home renovation journey begins once you’ve decided what you want to do with the interior of your home. Many interior design companies do not share the entire renovation process with you, which can end up causing uncertainty and anxiousness in you. Here’s a typical timeline to help you understand your role throughout the timeline and prepare for when you need to take action.


Step 1: Consultation


This is the stage at which you will meet with your interior designer to discuss your wants and needs. Understanding you will help them in producing a better interior design for you. At this point, you should gather some of your favourite home interior design images and be ready to share all of your ideas.


Step 2: Space Planning


Your interior designer will create a 2D layout to show you what they plan to do with your space. For example, hacking down any walls, furniture placement, kitchen floor plan, and so on.


Step 3: Design Proposal


Design Proposal home interior design in Singapore


Following your approval of the space planning layout, the designer will design your home and send you a rendering of how it will look after the renovation. All the elements in this 3D rendering should be exactly what your designer will add to your home. Bring up your concerns during this stage and request that your designer make changes until you are completely satisfied with the design.


Step 4: Material and Colour Selection


If you intend to install new flooring or cabinets, you will need to choose your own materials and colours for each fixture. Most interior designers will show you a catalogue of swatches and samples, but you can request to visit the supplier showroom to see larger samples, especially for marble or hardwood tiles. Larger samples are preferable because they provide a better representation of how the material will appear in your home.


Step 5: Fabrication


At this point, your interior design company’s carpenters will begin building all of the cabinets, tables, wardrobes, and other fittings that will be installed in your home. Your interior designer should supervise this production and ensure that everything is produced in the correct size and material.


Step 6: Renovation


Contractors for hacking, tiling, painting, electrical, and plumbing will begin renovation work. The cabinetry will be installed once the fabrication is done. You can go up to your unit to check on the progress of your renovation, but your interior designer should be in charge of the project and provide weekly updates.


Step 7: Cleaning Up & Inspection


When the renovation project is completed, the interior design company you hired should provide cleaning services to remove the dirt and dust that was created during the renovation. Then, the interior designer should walk you through the entire project and inspect it to ensure that every colour, material, and design is correctly produced.


Step 8: Handover


Once inspection is cleared, the interior designer will handover the home to you. You may begin bringing your new furniture and belongings into your house. You may also wish to hire another cleaning company to do a thorough clean right before moving in.


From key collection to move in, there are many steps to take and it can become overwhelming and complex if you decide to go through extensive renovations to build your dream home. However, with the right people on your side, the entire process can be simplified.


We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of what you should do and expect while preparing your new home. If you need interior design assistance, tap on interior design services to relieve you of the renovation burden.


Fineline Design is an interior design company in Singapore that provides residential interior design services to help homeowners unlock the doors to their forever home. Get started on your home transformation journey today.