Checklist: Essentials to get for your first home + buying tips

PHOTO: Unsplash

Getting your first home ready can be hugely overwhelming. On top of your renovation, there also seems to be a never-ending list of things to do and shop for.

To ease your stress, we put together a checklist to make sure you get the essentials all ready before moving in. It’s an adaptable one, so add to it or minus from it items you don’t need.

Living room

PHOTO: Starry Homestead
  • Sofa
  • Other seating: armchair, stools or pouf
  • Coffee/Side Table
  • Media Stand/Console
  • TV or Projector
  • Floor lamps or table lamps
  • Rugs, throws and cushions
  • Speakers, soundbar or any home entertainment systems
  • An Internet subscription
  • Smart home hub

Tip #1.
Should you go with a fabric or leather sofa?

  Pros Cons
Fabric 1. Some covers can be removed and washed.
2. More comfortable.
3. Usually cheaper.
4. Doesn’t get scratched easily.
1. Not great for people who suffer from allergies as they can harbour dust mites and other allergens.
2. Traps pet fur.
Leather 1. Can withstand spillages, making it a great choice for families with younger children.
2. Can last longer than fabric sofas if cared for properly.
1. Usually more expensive.
2. Can get cracks from long-term sun exposure or from use.
3. Can scratch easily.
Wayne Sofa
PHOTO: Castlery

Homegrown brand Castlery carries a wide range of contemporary style sofas at affordable prices. Find your dream leather or fabric couch here.

Bedroom

Devonne Grey Fabric Storage Bed
PHOTO: Mega Furniture
  • Bedframe
  • Mattress
  • Bedding, preferably two sets
  • Mattress protector
  • Nightstands
  • Vanity table
  • Full-length mirror
  • Reading lamps
  • Pillows
  • Duvet
  • Rugs, throws and cushions
  • Wardrobe organisers
  • Hangers

Tip #2.
What type of mattress to go for?

Memory Foam Latex Hybrid (Memory Foam & Latex)
Helps to contour to your body shape and minimises motion transfer. Reduces pressure points, making it suitable if you are on the heavier side. But tends to trap heat. More bounce for natural latex options compared to synthetic ones. Also promotes air circulation, which is a good option if you don’t sleep with the air-con. Known to be firmer than memory foam mattresses. Combines the best of both worlds.
Pillow-top Pocketed Coil Gel Layer
An extra padding sewn on top of your mattress and provides an extra layer of comfort. Features upright coils (or ‘springs’) in individual pockets. A lot of bounce like latex but not as soft and does not conform to the body as much. Good firm support. Gel is infused into the top layer of the mattress and is mainly used for temperature management. Helps to cool the body down.
Chattel Platinum Pocketed Spring Mattress
PHOTO: Mega Furniture

The mattresses at Mega Furniture are categorised not only by brand and type, but also by firmness level so you can find the perfect one for a good night’s sleep.
 

Tip #3.
Which bedding material is best for our climate?

For comfort and breathability, 100 per cent cotton sheets are the best. Linen, which is durable, breathable and absorbent, is also a good choice for Singapore’s weather. The latter gets better with use and laundering, and it offers a more unique, furrowed look that is great if you’re opting for a casual vibe for your bedroom.

When buying cotton sheets, look out also for the weave types. Percale cotton sheets feature a matte, crisp feel, while Sateen cotton sheets are silky and feel like satin against your skin.

Percale sheets are more breathable, making them better suited for our climate and if you don’t sleep with the air-conditioning. Sateen sheets can trap heat, but they are also wrinkle-resistant.

Organic Cotton Stripes Fitted Sheet
PHOTO: Sunday Bedding

Shop sustainable bedsheets at Sunday Bedding.

Kitchen and dining

PHOTO: The Interior Lab
  • Hob
  • Hood
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Microwave
  • Dishwasher
  • Food processor
  • Kettle
  • Water dispenser
  • Coffee maker
  • Kitchen knives: Chef’s knife, a serrated knife and a paring knife
  • Chopping board
  • Prep bowls or mixing bowls
  • Measuring tools: Measuring spoons, measuring jug and digital scale
  • Cooking utensils: Spatula, tongs, whisk and ladle
  • Pots and pans: frying pan, sauce pan, stock pot
  • Set of cutlery and serving ware
  • Drying rack
  • Sponges
  • Tea towels
  • Coasters and silicone mats
  • Oven mitts
  • Food containers
  • Dining table
  • Dining chairs and bench
  • Buffet table if you need extra storage

Tip #4.
How to choose a hob, hood and refrigerator?

Before choosing the major appliances of the kitchen, ask yourself what do you really need. Will you be cooking often? How big is your kitchen? How many people are there in your household?

PHOTO: E+e Design & Build

Hob
If you do a lot of asian style cooking, a gas hob will be more suitable since you can use a wok or a claypot on it. An induction cooker heats up pots and pans a lot quicker, but its limitation is that you can’t use every type of pot and pan on it. Get more burners if you cook a lot of dishes at one go, but fewer burners also mean you get more countertop space.

Hood
If you cook every day and do a lot of stir fries or deep frying, you will want to invest in a good range hood with a high extraction rate. To determine how much extraction rate is effective for your kitchen, go with this general formula:

Kitchen height (m) x kitchen length (m) x kitchen width (m) x 10 = Extraction Rate (m3/hr)

Refrigerator
Bottom-freezer refrigerators tend to be less energy-efficient than a top-freezer one. However, bottom-freezer refrigerators allow the fridge to be at eye-level, so you can reach for everyday ingredients more easily. For folks who cook often or live in a large household, consider a large capacity refrigerator such as a double-door/side-by-side as you will need more space to store your produce.

Bathroom

PHOTO: In-Expat
  • Sink
  • Shower-head
  • Faucet
  • Instant or storage heater
  • Toilet bowl
  • Mirror
  • Towel rack
  • Laundry hamper
  • Bath mats
  • Squeegee (for glass screen and mirror)
  • Toilet brush
  • Toilet paper
  • Home fragrances
  • Shower caddy
  • Soap dispenser
  • Glass canisters for storing q-tips, cotton pads, etc.

Tip #5.
What type of toilet bowls are there?

PHOTO: Icon Interior Design
Type of toilet bowl What is it
Exposed cistern (water tank):
Close-coupled/two-piece The toilet bowl and water tank are two separated units coupled together with fittings.
One-piece The toilet bowl and tank are a single, seamless unit. These are popular for being easy to clean and having a streamlined design.
Back-to-wall The backs of the toilet bowl are attached directly to the wall.
Concealed cistern (water tank):
Wall-hung This toilet bowl is suspended above the floor. Requires an additional wall frame support to be hung securely.
Wall-faced This type of toilet bowl is installed against the wall and floor.

Bonus tip! To save on plumbing costs, make sure you determine whether you need an S-trap or a P-trap toilet bowl. If your drainage outlet is on the bathroom floor, you will need an S-trap toilet bowl. If your drainage outlet is on the bathroom wall, you will need a P-trap toilet bowl.

Home office

PHOTO: Divine & Glitz Design
  • Study table
  • Office chair
  • Computer/Laptop
  • Speakers
  • Printer
  • Desk lamp
  • Storage furniture like a file cabinet or bookshelves
  • Desk organisers
  • Cable management box
  • Stationery
  • Extension cords
  • Plants

Tip #6.
What to look out for in an office chair?

You will want to get an office chair with the following features:

  1. You want the seat to be adjustable.
  2. Adjustable backrest so you can tilt backwards.
  3. Your seat should be deep and wide enough so you can seat comfortably.
  4. Adequate lumbar support to support the slight inward curve of your spine.
  5. Seat should be padded so you can sit for long periods of time in comfort.
  6. Adjustable armrests and swivel function.
Kelene Office Chair
PHOTO: Mega Furniture

Sit right: Make sure your sitting posture is at the right position without great effort. Your back should be straight or reclined slightly with both feet touching the floor and your thighs parallel to the floor.

When typing on your keyboard, make sure your forearms and wrists are flat on the table rather than elevated. Your eyes should also be level to the top or middle of your computer screen and you should also be looking downwards slightly.

Want to fly through your to-do list? Get productive with an office chair from Mega Furniture.

Service yard

PHOTO: Design Identity
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Laundry rack
  • Laundry pegs
  • Hangers
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Cleaning supplies: vacuum, mop, rubber gloves etc.

Tip #7.
Which to choose: front-load or top-load washer?

  Front-load Top-load
Upfront cost More expensive. Cheaper
Energy efficiency More energy efficient, uses less water. Long-term cost savings. Less energy efficient.
Space Able to stack a dryer on top. Or can use the top of the front-loader as an extra counter space. Cannot stack anything.
Convenience Have to bend down to put in and take out clothes. Cannot put in clothes mid-cycle, although certain models are now able to. Easy to load and unload laundry. Also able to put in forgotten laundry at any time during the wash cycle.
Maintenance Not as durable, and tend to have mould and mildew issues if drum is not thoroughly dried after use. More durable. Drum also dries easily if door is left open after cycle.

Others

  • Air-conditioning
  • Fans
  • Air purifier
  • Window treatments: blinds, curtains, etc.
  • Light fixtures and bulbs
  • Smart locks
  • Shoe cabinet

This article was first published in Renonation.