The smart homeowner’s guide to refreshing your home without breaking the bank

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TEXT: MORGAN AWYONG

PHOTOS: VARIOUS

Home is where the heart is. So why shouldn’t we try to make our space a photogenic haven? Refreshing your abode doesn’t need to involve costly renovations that also disrupt your daily routine. You can get good decorative mileage by opting for choice furniture pieces.

The best part is, there are places in Singapore that offer stylish but affordable furniture without breaking the bank. These businesses often focus on pre-loved or repurposed items – donated or salvaged – and given a second life by these experts. With their keen curation, one person’s junk is indeed another person’s treasure. 

TONG MERN SERN ANTIQUES ARTS & CRAFTS

Talk about character. Tong Mern Sern sticks out like a “sore” thumb along Craig Road from its refurbished neighbours. Its original facade – somewhat worn and with a giant yellow banner stating their purpose – is like a time capsule into the past with its collection of vintage pieces.

Spread over three floors are furniture, fittings and decor items that will evoke nostalgia. Seen more as antiques, prices here may occasionally be a bit higher, but given their rarity and condition, can prove to be investment pieces that are well worth it.

THE REJECT SHOP

While others look to give second life to used pieces, The Reject Shop saves those that didn’t even make it to the shelves. They collect items rejected by manufacturers due to minor defects but are otherwise completely functional and safe to use. Think, light scratches at the bottom of a table leg or a sofa cushion with a slightly crooked seam. Most of these defects can be overlooked with a fresh coat of paint or other subtle creative solutions like adding a tablecloth. If you’re good with keeping things “out of sight, out of mind”, then this place is perfect for you.

HOCK SIONG & CO

From a simple karang guni (scrap dealer) operation in the 1970s to today’s empire of restoration, Hock Siong & Co has built a solid reputation for their beautifully-refurbished pieces. Their team of craftsmen chisel, varnish and sand away at preloved pieces, giving them a new lease of life. 

Their wooden pieces are highlights and you’ll find many furniture items made from natural teak, rosewood, and more. It’s an incredible way to extend their use and their eclectic selection is bound to fit any theme you might have in mind.

With a keen eye for design, it’s unsurprising that many of their selections posted on their Facebook become sold out within the hour. They are also very savvy in collecting stylish pieces from hotels and showflats, so if you’re looking to have that luxe look on a budget, this place won’t disappoint.

JUNKIE’S CORNER

If you love a good dive into the wildest assortment of furniture, knick-knacks and more, then pop over to Junkie’s Corner. True to the first part of its name, this is a real junkyard that can turn up some surprising finds. But unlike the latter part, Junkie’s Corner is more of a warehouse stuffed to the roof with collected items.

This is perfect for those who love a real scavenger hunt. There’s some mild organisation here, but you’ll see cupboards next to chairs, with random rugs or lamps piled around them. There are great vintage pieces such as the classic Singer sewing machines or marble-topped kopitiam (coffee shop) tables. The pieces here are “as is” – so they may need some work.

With no online presence, you’ll have to visit them at 2 Turf Club Rd. And just to note, they are open to a little bargaining.

SALVATION ARMY

Another reliable place to look for preloved pieces will be The Salvation Army’s social enterprise, Red Shield Industries. The international organisation reuses, recycles and restores a myriad of donations from the public and organisations. With their teams and volunteers helming the effort, you can be assured that the salvaged pieces are worth picking up.


For your best bet, head over to the Praisehaven Mega Family Store at Upper Bukit Timah Road. It is the largest of the four outlets and most likely to have furniture pieces. You can even check out the online options and Carousell listings without visiting the stores. Proceeds from the sales would go towards care provisions to underserved communities. It’s truly a wonderful way to benefit your home, the environment, and the people around you.

PROTECT YOUR HOME, FOR FREE

After spending the time and effort hunting for precious pieces to add to your home, protect them from future incidents with an insurance plan – for free. 

In a collaboration with Singlife, HomeTeamNS members can enjoy a year’s worth of home insurance with Shield360. Not a member yet? For eligible Ordinary and Associate members, you’ll be pleased to know that the plan includes HomeTeamNS membership for a year as well when you sign up.

Receive up to S$20,000 worth of coverage for your furniture and furnishings, and even up to S$50,000 for renovation incidents. There’s no catch, it’s just a way to reward hardworking members who deserve the best.

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