It’s no secret – Malaysians love renovating their homes.
Everyone has their own style when it comes to renovating their home. Some like to keep it simple, some like to keep it functional. Others want their home to look like a snapshot out of a magazine.
Whichever style you pick, there is one important factor: the renovation cost.
How much does it actually cost to renovate a home in Malaysia?
Renovations have a reputation for being expensive. However, there are ways to make your vision come to life without completely blowing your bank account.
Before we get started, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning for your home renovation:
- Prepare a floor plan. Know the size of your home, including the details of each room in the house.
- What is your intention for renovating the home? Will you be staying there or renting it out?
- Decide which room is the most important to you. Is it the kitchen? The master bedroom? The living room?
- List down the specifics that you want for each room. For example, do you want a four-seater or six-seater dining table? Will there be a single bed or a double bed in the bedrooms? What kind of shower do you want in the master bathroom?
- Prepare some sample photos of interior design ideas so contractors can have a clear picture of what you want. Verbal descriptions can be vague.
- Decide how much money you are comfortable spending on your home renovation. Speak to a few friends, ask around, or just continue reading this article to find out how much you should put aside.
Keep in mind that renovations for an apartment will be very different from renovations for a double-storey house; however, we will try to demonstrate the average costing.
There’s no right amount of money to spend when it comes to renovations. It can go as low or as high as you want. It’s safe to assume that the amount would come up to at least 10% of the price of the house.
So if you paid RM300,000 for the house, be prepared to set aside at least RM30,000 for the home renovation. Of course, this is subject to change depending on the condition of the house, the purpose of renovation, and so on.
Pro Tip: Some developers give you cashback when you buy a house, so you can use that cashback for renovations and don’t need to fork out extra money. (this applies to brand new homes only)
With all that in mind, here’s a rough estimate of how much it would cost to renovate a home in Malaysia.
Kitchen – RM20,000 to RM40,000
The kitchen is one of the important areas at home.
It’s where you get your morning coffee and prepare all your meals. When there’s a party at home, guests will also be going in and out of your kitchen. You want it to be perfect.
This is why kitchen renovations tend to take up a huge chunk of the budget.
If you’re renovating your home to be rented out, then it is possible to stick to the low end of the budget – around RM20,000 to RM25,000. All you will need is essentials like a stovetop, plenty of storage, a basic oven or microwave, and a functional sink.
Renovating for your own stay will take you to the middle or higher end of the budget.
Fret not, there are ways to get your dream kitchen without emptying your bank account. For example, you can opt for a quartz countertop instead of natural stones like granite or marble. It’s a cheaper and more durable option.
Basic melamine cabinets start at RM3,000 and can go up to RM10,000 if incorporated with quartz or granite.
Installing a built-in oven along with a hob and hood can cost up to RM10,000. To save money here, you can position the stove near the windows to get natural ventilation instead.
You don’t necessarily need a built-in oven either. Most branded ovens like Electrolux and Elba go for about RM2,000 to RM2,500.
Don’t forget including the budget for a water filter in your kitchen as well.
Living room – RM10,000 to RM30,000
Revitalizing your living room is so important. Why? It is the first room you see when you get back home after a long day at work. It needs to feel cosy and welcoming.
Some of the important aspects of the living room are cabinets, walls, lights, fan, air conditioning, and wiring.
For an average-sized apartment unit, it is safe to put aside RM1,500 to RM2,000 for all wiring works. This will include electrical works in the kitchen and bathrooms as well.
TV cabinets start at RM200 and can go up to a few thousand; it really depends on your style and preference.
Air conditioning installations range from RM300 to RM700, depending on their size and horsepower.
There are many options for tiles. For living rooms, you’d use bigger tiles that could cost anywhere between RM1.80 to RM50 per tile. Premium tiles cost even more. Tiles installation cost varies according to the size of the tiles.
For lights, the price range can be between RM35 to RM400. Again, this depends on your style and preference. The fancier it looks, the more expensive it is. Ask the shopkeeper for energy-saving bulbs; they use less electricity but have the same intensity as normal bulbs. Stay away from halogen light bulbs as they can get pretty hot.
Fan installation would cost about RM150 to RM250 per unit.
Pro Tip: Do not go for fancy looking fans. The fancier it looks, the less effective it is.
Rejuvenating the living room with fresh paint would cost about RM800. Allocate about RM2,500 to RM3,000 for the whole house, including kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Bedrooms – RM15,000 to RM30,000
Typically, most houses in Malaysia have about 3 bedrooms – one master bedroom, one middle bedroom, and one small bedroom.
The basic makeover that bedrooms will need are tiles, fresh coats of paint, and electrical works.
Bed frames, wardrobes, and dressers come in package deals so they can be very budget-friendly. A bed frame, wardrobe, and dresser set would start at around RM800. You can get these items online too.
Built-in wardrobes can hike up the price to RM2,500 until RM10,000 – depending on the size and materials.
Bathrooms – RM10,000 to RM30,000
If your bathrooms are already functional and just need a facelift, they can be done for RM8,000 or less. Facelift means just getting a new sink, shower, and maybe modifying the toilet.
However, if you need to remove the existing tiles and install new ones, it could cost a bit more.
Common bathroom works would include tiling, piping works, toilet fittings, sink, cabinet, towel rails.
Sink and aluminium cabinet installation costs about RM1,500 to RM2,000. Toilet fittings can come up to RM1,300.
For bathroom renovation costs in Malaysia, it would be safe to allocate about RM30,000 for all three bathrooms. That means RM15,000 for the master bathroom and RM6,000 to RM7,000 for the guest bathrooms.
If you want to add a bathtub, that would cost an additional RM3,000 to RM6,500.
So you’re all excited to get started on your renovations… but wait.
Tips When Renovating a Home in Malaysia
Here are a few important points to note before you get started:
Have a budget beforehand and keep track of your cash flow.
It’s very important that you have a budget drawn out before getting started. We’re talking about a proper budget on an app or a notebook, not just in your head.
In some cases, you don’t hire a single person to do everything. For example, you may get one contractor for kitchen counters, one for plumbing, and one for painting. Some furniture and appliances you’d get yourself.
So keeping track of money going out is essential; write everything down, even if it is just RM5 for screws and bolts from MR.DIY.
Always get a quotation from the contractor or supplier before proceeding.
Get a proper quote from your contractor before starting renovations. Again, persist to get an official one, not just on WhatsApp or a verbal agreement.
This will prevent possible dispute or problems in near future, as you have everything in black and white.
Get your contractor to specify what materials will be provided, the sizes, the color scheme, the extent of their service, the timeline, etc. This is so you can make sure that they deliver what they promise.
Always show up to check on construction progress.
Yes, we’d all like to trust our contractors and let them do their jobs uninterrupted, but one small mistake on their part can cost a lot of money on your part to rectify. It’s important that you always show up, especially for important installations.
Keep an eye and point out things you don’t like or do not seem like what was agreed upon so that it can be sorted out on the spot.
If your renovation involves pulling new wiring or water pipes, take a picture of its placement. This is important as when it comes to future repairs, it’ll be easier to pinpoint the areas.
Take your time to research.
When your contractor or supplier suggests something, don’t just take their word for it. Do your own research about the materials and learn about it. Make sure to ask follow up questions.
Even more, get a second opinion from a friend or another contractor before proceeding.
For example, if your contractor suggests using melamine chipboard for the furniture in your home, ask the reason why. Learn every strength and weakness of that material. Double-check with friends and the internet and weigh the pros and cons.
At the end of the day, you’re spending a lot of money on renovations and you deserve to have all the answers before you commit.
There’s no one fixed cost when it comes to renovating a home in Malaysia. Rather, it’s better to start with a budget you can spare, then work backwards to see what you can include that is within your renovation budget.
With a proper budget plan in place, home renovation can be less stressful and in fact an encouraging activity.