Good interior design and renovation need not be expensive

Lights for a tight pocket

Getting the right lighting with the right price in Singapore is quite an adventure. We spent countless weekends trawling the streets of Balestier, Ubi, Kaki Bukit, Peya Lebar, Macpherson only to return empty handed each time. Neither the lights nor the price is right. Some left such bad impression on me (including a certain LUSH big name) I had no intention of ever returning for a second look. So what’s a budget-conscious self-taught house renovator to do?

Shopping for lights online is my next best option. Instead of trawling Singapore streets, I spent countless nights on AliExpress comparing the various lighting suppliers and their pricing. A few key learnings here:

  • You can basically get any kind of lighting of any make and design you can possibly imagine on AliExpress – modern, vintage, pendent, floor, wall-hung, crystal, LED, halogen, E27. You name it, they’ll have it.
  • Prices are generally 30% to 80% cheaper than Singapore’s prices, that’s including shipping costs.
  • Some shops specialize in providing lightings for bars, restaurants – if that’s your style – and from my experience now, are more reliable.

So with that, here’s what I got, after browsing more than 500 suppliers:

18 ultra-thin LED downlights (5watts each) 18 x USD 10.80
8 LED spotlights (5 watts each) with 3 x 1m long aluminum tracks 3 x USD 4 (for each track)

8 x USD 14 (for each spotlight)

10-head halogen Edison vintage pendant light for the dining area USD 86
1 halogen Edison vintage light for the balcony USD 30

Total (including shipment)

USD 434 (approx. SGD 545)


For perspective, these items would have cost me at least SGD2,000 if I had bought them in Singapore. I spent a quarter of that, so go figure!



My order arrived after just 2 weeks!



Technology has gone a long way. This 5w LED spotlight is really bright and powerful.



These handmade vintage Edison light bulbs gives just the right amount of ambience without costing a bomb.


These rope lights are unexpectedly good looking.


This vintagy looking cast iron lamp will be just nice for the balcony.

And finally, here’s the results!



I call them Rudolf. They are red and they give such a warm ambience, just like Rudolf the red nose reindeer.


Look at those warmth-inducing filament! Reminds me of the story of how Edison invented the light bulb.


And finally, our balcony light.

3 comments on “Lights for a tight pocket

  1. Pingback: Do’s and Dont’s About Sourcing From China – Learning from experience | budgetreno

  2. Pingback: How my online purchases have faired | budgetreno

  3. Pingback: The S$50K challenge – how much we spent | BudgetReno

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by in Feel good, Value for money and tagged , , , , , , .
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