Role of Contractor vs. Interior Designer in Building your Home

20 Nov, 2020

Congratulations on your new flat! If it is exactly as you want it, good for you—all you have to do is move in. But if you want to make some major changes, then you are probably looking for designers and home renovation contractors in Singapore. And like many homeowners, you are probably asking: Do you need a contractor or a Singapore interior designer? Or do you need both?

In this blog, we will discuss the roles of contractors vs. interior designers so you can make a more informed decision.

General definitions

An interior designer in Singapore is essentially a one-stop shop who will execute the entire process—from ideation to design all the way to renovation. They will take time to sit down with you, understand your requirements and lifestyle, and then come up with 3D design ideas based on those factors. You can count on them to coordinate and manage your renovation project—including choosing tiles, light accessories, furnishing, bathroom fittings, etc.

Interior designers will periodically provide you with updates to make sure that you are always in the loop. They can take care of any amendments and adjustments in the design as needed, and can also provide after-sales/post-renovation services like rectifying mistakes. You are paying them to do all these and more. Think of the as professionals with whom you can discuss ideas. You can even take advantage of their wide network of other industry pros (like suppliers) to make your vision a reality.

Meanwhile, renovation contractors in Singapore typically only do the renovation work as requested by the homeowner. Many contractors hire subcontractors who actually execute task-based work the contractor is responsible for but cannot do, such as electricals, plumbing, etc. Don’t expect them to sit down with you and discuss design ideas or themes. They won’t go furnishing shopping with you, and they won’t spend time helping you choose materials.

Who is cheaper?

Pricing is one of the key differences between interior designers and contractors. Interior designers are generally more expensive—but that’s because they do a lot more work than contractors. The additional costs go towards making the professional design plan, liaising with you and the contractors/subcontractors, and essentially managing the project from top to bottom so that you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Contractors are cheaper because they will not provide these services—they will only execute your instructions. Engaging a contractor might work if you have a tight budget AND a very clear idea of what you want your home to look like. Otherwise, it’s worth the extra money to hire an interior designer.

You also have to think about the scale of your project. If you intend to overhaul the entire flat, it makes sense to seek the help of an interior designer in Singapore. If you’re only redoing minor carpentry work or just one bedroom, then working with a contractor may be the most efficient choice.

Who is more knowledgeable?

Contractors and interior designers both have knowledge of space planning and design. However, most contractors will simply follow your instructions—nothing more. A contractor will only chime in if they foresee structural issues or other problems arising from your instructions. Should there be any issues after the renovation project, a contractor might say that they merely followed your design.

Interior designers are generally better at managing and delivering design specifications. They can tell right away if something might go wrong—for example, if the cabinets are too high or the toilet bowl is too close to the bathtub. They can guide you from the very beginning to ensure that your design ideas will translate well in real life, and that the overall layout of your home will turn out to be comfortable.

How do you choose?

The “right” choice really depends on your project and how comfortable you are taking the reins. Contractors may be enough if you have some background in design and construction and want to keep the budget low. But if this is your first time building a home, if you want a real showpiece of a property, or if you don’t want to stress out about every little detail, hiring an interior designer makes more sense.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you make a choice:

  1. Do you have a clear idea of what your home should look like?It’s okay to work with just a contractor if you already have all renovation plans drawn up. A good contractor can do exactly what you specified in the plan you provided for them. They can also offer some structural advice, though some will simply go with whatever you ask them to do. So you have to ensure that your plan is solid and feasible in the first place.

If you want to have a professional design sounding board, it’s better to hire a Singapore interior designer who can conceptualize (something a contractor doesn’t do) and come up with solutions that truly fit your lifestyle and your preferences.

  1. Are you starting from nothing?

If you’re currently on ground zeroand have no idea how to proceed, an interior designer is well worth the investment. They will be your design and renovation consultant and manager, ensuring that the project goes smoothly and on schedule. You can even count on them to help you decorate the house and add finishing touches.

  1. Are you short on time?

Like most homeowners, you probably don’t have all the time in the world to plan and oversee your renovation or run around searching for materials. In this case, an interior designer can take most things off your plate. From picking a theme to sourcing a contractor to choosing the perfect furniture and window treatments, they can project-manage everything and deliver your dream home to you.

You are basically paying an interior designer to turn your dream into a reality and take care of the entire renovation so that all you have to do is to move in. Expect lots of meetings with them before constructions actually starts. But other than that, they won’t take up much of your time. They will also take responsibility for everything—and that level of accountability can give you peace of mind that’s worth paying for.

  1. Do you care about credentials?

Some homeowners who plan to sell their home at some point in the near future spend extra money to hire a prominent architect as well as an interior designer. Doing so can potentially add value to your property, so it is worth thinking about. Hire an interior design firm that has a solid portfolio of successful projects.

Talk to us today

If you have a renovation project in Singapore and don’t quite know where to start, contact SHE Interior Design Pte. Ltd. We are full-service interior design firm with a history of delivering well-executed designs and the best customer service. Our team is made up of highly experienced professional designers, contractors, and craftsmen.

We specialise in interior and exterior home design and renovation, office space renovation, commercial space renovation, architecture, and alteration/addition work. We also provide 3d perspectives and space and budget planning services. Talk to us today for a free design consultation.




21 Woodlands Close #09-43 Singapore 737854 (Primiz Biz-Hub)

+65 9484 1863

+65 9484 1863

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