A full-blown home renovation can easily be one of the biggest-ticket purchases you’re making, besides your wedding and house, so it becomes an almost natural instinct to scrimp and save on each aspect to hopefully shave off some costs.
However, are interior designers (IDs) worth engaging? Not only are they believed to be more expensive, but you may also want to take full control of your home renovation — from the overall aesthetic all the way down to the tiles for your bathrooms.
But as the wedding planners’ counterpart of home renovation, IDs might save you so much time and hassle to help make your home refurbishment journey a whole lot smoother. Is the extra buck worth spending on? Find out more as we deep dive into the value of interior designers.
How much does home renovation cost in Singapore?
According to Qanvast, these are the expected cost of home renovation for HDB flats:
|Flat type||Median renovation cost in 2022||Expected renovation cost in 2023|
|3-room||$41,600 to $48,400||$45,800 to $55,700|
|4-room||$45,000 to $54,600||$49,500 to $62,800|
|5-room||$50,000 to $60,000||$55,000 to $69,000|
How much does an interior designer cost?
Each interior design charges their own rates, and can also charge differently. For many, the design fee can cost anywhere between 5% to 10% of the renovation budget, while others may offer free consultations without any obligations.
There are different types of interior design charges to look out for:
Design consultation: Before you start your renovation journey, you can engage an ID to do a design consultation with you, This service involves the discussion of your home design, making recommendations and developing a plan for you to start on your renovation. The ID will usually try to get a feel of your needs and wants and create a plan moving forward.
Interior styling: This usually just involves styling and decorating your home rather than renovation work. It’s for clients who just need help choosing furniture and decorations for their homes.
Partial interior design: Smaller projects that do not require full renovation works or for clients who already know exactly what they want. This package usually doesn’t include much design work or rendering.
Full-service interior design: Comprehensive service where the designer oversees the entire process of your project, from concept development to installations. This package includes things like consultation, 3D renderings, floor plans, material selection, sourcing of contractors, and ordering materials.
According to Homees.co, these are the estimated costs for full-service interior design packages in Singapore in 2023. Prices vary accordingly to the content of each design packaging, consisting labour costs, product costs and the extent of the renovation.
|Flat type||Estimated cost|
|3-room BTO||$25,000 to $45,000|
|4-room BTO||$33,000 to $58,000|
|5-room BTO||$38,000 to $65,000|
|3-room resale||$30,000 to $65,000|
|4-room resale||$38,000 to $73,000|
|5-room resale||$50,000 to $82,000|
|Condo (depending on size)||$40,000 to $120,000|
5 ways an interior designer can help you
#1 They can save you time and stress
Will you have the time to research the best flooring, the type of paint, and the material of your built-in carpentry, find the suppliers and contractors, but multiply that by 4 rooms? If you don’t have much for extensive research, sourcing for contractors and figuring out the best design for your rooms, then you’re better off engaging an ID to do all the heavy lifting for you.
Think of interior designers as wedding planners — they essentially help you manage and handle everything down to the nitty-gritty. Just let them know your preferences and they’ll be outsourcing the best materials for every inch of your house.
This can save a whole lot of time and effort on your part and reduces your overall stress knowing that you have someone professional to help settle every aspect of your home.
Hiring a professional can also save you time on your renovation journey, knowing that they can help move along the process a whole lot faster compared to if you chose to DIY.
#2 They are recommended if you’re a first-time home-owner
As first-time homeowners undergoing a major home renovation for your BTO flat or resale, things can get pretty overwhelming. Even if you own a stunning house in The Sims and think you can translate that into real life, it might be even harder than you think.
Designing is one thing, but executing is another. Do you know the best anti-mould material for your kitchen cabinets? How about the most durable flooring? Or the best odourless paint that’s also affordable?
It is definitely possible to do it on your own, but it would require a lot of extensive research and sourcing for you to get it done. Having an ID around can advise you on the best materials to use, liaise with the contractors, HDB guidelines, important things to take note and the list goes on.
#3 They can design your home to fit your lifestyle needs
Many may think that an ID is just mainly to design your house. And while that’s somewhat true to a certain extent, not many people may realise the importance of this. Imagine living in a 3-room flat with a rather small living room. If you’re someone who enjoys hosting friends, this might be a problem.
Your ID might be able to give you some insight and tips on how to maximise your space, maybe it’s through purchasing an extendable table or changing the layout of your living room to free up more space.
In other situations like requiring more storage space, living in oddly-shaped rooms, or fitting 2 beds into a bedroom, your ID will definitely help you find solutions to make your space more optimised to your lifestyle.
With that said, finding the right person for the job is important. They’ll have to understand your lifestyle and make tweaks to your home to cater to your needs. Don’t be afraid to source for a few designers and have consultations with them before you settle on one — many IDs offer free consultations without any strings attached!
#4 They can help to fit your budget
Setting a budget is undeniably extremely important, as we can easily get carried away with the miscellaneous costs and blow our budget. But sticking to our budget is another thing. As newbies, you might be at a loss as to how and where you can cut costs, because everything may seem important to you.
But with an ID, they can advise you on where you can scrimp and where you should splurge. They may advise you to switch out to a cheaper material that serve the same purpose, find a better contractor, or opt for off-the-shelf furniture instead of having it built-in.
There are just some things that amateurs will not be able to do, without the lack of knowledge and insight. But with an ID that has a wealth of experience, they are able to give advice on how you can work within your budget.
They may also be upfront with you and tell you that your budget is too low for the end goal that you wish to achieve. And you need that kind of reality check to help you manage your expectations and work with an achievable budget.
#5 They can help you save money in the long run
In theory, you’re paying more for their service of helping you source for contractors, and suppliers and managing the whole project. However, this might not necessarily be more expensive because they are helping you to minimise costs by making the soundest decisions as an expert.
If you’re going to DIY your home renovation, there are certain things you may pay extra for. For example, maybe you have your eyes set on a marble countertop for your kitchen. However, what you may not know is that marble is relatively not that durable, since any acidic substances can mar it over time. Your ID may suggest you opt for granite which is more affordable and more durable, helping you save costs in the long run.
You may think that the cost upfront of an ID can be pricey now, but you’re actually saving on long-term expenses like repair costs due to wear and tear if your ID is able to help you choose the right materials that are durable to stretch your dollar.
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