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Should You Engage a Contractor or Interior Designer ?

Before you move into your new home and live happily ever after, there’s a process that every homeowner (new and old) must go through - designs, layout and renovation!

Now the first question that should come to mind is “should I engage an interior or a contractor?” How can you distinguish the two roles? What makes one so different from the other?


Interior Designer

An interior designer is someone who coordinates and manages your renovation project.

He or she is able to provide design ideas (3D drawings) from themes like Resort to Scandinavian based on your personal requirements. An interior designer is a one-stop shop who is able to execute everything from ideation, design to renovation works.



Contractors generally only execute the renovation work requested by the homeowners. Depending on the requirements, there might be a need for contractors to hire external subcontractors to carry out some of the works.


Sub-contractors undertake work that a contractor cannot do but is responsible for. Their work is usually on a task-based contract. E.g. A contractor may hire a subcontractor (electrician) to complete the electrical wiring job on his behalf. Interior designers help shoulder your heavy load while contractors bear the light load that you assign to them.

Here are some of the deciding factors to help you make a decision in choosing between interior designer or contractor.

1. Price, Price, Price

Most of the renovation decisions are based on the budget you have set aside. The key difference between an interior designer and contractor is the pricing. Interior designers will generally provide floor plans and 3D drawings for their clients. They will take the time to understand the homeowner’s lifestyle before proposing a design plan. The additional cost that you pay interior designers goes into planning and managing your renovation project. It also includes the time and effort that goes into liaising with you and your partner.

A contractor will not provide the above mentioned and will act upon your specific instructions.

Our suggestion is that you should engage one if you are working towards a tight budget or if you have a very clear idea of how you want your house to look like.

2. Design Focus or Minor Renovation?

Are you planning to overhaul the entire apartment? Or are you looking only to re-do carpentry works? If you are only planning to renovate one of your bedrooms, it would be best to work with

a contractor.

First-time homeowners would generally prefer working with an interior designer as he or she would have the relevant experience to guide them along the entire renovation process.

3. Value-added Service

Interior designers tend to set up a Whatsapp group chat for the homeowners before the commencement of a project. Updates will be provided periodically for any amendments of

3D drawing, renovation work in progress and after sales service. This includes recommendation

of tiles, furnishing, light accessories, sanitary fittings and etc.

Interior designers also include post-renovation services such as rectifying of work or offering professional advice for couples with differing opinions when it comes to making decisions about their renovation projects. This brings us to the next point.

4. Knowledge of Space Planning and Design

A contractor tends to follows very specific instructions and do what you want, nothing more.

They would only offer suggestions if they were to foresee certain issues arising.

If there were to be any issues during or after the renovation, your contractor would then mention that he or she merely followed instructions.

An interior designer will have better knowledge when it comes to design specifications (e.g. height of cabinets) hence are able to share much-needed knowledge that will help in the layout planning of your house.

5. Accountability and A Peace of Mind

Can you live with any renovation regrets? Ask yourself if you are able to feel comfortable and have the complete confidence to entrust your renovation work to the person that you are working with.

Renovation is not something that you can scrimp on as the quality of the renovation can dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Our Recommendation

In conclusion, if budget is an issue or if this is a small project, do opt for a contractor.

If you are planning for an overhaul, working with an interior designer provides a greater service and design that follows through your renovation project at the very start to end.

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